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Stunmon

Were children employed in the Sheffield steelworks?

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After visiting the wonderful Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield and realising the extent of child labour, I wondered if children had been used here in Sheffield in the steel works or other kinds of industry?

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55 minutes ago, Stunmon said:

After visiting the wonderful Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield and realising the extent of child labour, I wondered if children had been used here in Sheffield in the steel works or other kinds of industry?

According to the article in The Star  linked to below ---  

" Children as young as five worked in the cutlery trade, working 60-hour weeks in terrible conditions. The average life expectancy of an adult in Sheffield was just 27. "

https://www.thestar.co.uk/whats-on/out-and-about/debauchery-workhouses-child-labour-gin-palaces-welcome-to-19th-century-sheffield-1-3516585

 

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In 1844 some of my ancestors were amongst the signatories to an "Address of the Artisans". They were officials in grinding unions and one of the signatories was the (to be) infamous Wm Broadhead.  The "Address" followed Holland's book which analysed the death rates and mechanism from grinding industries.  The "Address" called for legislation for various remedies such as air extraction, annual cleaning of grinding hulls, and the prevention of children's employment in grinding until they became 12 years of age.

And even if they were not working there, children had access to the dangerous workplaces - in 1846 nine year old John Wilkinson was collecting scrap fork blanks from the floor of his father's grinding hull, when he became caught up in the driving pulleys and was battered to death.

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Children were employed in all industries till 1880, when an act was passed that made school compulsory for anyone between 5 and 10. But it wasn't till 1918 that this was raised to 14.

However some factory acts cut down the hours Children could work. Even so children were paid very little. Of course if you think that is bad, you should remember these days they can go to 18 without being paid at all!

Probably why our economy is really bad, since we are subsidising children, who could in fact do some work and get paid. Instead of sending them to University were they paint murals on the hoardings surrounding the site of Sheffield Castle! See latest week 8 video of Sheffield Castle! 

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Though in not usual family circumstances my Auntie was put to work from a young age in the 1920's until war time. She was put in a workhouse when her parents died ( later they called it something else but not much different)  . My Dad was put in a bad lads home though he had done nothing wrong.

My Auntie didn't like to talk about it but I gathered that she never saw a school or was given any education, and was put to heavy work, mostly inside but sometimes outside the workhouse. Though this made her very nervous and insecure I was very proud of her, she taught herself to read and write with some arithmetic in later life.

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Harry Brearley in his memoirs talks of starting work at a crucible furnace an early age and my own father-in-law always maintained he was was engaged at Vickers at the age of 12,

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