Wollaton, August 1720
Joseph started work in one of Mr Willoughby`s pits, he is only 10 but we need to get some money to buy food, to put upon the plates of our children.
The industrial revolution started when these unsung heroes. Most were as young as eight years old working for just enough to keep them alive. They were paid for what coal they dug. The hours could have been as much 16 hour per day, in conditions that were damp, cold and dangerous.
The early bell pits could often collapse in on itself. Some of the tunnels were only twelve to forty inches high, they had to crawl into, then start and dig the coal in the pits all over England and Europe.
Child Labour & The Industrial Revolution
Education for children was rare, as too many of the children had to work to bring in what little food they could for their families.
During the 1800s with the Industrial Revolution spreading throughout Britain the use of child labour became more and more prevalent. Steam and water powered machines, led to a massive increase in the number of factories (particularly in textile factories or mills) of the cotton and lace making Industries of the north of England.
This type of work was not only dangerous where someone could loose a limb, you could die with the inhaling of dust which came off the machines. Other dangers were by gas and dangers of being buried alive.
Early mining children worked in bell pits which was just a hole in the ground about 2ft wide, going down about 4 meters. It then opened out into bottle or bell shape (for example see above).
The Text and Illustration was taken the from Employment Commission 1842.
Article originally published by Peter Woodward of My Broxtowe Hundred Journal Website.