life in the factories

Leonard Propper
Western Civilization
Life in the Factories
The 19th century in England was an expanding time especially considering England was enveloped in the Industrial Revolution. Many factories were expanding and growing and needed people to fill the jobs that they had. Although many these factories were growing they were not able to keep up with the population, which was growing more rapidly than anything. When these factories went to find people they were able to find many that would need jobs and would work for less than the people that had the jobs. When these factories wanted to keep more money they simply looked for the one group of people that could work for as long as they asked, for as low as they asked, with no questions asked. That group of people was children.

Since many families had control of their children and some families didnt want to send their kids these factories, so many factories were not able to find the amount of workers they wanted so they went to look for the kids other places. A few places that they went to look were orphanages and workhouses and bought these children and forced them to sign contracts, which virtually made them slaves. The factories then went on to house and feed them, which was a lot easier then to house and feed a grown person. By the 1790s almost all workers in the factories were children.

When these factories went and bought these children they knew that they had to feed and clothe these kids and then provide them with a place to sleep. The factory owners went at this problem with the same cheapness that they had when buying the children. Children were forced at many places, to eat while working and the kids often complained about the food. Most of the time the food was covered in dust by the time they were beginning to eat. When most of these children came from the workhouses and were made to come with a change of common clothes.

Most factories were able to work the kids from dawn till dusk and sometimes beyond. Some people wanted to change the law of how long a person under the age of 18 could work to 10 hours, but parliament wouldnt pass that law. A man by the name of Lord Ashley was a doctor and concluded that a childs body could only endure 10 hours of labor at a time without damaging the childs health.

When the children were working, their age made them eligible for many jobs and most often sorted them into the jobs that they would be doing. The youngest of children were sought after to do the job of being scavengers and piecers. The scavengers would have to go under the machinery, while it was still on, and pick up loose cotton. Piecers on the other hand would walk along and repair broken thread on a spinning-machine. After they spent their years as scavengers and piecers, children would grow bigger and they might become involved in spinning and carding. If a child was very lucky when he became older he was allowed to become a mechanic for the factory. Without Englands children many of the factories during the industrial revolution would not have enjoyed the prosperity they received.

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