Industrial Revolution & Child Labour. Role of Children During the Industrial Revolution .
Industrial Revolution & Child Labour
Children were the ideal employees therefore! They were cheap, weren't big enough or educated enough to argue or complain and were small enough to fit between tight fitting machinery that adults couldn't get between. Children soon ended up working in all types of industry.
The youngest children in the textile factories were usually employed as scavengers and piecers. Piecers had to lean over the spinning-machine to repair the broken threads. Scavengers had to pick up the loose cotton from under the machinery. This was extremely dangerous as the children were expected to carry out the task while the machine was still working.
The coal mines were dangerous places where roofs sometimes caved in, explosions happened and workers got all sorts of injuries. There were very few safety rules. Cutting and moving coal which machines do nowadays was done by men, women and children.
The younger children often worked as "trappers" who worked trap doors. They sat in a hole hollowed out for them and held a string which was fastened to the door. When they heard the coal wagons coming they had to open the door by pulling a string. This job was one of the easiest down the mine but it was very lonely and the place were they sat was usually damp and draughty. Older children might be employed as "coal bearers" carrying loads of coal on their backs in big baskets.