|Children in Yorkshire|
|Weaving in Yorkshire|
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.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.
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.
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"Regulation were periodically enacted to improve the lot of the child laborer. However, they were extremely inadequate:
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:
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.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.This clause was blatantly ignored.
XIII contains the form that included the information for the physician's certificate.
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.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.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 Certificate...be not.....provided for.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:
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|
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