In: Business and Management

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Page 10



Section 2



Testimony on Child Labor in Britain

During the 1800s there were few laws in Britain regulating the employment of children. Elizabeth Bentley testified before a parliamentary committee investigating conditions among child laborers in Britain’s textile industry. As you read this portion of her testimony, think about the hardships she describes.

COMMITTEE: What age are you?
BENTLEY: Twenty-three.
C: Where do you live?
B: At Leeds.
C: What time did you begin work at the factory?
B: When I was six years old.
C: At whose factory did you work?
B: Mr Burk’s.
C: What kind of mill is it?
B: Flax mill.
C: What was your business in that mill?
B: I was a little doffer.
C: What were your hours of labour in that mill?
B: From 5 in the morning till 9 at night, when they were thronged.
C: For how long a time together have you worked that excessive length of time?
B: For about a year.
C: What were the usual hours of labour when you were not so thronged?
B: From six in the morning till 7 at night.
C: What time was allowed for meals?
B: Forty minutes at noon.
C: Had you any time to get your breakfast or drinking? B: No, we had to get it as we could.
C: Do you consider doffing a laborious employment?
B: Yes.
C: Explain what you had to do.
B: When the frames are full, they have to stop the frames, and take the flyers off, and take the full bobbins off, and carry them to the roller, and then put empty ones on, and set the frame going again.
C: Does that keep you constantly on your feet?
B: Yes, there are so many frames and they run so quick. . . .
C: You are considerably deformed in person as a consequence of this labour?
B: Yes I am.
C: And what time did it come on?
B: I was about 13 years old when it began coming,

10 Unit 6, Chapter 25…...

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