The Industrious Child Worker
Child labour and childhood in Birmingham and the West Midlands, 1750–1900
Author: Mary Nejedly
About the book
Studies of child labour have examined the experiences of child workers in agriculture, mining and textile mills, yet surprisingly little research has focused on child labour in manufacturing towns.
This book investigates the extent and nature of child labour in Birmingham and the West Midlands, from the mid-eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century. It considers the economic contributions of child workers under the age of 14 and the impact of early work on their health and education.
Child labour in the region was not a short-lived stage of the early Industrial Revolution but an integral part of industry throughout the nineteenth century.
Parents regarded their children as potentially valuable contributors to the family economy, encouraging families to migrate from rural areas so that their children could work from an early age in the manufacture of pins, nails, buttons, glass, locks and guns as well as tin-plating, carpet-weaving, brass-casting and other industries.
The demand for young workers in Birmingham was greater than that for adults; in Mary Nejedly's detailed analysis the importance of children's earnings to the family economy becomes clear, as well as the role played by child workers in industrialisation itself.
ISBN: 978-1-912260-43-0 Format: Paperback, Published: Sep 2021
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