Industrial Revolution Child Labour

By Delvin Mean

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A child's hand that is damaged from a machine in the factory and if you look closely, his pinkie is cut off as well.

Jobs Children Did In The Factory

  • Jobs include machine cleaners, rat catchers, textile creators, chimney sweeps and many more.
  • The dirtiest jobs were given to the children and most times the children were told to go under the machine to clean it out while running.
  • The children were paid a fraction of what adults were paid and the girls were paid less.
  • The factory and mill owners saw children as cheap labor for the less pay in the last bullet.

Hours, Food, and Working Conditions

  • Children normally worked 12- 14 hours a day but can be worked up to 19 hours with minimal breaks, roughly 1 hour or less.
  • A child's safety was neglected and working conditions were often poor and unsanitary leading them to their demise.
  • The children didn't get fed by the factory owners, like they promised to, and were desperate for food.
  • The size and energy of the children allowed them to do better than the adults and even you may find more children in a factory than adults.

Accidents That Often Happened

  • Little or no safety was brought to the children so death and injury were not uncommon in the factories.
  • Most accidents mostly occurred under the machine in which a child's hand may get torn or cut from their arm completely.
  • When operating a machine, the same may happen but when they fall into the machine itself, they are dead because of the high speed of the machinery slicing at them.
  • Accidents were frequent among the younger children such as a 5 to 7 year old because the machinery would be too much for their brains to comprehend.

Punishments Children Faced

  • The punishment occurred when the child is late to work, resting on the job or basically stopping all together.
  • One punishment would be a beating, which was common, to the children who rested or were late.
  • Another would be a whipping, which is very painful, to the late children and the ones who stopped working.
  • The punishments would be for disciplinary actions a factory owner would say but for others, it wouldn't change anything and be brought to justice.

Efforts to Improve/Stop Child Labor

  • The Factory Act of 1833 was passed by Parliament to improve the conditions of the factories for the children working in said factories.
  • The Act also led to the children receiving 8 hours to work for the 8 to 13 year old and for the 14 to 18, more than 12 hours.
  • The Factory Act of 1844 was passed to young women under 18 who worked to be reduced to hours of 12 hours on weekdays and 8 on Saturdays.
  • Thomas Agnew created the SPCC which stood for the cruelty to children who worked in the factories in 1891.