Child Labor In Victorian England

Table of Content

The study described the kids as Chained, belted, harnessed like Canis familiariss black, saturated with moisture, and more than half-naked, creeping upon their custodies and articulatio genuss, and dragging their heavy tonss behind them? ( Yancey 34 ) . This quotation mark from Ivor Brown likely best describes the strenuous work preformed by a child labourer during the Victorian Era.

Child labourers played an of import portion in developing the state’s economic system. Children, one of the chief beginnings of labour in Victorian England, endured less than equal life and on the job conditions. During the Victorian Period kids were good beginnings of labour. Get downing work every bit immature as six or seven employers saw many benefits to engaging kids ( Yancey 33 ) . Adolescents were a important portion of the labour force because they could be paid lower rewards ( Cody ) .

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Besides their of course little and agile custodies and organic structures were easy manoeuvrable. Employers most frequently hired kids over grownups because childs were powerless and would non revolt ( Yancey 33 ) . Economic conditions forced hapless kids into working, sometimes as difficult and long as their parents ( Buffalo bill ) . Essential to the economic system, Parliament supported child labour stating a kid was more utile to his household working ( Altick 249 ) .

Child labourers led really difficult and grossly gross outing lives of crud. By and large the life quarters of labourers were ill built, decomposing, even falling down, with small airing. There was no indoor plumbing doing people to throw human waste on unpaved streets. Houses were frequently crowded and rented by the room or even by the corner. Dirty floors and leaky roofs did non halt people from life in over crowded cellars and lofts ( McMurtry 159 ) .

The bulk of the twenty-four hours of immature workers was spent without their household. The mill system split up households for every bit much as 14 hours. The clip they did hold together was either exhausted feeding or sleeping. Young girls developed no homemaker accomplishments because they were working and their working female parent was non at that place to care for and learn them. The function or male parent was decreased since he was non the exclusive protagonist of the household ( Harrison 74 ) . The life of a kid labourer was much like this; therefore they learned small about life ( Harrison 74 ) .

Despite its major importance instruction played a really little function in the lives of kids. In the Victorian Era there was a refined belief that instruction was non needed ( Altick 249 ) . Few on the job childs had more so two or three old ages of schooling ( Altick 250 ) . In 1840 merely 20 per centum of the young person population had any schooling at all ( Cody ) . Then in 1870 the Education Act was passed saying that all kids, ages five through 10, must go to school. Yet, it was non until 1881before the act became state broad ( Child Labor ) .

Many kids tried to avoid school chiefly because of the hot, noisy, odorous, and insanitary schoolroom environment. School edifices were unequal along with school teachers. Most of the instructors were non decently trained and were normally failures in life. Children frequently picked work over school due to the fact that working earned them money while school earned them nil ( Altick 250 ) .

There were many different indoor occupations a kid labourer could hold during the Victorian Period. Two of the most commonly heard of occupations included retainer s and sweatshop workers. Boys and misss became household retainers around 10s or 12. They would assist around the house making all kinds of different activities and uneven occupations. Children were required to follow many regulations around the household since they were of the lower category. Younger retainers could non even be seen, heard, or around the household or their friends ( McMurtry 169 ) .

Sweatshops were really little stopgap mills, normally ran by hapless immigrants. The day-to-day conditions of the stores were soiled, cramped, and unventilated. Fire was a serious menace because flight paths were normally narrow stepss that were hard to mount. Though most stores were illegal, Parliament did non halt them since the economic system’s stableness relied on their operation ( Yancey 28 ) .

Two of the most popular occupations during the epoch involved out-of-door work; they were chimney sweeping and excavation. One of the most barbarous signifiers of child labour was chimney sweeping. Many immature male childs would apprentice with Masterss to be trained adequately. They learned how to mount indoors chimneys to clean off the carbon black and creosote. However, there were many dangers like Burnss, falls, and asphyxiation. Mining rapidly turned into the most unsafe of child businesss ( Yancey 33 ) .

Peoples who worked in mines faced day-to-day menaces of cave-ins and detonations ( Yancey 27 ) . Girls and boys every bit immature as five worked 12 to sixteen hours a twenty-four hours. Children were sent down to hale up tonss of coal from crammed transitions ( Yancey 33 ) . Often accidents would happen when kids lost clasp of mine carts doing them to run over them ( Yancey 34 ) . In 1833 a jurisprudence was passed restricting the sum of hours childs could work in fabric mills, and in 1842 the jurisprudence was extended to child in mines. Finally in 1847 Parliament outlawed females and male childs under 10 from working in mines ( Child Labor ) .

The environment a kid worked in during this clip period was, at the least really unsafe. Fabric Millss were crowded and ill ventilated causation such diseases as fossy jaw, black lung, and other fatal lung diseases. In the mills tapers were used for illuming. These easy to strike hard over light beginnings were a immense fire jeopardy ( McMurtry 155 ) . Ill heated, dip mills full of unskilled workers put many guiltless kids in danger. The deficiency of cognition about machinery caused workers to be crushed, mangled, or crush to decease in belts. Often polluted and insanitary edifices caused much decease and unwellness ( Yancey 27 ) .

During the Victorian Era kids were frequently mistreated and subjected to the poorest of working and living conditions. This clip period was characterized by the usage of kids to assist develop the economic system. Child labourers received less than the necessities needed at place, school, and at work. The life of a immature worker was in kernel a life of a slave.


  1. Altick, Richard D. Victorian People and Ideas. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1973.
  2. Child Labor.  Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99 ( Electronic Version ) , copyright? 1999 Microsoft Corporation, Seattle, WA.
  3. Buffalo bill, David.  Child Labor. hypertext transfer protocol: // 1987.
  4. Harrison, JFC. The Early Victorians 1832 – 51. New York: Praeger Publishers Inc. , 1971.
  5. McMurtry, Jo. Victorian Life and Victorian Fiction. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1979.
  6. Yancey, Diane. Life in Charles Dickens? England. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books Inc. , 1999.

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