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19th Century

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19th Century Britain 1. Children didn't live very long. There were a number of obstacles they had to get past first. Mother's would smother them at birth so they didn't have to be looked after. If this didn't happen then they may be sent to a "Baby Farm" where a woman would look after your child for 5 pounds. Parents would never have to see them again. But the woman would starve the babies so she didn't have to look after them. If they stayed at home, they'd probably have to share a room with their family. Babies could be crushed to death in their sleep. There wasn't enough food in big families, so they would have starved. They were sent to work as soon as they could walk. But Doctor Barnardo opened homes for orphan children, and took in boys who'd be sent to good jobs in England or abroad, and most girls who'd be sent to work as a servant at the age of 16. 2. The timetable for a servant at this age was: 6am get out of bed, wash, dress, brush hair and put it in a bun 6:30am Go downstairs, put the kettle on. Pull up blinds, open windows and clean fireplaces 7am Make early tea and take it to the Master and Mistress 7:30am Sweep the dining room and dust. Lay the table for breakfast 8am Serve breakfast 8:30am Strip the beds, open the bedroom windows, have breakfast 9am Clear breakfast table, ...read more.


2) Chimney sweeping was a popular choice for young boys and girls. Life was cruel and hot, children often scraped off the skin on their knees and elbows. If you were found sleeping on the job, they'd light a fire underneath you 3) Ribbon making was not as it sounded, pleasant and gentle. It was hard. A Victorian observer said "Three hundred boys were employed in turning hand looms. The endless whirl had such a bad effect on the head and the stomach that the little turners often suffered in the brain and the spinal chord and some died of it. In one mill near Cork six deaths and 60 mutilations have occurred in four years" 5. In school, some of the punishments were: If you threw ink pellets you had to kneel on the floor with your hands behind your head for about 20 minutes. If you slouched, you'd be slapped over the back of the head. If you missed Sunday church you were given the strap. If you tried to give a reason, you'd be strapped again. If you were late for school you're name would be put in the Punishment Book which may prevent you getting a job later in life as there were no exams, only good references. You were also given six straps across your hand. If you had ink blots and finger marks on your work, you were given a very thin cane which would a) ...read more.


Pauper apprentices were cheaper to house than adult workers. It cost Samuel Greg who owned the large Quarry Bank Mill at Styal, a �100 to build a cottage for a family, whereas his apprentice house, that cost �300, provided living accommodation for over 90 children. The same approach was taken by the owners of silk mills. George Courtauld, who owned a silk mill in Braintree, Essex, took children from workhouses in London. Although offered children of all ages he usually took them from "within the age of 10 and 13". Courtauld insisted that each child arrived "with a complete change of common clothing". A contract was signed with the workhouse that stated that Courtauld would be paid �5 for each child taken. Another �5 was paid after the child's first year. The children also signed a contract with Courtauld that bound them to the mill until the age of 21. This helped to reduce Courtauld's labour costs. Whereas adult males at Courtauld's mills earned 7s. 2d., children under 11 received only 1s. 5d. a week. Owners of large textile mills purchased large numbers of children from workhouses in all the large towns and cities. By the late 1790s about a third of the workers in the cotton industry were pauper apprentices. Child workers were especially predominant in large factories in rural areas. For example, in 1797, of the 310 wortkers employed by Birch Robinson & Co in the village of Backbarrow, 210 were parish apprentices. However, in the major textile towns, such as Manchester and Oldham, parish apprenticeships was fairly uncommon. ...read more.

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