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How typical of the early nineteenth century were the living and working conditions at Styal?

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Introduction

How typical of the early nineteenth century were the living And working conditions at Styal? In 1784, Samuel Greg built Quarry Bank Mill near the hamlet of Styal. Styal was out in the wilds of Cheshire therefore he had to find a workforce. So he had to form a factory colony or community to house it. From the 1780s to 1810 there were many places like Styal that required water power and for that reason they were mainly situated in the countryside. In this aspect Styal was typical. After 1810 steam power was used more commonly and so mills were built in urban areas and this also meant that factory owners did not have to build a community because there were more workers in the towns. However by 1820 Styal was no longer typical of other mills. Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Mr. T. Ashton had five factory colonies in the Hyde district and Ure inspected them in 1835. He said 'They are more richly furnished than any common home that I have ever seen before.' He saw many things including a piano, a barometer, oil paintings and sofas which showed they were well paid at Hyde. By comparison at Styal, people lived comfortably but simply and didn't earn enough for such furnishings. ...read more.

Middle

It stocked staple foods for the factory workers. The shop at Styal was run on a co-operative system so that the profits could be shared. The Greg's also enjoyed interest on the money they invested. In the 1820s the shop made an annual profit of about �150 on sales of around �1,700. In many mills, tokens were taken in place of money, this meant they could only spend the tokens in that certain shop. Sometimes the buyers would be tricked into buying poor quality food such as, sugar which was weighted with sand and dirt, Beer had salt added to increase thirst, sulphuric acid to improve flavour and tobacco for flavouring, Flour was weighted with alum, chalk or pipe clay and mild was watered down with added chalk and flour. The Apprentice House In 1790 an apprentice house was built in Styal which could house up to 100 children. By 1800 there were 90 children living in the house, 60 girls and 30 boys. This was half the work force at the mill at the time. Most of the children were aged between 10 years and 12 years and were contracted to work for a period of seven years. As the children arrived they would have signed an indenture which contracted them to work for a period of seven years. ...read more.

Conclusion

There was no provision for them if they were sick or for burying them. This made Styal un-typical because of the good ways in which Greg treated his workers. These were the average weekly wages: Manchester Styal 1833 Children under 13 3/9 to 4/2d 1/- to 3/- 1833-59 Reelers and winders 8/- to 9/6d 4/- to 7/- 1834-50 Carding (male adults) 13/6d to 16/- 8/- to 17/- 1834-50 Carding (female adults) 8/- 6/6d to 7/- 1838-50 Mule spinners (female) 7/6d to 10/6d 6/- to 7/- 1846-50 weavers (male and female) 10/6d to 11/- 6/6d to 8/- Robert Blincoe told of his cruel treatment as a child in the Nottinghamshire Mills and he thought cruelty would have been worse in the country because in the towns they had Justices of the Peace where complaints could be made. Andrew Ure came to the opposite conclusion. He thought that things were worse in towns, master and workers depended on each other in the country for a work force and another job. The factory colony of Quarry Bank Mill led a much better life than the people of the urban mills. So with the exception of hours worked, the conditions at Styal were not typical. However, when compared with similar mills in other factory colonies conditions were similar, or typical, or sometimes not quite as good. Sarah Chung 10M 1 ...read more.

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