1864 - Evidence on the employment of
MR. E. LEPPER'S, BUTTON MANUFACTURER, ASTON ROAD.
373. Bone and vegetable ivory buttons are made here in a
shop in which steam power is hired for the purpose. It is
very dirty with rubbish &c., shakes from the vibration
of the machinery, and smells strongly of the bone, and the
bone and other dust hangs on cobwebs from the roof. Three
boys squat on the floor cracking ivory nuts, men and women
working round at the machinery, the men sawing and turning,
the women drilling and polishing. In a separate room women
and girls card the buttons.
374. Mr. Edmund Lapper.Cannot go beyond 7 in the mill,
because the engine stops and we cannot hire the power longer.
In the carding shop they may go on perhaps one night a week
till 8½ some weeks.
375. Thomas Hughes, age 11.Crack nuts. Have all I get,
i.e. 6d. A thousand, and do three or four or five thousand
a week. Was at tin buttons before. From 9 till 9 were the
regular hours with an hour for my dinner and nothing for my
tea-time. There were three boys and four girls.
Go to school on Sunday and three nights a week, for which
I pay 2d. Myself. Have a father and mother. Was at a day-school
five or six weeks. Don't know the letters. D is J. Have not
heard of king. The Queen belongs to us all. The Bible is a
book about Jesus making the world. God maked us all. He maked
376. William Billingley, age 8.At day-school a short
time. Know the letters. People pray to Jesus and the Saviour.
Do not know whether those two are the same person. They are
not the same person as God. They have got a Testament of mine
in the house. They give it me at school and I couldn't read
it. The Bible is a big book. Mother reads it out sometimes,
but I don't know anything that it is about.
377. Emma Brooks, age 13.Card buttons. Can tell the
letters [can most, but says] E is V.
School on Sunday and went on days till at work.
378. Mary Ann Francis, age 14.At Sunday school 4 years
and at day-school a little. Read in the Testament [spells
monosyllables]. Try to spell the words, and if I can't, teacher
tells me. 5 times 5 is ten. Have not heard of an apostle,
a whale, or the sea. [Other girls tell her she has.] Whales
go in the sea. Could have told you that before if I had thought
379. Henry Hands, age 9.Crack nuts. The engine stops
and hour at dinner. Have dinner in here sometimes.
Don't know A. God is Jesus. Don't know whether people killed
him, or who made the world. Am a Christian; it is a good thing.