Children in Yorkshire

Land Introduction
Yorkshire Life
Weaving in Yorkshire

Family Size

The typical marriage of the 1850s had an average of five surviving children. Families of ten surviving children were not uncommon. The average marriage in the 1900s had only three children.

Advertisements in popular journals and provincial almanacs indicated that at least by the 1890s postal retailing of prophylactics was widespread. Various contemporary sources made references to rubber sheaths, pessaries, "coughing after intercourse", withdrawal, and various methods of abortion. However, the actual practice of such methods of birth control was probably small.

Children slept several to a bed.


Children dressed like little adults often wearing adult clothing that had been altered to fit them.


The censuses in the Batley/Birstall area indicate that working class children were generally in school from about age 4 to about age 12. Working class woman who were married and mothers of young children were most often listed without an occupation. Interestingly, the 1851 census shows Marie Law working and her daughter, Isabelle, age 8, not in school but at home minding the one year old, Hannah. Young Harry Land (a son of John Land), at age four, was listed in the census of 1871 as a "scholar". Law Land (a son of John Land), at age 12, was listed as a "scholar" in 1871. By age 13, in 1861, William Land (a son of John Land) was a drawer's assistant.

How well the children were taught is another matter.

Out of 154 schools in Leeds attended by children of the laboring classes (which included factory schools) 80 (or over half) did NOT teach reading and writing in 1860. These schools were really for minding children while the mother worked. They were not necessarily for educating children. When reading and writing were taught, the bible was sometimes the only book in the school and the children were drilled in spelling and reading using the bible as a primer. It was also often the source for arithmetic problems.


  • "There were twelve patriarchs, twelve apostles, and four evangelists; add the patriarchs and evangelists together; subtract the apostles, what is the remainder?"

  • "Solomon had so many wives and so many concubines; add the concubines to the wives, and state the result."

In an average class 38 percent of the children were under 7 years old, 72 percent of the children were under 10 years old, and only 27 percent were over the age of 10.

Nearly nine-tenths of the children of the working classes stayed in school only about three years and by the age of ten went out to work.

Out of 1,946 marriages in Leeds and Hunslet in 1857, 25 percent of the men and 45 percent of the women signed with their mark.

Light, More Light on the Present State of Education amongst the Working Classes of Leeds James Hole, 1860

The earliest school in the area was the Batley Grammar School. It was endowed by William Lee in 1612 and was free to the children (meaning boys?) of the parish of Batley. Reading, writing, Latin and Greek were taught.

The parish records show that while it was not uncommon for a man to sign his name, most women made their mark. The fast majority of both sexes were illiterate.

Before the Education Act of 1870 most people were not concerned about the education of their children. Even in the early part of the 19th century the education of the ambitious working classes was dependent on religious instruction, private charity, and voluntary effort.

The Cleckheaton town school opened in June of 1838.

The Town School in Heckmondwike was built on the Green in 1809. It was used by Nonconformist congregations as a Sunday school. The accounts show expenditures for alphabets, primers, slates, pencils, writing books and ink. The Sunday school taught not only children but grown men and women the rudiments of reading and writing. Because of the expense for copy books children were taught to write with their finger or a stick in a box of sand. Some very conservative religious people opposed the Sunday Schools. They considered teaching and learning not suitable for the Sabbath day.

In 1851 there were nearly 5 million children of school age in England. School age being defined as between the ages of three and fifteen. Of these 2 million were in school, 600,00 were at work and the rest were neither in school nor at work. In 1873 children as young as ten years old in Batley worked half day in the factory and went to school half day. One week they started work at 6 a.m. and worked until 12:30 p.m. Then they went to school from 2 until 4:30. The next week they went to school form 9 a.m. until 12 noon and to work from 1:30 until 6 p.m. It was not unusual to go to work full time in the factory at the age of 13.

For the children of the working class there were four main types of schools.

  1. The private school including the dame school, which was an indigenous institution. They were called dame school because they were frequently run by women. They had between ten and twelve pupils. All students were together in one room regardless of age or sex. Fees were paid to the teacher by the parents
  2. The charity school
  3. The Sunday school
  4. The factory school. The factory school was established under the 1833 Factories Act.

Many children attended school for only two to three years.

Compulsory state education was introduced in 1870.

The Education Act of 1876 required that all children between the ages of five and ten had to attend school full time. Students between ten and twelve had to attend a minimum of 250 attendances. and between twelve and fourteen 150 attendances were required. An attendance was defined as on morning or one afternoon session. 250 attendances is roughly equivalent to going to school for 4+ months. 150 attendances is roughly equivalent to 2 and a half months of school.

Children learned the three "R's"; "reading, riting and rethemitc". They were also taught religion and needlework was compulsory for girls. English grammar , history, and geography were introduced in 1867.

Discipline was strict and there was a heavy hand with the cane.

Child Labor

Before the advent of textile factories children helped their parents with work in the home. At a young age they would fetch and carry. Jobs such as combing and bobbin winding might be done from about the age of 7. About the age of 10, children would start to spin. Whenever their legs were long enough, boys would begin to weave. Consequently, child labor was deeply rutted in the textile industries. Female children helped with the baking, cleaning, minding younger siblings and other domestic chores.

The factory child in the 1830's worked from 5 o'clock in the morning until seven or eight o'clock at night. The child's earnings were an essential component of the family's income.

Cleckheaton was a noted center for "card setting" or card making.

"Little toddling things of four years old were kept hour after hour at the monotonous task of thrusting the wires into cards with their tiny fingers until their little heads were dazed, their eyes red and sore, and the feebler ones grew bent and crooked"

From The Making of the Working Class

Regulation were periodically enacted to improve the lot of the child laborer. However, they were extremely inadequate:
  • In 1867 the Workshops Regulation Act fixed the minimum age of employment at 8 years. In 1878 it was raised to ten. Between the ages of 8 or (10) and thirteen a child had to attend an approved elementary school for at least 10 hours a weeks between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • In 1876 the Education Act stated that all children between the ages of 5 and 10 had to attend school full time. Those between 10 and 12 had to have a minimum of 250 attendances per year. Those between 12 and 14 had to have 150 minimum attendances per year. Each morning or afternoon secession of school was considered an attendance. The children were free to work when not in school.
  • In 1893 the minimum school leaving age was raised form 10 to 11. In 1899 it was raised to 12.

In spite of these acts many young children continued to work either full time or seasonally. Only very slowly did the old idea of a child as small worker who had to contribute to the family income as young as possible begin to disappear.

Until 1867, schools generally only taught reading, writing, arithmetic and needlework (which was compulsory for girls). Discipline was strict and there was liberal use of the cane.

In 1851 census there were 5 million children in England between the ages of three and fifteen. Of these 600,00 were working, 2 million were in school and the rest were listed as neither.

For children of the working class there were for types of "school" in the mid 1800s:

  1. The private day school (including the dame school), which had been in existence for at least 200 years
  2. The endowed and charity school, which had also been around for centuries
  3. The Sunday school, which grew rapidly in the 1780s
  4. The factory school, which were established under the 1833 Factories Act
The vast majority of working class children who attended any type of school were under 10 years of age.

The schools for the working classes were frequently little more than places to drop off babies and toddlers so the mother could go to work in the factories. "Dame" schools (where a woman would take in several local children) were particularly notorious for this.

Can you imagine how difficult it must have been to concentrate on reading and writing if you just came off a shift at the factory?

It was not until the Education Act of 1870 that state schools became a factor.

Nearly all working class were poor and could barely make ends meet until they could get one or more children working.

In the textile trade spinners subcontracted work to their children. This practice was restricted in the 1880s, however, many school aged children were still contributing to the family income, working as many as forty hours a week well into the beginning of the 20th Century.

The Case of Ben Turner

The case of Ben Turner was chronicled in The Making of the Working Class. Ben Turner born circa 1863 worked in a Yorkshire Woolen Mill. He was the son of a Batley weaver and later became a prominent trade unionist. He began work at the age of 9 and a half helping his aunt and uncle at hand loom weaving. In 1873, at age 10, he entered the mill where his father worked. He worked in the mill half day where he had several jobs and in addition went to school half-day. One week he went to school from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and to work from 1:30 until 6:00 p.m.. The next week he went to mill from 6 a.m. until 12:30 and from school from 2 until 4:30 p.m. At the age of 13 he left school and became a full timer at the mill for 5s a week. Shortly afterwards he moved to Huddersfield where he got a job as a piecener for 9s per week.

Strikes were common. In 1872, when Turner was 9, his father was on strike because the weavers wanted a uniform weaver's piece rate scale that applied at every mill. The strike lasted for 11 weeks. During the strike the "dispute" pay was 4s per week.

New Idea For Children

New ideas about play, discipline, child development, and sex education appeared dimly in the 1870s and surged in the 1890s.

"Towelling nappies" came on the market in the 1890s. Nappies presupposed facilities for laundering and a constant supply of hot water.

Knickerbockers and then knickers replaced frocks and petticoats for little boys in the 1890s.

Rising incomes and more living space meant that at least a section of the working class could now treat its children to toys, holidays, and children's clothes in a way that had been inconceivable in the 1860s and 1870s.

Excepts from the "Abstract of an Act to Regulate the Labour of Children and Young Persons in Mills and Factories of the United Kingdom"

The 1834 Leeds directory included an abstract of the 1833 act to regulate child labour. This act was passed on August 29, 1833 in the third and forth years of the reign of William IV. Its purpose was to improve the working conditions of children, so one can only imagine what they were like before the act was passed.

The following are some points contained in the abstract. The italics are mine.

"I. Whereas it is necessary that the Hours of Labour of Children and Young Person employed in Mill and Factories should be regulated:.....No person under eighteen years of age shall be allowed to work in the night, that is to say, between the hours of half-past eight o'clock in the evening and half-past five o'clock in the morning, except as hereinafter provided, in or about any cotton, woolen, worsted, hemp, flax, tow, linen, or silk mill or factory, wherein steam or water or any other mechanical power is or shall be used to propel or work the machinery in such mill or factory, either in scotching, carding, roving, spinning, piecing, twisting, winding, throwing, doubling, netting, making thread, dressing, or weaving of cotton, wool ,worsted, hemp, flax, tow, or silk, either separately or mixed, in any such mill or factory situate in any part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: provide always, that nothing in this act shall apply or extend to the working of any steam or other engine, water-wheel, or other power in or belonging to any mill, or building, or machinery, when used in that part of the process or work commonly called, fulling, roughing, or boiling of woolens, nor to any apprentices or other person employed therein, nor to the labour of young persons above the age of thirteen years when employed in packing goods in any warehouse or place attached to any mill, and not used for any manufacturing process provided also, that nothing in this act shall apply or extend to any mill or factory used solely for the manufacture of lace."

As I understand it, this means that the law does not apply to children working in fulling mills, packing warehouses and lace manufacturing.

And mind you it is alright to be in the factory by 5:OO in the morning or to stay until 8:30 at night.

II. And be it further enacted, that no person under the age of eighteen years shall be employed in any such mill or factory in such description of work as aforesaid more than twelve hours in any one day, nor more than sixty-nine hours in any one week, except as hereinafter provided
III. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That if at any time in any such mill, manufactory, or building situated upon any stream of water, time shall be lost in consequences of the want of a due supply or excess of water, or by reason of its being impounded in higher reservoirs, then and in every such case, and so often as the same shall happen, it shall be lawful for the occupier of any such mill, manufactory, or building, to extend the time of labour in this Act prescribed at the rate of three house per week, until such lost time shall have been made good, but no longer, such time to be worked between the hours of five of the clock in the morning and nine of the clock in the evening: provided also, that no time shall be recoverable after is has been lost six calendar months."
This means that the factory time on a given day could be extended to seventeen hours, or the factory time of a given week could be extended to seventy two hours.
IV. And be it further enacted, That when any extraordinary accident shall happen to the steam engine, water-wheel, weirs, or watercourse, main shafting, main gearing, or gas apparatus of any such mill, manufactory, or buildings, by which not less than three hours labour at any one time shall be lost, then and in every such case such time may be worked up at the rate of one hour a day, in addition to the aforesaid and hereinafter restricted hours of labour, for the twelve following working days, but not after.
Item V is an elaboration of Item IV.

VI. And be it further enacted, That there shall be allowed in the course of every day not less than one and a half hour for meals to every such person restricted as hereinbefore provide to the performance of twelve houses work daily.

VII. And be it enacted, That from and after the first day of January, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-four, is shall not be lawful for any person whatsoever to employ in any factory or mill as aforesaid, except in mills for the manufacture of silk, any child who shall not have completed his or her ninth year of age.

VIII. And be it further enacted, That from and after the expiration of six months after the passing of this Act, it shall not be lawful for any person whatsoever to employ, keep, or allow to remain in any factory or mill as aforesaid for a longer time than forty-eight hours in any one week, nor for a longer time than nine hours in any one day, except as herein provided, any child who shall no have completed his or her eleventh year of age, or after the expiration of eighteen months form the passing of this Act, any child who shall not have completed his or her twelfth year of age, or after the expiration of thirty months from the passing of this Act any child who shall not have completed his or her thirteenth year of age: provided, nevertheless, that in mills for the manufacture of silk, children, under the age of thirteen years shall be allowed to work ten hours in any one day.

IX stipulated that children and young person be given off "the entire day" Christmas Day and Good Friday, plus "not fewer than eight half days besides in every year".

Mind you Christmas was not a paid holiday, you could just have it off.

X Stated that a child who worked less than the nine allowable hours in a day in one mill could not be employed in another mill on the same day for longer than the total of nine hours.

XI. stated that children could not be employed without a certificate from a Surgeon "as to Strength and Appearance."

XII. ....for the purpose of obtaining the certificate in the case of children under the age of eleven, twelve, or thirteen years respectively, the child shall personally appear before some surgeon or physician of the place or neighborhood of its residence, and shall submit itself to his examination:...and unless the surgeon shall certify his having had a personal examination of such a child, and also that such child is of the ordinary strength and appearance of children of or exceeding the age of nine years, and unless also such certificate countersigned by some Inspector or Justice.... such child shall not be employed in any factory or mill.

This clause was blatantly ignored.

XIII contains the form that included the information for the physician's certificate.

XIV stated that children between the ages of eleven and eighteen were not to be employed in factories more than nine hours a day or between the hours of nine o'clock in the evening and five o'clock in the morning "without first requiring and receiving from such a person a certificate in proof that such a person is above the age of eleven, twelve, and thirteen" by the dates as designed in Section VII.

XV stated that no fines will be levied against an employer for not obtaining the proper certificate of age if at the time of the "proceedings for the enforcement of such penalties" the judge decides that the child was really above the required age at the time of employment.

XVI states that if the required Inspector or Justice, as listed in Section XII refuses to sigh the certificate the parents of the child can take the case to Petty Sessions free of charge.

XVII. provided for the appointment by the king of four persons to be inspectors of "factories, and places where the labour of children and young persons under eighteen years of age is employed". The inspectors were "empowered" to enter any mill or factory at "all times and seasons, by day or by night, when such mill or factories are at work" to "examine therein the children and any other persons employed therein" and to ask any questions they thought appropriate. They were also "empowered" to "Take or call to their aid in such examinations and inquiry such persons as they may choose, and to summon and require any person upon the spot or elsewhere to give evidence upon such examination and inequity, and to administer to such person an oath.

XVIII deals with the powers and duties of the inspectors as the enforcers of the act, which included among other points

  • The inspector was "authorized and required to enforce the attendance at school of children employed in factories in accordance with this Act
  • The inspector was "to order tickets or such other means as they may think fit for vouchers of attendance at such schools."
  • The inspector was "authorized and required to order a register of the children employed in any factory, and of their sex, and hours of attendance, and of their absence on account of sickness"
XIX states that the Secretaries of State had the authority to appoint persons to superintend the execution of the Act.

XX ....every child hereinbefore restricted to the performance of forty-eight hours of labour in any one week shall, so long as such child shall be within the said restricted age, attend some school to be chosen by the parents or guardians of such child, or such school as may be appointed by any Inspector in case the parents or guardians of such child shall omit to appoint any school, or in case such child shall be without parents or guardians; and it shall and may be lawful, in such last mentioned case, for any inspector to order the employer of any such child to make a deduction from the weekly wages of such child as the same shall become due, not exceed in the rate of one penny in every shilling, to pay for the schooling of such child; and such employer is hereby required to pay the sum so deducted according to the order and direction of such Inspector.

Section XXI shall not be lawful to employ.....any child restricted by this act to the performance of forty-eight hours of labour in any one week, unless such child shall, on Monday in every week.....or on the day appointed by the Inspector......give the factory master.... a schoolmasterıs ticket or voucher, certifying that such child has, for two hours at least, for six out of seven days of the week.......attended his school excepting in cases of sickness, to be certified in such manner as the Inspector may appoint.

In other words, a child who worked eight hours a day, six days a week, was required to go to school an additional two hours all six days, and if that child was an orphan without guardian he or she had to pay for the school out of his or her own pocket.

XXII provided that the Inspector could establish a new or additional school if he saw fit.

XXIII stated that if the inspector found an incompetent "schoolmaster or schoolmistress" he could withhold the salary of the schoolmaster or schoolmistress.

XXIV held the mill owner liable to penalty for any child remaining on the premises more than nine hours unless that child was on a playground or in school.

XXV provided that the inspector could give notice of any general order applying to more than one mill, if the notice was published for two successive weeks in the local newspaper.

XXVI stated that the interior walls and ceilings of every mill and factory be lime washed once a year.

XXVII stated that an abstract of the Act signed by the mill overseer should be posted in "a conspicuous part or in several departments of every mill and factory".

XXVIII stated that the punishment for any who forged a certificate "be liable to be imprisoned for any period not exceeding two months in the House of Corrections in the county, town, or place where such offence was committed".

XXIX stated that the parent or parents "of any person having any benefit from the wages of such a child" was liable to a penalty of twenty shillings for any child employed beyond the legal hours.

XXX provided that if any agent of the mill be held personally responsible and be subject to the penalties and punishments proscribed in the Act if he employed any child beyond the legal hours without the permission of the mill owner.

XXXI stated that the penalty for offences against the Act was not less then one pound and not more than twenty pounds.

XXXII stated that any person who obstructed any Inspector "in the execution of any of the powers entrusted to him" for "every such offence" pay a sum not exceeding ten pounds.

XXXIII provided that the Inspector had the same powers over any "Constables and Peace Offices, as regards the execution of the provisions of the Act" as "His Majesty's Justices of the Peace" have over "such Constables and Peace Officers".

XXXIV provided that proceedings under the act could take place before any inspector or justice of the peace in the area and could determine when and where any fines were paid. It further provided that if the fines were not paid when due, "the same shall be levied by distress and sale of the goods and chattels of the offender, together with the reasonable charges of such distress; and for want of sufficient distress, such defender shall be imprisoned in the common goal for any tern not exceeding one calendar the where the sum to be paid shall not exceed five pounds, or for any term not exceeding two calender month in any one case, the imprisonment to cease in each of the cased aforesaid upon payment of the sum due."

XXXV stated that complaints were to be "preferred" in writing at or before the duly notified visit of the Inspector and within fourteen days of the offence.

XXXVI stated that, in the case of partnerships, it was sufficient to issue a summons only to the partner who was the "occupier of title of the firm".

XXXVII stated that the service of a summons "Shall be good and lawful summons."

XXXVIII provided that Inspectors and Justices could summons witnesses to appear and give evidence. Those failing to comply could be subject to an imprisonment not exceeding two calendar months.

XXXIX provided that the Inspector or Justice could with sufficient cause discharge persons so imprisoned.

XL provided that convictions were to be recorded in the General Quarter Sessions of the regional governing body.

XLI elaborated on the second part of Section XXXIV regarding the terms of imprisonment for refusal of payment of any fines.

XLII dealt with appears against convictions.

XLIII provided that the Inspector or Justice had the authority to award half of any damages to the complainant, plus that all costs of the prosecution and the remainder, (Or the whole amount if the Justice thinks fit) was to be applied directly to the benefit of any school "wherein children employed in mills or factories are educated in such township or place where such offence shall be committed"

XLIV provide that the Inspector was authorized to order any Constable or Pease Officer to provide a convenient place "for holding any sitting"

XLV provided that the Inspectors were to keep minutes of the visits and proceedings and report them to the Secretaries of State twice a year. Furthermore they to meet the Inspectors were required to meet with one another twice a year to confer on the rules, duties, and powers of the Act.

XLVI stated that the Bugh Magistrates in Scotland were to exercise the same powers as Justices of the Peace in England.

XLVII stated that "nothing in this Act contained shall apply to mechanics, artisans, or labourers under the proscribed ages working only in repairing machinery or premises".

XLVIII repealed a previous Act relating to "apprentices and other persons employed in cotton mills"

XLIX dealt with "construction of terms" and stated that "any word of the Act denoting the masculine gender shall be construed to extent to persons of either sex, and any word denoting the singular number shall be construed to extend to any number of persons or things."

L stated that this was a public Act and "shall be judicially taken notice of as such by all Judges, Justices and others"

Schedules Related to The Above Act

The Act is followed by "Schedules" or forms and the forms they are to take: "Form of conviction", "Warrant to distain for Forfeiture", "Return of Constable upon Warrant of Distress where no Effects", and "Commitment for want of Distress".

Notice From the Factory Inspectors Office Regarding The Above Act

These forms are followed by a notification from the "Factory Inspector's Office, Manchester, 5th July, 1834" entitled "Rules and Regulations to be Attended to in Giving Effects to the Act III and IV William !V" and signed by R. Rickard, Inspector. The first part of this notification outlines the regulations the hours of employment and age. The second part deals with some specific issues and contains the following comments:

"The exceptions here referred to are contained in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Clauses, and include Silk Mills, whereas Children, under Thirteen years of age, are allowed to work Ten hours in one Day, or Sixty hours in any one week.

And it has since been conceded, that Children, above Eleven Years of age, may be allowed to work in Silk Mills Twelve hours per Day, as granted to Persons of the same age in Cotton and other Mills."

With regard to the necessary physicians certificate, there were the following comments.
"The object of the Legislature would be defeated, if the perfect authenticity of not.....provided for.

This could not by any possibility be done, if Children, or their Parents, were allowed to procure Certificates indiscriminately. Frauds and impositions would be practiced without end; and probably prove a source of vexatious proceedings against the masters and occupiers of Mills. To guard against these abuses, it had been determined, with the general concurrence of Mill Owners, at numerously attended meetings, at every principal town throughout Lancashire, the West-Riding of Yorkshire, Cheshire, and other parts----That the great towns and surrounding country be divided into circles or districts, of convenient extent; wherein which limit a qualified Surgeon is selected to examine, and grant Certificates to the Young Persons employed in Mills within his appointed limit.

For this purpose the appointed Surgeon will visit each Mill within his District, and certifying the Young Hands in the Mill, will of course enabled to identify each person with the certificate granted.

That the Certificate so granted, be at once pasted into a Mill Book, there to remains as a permanent record of the young person's age, and at the same time a protection to the Mill Owners, in as much as no fraudulent or improper use can afterwards be made to a Certificate so recorded; a counterpart being at the same time reserved by the certifying Surgeon.

The authenticity of the Certificate being thus provided for, no Magistrate or Inspector need hesitate as to its countersigning. The Mill Owner will then be protected in possession a complete document according to the law.

In Manchester, and other great towns, Children are much given, though caprice and other motives, to the habit of changing from mill to mill, --- a practice often fraught with injury to themselves, as well as inconvenience to their employers. To Check this too common evil, Young Persons are required to furnish themselves with a fresh Certificate on every change, the cost of which, it is expected, will serve to keep them more steady to their work"

It is then stated that the certificate passed in the mill book will provide "protection of the Mill Owner" in the event of any charges being brought against him.

The next section of this notification deals with the register of "Young Persons" working in the mill as stated in clause 18, "all of which Mill Owners would find it difficult and troublesome to keep". It was therefore decided that the "Certificate Book" plus "Time Books" would cover the same purpose," with the least possible trouble and inconvenience to the Mill Owner.

The next section of the notification dealt with time books. There were three possibilities:

  1. Book No. 1 recorded the working of the Engine. It was reasoned that if the engine only worked twelve hours in any one day, the "hands" at the mill cold only work twelve hours. If no mill employees were under eleven years of age, this was the only time book that needed to be kept.
  2. If the "moving power" ran more than 12 hours in one day, the names of "Young Person" between the ages of eleven and eighteen need to be entered in a second time book.
  3. If children under eleven were employed in any mill, regardless of the amount of time the power ran, then a third book was required.

The final section deals with the stated purpose of the act and says:

"The main object of the Act related to the Schooling of Children under Eleven Years of Age......It is consequently imperative on those who employ Children under Eleven Years of Age, to take care that they be sent to School for Two Hours is each Week-day, or for Twelve Hours, at the least in each Week"
Consequently, it was necessary to keep an "authentic record" of the schooling of children under eleven and it was warned that "forgery or falsification thereof will subject the offended to the punishment proscribed" by the act.

Minding the Baby
Outlook 1898, collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"The Village School - from the Picture of in the Vernon Gallery, by T Webster R.A. Painter, H Bourne, engraver

From Thomas Webster - A Dame's School"

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Brickyards of England - Paying the Children at the Inn, The Graphic June 3, 1871

This images is from the second in a series of at least three articles about child labor in the brickyards of England.

Child labor was a fact of life in most places in the world in the 1870s. What seemed particularly appalling about the brickyard children was not the long hours, heavy labour or lack of education but that the brickyard children - male and female - were renowned for their swearing, drinking and fighting, even among children as young as eight or nine.

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck
Sifting the dust Punching out the holes

The Brickyards of England, The Graphic June 10, 1871

These two images are from part three in the series.

Brick-making was apparently a six month seasonal occupation.

The two jobs, "shifting the dust" and "punching out the holes" were commonly filled by young girls. The dust is either coal dust or a mixture of coal dust and iron dust as so was dirty and extremely unhealthy work. Why the dust was being sifted is not explained.

"Punching out the holes"

"is sometimes done while the brick-kilns are still full of fire, or when they have to be cleansed out before being re-lighted. It is done by means of heavy crowbars and hammers. The children keep the fire fed with coal, and it often follows that the girls, from the ragged character of the dress, catch fire, and have their limbs and hair singed. The kilns are kept burning three or four days, and, in many instances, the children have to attend them by day as well as by night, fresh coal having to be added every hour or two."

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Weaving in Yorkshire
Pictures of Birstall