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CHILDREN’S EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION 1842.
REPORT by J. M FELLOWS, Esq., on the Employment of Children and Young Persons in the Mines and Collieries of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and on the State, Condition and Treatment of such Children and Young Persons.
Edited by Ian Winstanley.
CLAY CROSS. (George Stephenson Esq. and Co.)
No.381. Mr. Charles Henry Wilkinson, principle book-keeper to the Clay Cross Company. He has eight shafts at work two of which are called the Tupton Pits and communicate with each other. They are 35 yards deep, the seam 4 feet 6 inches and headways 5 feet 6 inches. There are five banks, one 47 yards and one 22 yards the others 40 yards each and three waggon roads, two 300 yards and one 50 yards. The pit is worked by rolleyways or waggons from the loader to the pit mouth. They are open at each end and have 6 or 7 cwt. in each, mostly pushed by boys form 13 to 16 years old. They occasionally use an ass. The pit is winded from an old shaft and is well ventilated and there is no wildfire or blackdamp. Two are let down at once by a flat rope. Both at this shaft and all the shafts the engineman is subject to a fine he if he exceeds two at a time. The shafts are laid in lime and there is no Davy lamp or bonnet and they are dry above but rather damp under. The numbers under 13 and 18 are in the returns. The No.1 Main is 108 yards deep, the seam 4 feet 10 inches and headways 5 feet 6 inches. The pit is worked by wicker baskets run upon wheels not attached. There is one bank divided into 10 stalls and one waggon road. The baskets are partly gigged, partly drawn by ponies and the remainder of the distance by young men. The works are dry above but not so under. The pit is winded by a furnace at the bottom of one of the shafts, whereby a current of air is produced and driven to all parts down the other shafts. They have had some wildfire which has caused some slight accidents there is no blackdamp. There is a flat rope but no bonnet or Davy. At the Three Quarters Pits there are four shafts, two 40 yards and two 35 yards deep. The seam in only three-quarters of yard of coal and headways 4 feet. There are two banks and two waggon roads in each. The shafts are in pairs and a wind communication between each of the pairs. The pits are well winded but are subject to wildfire but there is no blackdamp. They have flat ropes but no bonnets or Davy lamps. In the Main, Francis Cooper was killed by the coal falling, owing to want of attention on his part to the wooding. In the same pit John Shaw, about 11 years old, was drowned in the sump or well. This is an extension of the shaft to receive the draining of the pit. It is 16 yards below the floor of the pit. It is generally covered by a platform but it was then moved for the purpose of drawing off the water. There are no butties but the company prepare the shafts, headings and works and in the Tupton Pits the holing, loading and the “putting” or taking it to the bottom of the shaft as well as the banking are let separately by the ton. The woodmen and the roadmen are paid by the day as well as the boys who push empty rolleys to the banks and the hangers-on are also paid by the day. In the Main the getting, which includes holing, taking down and loading in the corves, are put together and let by the ton. The road laying and repairing roofs and putting is done by the day as well as the drivers and door tenters. The Three Quarter Pits are worked by the day excepting part of the holing. The children are engaged by the company are neither hireed nor apprenticed. As to the regulation, see Rules. There are no regulations as to punishments or swearing. It is in the contemplation of the company to build a school room, which is intended to be used as a day and Sunday School as well as a chapel. There is neither club nor reading room at present further than the 7th. Rule. The Three Quarter Pits only are worked by day and night. The other pits from six to six and one hour allowed for dinner.
(Signed) CHAS. H. WILKINSON.
REGULATIONS FOR THE WORKMEN.
I - Any man being desirous of quitting the colliery is required to give two week’s notice of his intention at the office previous to his leaving. The owners of the colliery also giving the same notice to every man previous to his being discharged by them, retaining to themselves the power of discharging any man at a moment’s notice for improper conduct.
II - If any man should neglect his work without permission from the owners, or without being able to give sufficient reason for such neglect, he will be liable to a penalty imposed by the owners for every such offence, the amount of the penalty being left to their discretion.
III - If any engineman, banksman or other man placed in a situation of trust, to be found intoxicated during his work or during the ordinary time when his attendance is required, he will be liable to instant dismissal, or the imposition of a heavy penalty at the discretion of the owners.
IV - Any inattention to the hours of attendance renders a man liable to a penalty or the forfeiture of a portion of his wages.
V - Any man found introducing intoxicating liquors on the works at any time will be liable to instant dismissal.
VI - No collier or workman is allowed to keep any fighting dogs, or fighting cocks, in the cottages belonging to the owners, or to introduce them on the works.
VII - Every married collier or pitman is required to give 6d. a fortnight and every single man 3d. to a fund raised every pay day for the purpose of procuring medical assistance whenever required for the men or their families.
Any workman openly defying the above regulations is rendered liable to such punishment as the law may inflict. (Signed) CHAS. BINNS, Agent.
N.B. - The first mentioned regulation does not apply to day labourers. No.382. Questions addressed to George Stevenson, Esq. 1st. - Can your method of working a pit be practised in a 3 feet seam? 2nd. - Can you in a rough way state the difference in expense of heading and preparing a pit for work by your method and the method used in the south of the county? 3rd. - Have you any idea what the difference per day is per ton of the quantity drawn by your method and the one used in the old shafts? 4th. - Have you any idea of a kind of crust between the bind, or rather a crust consisting of bind, which, if broken into, would let down the roof. If so, would it be practicable to work a pit so situated by your method?
DEAR SIR, I have received your queries respecting the employment of children in coal mines, previous to answering which I wish to state I do not consider it desirable to employ children under 12 or 13 years of age. Answers to queries:1st. - Certainly, in any seam which is workable. 2nd. - It is my opinion that the mode I adopt of working the coal is better for the men and cheaper to the owners. 3rd. - My plan of working the coal is cheaper when worked in large quantities than the one used in the south but in small quantities it is not cheaper. Let the plan be what it may the difference of cost cannot be much if the work is properly carried on. 4th. - We are working coal precisely under the circumstances to which you allude. The seam is 4 feet 8 inches thick. If the seam were very thin it might be a drawback or cause an increased expenditure in removing the crust. Before answering these questions I wish to add my most decided objection to the system of butties so much despised in this county and I also believe connected with them is the tommy shops which are so injurious to the men. Our men work in small companies of three and four and are paid every fortnight in cash at the office. We have no second men. All arrangements with the men emanate from the office or the men themselves and not through butties. I am, &c., (Signed) GEO. STEPHENSON. Clay Cross, June 14, 1841.
No.383. William Mackarsie, Esq. surgeon. He has attended to Stevenson and Co.’s works upwards of two years. He has not found the colliers more subject to particular disease excepting their breathing is affected but he considers this proceeds more through the dust and great dryness of the works that any other cause and that a slight emetic will take it off. He has not met with a case of hernia. The principle complaint he has to make is the closeness of their habitations, which last year caused a very unpleasant low fever and that to a great extent. He thinks that a child ought not to work in a pit before 12 and that 10 or 12 hours a day would not be too much but in that time they ought to have time allowed for one or two meals. (Signed) W.J. MACKARSIE.
[Mr. M. considers that the neighbourhood of Mr. Stevenson’s works is much more unhealthy that it otherwise would be, owing to the want of proper drainage and not being supplied with good water.]
Mr. Stephenson, for the convenience of his colliers and workpeople, has erected 88 neat houses, with gardens and other conveniences besides 30 he had purchased before. These are all new, and since the period Mr. Macharsie speaks he carefully drained and in a airy and healthy situation.
No.384. Samuel Bradder. He is 13 years old and has worked one year in the pits. He was a stocking maker. He works alternate weeks day and night in the Three Quarter Pit. He works 12 hours with one allowed for dinner, he begins work at six p.m. on Sundays and has 1s. 6d. per day or night. He also in alternate weeks draws by the belt and push the waggons. When he uses the belt, it is to draw the corve up to load the waggon. He has no assistance. He goes to Sunday School and has been five or six years at a day school. He can write his name and he now reads in the Testament.
No.385. John Bradder. He is 11 years old and has worked in the pit for four years. He hangs the basket or waggon on the rope and has 1s. 2d. per day. He has no assistance. From these wages of his and his brother’s, 2d. per day each is deducted for candles. He is seldom punished but now and then gets “whacked” by the overlooker. He goes to the same school as his brother and reads in the Testament. He has been a short time at day school.
No.386. Edward Bamford. He is 13 years old and has worked in the pits three years. He waggons and has 1s. 6d. per day. He pushes but does not use the belt. He used to work at night but now only by day, 12 hours and has one hour for dinner. He attends the Wesleyan Sunday School and has done so for two years. He was at a day school for two years. He reads in the Testament but can neither write nor spell. They do not teach him either.
No.387. Joseph Bamford. He is 11 years old and has worked in the pits for two years. He and another boy the same age draw the corve by the belt. The other may be a year older. He has 1s. 4d.per day. He never works by night or Sundays. He goes to Sunday School and was three years at Denby Pottery Sunday School. He is in Easy Lessons but cannot spell cow, says d o g spells God.
No.388. John Bamford. He is 15 years old and has worked in the pits six years. He draws the corves with a belt himself. They are not more than one and a half cwt. He could not draw more. The belt does not hurt him. He used to work for Messrs. Woolley’s at Marehay. He likes his present work best because they do not work so many hours. He does not tire himself as he did there when he then worked 14 or 15 hours and was obliged to do so. He sometimes worked from half past six to five for half a day. He goes to the Wesleyan Sunday School and was two years at day school. He reads in the Testament and has just begun to write. He spells pretty well.
No.389. Launcelet Ball. He is 10 years old and has worked one year in the Main or Blackshale Pit. He pushes the waggons and has 1s. per day. He goes down at six to six and has one hour allowed for dinner and he never works by night. He goes to the Ranter’s but until a few Sundays ago, he attended the Wesleyan Sunday School. He spells a little. He has his breakfast, tea and bread before he leaves home. His dinner, meat or bacon and potatoes is sent to him. He has milk porridge when he gets home.
No.390. John Sledge. He is 14 years old and has worked in the pits since he was seven. He used to work in Leicestershire. He worked there 14 or 15 hours a day but it was not so hard as he does now. He pushes the waggons and has 1s. 6d. per day and finds his own candles. He works all night but does not go until 10 on a Sunday evening. He neither goes to school, church or chapel. His mother says she cannot drive him.
No.391. Samuel Shaw. He is 11 years old and has worked in the pits for three years. He now works at night and drives the ass. He has 1s. per night with candles deducted. He formerly worked in Pinxton where he drove between. He was much more tired at Pinxton as they then worked from six to nine or ten. He goes to the Wesleyan Sunday School and reads in the Bible. He cannot write but spells pretty well.
[Stevenson and Co.’s Lime works at Crich, that at this time only employ 2 under 13 as flag boys and 5 under 18 at various jobs.]
No.392. Jabez Wright. He is 10 years old and has worked only six weeks. His duty is to attend to the single flag and oil the pulleys. He comes at six to six and has half an hour for dinner allowed for his breakfast and one hour for dinner. He was a years and half at a day school and pays 3d. a week and now goes to the Crich Methodist Sunday School. He reads in the Testament and writes a little. He has 6s. per week.
No.393. William Barber. He is 16 years old and attends the stopper, that is, in case of the rope getting wrong or any accident, he can, by a break, throw the waggon on the opposite bank to where he is stationed. He served masons before he came to this employ. He was two years at Heage day school and paid 3d. per week. He now goes to the Heage Methodist Sunday School and reads in the Testament. He cannot write and spells badly. He has 9s. per week.
No.394. David Walters. He is 14 years old and has worked for nearly one month. He is flag boy and attends the lower stopper. He used to carry picks on the North Midland Railway before he worked here. He has 6s. per week. He goes to the Ranters’ Sunday School at Fritchley. He reads in the Testament but can neither write or spell.
No.395. William Swindall. He is 16 years old and supplies the kiln with coals by means of a gangway. He neither attends church, chapel or school. [Appears quite ignorant but rather ashamed.] No.396. John Wragg. He is 17 years old and throws the stone into the kilns and has 12s. per week. He was at Wirksworth day school two years. He can write his name and spells pretty well.
No.397. William Drewy. He is 14 years old and throws stone into the kilns. He formerly worked on the North Midland Railway where he carried picks. He now has 6s. per week. He has never been to school, church or chapel.
[Appears very ignorant and says he now employs his Sundays in bird nesting.]
TUPTON. (Coke and Chambers.)
No.398. John Mawe, agent. Messrs. Coke and Co. sink the shaft, prepare the headings, waggonways and windways and let it to their own butties by the ton. The butties let it to the holers per stint and loaders by the ton. Messrs. Coke and Co. engage hangers on, banksmen and waggoners per ton and children per day. There are rules as to the men placed on the machine-house and head stocks but not for the children. They never interfere as to the rewards and punishments and have never had complaints of the ill usage of children. There are no rewards, no school, reading room or club. He does not know where the children go on Sunday. The field has not been worked more than six months. There are two children employed at the burning of cokes. They are let to them by the ton, he finding the boys.
(Signed) JOHN MAWE.
TUPTON, in North Wingfield Parish. (Messrs. Coke and Chambers.)
No.399. Richard King, ground bailiff. They have only one shaft where they employ children. The other is but just prepared for work. The working shaft of 116 yards deep, the seam, including dirt, is about 5 feet and headways in the banks 5 feet. There are seven banks, four 15 yards each and the other three 12 each. There are two main waggon roads, one 330 yards and the other 150 yards, one drawn by horses the other by men. The empty waggons are drawn by an ass driven by a boy 11 years old. They are pushed by boys and men to the banks. The pits are winded down the engine shaft with the assistance of a furnace. There is a little wildfire but no blackdamp. The works are rather wet under and over. There are six under 13 years of age, three of whom open and shut and are not more than eight years old. The others are driving asses and one assists to hang on. They use a flat rope and let down up to seven at a time. They work from six to six with one hour allowed for dinner when the engine stops. Half days are from six to twelve or after. Sometimes the children work by night and never on a Sunday. Two months since George Goodhill aged 14, fell down the shaft and was killed. He was in a hurry to go down and in some way or other fell. He frequently would come up by merely hanging to the chain without getting in. George Higginbotham, 10 years of age, a fortnight since had his leg broken by the bind falling. his RICHARD >< KING mark. [There is a cabin and the shaft is laid in lime and well finished. There are also seven good cottages with gardens for the use of the colliers.]
No.400. Esther Ellis. She has two sons in the pits, one is 14 years of age and he pushes the waggons and does not know what his wages are. The other is just 10 and he opens and shuts the door. The one at 14 has worked for Mr. Chambers at Tibshelf since he was five years old. He used to go down at six to eight or nine and often 10 but since he has been here he has worked only 12 hours. The neither of them go to school. There is neither church, school nor chapel within two miles.
No.401. Richard King, under-ground bailiff. He has a boy of 10 years old who drives an ass and has 1s. 3d. per day and one seven years old who opens and shuts the door and has 8d. per day. They work 12 hours. Sometimes it is by the day and sometimes by the night but never both in the 24 hours. He wishes he could send them to school but there is neither school, church nor chapel within reach. None of these boys know anything.
No.402. Charles Nixon. He is 15 years of age and has worked only a short time where he sorts the coke. Before he came here he worked at Wright’s Pottery at Brampton. His proper time for work is from six to six and one hour allowed for dinner, but on alternate nights he works day and night. On Sunday he comes to work at 10 o’clock in the evening and does not leave until six p.m. on Monday. This he does three times a week. He works by the ton under a man and never gets more than 4s. per week. He has dry bread and coffee without sugar or milk, for his breakfast, bread and sometimes a little fat with it, for dinner and coffee and potatoes at supper. When he worked at Brampton he carried pots to the oven and had 3s. a week. When he worked all night he had 6d. a night more. He used to attend the Brampton Church Sunday School. He reads in the Testament and cannot spell church or chapel.
[This evidence was corroborated by his mother.]
BRAMPTON. (J.G. Baines, Esq.)
No. 403. John Wright. He works at Mr. Baines’s pits which have now only two gin shafts at work, 32 yards deep. The seam at both is 20 inches and the headways 2 feet. At No.1 they have one bank 28 yards and a barrow road 30 yards. They are not laid with iron. The corves or barrows are dragged by the boys of about 12 years old. The corves have about one and three quarters cwt. on them. They go on all fours and work from seven to five with one hour allowed for dinner. The four boys have to get 40 corves of coal and 20 of slack for a day’s work. The youngest is only eight years of age and draws the empty corves. If they did not begin by this time they could not work these narrow seams. Their limbs could not get used to it. He thinks they like it as well as where there is more room. He knows he did. The pit is quite dry or else, “it’s nasty work”. The pit would not pay to work in any other way.
No.404. John Wright, jun. He is 10 years old and drives the gin horse for his father. He has not done so for long. He attends the Methodist Sunday School and has been to day school six years. He is in Reduction and writes well and appears a sharp boy.
[There are three or 4 wallow pits in the same neighbourhood I did not visit but Wright said the seams and method of working were the same as his.]
BRAMPTON. (Jonathan Bennett.)
No.405. Jonathan Bennett. He has four shafts at work, two by gin and two by wallow. No.1 gin shaft is 29 yards deep, the seam two feet, headways on both banks and waggon roads the same. The corves have one and three quarter cwt. on each. They are drawn, without wheels or rails by boys 12 to 15 years old on all fours, with a belt. The roads in this pit are wet, in the others dry. There are four banks, one 50 yards, the others 45. The coals are holed, the waggons loaded and most of the work of the pit done by children and young men. The pits are well winded from old shafts and are not now subject to wildfire but they are frequently obliged to use a fire basket at other shafts to draw away the blackdamp. At this pit they have had no accident. He has sent a number of children and young men in his return. The butties engage and pay the children by the day. The youngest in this pit is 11 years old. He draws by the belt. He thinks it might be possible to heighten the headways, but it then would not pay, the seams are so thin. The workpeople on a Friday come at one o’clock p.m. and work until one o’clock on Saturday.
No.406. He is nephew to Jonathan Bennett and is banksman to No.2 gin pit and he says it is 20 yards deep. There are two seams one 11 inches and the other 16 inches. When all is cleared it leaves the headways five feet six inches. There are two banks, six feet each and a waggon way or, as they call it, barrow road, about 50 yards. The barrows are drawn with a hook by men. There are neither children nor young men in the pit. It is wet both under and over. There is no wildfire but there is blackdamp. The pit is winded from an old shaft in which last year, a man lost his life by the coal falling. The headway was not much more than two feet and he was buried before relief could be had.
No.407. George Lee. He is 12 years old and has driven the gin horse for a year. He works from half past six to half past four and has 7d. per day. He went to the National School three years and now goes to the Methodist Sunday School and reads in the Bible. He used to write and got as far as short division. He does not know how many six times eight or five time six are or can spell horse or gin. No.1 Wallow Pit is 20 yards deep with a two feet seam. There are two banks and two barrow or waggon roads with only two feet headways. Both men and boys lay down to work and creep to draw the corves.
The roads are one 60 the other 40 yards long. The youngest in the pit is 14. There is no wildfire but they are plagued with blackdamp. They work from seven to seven with one hour allowed for dinner. One or two at a time are let down and up. The rope is not thicker than a good well rope. A few months since a boy had his leg broken by an empty corve falling down the shaft. There is no protection to the shaft mouth.
[I had this information from the wallow men.]
No.408. Edward Brown. He is 10 years old and has worked a year for 5d. per day. He works from seven to seven with three quarters of an hour allowed for dinner. He drives the gin horse. Neither he nor his parents go to church or chapel or does he go to school. He was about a year at the National School. He can spell dog and cat but not horse. His father is a labourer.
No.409. Samuel Hoskin. He is 14 years old and has worked for five years. He now holes and is paid by the stint. He also fills. He used to draw by the belt on all fours. It is sore work and much harder than what he now does. He is too big for that work now. His father is a small farmer. Neither he nor any of the family go to church or chapel. He went to the National School and a year to the Methodist Sunday School and reads in the Testament, “but he has forgotten all but his a b c.”
No.2 Wallow Pit works the same method as No.1. A boy was killed at it nearly a year since. He was the gin horse driver at a pit close by and was playing at dinner time when he fell down the shaft and was killed on the spot. He was nine years old.
[Barrow Esq., of Staveley and Appleby and Co. have several iron pits worked by wallow, 14 yards deep, but neither children nor young people are employed.]
TAPTON. (Mr. John Limb.)
No.410. There are two shafts each worked by a horse. The Lower Pit is 35 yards deep with one bank, 50 yards and a waggon road 200 yards. The waggons are drawn by men. The works are dry. This and the Upper Pit are winded from each other. There is no wildfire but a little blackdamp. There are no children under 13 years of age and but one under 18.
No.411. John Kidger. He is 80 years of age and has worked in the pit since he was nine years old. He now does odd jobs on the bank. He is asthmatic and full of pain. He is sure it sorely injures a boy working in the pits under 13 and at that age nine hours is enough to work in a day. The Upper Pit is 31 yards deep, the seam three feet and the headways four feet. The shaft is not laid in lime. A round rope is used and is worked by a horse. There is one bank 70 yards and a waggon road of ten. There are none in the pit under 18 years old.
No.412. Thomas Turner. He is 17 years old and is the gin horse driver. He neither goes to church, school or chapel. He cannot read or write. His father was killed at the pit six years since when, in ascending the rope broke.
No.413. Samuel Cooper. He is 12 years old and is the gin horse driver at the Upper Pit. He has worked five years and comes to work at six until five o’clock with no time allowed for meals, “he and the horse take them as they can”. He can write his name and he now goes to the Chesterfield Church Sunday School. He has a short time been at the National School. He does not now learn to write. He reads in the Bible and spells pretty well.
TAPTON. (Appleby and Co.)
They have eight bell ironstone pits worked by wallow and six by engine. The eight wallow are all of them 22 yards deep and neither laid in lime or bricks but about six feet secured by timber. There are no children under 13 and but two or three under 18. The pits are well winded from each other. There is no wildfire but a little blackdamp. The six worked by an engine are 221/2 yards deep and none under 18 years old in them.
STAVELEY. Netherthorp Free School.
The school was founded by Francis Rodes and others. It appears from the Report of the Charity Commissioners that the schoolmaster then received from the Rev. C.R. Rodes, of Barlbrough Hall, lord of the manor of Elmton, as the gift of Francis Rodes, a rent charge of £5 per annum. From W.A. Ashby, Esq., as agent to the Duke of Devonshire, the owner of the lands supposed to be charged with, £8 per annum, the gift of Margaret Frescheville, and £6 per annum, the gift of Lord James Cavendish. From E.S.C. Pole, Esq., £3 6s. 8d, George Hutchinson of Wales Wood, £2, the Rev. Jonathan Alderson of Harthill, 13s. 4d, owners of different parts of the Gannow Hall estate in Killamarch, the benefaction of Robert Sitwell, Esq. and from Mr. John Slagg, the interest on an Indian bond of £100, given by the late Rev. Francis Gisborne, £4 per annum. The school premises contain about an acre of land, an old school room and two chambers formerly occupied by the master. In 1804 a new school room was built by subscription on part of the garden. All the sons of parishioners of Staveley are considered as entitled to the freedom of this school for classical instruction but for reading, writing and arithmetic, the master may make his own charges.
No.414. Squire Butterfield, Master. He continues to receive the rent charges and other emoluments, excepting £3 6s. 8d. which Mr. Pole has withheld since Ladyday, 1840. He is not aware of the reason but understands it is that Mr. Pole fancies the estate is not liable. Mr. Butterfield occupies the new house and has underlet the old house which is adjoining. The school room, a fine old building with desks, master’s seat, &c., the whole in solid oak, still exists. He cannot recollect how long it has been since he had a scholar. It is many years. “They dropped off one after another”. He has no memorandum that he can refer to say how many years it is since he had a scholar. He cannot recollect how long it is since anyone applied. He cannot account for this further than that a school has been instituted in Staveley which they prefer although they are there. They all left without assigning any reason. He thinks he scarcely misses a day but he goes into the school but it is years since he found any one there. He has had between 30 and 40 at a time. He taught them Latin free and charged 7s. 7d per quarter for reading, writing and accounts. If he taught them book keeping, 2s. 6d. per quarter more. He thinks out of the 30 or 40 not fewer than three learnt Latin. He never had a scholar who went further than Virgil. SQUIRE BUTTERFIELD.
STAVELEY IRON WORKS.
No.415. George Hodkinson Barrow, Esq. I should think nearly 40 children and young persons are employed at these works, either in trimming or fettling the castings by rubbing them with a sandstone and occasionally using a chisel. Others assist the moulders in carrying, sifting or wetting the sand and “fettling” the moulds and a proportion in the coke yard. Only two work on a Sunday by assisting their fathers in feeding the cupola waggons. None work by night. Their eyes appear rather inflamed and I understand most of the men complain of their eyes failing them at 50 years old.
No.416. Mr. Abbot Bradshaw, under clerk. He does not know how many are employed under 13 or 18 years old at the iron works. Their coal fields are at Netherthorp, Button Field, Handley Wood and Black Shale. They have no rules as to punishment or anything else. They have a medical fund for which they deduct 11/2d. in the pound. The workpeople have their medical bills paid and may employ their own doctor. Mr. B. does not contribute to it but in case of accidental death Mr. B. finds coffins. A regular account of the fund is kept. There is neither school nor reading room. Indeed Mr. Barrow lets all his work possible by the job and does not consider himself answerable for anything. The undertakers employ whom they think proper and neither he nor any of his people ever interfere as to punishments or anything else.
(Signed) ABBOT BRADSHAW.
No.417. The Rev. --- Moor, Rector from home. The Curate the Rev. --- Macfarlane. He has resided here only half a year. He came from Tunbridge Wells, he considers the working people in Sussex better behaved but not better informed than here. The children are mostly employed in the pits and at the ironworks. Those who attend the school he thinks far from dull but is sorry there are not many attend.
No.418. Edward France, Esq., surgeon. He attends most of the colliers, coke burners and the iron workers in this neighbourhood and has done so for 21 years. He is not aware that asthma prevails more amongst these people than others or does he think he has met with more cases of hernia or rheumatism or has he perceived symptoms of premature old age, or does think their eye sight injured by the heat of the furnace. In the pit men he has had cases of an inflammatory state of the membrane of the eye but it has not been prominent. He thinks if any disease prevails it is consumption amongst the colliers prior to 36 years of age. He has scarcely had any cases of the eye from those employed at the coke ovens and generally speaking, he considers all those employed as above a stout, robust set of men. He thinks few children are employed less than ten years of age under ground and has not observed that the colliers are deformed or bow legged. As a medical man he thinks they ought not to do the general work of a pit before they are 15 years old and then not more than seven or eight hours a day and in that period ought to have meal.
[Mr. France wishes to state that the above opinion only alludes to the colliers. In general he thinks they are more predisposed to all the above diseases than other labourers.]
No.419. Frederick Mottishall. He is 11 years old and has not worked quite a year. He fettles and has 6d. per day. He comes to work at six to half past five with half an hour allowed for breakfast and half an hour for dinner. He neither goes to school, church or chapel. He reads a writes a little but cannot spell words of two syllables.
No.420. James Twiton. He is 10 years old and has worked half a years and has 6d. a day. He fettles and attends the same hours as the others. He goes to the Methodist Sunday School and is in the spelling book. He spells horse and house.
No.421. Thomas Pollard. He is 11 years old and has worked for two years. He fettles and has 7d. per day. He goes to the Methodist Sunday School. He cannot spell either church or furnace.
No.422. Abraham Mosley. He is 10 years old and has worked for three years. He fettles and has 7d. per day. He goes to the Church Sunday School but cannot spell a word. He says he reads in the Testament.
No.423. George Hawkins. He is 12 years old and has worked at fettling for two years but he does not know what wage he has as he helps his father. He attend the Ranters’ Sunday School and spells decently.
No.424. Sampson Bower. He is 12 years old and has worked two and a half years. He has 1s. per day and assists in moulding. He works from six to four and stops a short time for breakfast and dinner. He goes to the Brimmington Church Sunday School and was at a day school. He can write his name. He works neither Sundays nor nights.
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No.425. Edward Woodward. He is 12 years old and has worked for two years and has 6d. per day. He works from six to half past five and has one hour for meals.
No.426. Edward Mellows. He is 11 years old and worked for only two months. He has 6d. per day. He attends the Brimmington Church Sunday School and can spell horse and church but not his name. He has 6d. per day,
No.428. Thomas Wilson. He is 13 years old and has worked as assistant moulder for four moths. He has 10d. per day. He neither goes to church, chapel nor school. His father makes him go to load the waggons for the furnace on Sundays. He cannot spell cow or cat.
No.429. William Chambers. He is 11 years old and has worked for two years. He assists his father to mould and has no wages. He works from six to half past five and attends the Staveley Church Sunday School. He reads in the Bible but cannot write.
STAVELEY. (G.H. Barrow, Esq.)
No.430. Jonathan Longden, ground bailiff to Mr. Barrow. He has four coal shafts and one nearly ready for work. He has not been in Mr. B’s employ many weeks. The pit at Netherthorp is 90 yards deep, with a five feet seam and the headways at the lowest place, four feet six inches. There are three banks about 50 one 40 and the other 30 yards and three waggon roads about 60 yards each. The waggons are drawn by a man and a boy to each waggon in the waggon ways and by a pony in the banks. The boys are 10 to 12 years old and they push. The pit is winded from the engine shaft and it is well winded. There is a little wildfire but no blackdamp. A man was killed in sinking owing to the rope breaking. At another time the rope got out of gear by which two of them were very much hurt but he thinks none of them died. The works rain in two of the waggon roads. He does not know how many there are under 13 and 18 but of those under 13 one opens and shuts, the other pushes. One shaft in Staveley upper ground is worked by two gin horses and is 46 yards deep, seam 4 feet 6 inches, the headways four feet at the lowest places. One bank is 100 yards, waggon road 200 and the waggons are drawn by horses. The pit is winded by the windshaft and it is well ventilated. The works are nearly dry and there is no wildfire but a little blackdamp. There has been no accident and he thinks they have none under 13 years of age. Handley Wood, Waterloo, is 70 yards deep and the seam 4 feet 10 inches. The headways are four feet and there are two banks, 50 yards each, two waggon roads one 400 and one 60 yards. It is winded by a draft pit and worked by an engine. The waggon ways are wet under. The waggons are drawn by horses. They have not any under 13. There has been no accident. Middle Pit is 45 yards deep and worked by an engine. The seam and headways are the same as the Waterloo. There is one bank of 90 yards and a waggonway of 200. In every respect it is worked the same as the Waterloo and winded from it. The waggonways are wet under. He thinks the door boy who is nine years old is the only one under 13. There has been no accident. Mr.B. has at Handley Woods and other places, several iron pits but he has nothing to do with them. They are chiefly worked by wallows and gins. Mr. B’s pits are all worked by butties per ton and they engage the other colliers and children. There is no club but medical advice as stated in the Foundry Report. There are no rules or regulations of any description as he has ever heard of. He worked for Mr. Moorwood at Summercotes before he came to Mr. B. He considers the children work fewer hours but in other respects he finds no difference than at Summercotes. He has been a collier since he was 12 or 13 years old. His opinion is that, if his parents could afford it, a child ought not work in a pit before 12 years old and then 10 hours is enough and in that time he ought to have one hour for meals and thinks that ought to be 20 minutes lunch and 40 minutes dinner.
No.431. George Whittle, agent to the Netherthorp pits. There is only one at work at present and it and others now sinking are winded from each other and the engine shaft. He cannot say they are well winded. They are very subject to wildfire but, thank God! no very serious accident has occurred. One of the banks rains.
No.432. George Jarvise. He is 11 years old and has worked only half a year. He carries garlands on the bank and has 8d. per day. He works one week at night, the other by day. He has two miles to walk to the pit and works from seven to five with 40 minutes allowed for dinner. He did nothing before he worked in the pit and never went to either church, chapel or school. His mother says she could not make him. He does not know what bread is made of.
No.433. William Marson. He is 10 years old and has not worked a half year. He opens and shuts the door and has 8d. per day. He goes to the Methodist Sunday School and has been for one year at a day school. He cannot spell but says he can write. He cannot spell Staveley or school.
No.434. Edmund Williamson. He is 15 years old and has had sole care of the engine since he was 10 years old. At first for a month or so, his father came to him twice a day. The engine is 12 horse power and there is flat rope and no chain. There is a cabin but no Davy lamp or bonnet. They are let down and up two at once. They go down at seven to five. He stops the engine 40 minutes for dinner.
No.435. John Woodcock. He is 12 years old and has worked a year assisting the banksman. He works from six to six and has 40 minutes allowed for dinner. He sometimes drives on the railroad and has 8d. per day. He goes to the Brimmington Church Sunday School and was one year at a day school. He is in the spelling book but cannot spell his name.
No.436. Joshua Hayne. He is 13 years old ands is the bank lad. He goes to the Methodist Sunday School and was two years at a day school. He is in easy lesson but cannot spell a single word.
No.437. Samuel Orwin. He is nine years old and has driven the gin horse at Hanley Wood iron pits for a year. He has 6d. a day and works from seven to half past four. He attends the Brimmington Church Sunday School and was at day school for two years. He writes his name but cannot spell church and spells horse, hos.
No.438. James Furnace. He is 11 years old and has driven a gin horse for year. He works from seven to half past four and has 40 minutes allowed for dinner. He attends the Brimmington Church Sunday School and was one and a half years at a day school. He now reads in the Bible. They do not teach writing but he can write his name and spells well.
No.439. William Scarston, butty. There are two gin pits here and three at Dawson Hall all worked by wallow. They are only 16 yards deep. These are 30 yards. There are no children excepting the above and but one or two young men and they are 17 years old. Mr. Barrow’s pits lay very wide but thinks he has not one, except the gin horse driver under 13 years of age.
No.440. John Hayne. He is a collier in Middle Pit, Hanley Wood. They have five in it under 13 years of age, the youngest is the door lad. The others drive the pony. They go down at seven to five and have 40 minutes allowed for dinner. They do not work at nights or on Sundays. He has a boy of his on the bank and he is 10 years old. He has worked for eight months and has 10d. per day. He gathers the empty corves and garlands for the banksman. They use the belts in Mr. Barrow’s fields and both men and children are treated as well as at any field. He used to work at Heanor, there and at Shipley and that neighbourhood they are worked and used shamefully. “There’s as much difference as heaven and earth,” between there and here. They have had not wildfire lately but a little blackdamp. He is sure a child ought not to work in the pit until he is 13 and nor more than 10 hours, including 20 minutes lunch and 40 minutes for dinner.
No.441. William Hudson. He is 11 years old and has worked in the pit for two years. He does not know how much a day he gets but he drives a pony. He works two or three nights a week. He then goes down at seven a.m. and does not come up again until three the next morning. The other days he works from seven to five and has 40 minutes dinner time. He attends the Church Sunday School at Middle Handley and was two or three years at a day school he is in easy lessons but can neither spell coal or dog.
No.442. Aaron Hatfield. He is 13 years old and has worked one year and three quarters in the pits. He assists the banksman and does not know what he gets per day as his father receives his wages. He goes to the Methodist Sunday School at Middle Handley and was two years at a day school. He can write his name and is in accounts. [Spells well.]
No.443. Henry Allen. He is 13 years old and he worked in the pit for a year. He used to work the railway before. He is now heading the sinking shaft and he draws by the belt and has 1s. per day. He works from seven to five with 40 minutes allowed for dinner, half days from 7 to 12. He went to a day school at Staveley two years and can write his name. He goes to the Church Sunday School and has been as far in arithmetic as division. He spells pretty well but does not appear to know much about accounts.
No.444. Thomas Gee. He is 13 years of age and has worked for three years or more. He helps the banksman and has 8d. per day. He goes neither to church, school or chapel. He went to School once but cannot say his a b c.
No.445. George Gee. He is 13 years old and has worked 6 years. He is the brother of Thomas and assists the banksman. He has 10d. per day. Neither he nor his father (who is a collier) or any of the family go to church, school or chapel, nor does he or his brother know what leather is made of.
No.446. George Stones, corporal in Mr. Barrow’s pit at Newthorp. The pit is 95 yards deep with the seam of coal and rubbish, with headways the same. There are three banks, one 17 one 50 and the other 36 yards and three waggonways one 130, one 150 the other more than 200 yards. Two of the banks are ironed and the waggons are drawn by men. On the other the corves are drawn by horses. There are only two in the pit under 13 years of age, one nine, the other ten. They both open and shut doors. There are two assisting the banksman under 13 and eight under 18. Three hang on, some holes and others drive the horses. They go down at seven to five with 40 minutes for dinner. When the engine stops they all go together. They never work on Sundays nor does he beat the boys.
COAL ASTON. (Rhodes and Co.)
No.447. Mr. Rhodes. He has only one shaft which is 73 yards deep, the seam 4 feet and there are six banks from 17 to 18 yards each. There are no corves but the coal is shoved in boxes with wheels by children and young men from 10 to 17 years old. The boxes are drawn up the shaft in a cradle. They have only three under 13 in the pit, two to open and shut the doors, the other pushes. They are let down two at a time, never more than three. The works are dry but the shaft is rather wet. The pit is well winded from the engine shaft. They have no wildfire but a good deal of blackdamp. No accident has happened since the pit was in work. They have a flat rope, no Davy lamp or bonnet. The shaft is not laid in lime. The boys are neither rewarded nor punished. There is a very poor cabin but the smith’s shop and other buildings are near for the people to shelter. They have several coke ovens but employ no children and very few young men.
No.448. Mark Edwards. He is nine years old and has worked at the pits above three years. He drives the pony from the pit mouth and has 3s. a week the first year. He used to open and shut. He always works from seven to five and has 20 minutes for dinner, three-quarter days from seven to three and half days from seven to 12. He has been to the Ranters’ Sunday School at Aston. He cannot say his a b c or does he know what bread is made of.
No.449. John Edwards. He is 11 years old and has had care of the engine a year and a half. His father is mostly within call and he works from six to nine and has 1s. per day. He often lets the people down. Sometimes his father will be with him but not often. He has a brother in the pit who opens and closes the door and he is not six years old. The engine is 11 horse power.
No.450. George Bellamy. He is 16 years old and he pushes the waggon and has 2s. 6d. per day. He works from four to five with no time allowed for dinner. He goes to the Church Sunday School at Aston. His father put him to an evening school but did not like it. He does not know the alphabet or what CAT spells.
No.451. John Bowler. He is 13 years old and worked from six to seven, three-quarters from seven to three with no dinner time allowed. He goes to the Church Sunday School at Ridgeway and has been four years at day school. He can write his name, spells pretty well. He does not know how to write but reads in the Testament.
DUCKMANTON. (Benjamin Smith and Co.)
No.452. Mr. B. Smith. They have two furnaces and 20 ironstone pits as well as three coal pits. He has not yet made a list of the children or young men. They are employed in the usual avocations at the pits and at the furnaces, two moulding and three assisting their father in loading the furnace. The company does not directly employ the children but let the work per job and in most cases the men they let employ the children. He considers they have no control over these children. They do not recognise them nor do they regulate the hours they work. They have neither school, club or reading room but Mr. Smith is the superintendent of the Independent Sunday School at Calow where many of the children attend. They work one coal pit with three sets the whole of the 24 hours. None of the children work on a Sunday. The company sink the coal shafts and prepare the headings and the pit by tender at per ton. It is then underlet in the usual way to holers, loaders &c., and the children are by day work. The ironstone shafts are mostly sunk by the butties themselves.
(Signed) BENJAMIN SMITH.
No.453. Henry Cooper. He is 13 years old and has worked for a year and a half. He went two years to a day school, he now works on Sundays and can neither attend church, school or chapel and has 8d. per day. He assists the loader to supply the cupola.
No.454. Abraham Gaite. He is 13 years old and has worked for two years. He has 8d. per day and worked from seven to four and has one hour for dinner. He moulds. He went for two years to a day school where he learnt to write. He now attends the Calvinist Sunday School and reads in the Bible but does not write. [This boy spells well.]
No.455. Thomas Bennett. He is 17 years old and assists his father to load iron and has 1s. 2d. per day. He has he been to day school five or six years. He can write but never has learnt accounts. He now neither goes to church, chapel or school.
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No.456. Matthew Evans. He is 14 years old and has worked nine months and before that he went to a day school. He now goes to the Calvinist Sunday School at Calow. He reads the Scripture History. He can write a little but spells badly.
No.457. William Platts. He is 16 years old and has worked since he was nine. He assists his father to load and sometimes waggons. He works from six to six or seven and has one hour for meals. He works on Sundays and does not go to school and seldom to church or chapel. He went four or five years to a day school but cannot spell either church or dog.
No.458. George Shaw. He is 11 years old and has not quite worked a year. He works from six to six or seven. He helps to load the furnace and works on a Sunday. He gets to the Calvinist Sunday School when he can. He is in the spelling book but cannot spell a word.
No.459. Jane Platts. She is 13 years old and has worked for three months. She assists to load the furnace but has no wages but helps her father. She works on a Sunday and used to attend the Duckmanton Church Sunday School as well as day school. She reads and spells badly.
No.460. Matthew Brett. He is 13 years old and helps to load. He works on Sundays and neither attends church, chapel or school. He cannot read or write.
No.461. John Unwin, engineman. The engine is 10 horse power and he lets down and up two and three at a time with a round rope. There are three sets that work the pit, eight hours each set. The engine stops half an hour for each set at meal times. The pit is 82 yards deep, seam five feet and headways full as much. One bank is 100 yards and one waggon road 300 yards. Neither bank nor waggon road is railed nor are the corves on wheels. They are drawn by horses. The youngest in the pit is 12 years old and he drives a horse. There are only four under 13 in the three sets. The pit is winded from a shaft three quarters of mile off and he considers it well ventilated. They have no wildfire and but little blackdamp. The workings are not to be called wet. About half a year since, George Allen, who had worked upwards of 30 years on the field, fell out of the chains when he was about 60 yards off the bottom and was killed. Another man, a holer, had his leg broken a few weeks since by the coal falling. They use a bonnet but no Davy.
[There are three other pits I did not visit. They are worked only by the day. They are most of them worked on wallows. Two worked by gin horses and one by an engine. The ironstone pits are all near each other and several communicate. They are, most of them worked by wallows, the others by a four horse power engine and are about 20 yards deep. Messrs. Smiths have an under ground bailiff who frequently visits the pit and attends to the windways, ropes, &c. There are but three besides one gin horse driver under 13 on the whole field.]
No.462. John Bacon, jun. He is 13 years old and has worked in coal pits for four years. He drives the horse in the pit. The banks or the waggonway are not laid with iron, or the corves on wheels. He works eight hours and has 1s. He goes down at two p.m. and works until 10. The youngest in the pit is 12 and he works on the second shift from ten to four a.m. There is 40 minutes allowed on each shift for meals. He has tea and bread and butter before he goes down and bread and cheese in the pit. He has no other meal and never has meat but on a Sunday. He attends the Calvinist Sunday School. He reads but he has never learnt to write. They do not teach writing and he was never at a day school. [Spells pretty well.]
No.464. Lewis Ashmore. He is 17 years old and does not look to be 15. His uncle says he began work sadly too soon and is stopped in growth. He went a year to the National School and now goes to the Ranters’ Sunday School. He can write a little and reads in the Testament. He spells badly. He draws the waggon in the ironstone pits.
No.465. Samuel Ashmore. He is 11 years old and has worked a year under his father. He pushes the wagons. He works from six to half past three. Sometimes he works all night when the stone is wanted. He attends the Methodist Sunday School at Brimmington. He used to go to the National School. He can write, and has been through the first rules of arithmetic. [The boy appears sharp and cleaver.]
No.466. Samuel Bacon. He is 57 years old and has worked as a collier since he was nine year old. He was born and first worked in Warwickshire. He first headed or assisted an elder brother and had 8d. per day and he has since worked at everything belonging to a pit. For the last nine months he has been quite unable to work owing to asthma. He has had it for two years and attributes it to the “sweet damp” and gunpowder smoke settling in his lungs. He never used his time regularly to work more than 10 hours a day and considers that it is a long time to be underground. He thinks a child ought not to work in a pit before he is 12 years of age. When he was about 24 he was burnt by the wildfire and was blinded for a month and he lost his nails. About three years since the roof fell in and broke his breast bone. He has two sons now working in the pits. The eldest is 24 and is a hammerer and has not been a collier more than three years. He does not consider him so good a collier as he would have been if he had begun earlier. his (Signed) SAMUEL >< BACON mark.
RENISHAW IRON WORKS. (Messrs. Appleby and Co.)
No.467. Mr. James Appleby. They employ very few children in the foundry. They assist the moulders but they have 19 apprentices. They do not pay them a premium, they are bound to the firm and are paid 3s. per week for the first year, raised 1s. a week, second, third, and fourth and fifth years, 1s. 6d., the sixth and 2s. the seventh, making 10s. 6d. per week the last. They work for the firm from six to four including an hour for breakfast and an hour for dinner. They frequently nearly double their earnings by overworking. They never work either nights or Sundays. They have neither school nor reading room. They have a club to which the men only pay. There is also a fund arising from fines from both men and boys for non-attendance and as respects the apprentices, for drunkenness, swearing or bad conduct, the product of which is expended in various sums during the illness caused by accidents. They have no rules either printed or put up on any part of the works.
For APPLEBY, WALKER & Co., JAS. APPLEBY.
No.468. Anthony Ludlam, ground bailiff. The company have two shafts at Cottam and two at Comber. No.1 is 68 yards deep, the seam five feet and the headways and waggonways, four feet six inches. There are two banks 35 and 25 yards and the waggon roads are together 400 yards. The waggons are worked by means of men and ponies. There are no boys. These two pits are winded from each other by the assistance of a furnace occasionally. In general the works are dry but it rains a little in one of the banks. There is a little wildfire and more blackdamp. No.2 is 73 yards deep. seam five feet and the headways four feet six inches. There are two banks, one 96 and one 20 yards, two waggonways, 600 yards together worked by men and ponies. Much the same as No.1 to wildfire and blackdamp as well as to the wet. They have only one under 13 who is employed hurrying the coals on. He does not know exactly how many under 18. There have been no accidents within two years at either pit. At Comber they have two shafts, Nos.4 and 5. No.4 is 112 yards deep and the seam five feet, headways 4 feet 6 inches. There are three banks, one 80, one 65 and one 20 yards. They have nearly 1500 yards of waggon roads. The waggons are worked as Nos.1 and 2. The pits are winded down to No.4 and up to No.5 by assistance of a furnace. The workings are dry. No.5 is 96 yards deep, seam and method of working the same as No.4. There are two banks one 70 and one 80 yards and two waggon roads, one 350 and one 200 yards. They are both a little subject to wildfire and blackdamp. They have no boys under 13 and he does not know how many under 18. No accidents have occurred at either pit for years. Messrs. A sink the shafts, make the headings, waggon ways and find the tools. They then let it generally to their own butties by the ton. The butties then let it by the yards to the holers and headers and employ the young people and others per day. They go down at seven to five with one hour for dinner when the engine stops. Half days are from seven to twelve. He superintends the windways himself and goes down once a week and considers all four pits particularly well winded. They now use a wire rope at No.4 and they have had it for only a fortnight. He does not like it. They used to use flat ropes. They let down four at a time. They have Davy lamps and use bonnets in winter but merely because the shaft is wet. They use board-gates which he considers a way of saving expense. The shafts are not laid in lime. All four are worked by steam. Cottam and Comber are both in the parish of Barlborough. (Signed) ANTHONY LUDLAM.
[Board-gates is working the pit on new principle. The waggonways in this neighbourhood are called board-gates.]
No.469. James Gladwin. He is 11 years old and has worked half a year. He assists in moulding, that is, carries sand, moulds and tools and works from six to half past three or four with half an hour for breakfast and one hour for dinner. He attends the Methodist Sunday School and has done for three or four years. He can write a little but not his name. He reads in the Testament.
[This was the only child at work it being Whitsun week. I understand there were only two others. Very few of the apprentices were at work from the same cause. They were employed in moulding and appeared healthy and contented.]
ECKINGTON. (Mr. George Wells.)
No.470. He has two shafts at Mosborough and two at Eccington all worked by gin horses but not at work because the holiday week. The Mosbrough No.1 Pit is 50 yards deep and No.2 47. The seam in both is 3 feet 8 inches, headways 4 feet and waggon way 200 yards. The corves are drawn on the banks by a pony and guided behind by a boy with a hook. On the waggonway the boys are from 14 to 18. There are very few in the pits under 13 and he thinks none at Eccington. The works are dry and there is no wildfire but a little damp. At Eccington one shaft is 46 yards and the other 45, seam 3 feet 9 inches and headways 4 feet. Both these and those at Mosbrough are well winded from each other. They have no wildfire and but little blackdamp in them. They have not one boy under 13. They work from seven to five with one hour for dinner and are let up and down two or three at a time by a round rope. They have a Davy lamp but never use it. The shafts are not laid in lime but they have corbs of timber. There are no bonnets and have not had an accident at any of the pits for years.
No.471. Matthew White. He is 12 years old and has worked three or four years. He used to work at Wingerworth and Clay Cross. He helps his father to push the waggon and has 1s. 3d. per day. He goes to work at half past four to five with an hour for dinner but he never goes to night or Sundays since he has been at Eccington. He never goes to school, church or chapel. He cannot write and can neither spell house, church or cow.
No.472. John White. He is 11 years old and has worked in the pits for nearly two years in the pit where he helps his father and has 1s. 3d. per day. He goes at half past four to five with one hour for dinner, half days are half past four to twelve. He neither goes to church, school or chapel.
MOSBOROUGH. (Mr. Richard Swallow.)
No.473. Joseph French, woodman. There is no one besides him in the pit owing to it being holiday week and the canal being drawn off. The shaft is 54 yards deep, the seam 4 feet with headways the same. There are four banks of 13 yards each and two waggon roads 200 yards each but one is not yet worked. The pit is well winded through the engine shaft and the works are dry. There is no wildfire and very little blackdamp. He thinks there is not one in the pit that is under 13 years old and there are six or seven under 18. The shaft is worked with rods to steady the boxes and when drawn up they catch a hook and by means of machinery cover the middle of the pit by an open platform. Three or four are let down and up at a time. They have a flat rope and no chain. The engine is 25 horse power and works the pump. The young men go down at seven to five and have one hour for dinner.
UNSTONE. (Mr. W. Newbold.)
No.474. John Higginbottom, agent. They have only one shaft at work by a two horse gin and it is 46 yards deep, seam 4 feet 4 inches and headways the same. There are three banks, 80, 100 and 120 yards and one waggon way of 300 yards. The waggons are pushed by children under 13, the youngest is 10. They employ about four or five under 13. They work from six to five with one hour for dinner. Sometimes children work all night but very seldom and not more than twice a year. They have 50 coke ovens and there are 5 children under 13. They are paid by the coke burners and are mostly their own children. There is no school, club or reading room. They do not allow the men to punish the children under a penalty of 10s. The pit is well winded from another shaft and there is no wildfire and but little blackdamp. There has been no accident and they let down and up only two at a time. (Signed) JOHN HIGGINBOTTOM.
No.475. William Tomlinson. He is 10 year sold. He occasionally assists his father in picking cokes but generally goes to school. He pays 11/2d. per week and has been six or seven years. He is now only in the spelling book. He also attends the Church Sunday School but can neither spell church or dog.
No.476. Thomas Platts. He is 12 years old and has worked at the coke ovens for two years. He assists his father and works from four to five and has not always time allowed for dinner. He neither goes to school, church or chapel. He once attended for half a year but was only in a b c. [He knows nothing.]
No.477. Joseph Hancocks. He is 16 years old. He has worked six years at the coke ovens. He works from four to five and mostly has one hour for dinner. He goes to Church Sunday School and has been at a day school. He can write his name and spells decently.
No.478. James Wright, Esq., Surgeon. He has been in practice at Dronfield near 30 years. He has attended those employed in the pits and spindle factories. In the latter he has met many cases where the boys have been obliged to leave because of grinding spindles on dry stones. It very soon brings on spitting of blood. The dust and metal from the stone get to the lungs and very soon produce ulceration. Another danger attending this employment is, the stone is extremely narrow and frequently breaks. The colliers are subject to asthma and if they reach 50 they all pant and thinks this would be the case if they did not begin so early, perhaps more so. In the spindle trade they now frequently employ adults at the grinding department. Medically speaking a child ought not to work regularly in the pits before 13 or 14 years old. The muscles before that, are not fit for laborious work. Eight to ten hours a day is enough and they ought not to be above five hours without meals. (Signed) JAMES WRIGHT.
DRONFIELD OX CLOSE COAL FIELD. (Mr. William Booker and Co.)
No.479. Robert Gregory, head banksman. The No.1 shaft is 53 yards deep and the seam with what they take out 7 feet, with the headways the same. It is worked, as well as No.2 on the new plan, much the same as the New Pits at Riddings. There are four banks or stints, six yards each and one waggon road about 200 yards. The waggons are on wheels and are drawn by men. The youngest in the pit is 17. They could not do without children. The rails are laid up by the loaders. The workings are middling dry. Nos.1 and 2 are winded from eachother and the engine shaft. There is no wildfire but blackdamp. When they
FINAL DRAFT 127 © Ian Winstanley 1998
first worked with the cradle and self-closing cover, it rather affected the air in the works while it was closed. It is now grated so it does no harm. They let down four or five in the box. They have a round rope and guides down shaft. There has been no accident. No.2 is 61 yards deep, seams and headways the same as No.1. The youngest in pit is 14 and no other under 18. There is no wildfire but there is blackdamp. A man got sadly crushed nine weeks since by the bind falling and has not worked since. They have neither club, school or reading room. They do not work under butties and they have never exceeded 12 hours including one for dinner. Mr. B and Co. have two shafts at High Fields worked by a gin horse. Each way in the old way they are 47 yards deep, the seam is not four feet but the headways about that. They have only one under 13 in both pits and he is 12. He waggons. They lose a good deal of time in these pits with blackdamp. They used not to be well ventilated but no accident has occurred. They do not work more than 12 hours at Nos.1 and 2. He did not work in a pit until he was married and was 23 years old. He considers where he used to work there was not a better collier in pit but thinks in general, they should begin business at 13 and not before. He should not like a child of his to work in a pit more than 10 hours with an hour out of it for dinner but thinks one hour and a half in two meals would be much better. He thinks the new plan a good one and it might be practised with a three feet seam. He has heard it could not, but has never seen a roof himself but what would do. It ought to be four feet headway and that might be had either by lowering or raising.
STUBLEY DRONFIELD. ( John Grey Waterfall.)
No.480. George Goodlad, banksman. They have only two shafts worked by a gin horse each. Sommerwood is 50 yards deep, seam 7 feet and headways same. There are three banks of six yards each and a waggon road of 100 yards. The waggons are pulled by hook, by boys 14 to 17 years old. These and gin horse driver are all under 18. It is winded from an old shaft. There is no wildfire but blackdamp. There is no accident. Dronfield Woodhouse Pit is 50 yards and he thinks the seam is 7 feet and headway 8 feet. They are only working one bank of 6 yards. They employ none but men below and only one boy above. They work from five to four and there is not night or Sunday work. GEORGE GOODLAD.
DRONFIELD. (Mr. Samuel Lucas.)
No.481. He has two coal shafts, one worked by an engine, 45 yards deep and other by gin horse, 40 yards deep. The seams are 4 feet each and headways same. There are no children under 13 in Upper Pit and only two under 18, one 17, the other 16 years old. They both push the waggons and are let down at five to four with one hour allowed for dinner. I could not ascertain how many banks or waggon ways. In Lower Pit there are two banks and two waggon roads. The waggons are pushed and there is only one boy in the pit under 13. He is 12 and has worked two years and pushes the waggons. [Besides these Mr. Lucas has 52 coke ovens.]
No.482. Charles Silcock. He is 14 years old and assists his father to waggon. He has no wages and works from five to four with one hour for dinner. He went for two years to free school but he cannot spell church, school or cat. Neither he nor his father, go to church, chapel or school. He has no reason why he does not. He does not want to. He appears sulky and inclined to blackguardism.
No.483. John Wilburn. He is 12 years old and has worked two years. He pushes the waggons and helps his father.
No.484. John Cartwright. He is 12 years old and has worked in coke ovens one and half years. He helps his father. He comes at four and never goes home before six with one hour and a half allowed for meals. He goes to Methodist Sunday School and was three years at the free school. He can write his name and reads in Bible. He cannot spell very simple words.
No.485. James Hartley. He is 12 years old and has only driven gin horse eight or nine weeks. He has 7d. per day. He used to go to the free school and was there one year and a half and now goes to the Methodist Sunday School. He can spell pretty well.
No.486. Mr. Lucas. He is now sinking a shaft on the new plan.
HEATH. (Mr. Henry Goodwin.)
No.487. Charles John Goodwin. He is the son of Mr. H. Goodwin. His father has two shafts both of them worked by gin horses and are 30 yards deep. They employ no children but the gin horse drivers. One is 10 years and the other 12 and only one young man who is 15 years old. They work from seven to six for whole days but seldom make them as the pits are very small and wholly dependent on landsale.
CHILDREN’S EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION 1842.
REPORT by J. M FELLOWS, Esq., on the Employment of Children and Young Persons in the Mines and Collieries of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and on the State, Condition and Treatment of such Children and Young Persons.
Edited by Ian Winstanley.