1841 - Evidence on the employment of
May 20.MESSRS. SMITH AND KEMPS BUTTON MANUFACTORY.
This is a large establishment. Many of the windows have broken
panes and as the people work directly opposite to them, they
must be liable to catch cold. Some of the shops are very hot.
The privies are used in common by the males and females.
No 367 Mr. Kemp
Is a partner in the firm. The business carried on consists
of the manufacture of metal buttons, and hooks and eyes. The
boys are principally employed in assisting the journey-men
in cobbing, turning the wheel for the lathe and
It would not interfere with their business if children under
9 years were not allowed to work. It would cause some inconvenience
and loss if children between 9 and 13 were only allowed to
work 8 hours a day. Such a restriction would principally affect
the cobbers, and those drawing through.
The cobbers receive less wages than any other class of workpeople,
on an average about 1s. 6d. a-week. On the whole does not
think such a limitation would cause much inconvenience. It
would not be injurious if young persons under 18 were restricted
to 12 hours labour, exclusive of meals. Night-work is
(Signed) JOHN KEMP.
No. 368.Betsey Woodroff, 9 years old.
Can read, cannot write. Has been 1 year at a Sunday-school;
is taught to read and spell. There is an evening school twice
a-week for writing and accounts; the girls are admitted to
this at 12 years.
Has been 1 year at work as a putter in.
Comes at 8 A.M. and leaves at 7 P.M.; sometimes stops till
8, 9, and 9½ P.M. This is not often the case. Has 1
hour for dinner, and ¼ of an hour or more for tea.
Earns 1s. 6d. a-week. Works for the firm. Has good health.
(Signed) BETSEY WOODROFF X her mark.
No. 369.Emma Reeves, 12 years old.
Can read an easy book; cant write. Jesus Christ
was the Son of God. Does not know who put Jesus Christ
Went to work at 5, as a putter in. Works now at
colouring; it is very hot work, over a stove.
Comes at 8 A.M., leaves at 7 or 8 P.M.; sometimes till 9;
one night stopped till 11 P.M.
Has 1 hour for dinner, and ½ hour for tea.
Earns 3s. 6d., set wages, from 8 A.M. till 6 P.M.; is paid
for over-work; likes overwork. Gives her wages to her mother;
has a penny now and then for herself. Work agrees very well
with her health.
(Signed) EMMA REEVES X her mark.
[Note.This girl works with another over a hot stove;
one suffers from the heat, the other does not at all.]
No. 370.Mary Anne Tibbits, 12 years old.
Can read an easy book; cant write. Has been 18 months
at a Sunday-school. Is taught to read and spell. There is
an evening school twice a-week, for writing and accounts;
intends to go now her mother is better; the work wont
prevent her going. A year is 12 months. Does not
know what reason means. Jesus Christ was
God. He was nailed to the cross for men. Does not know
by whom he was put to death.
Has been three years at lacquering.
Comes at 8 A.M., leaves at 7 P.M. Sometimes stops till 8 or
9½, never later.
Has 1¼ hour for meals.
Had 1 day at Christmas, Good Friday, ½ day at Easter,
1 day at Whitsuntide, and ½ day at each fair. Once
a-year for 3 weeks they have no work, whilst stock is being
Earns 3s. 3d., regular wages; is paid for overwork.
The shop is too hot for her; has the head ache; last year
had the erysipelas, which they said was from the work. The
other girls complain of head ache.
(Signed) MARY ANN TIBBITS X her mark.
No. 371.William Chaplin, 13 years old.
Can read an easy book; writes a little.
Blacks hooks and eyes.
Earns 3s.; has no over-work. Works for Mr. Jeffson. Gets a
box if he neglects his work. Four girls work in the same shop.
Has good health; the work agrees with him.
No. 372.Thomas Baldwin, 9 years old.
Can read well; can write a bit. Went three months to a day
school; goes now to a Sunday-school. Human means woman.
Does not know what future means.
Has worked at turning the wheel for a lathe 12 months.
Comes at 7 A.M., sometimes at 8; leaves off at 8 P.M., sometimes
9; has stopped till 10 P.M. on Saturday night. In the winter
came at 8 A.M. and left at 4 or 6 P.M.
Has about 10 minutes or ¼ of an hour for breakfast,
1 hour for dinner, ½ hour for tea, or less, as the
man pleases. Earns 2s. 3d. if he comes at 7 and leaves at
It is not hard work; it makes his legs and arms ache. Stands
at his work. Stops for a minute or two when the man sets the
Has a good appetite, and sleeps well at night.
(Signed) THOMAS BALDWIN X his mark.
[Note.This is a quick boy, but he does not seem to understand
much of what he reads. He is very badly clothed.]