Friday, March 6, 2020

Conditions for labouring children Essay Example

Conditions for labouring children Essay Example Conditions for labouring children Essay Conditions for labouring children Essay Do these sources, and the site at Quarry Bank Mill, fully explain what working conditions were like for children in textile mills, such as the one at Quarry Bank Mill, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries? Explain your answer with reference to your site study of Quarry Bank Mill, the sources and knowledge from your studies. A site visit to the mill at Styal is very useful for our studies because it gives us a sense of perspective about the mill and the conditions around working there.Going on a site visit brings what I have learnt together. But, what a site visit can not provide is a rounded view point on child labour in textile mills in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: this is because Quarry Bank Mill is only one mill. A visit lets us see the lofty airy rooms, and see and hear the machinery work. To gain a fuller viewpoint of child labour we must compare Styal Mill to others.To find a universally applied answer as to what conditions were like for children working in textile mills, we need to compare what we know about Quarry Bank to others. Firstly, the punishments of pauper apprentices were favourable at Quarry Bank to others such as Litton Mill in Derbyshire. Robert Blincoe describes his time at Litton in an account given to commissioners in 1833: He describes the horrors of some mills, Mr. Needham (Master) stands accused of having been in the habit of knocking down apprentices with his clenched fists kicking them about when down, beating them to excess with sticks, or flogging them with horse whips; or seizing them by the ears, lifting them from the ground and forcibly dashing them down on the floor, pinching them til his nails met.Blincoe declares that his oppressors used to seize me by the hair on my head and tear it off by a handful at a time, till the crown of my head had become as bald as the back of my hand. When asked if he sends his children to the factories he says, No, I would rather have them transported. Beatings, though lighter, were still common at Styal. Blincoe goes on to say, I have seen the time when two hand-vices of a pound weight each have been screwed to my ears.Then three or four of us have been hung at once on a cross beam above the machinery, hanging from our hands. Weighting was common: An overseer would tie a heavy weight to a workers neck, and have them walk up and down the factory aisles so the other children could take example. This could last up to an hour. Weighting could often lead to serious injuries in the neck and/or back. Another common punishment for rule breaking was fining. Fining was wide spread. Quarry Bank did fine its workers.Fines were generally small, for small wrong-doings. They were either deducted from a workers salary or paid for by overtime. The most common fining offence was for being late to work; this was common because workers had no way of telling the time accurately. At Quarry Bank, fining was used, and workers were deducted 2 shillings for being late to work, 5 shillings was the price for stealing an apple and 2s/6d for smashing a window at work.Fines were harsh and could leave a worker with little or no salary by the end of the week. Source D, Robert Gregs account of the punishment of Ester Price, seemed liberal compared, Ester Price sat before a magistrate, she then ran away, and when she returned, was confined in the same room. The windows were boarded; partly to prevent her escapeThe room was partially dark. Her food milk and porridge and bread, morning and eveningbut no dinner.This source though is unreliable though due to the bias opinion of Mr. Greg. Realising there comparably good treatment a large percentage of pauper apprentices stayed on after their indentures. This evidence proves that Quarry Bank Mill was not typical when comparing punishments and the general treatment of labouring children. Punishments at Styal more subtle to more aggressive and dangerous methods used to enforce discipline at other mills.The age children started work at factories varied widely. At Quarry Bank Mill, children started from no earlier than nine years old. At Penny Dam Mill in Preston children started employment from as early an age as seven. The youngest children, who werent old enough to operate the machines, were commonly sent to be assistants to textile workers. These workers would beat them, verbally abuse them, and take no consideration for their safety; they would use harsh forms of pain infliction.Samuel Greg employed older children for purely economic reasons, and not moral or religious values: Older children were more reliable and less error prone than younger children. Employing older children, over younger children was good for business. Quarry Bank Mills child labour was more effective than its rivals such as Penny Dam, because older children were more reliable. Quarry Bank Mill was preferable from this point of view as children were less likely to suffer at work from an early age, and their childhoods werent taken away from them, as they were at other more strict mills. But starting work at the age of nine was still difficult and tiresome.The jobs allocated for children were often very dangerous. Children were the smallest members of the workforce and so were often required to worm through operating machines and clean them. At Styal, cleaning was the main work a child would take on, along with scavenging. Scavenging was extremely dangerous and consisted of scuttling between the mule in-operation, and picking up the waste cotton, they need to be very fast as the machines would pull back.This often led to serious injuries and sometimes even death. At other mills, such as the Fielden Brothers Mill in Todmorden, pauper apprentices, as old as seven, would strip the full spools from spinning jennies and replace them with empty ones while the machine was still running, this was even more dangerous. In this aspect the mills were very similar, and only slightly preferable at Styal. Conditions for labouring children working in textile mills in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth were dire when examining what jobs children would be forced to do to earn a living.

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