Factories and Sweatshops During the Victorian Era

March 27, 2017 Young People

It was utterly unbearable to live during the Victorian England Era. One of the many reasons was the jobs. Factories and sweatshops were one of the most common jobs during this time that they became unruly that the government was trying to make them in good working conditions. Many factory conditions were repulsive to work in, that many people began to write about them. This inspired the government to help workers. It took many years of making different acts to help workers. But then this introduced a new type of labor called sweated labor which was almost undetected by everyone because of where they were located. As they learned about these jobs, many factories and sweatshops moved over seas so that the government would not have to enforce any more laws on them.
As years went by on this endless parade of working, the government established their first act for bettering factories. It was the act of 1819, where it had prohibited long hours of work for children under the age of nine in cotton mills, and that long hours of work should be for children that are the age of twelve on up. But then, six years later, they issued an act to let young people up to sixteen not work for a total of 12 hours a day. This had started to become effective, until the government started to get complaints about factory work again. So for the next 50 years, almost year after year, they issued more acts to make factories good. The act of 1831 let young people less than eighteen and girls less than twenty-one not able to work at night. The act of 1844 let women in textile factories gets the same regulations as young people, since they worked 12 hours a day too. But like everything else in history, there were conflicts. Many people passed these acts due to sentimental and humanitarian efforts. Other people, especially men, felt they should have the same cutbacks as women because they worked equally as hard and in the same department as them. Due to this argument, the government passed the Ten Hours Act of 1847, which made work day??™s ten and a half hours for everyone. Finally, women started to complain about this, so in 1874, the government made it illegal for women to work. (Cadbury 19-22)
Factories were also not that clean. Really, they were small, mostly because the rent in the city was too much for any factories to expand. Even though the factories were not that good, the egotistic managers wanted to have a well-ordered factory. One of the mangers had said, ??? . . . A pinafore worker should never be asked to work in a room which was considered good enough for a polisher . . . ??? Considering the small work space and the unruly mangers, many workers were in danger. Jewelry workers were always in the presence of mercury which led to five or six explosions. Girls working in bedstead knob factories were usually dirty, unhealthy, tired, monotony, and work long hours. Learning about this, the government issued a sanitary act.(Cadbury 31-267) This act gave 250 square feet of working space for each worker, ventilation for any factory with the presence of harmful chemicals, sanitary convince kept, a register of workers must be kept up to date, good temperature must be kept, no worker in a diseased area, and reports must go to factory inspectors. Usually, when the reports were made, inspectors never came due to the shortage of them. Sometimes, it was months, even years before workers would see them. So some workers put matters in their own hands, like the ???matching girls??™ of Bryant + May??™s. They went on a strike which became successful. The result of this strike gave workers higher wages, sanitary agreements, and protection against chemicals. Some of the larger factories even got bands, sport clubs, and reading rooms.(Mitchell 58)
Most factories took these regulation they made but others did not want to. This lead to sweatshops. One of the most common sweatshops was shoemaking sweatshops. The process was the factory worker would cut off the shoes uppers. The shoe would than go to a subcontractor home where it would be pierced and closed. Than, the uppers would be brought back to factory were later, the bottom would be taken off. Another subcontractor would than laced them on and give it to another subcontractor for finishing.(Schmiechen 52) Many of the subcontractors to the factory had their own subcontracting, either their neighbor or family members. Many of the work they done was beautiful but if the subcontractors done incomplete work or incorrect work they had punishments. Either, it be providing the machinery, needles, sewing and materials, like thread, or even being fired.(Schmiechen 53)
Many people worked in factories. Women, children and men worked there. But there was always less men then women and children. Many of the workers had to have their jobs recorded in a Census. Censuses were divided into various jobs, relation of counties and districts, by the country, and by genders. One in 1901, recorded that labor forces reach to 16.4 million people. Another Census recorded that 40% of labor forces were employed to manufacturing work in 1951. Another recorded in 1951 that 86% of London employees were less than ten men in each factory.(Timmins)
Many factories in England were located in London. Textile industries were located in Lancashire and Yorkshire, London. Iron and steel factories were located in Birmingham and Sheffield. Many workers lived short walks from the factories or sweatshops because they made small income that would not allow them to live far away. (Mitchell 58)
Factories made many things like jams, veggie, poetry, soaps, rubber, paint, glue, etc. After a while, London was considered a Finishing Centre for consumption goods. This lead to a rapid growth of citizens in England.
As the result of all this factories did get better but they had to do this because factories and sweatshops were one of the most common jobs during this time that they became unruly that the government was trying to make them in good working conditions.

Schmiechen; Sweated Industries and Sweated Labor..
Pg. 52, 53, and 156

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Jones; Outcast London
pg. 23, 26, and 27

Timmins; Working Life and the First Census

Mitchell; Daily life in Victorian England
pg. 41, 4256, and 58

Cadbury; Woman??™s Work and Wages
pg. 19, 21, 22, 31, 53, 57, 192, 266, and 267


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