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Why was there a campaign to cut Factory Hours for children in the Early 19th Century and why did the Greg's oppose it?

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Introduction

Why was there a campaign to cut Factory Hours for children in the Early 19th Century and why did the Greg's oppose it? In this essay I will be answering the question, 'Why was there a campaign to cut Factory Hours for children in the Early 19th Century and why did the Greg's oppose it?' I will be answering this in three main points: 1. Why was there a campaign? 2. Who were the reformers for it? 3. Why did Greg oppose it? During the 18th century the government was interested in defending the country. On account of this they collected taxes and in law and order. They did not think it was their place to interfere in other people's lives. The government thought that it was none of their business to say how many hours people worked - it did not occur to them that it was a problem. Before mills were built people worked at home so their working hours and conditions were unknown because they were somewhat isolated. When the Mills were built the owners' main concern was to make money and most of the time, little attention was paid to the conditions or hours of the workers. ...read more.

Middle

This was one of the many reasons why civil registration of births and deaths began in 1837. Mill owners could keep their factories open for the same number of hours, and women still had to work for as long as before and sometimes even longer. The 1844 Factory Act applied to textile mills. It started that women were not to work for more than 12 hours a day. To do this, factory owners had to be made a concession, the age at which children could be employed was lowered from nine to eight. But, these children were only allowed to work for six and a half hours a day instead on nine. Three hours of schooling a day was still compulsory. Mill owners could still organise shifts of child workers but because women were not allowed to work for more than twelve hours a day, it was hard to keep the mills open for as long as before. The 1847 Factory Act stated that women and young people could not work for longer than ten hours a day. In some mills this meant a ten-hour day. Many mill owners claimed that they could not make a profit if their mills only worked for ten hours. ...read more.

Conclusion

It would have made it difficult for him to run the mill if the hours were cut. Styal was in the countryside which meant there was no ready supply of workers which is why Greg had to use children from work houses as apprentices. After the 1833 Factory Act Robert Greg wrote to The Poor Law Commission in the 1834 to ask for poor people to be sent to Styal to work because there were not enough local people. He quoted "At this moment machinery in one mill has been standing for twelve months because we do not have enough hand." By 1847 Greg decided that he would have to pay more to keep the apprentices at Quarry Mill that he would make a profit from their work, so he closed his Apprentice house and the used of apprentices from the Workhouse ended at Styal. He still employed children but in order of the Factory Acts. Parents in the village were now responsible for their own children when they were not working in the mills. The children worked for six and a half hours and have three hours of schooling a day. Robert Hyde Greg was a good employer for his time but he was also a business man and once the apprentices became a liability he got rid of them. Sarah Chung 10M 1 ...read more.

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