The Industrial Revolution

 During the 1800s the Industrial Revolution spread throughout Britain. The use of steam-powered machines, led to a massive increase in the number of factories (particularly in textile factories or mills).

At the start of the industrial Revolution there was no legislation about working conditions in mills, factories or other industrial plants. They simply had not been needed before. As factories spread rapidly the owners of mills, mines and other forms of industry needed large numbers of workers and they didn't want to have to pay them a high wage. Children were the ideal employees! They were cheap, weren't big enough or educated enough to argue or complain and were small enough to fit between tight fitting machinery that adults couldn't get between. Children soon ended up working in all types of industry.

You may wonder why these children were not at school, this is simply because education in the early 19th century was not compulsory and in the majority of cases schools were expensive to send a child to, so working class families couldn't afford to send children there. Parents were quite willing to let children work in mills and factories as it provided the family with a higher income. C
hildren as young as 8 or 9 being were required to work 12 or more hours a day.

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