From the Cradle to the Coalmine

From the Cradle to the Coalmine: The Story of Children in Welsh Mines

CERI THOMPSON
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qhcps
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  • Book Info
    From the Cradle to the Coalmine
    Book Description:

    This is an accessible, richly illustrated book, telling the story of the children and young people who worked in the Welsh coalfields.

    eISBN: 978-1-78316-055-6
    Subjects: History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. CHRONOLOGY OF IMPORTANT DATES
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    CHILDREN HAVE ALWAYS worked but their work has varied through history according to the society to which they belonged. They are still found in rural areas all over the world helping to care for animals, plant seeds and clear weeds, and pick ripe crops. In the cities they swept roads, sold flowers and foodstuffs. They also were sent up chimneys as ‘climbing boys’. Children have also been employed in industry for hundreds of years. By the 1840s around a third of the workforce of a cotton mill or coal mine could be composed of children.

    Children’s work in the Pembrokeshire...

  6. CHILD MINERS: THE 1842 COMMISSION
    (pp. 7-32)

    THE PLIGHT OF WOMEN and children underground was championed by Lord Ashley (later the earl of Shaftesbury). Ashley had already fought for the protection of factory children in a campaign which led to the 1833 Factory Act and in 1840 he managed to persuade Parliament to set up a Royal Commission to investigate conditions in the mines.

    Four commissioners were appointed to enquire into the age, sex, number and the working conditions of children employed in the mining industry. Evidence was taken from employers, doctors, teachers, clergymen, parents, adult miners and the children themselves. The commissioners found evidence of brutality,...

  7. ‘COLLIER BOYS’: THE COAL BOOM, 1850S TO THE 1920S
    (pp. 33-68)

    THE EFFECTS OF THE 1842 Act reduced the number of children up to the age of ten working underground. However, as the average age at which mineworkers began their career was calculated as nine in 1841, the effect of the Act on juvenile employment was not great. A more significant decline in the employment of young children occurred after the 1872 Mines Regulation Act, which prohibited the full-time employment of boys under twelve. The same act stipulated half-day schooling for boys aged between ten and thirteen which reduced the attraction of mine owners to employ them. In addition, although it...

  8. MINING TRAINEES: FROM DEPRESSION TO NATIONALISATION, 1920S TO THE 1980S
    (pp. 69-90)

    THE COLLAPSE OF THE coal industry between the world wars turned Wales into an area of mass unemployment. By 1932, 36.5 per cent of the working population was unemployed. In some areas, especially around the heads of the valleys, the situation was even worse with up to 75 per cent out of work. Unemployment led to around 500,000 people, mainly the younger and more able, leaving the coalfields to look for jobs in the new manufacturing industries in places such as Swindon, Slough and Oxford. Those that stayed faced living on benefits and charity or, for those still in work,...

  9. CHILD MINERS TODAY
    (pp. 91-94)

    UNICEF (International Labour Organisation Facts on Child Labour) estimates that there are currently around 158 million children aged between five and fourteen years old at work – around one out of every six children in the world. Many of these are employed in mining which is still one of the most deadly forms of child labour. Tens of thousands of children still work the same long hours in similar hazardous conditions as young Welsh children in the nineteenth century. They risk death from explosions, roof falls and machinery accidents. They breathe dust and deadly gases. The reason they work is also...

  10. FURTHER READING
    (pp. 95-96)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 97-98)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 99-99)