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Do These Sources And The Site At Quarry Bank Mill Fully Explain What Working Conditions Were Like For Children In Textile Mill

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Introduction

Do These Sources And The Site At Quarry Bank Mill Fully Explain What Working Conditions Were Like For Children In Textile Mills, Such As The One At Quarry Bank, In The Late Eighteenth And Early Nineteenth Centuries? After thorough investigation into 5 sources referring to the working conditions for children in factories during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, we now have the opportunity to bind all the facts together and create a detailed account. However, there are still questions over the reliability of some of the sources, so further research and comparisons with other mills need to be made. Making comparisons will also indicate the typicality of Styal. Hopefully, by the end of this essay I will be able to prioritise the best way of finding out about the treatment of children in textile mills. The first source we examined was an eyewitness account of a visit to Quarry Bank Mill. This source was taken from Frederick Engles, 'The Condition of The Working Class' 1845. Engles was a writer and campaigner for the rights of the labouring classes. He also didn't support the way the Samuel Greg worked. Frederick Engles worked with the founder of Communism and Socialism, Carl Marx. He hated the way poor people were treated and educated. He believed that society was unfair. This therefore means that this source is very biased, unbalanced and one-sided. The source refers to things that are hard to recreate, such as the "...lofty airy rooms," which suggests that they must have existed. It also says that there were, "...healthy looking operatives", which you may think are hard to recreate. However, these could be new fit employees told to pretend they had been working at the mill for a long period of time so that the conditions seemed healthy. The writer of the piece also makes a point of saying, "...He", and also states that, "...But that the system makes slaves of the operatives, that the people hate the manufacturer, this they do not point out because he is present". ...read more.

Middle

Also, the quote about the cleanliness of the factory is only to be expected. Quarry Bank Mill was cleaner than most factories, though no mill could be spotless as a lot of excess cotton would still remain. Finally, the quote saying that some apprentices tried to escape, gives people the wrong impression of the mill. Apprentices didn't run away because they were mistreated for example, they just missed their family and friends. The contrasting points overcome the similarities. In the source we are told that, "...the apprentice children were as much his property as the machines they tended". However, Samuel Greg proves this statement doesn't apply to all mill owners as he educated his apprentices. "It was more economical to work one batch out than get another"; Greg thought the opposite. Samuel Greg believed that if he got a good batch of workers, trained them and kept them healthy that you would have a stable workforce. He also saw this to be more efficient as it would save spending money on replacements. It would also be hard to keep replacing them due to scarce labour. Pauline Gregg also describes factories to be, "dens of fever and vice", yet; Samuel Greg employed his own doctor so that his workers were healthy and he also separated boys and girls. Yet another contrasting point is the fact that Greg's mill made people stronger mentally and physically, although the source says that, "...with resultant depravity and degradation". Punishments were also described in very different ways. As far as we know, Samuel Greg believed in punishment of the mind, as this would keep children fit for work, but Pauline Greg tells us how one boy was hung by his wrists over moving machinery, so that he was compelled to hold his legs up to avoid mutilation. This source is secondary, meaning it was written much later. The author appears to be looking at it from a more distant viewpoint and is assessing it in a non-bias way. ...read more.

Conclusion

However again, this source may not be reliable as Cobbett was irradical and had extreme anti-factory views, causing me to believe that this evidence is overemotional and inaccurate. The second writer, Ure, leads us to believe that factories are lovely places to work. This source is more specific as he talks about Thomas Ashton's Mill in Hyde, Cheshire. Therefore maybe Ure genuinely thought that the mill deserved praise. However, like Baines, he saw mills as the future so maybe he exaggerated the good points. The Factory Commission gave us evidence from all sectors - paupers, children, parents, overseers and mill owners. Meaning we had a broad range of opinion. In total there were 89 witnesses, who met 43 times. In conclusion to this, some harrowing evidence of long hours, cruelty and discipline was unveiled. However, this evidence may have been rigged, as there was no evidence given under oath and no evidence to disprove that the witnesses were coached. As a group, the sources are unreliable so it is hard to determine a clear conclusion from the evidence. However, in my opinion, I think Samuel Greg did show some compassion in the way in which he treated his young employees as he did provide food, shelter and an education for them. Though, I feel that he could have done more with his money, like Robert Owen did, such as increase the syllabus of education. It is important that we compare Styal with other specific mills; otherwise we would be comparing it with the stereotypical idea of a mill which is danger, cruelty and filth. Comparing Styal with New Lanark and Cromford has shown that Samuel Greg is not the only one who chose to take a more human approach to the welfare of workers. Finally, I have realised that the best way to find out about the treatment of children in textile mills is to find out from the children themselves. However most of the children were illiterate or feared the consequences too much. Also, at the time, their priorities were not to tell the world. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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