Britain’s Industrial Revolution has become a child’s worst nightmare! Children as young as four years old have been sent to work in dangerous factories.
Since more and more people in Britain have moved out from the countryside and into bustling towns and cities, factories have profited quite a lot. However, behind the profit what really happens in those factories? What goes into our goods? None other than the three key ingredients: blood, sweat and tears.
The jobs they have to do are shocking! Some children have jobs in the mills such as cleaning the machines whilst they are still working, these children are called scavengers. Other jobs include working in coal mines as ‘trappers’ an easy but lonely job with dark and damp surroundings, ‘coal bearers’ which is when the child will carry coal on their backs in big baskets, working with bricks and dangerous chemicals which causes rotting teeth and death. Although these children work tremendously hard they receive very diminutive pay, up to 3-4d.
Children are being forced to work long, laborious hours, sometimes up to 19 hours a day, with a little one hour break. The most a child can work with out damaging their health is ten hours.
All this exertion causes severe and occasionally fatal injuries but how can we prove this? Our first source is a local doctor in Manchester and he commented: “Sometimes the children’s hands and arms were caught in the
machinery; in many instances the muscles, and the skin is stripped down to the bone and in sometimes a finger or two might be lost.”
This is not the worst of it; the punishments the children receive are appalling. We spoke to a child worker who would prefer to be unnamed. “Once, my machine had stopped but it was not my fault. The master started beating me with a stick over the head until it was full of lumps and bled. My head was so bad that I could not sleep for a long time. Whenever a child looks drowsy the overlooker takes the child by the legs and dips them...