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Sources

(src-1) - Fishwick, The survey of the manor of Rochdale 1626, p. 113.

(src-2) - The Wills of Rochdale Testators Proved at Chester 1553 to 1810,Vol 2-8, Rochdale Local studies library.

(src-3) - Abstract of Answers and Returns, p.157.1811 Census ,http://www.histpop.org.

(src-4) -  Edward Baines, History of the Cotton Manufacture, 1835, p.250.

(src-5) - H.C. 1842 [380] [381] [382]" Report of the Mines Commissioners."

(src-6) - H.C. 1833 (450) " Factory Inquiry Commission."

(src-7) - H.C. 1839 (43) "Factories. A return of the number and names of persons summoned for offences against the Factory Act."

(src-8) - H.C. 1844 (583) "Reports on the inspectors of factories.

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Extract from Commissioners Report

The mines in the thin mountain-seams in the higher parts of Oldham and Rochdale parishes are, with few exceptions, worked on a very small scale, and in a very rude manner. Several, indeed, are entered by “ breast-eyes,” or day-holes, in the hill-side; and others by ill-constructed pits,with very rude and insecure gearing. Many have insufficient drainage; ways so low that only very little boys can work in them, which they do naked, and often in mud and water, dragging sledge-tubs by the girdle and chain, in a ventilation which proves sufficient only because the deleterious gases are almost unknown.

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Legislation 1833-1847. Main Provisions

1833 Factory Act. (Lord Ashley’s Act) Applicable to all Textile factories (Silk, linens, Cottons and Woollens

1842 Mines and Collieries Act.

1844 Factory Act.

1847 Factory Act. (Ten hours Act)

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Sources

Local Economy

Pre-Industrial Revolution

Early evidence of the nature and development of Wardle's local economy can be revealed from the occupations of its inhabitants recorded in a number of sources.

An inquisition survey of 1626 records, Alice Wolstenholme as having a lease to,'search, myne, dig drayne for coals within these parcells of Land called Shore'.(src-1)

old coal workings

From the few surviving probate records of will-makers, can be found reference to their occupations..(src-2)
James Roades of Wordel is recorded in 1622 as being a cloythmaker.
Also a number of later eighteenth century testators have their occupations recorded as weavers, colliers, and farmers.

From the responses to three questions asked of householders in the 1811 census further clues can be found as to the main occupations of families.(src-3)

1811 census
  • What Number of Families in your Parish, Township, or Place, are chiefly employed in and maintained by Agriculture.
  • How many Families are chiefly employed in and maintained by Trade, Manufacture or Handicraft.
  • How many are not comprized in either of the Two preceding Classes.

Lieghs Trade directory of 1818 for Wuerdale and Wardle, including Smallbridge, reveals further detail about the occupations of those persons listed.
Trade directories as sources need to be treated with great caution. They were usually private speculative money making ventures which meant they were only going to include those householders who would be of interest to potential purchasers of goods and services. There was naturally a bias towards listing tradesmen, professionals and manufacturers, craftsmen tend to be under-recorded, labourers and servants are rarely listed

Working Children

Prior to the first Victorian census of 1841 children’s occupations were largely absent from any demographic statistics and it was not until the census of 1851 that a moderately reliable national survey took place.

roads mill workers

Youngsters among the workforce at Roads Mill 1914

‘Half-time’ working, as it was known, became a feature of child employment in textile factories ushered in by the provisions of the 1833 and 1844 Factory Acts. The 1851 Census instructions did not advise on how a half-time occupation should be entered. So children, who might be working without the required certification, that proved they had received the requisite number of hours of education, might be hidden, by hard pressed parents, from the authorities by entering them as scholars or by leaving the occupation column blank.

Occupational Classes of Wardle children extracted from 1851 Census
AgeGroup Agriculture Education MiningandQuarrying Misc Textiles Blanks GrandTotal
00-04 2 14 0 16 1 331 364
05-09 2 134 8 25 13 115 297
10-14 9 45 32 17 128 29 260
Grand Total 13 193 40 58 142 475 921

The most numerically important group of children in employment were the 10-14 year olds, mainly girls, working overwhelmingly in the manufacture of textiles.

Wardle child textile workers extracted from 1851 Census
Occupation male female total
piecers 21 28 49
spinners 1 3 4
weaver hand 4 3 7
weaver power 6 11 17
weaver unspecified 6 5 11
cloth finisher 1 0 1
cotton winder 0 1 1
factory boy 2 0 2
factory labourer 0 1 1
factory operative,worker 8 15 23
fuller 3 0 3
tenter 2 0 2
scutcher 1 0 1
warper 2 3 5
twinder 0 1 1
grand total all textiles 10-14 57 71 128
piecers

Child piecer and scavenger tending Mule spinning machine.(src-4)

Child Miners

The landscape around Wardle can be found littered with spoil tips from long abandoned mines that are mainly to be found on the hill-sides above Wardle and Watergrove.
The 1842 Commissioner's report on Children in Mines(src-5) might aptly describe the working conditions that Wardle children could have most likely experienced in those mines.More

child miner

The image is the section of a thin mine, and shows an air-door tender in the act of opening an air-door to allow a waggon to pass through. Sitting on his heels, as is the universal custom of all colliers, young and old, in the district. This employment is the one to which children are generally put on first entering the mines.

EXTRACTS FROM THE COMMISSIONER'S REPORT OF 1842.

  • Joseph Gott is an underlooker in a mountain mine near Rochdale, where the children will come about seven years old. The parents, who are often weavers, come and beg to thrust their children in, really before they are fit to go.
  • One case is recorded in which a Child began to work in a coal pit in this district soon after he was four years of age.
  • A. B. at Mr. Roscoe’s, Rochdale, states, that “he is eleven years old; that he has been six years in the pits, and that he began to go when he was little more than four years old” and many cases are recorded in which Children began to work in the pits when they were between five and six years of age, and at six.

The 1851 Census recorded that 40 Wardle children had occupations listed as either,Coal Miners, Colliers or Coal Labourers.
Out of the 40 children, eight were under the age of 10 and prohibited, by the 1842 Act, of working underground.
Seemingly the Act was not always scrupulously observed by some mine owners and parents, as was illustrated in a case reported by:

THE ROCHDALE OBSERVER DEC 1859


Mr. James Lord, of Brown-hill Colliery, Wardle, was charged with having employed a lad named Williamson, eight years of age, at the colliery. [ Stanley Williamson, aged 8, was pushing a tub of coals drawn by his brother, when a stone fell from the roof and killed him on the spot. ] —Mr. Hartley supported the complaint.—Mr. March, for the defence, proved that the beginning of the week in which Williamson was killed, Mr. Lord asked how many lads there were at the pit under age, and had given orders for their dismissal at the end of the week.—A fine of £10 was inflicted.

Working Childrens Welfare

Frequent early 19c commentators compared the hardships of factory children with those of plantation slaves a similarity that pressure groups used to promote factory reform. A Royal Commission was set up in 1833(src-6) to " collect Information in the Manufacturing Districts, as to the Employment of Children in Factories, and as to the Propriety and Means of Curtailing the Hours of their Labour:"

commission

The subsequent Factory Act of 1833 and later Acts introduced legislation More to limit the working hours of children and consolidated earlier legislation to ensure that factory children received daily schooling.

factory act

Leonard Horner, the Inspector for the North West, brought Wardle Mill owners and Parents before the Magistrates, in 1838(src-7) and 1844(src-8), for offences against the Factory Acts.

April 16 1838--James Lord, Mill Owner, Roads Mill

  • Working a child under 13 years of age more than 9 hours a day.
  • Not sending the same to attend school
  • Not whitewashing.
  • Not allowing sufficient meal time.
  • Not having Time-register or Register of Workers.
  • Not fixing certificates of age in a book

April 16 1838--John Buckley, Mill Owner, Law Flat

  • Working children under 13 years of age more than 9 hours a day.
  • Not requiring same to attend school.
  • Not whitewashing in one year.
  • Not having Time-register or Register of Workers.

April 16 1838--Thomas Lord, Mill Owner, Hades Mill

  • Working children under 13 years of age more than 9 hours a day.
  • Not requiring same to attend school.
  • Not having Time-register or Register of Workers.
  • Not producing certificates of age.

April 16 1838--John and Jas Stott, Mill Owners, Wasp

  • Working children under 13 years of age more than 9 hours a day.
  • Not sending same to school.
  • Not whitewashing .
  • Not fixing certificates of age in a book.,
  • Not having certificates of age counter-signed.

April 16 1838--Thos Bamford, Mill Owner, Wasp

  • Not requiring children to attend school.
  • Not filling up Registers.
  • Not having certificates fixed in a book.

Dec 10 1838--John and Jas Stott, Mill Owners, Wasp

  • Overworking children under 13 years of age more than 9 hours per day, or 48 hours per week.
  • Overworking young persons under 18 years of age more than 12 hours per day, or 69 hours per week.
  • Not producing school vouchers.
  • Making false entries in Time-register .

Dec 10 1838--Jude Lord, Parent, Wasp

  • Allowing her child, being under 13 years of age, to work more than 9 hours per day, or 48 hours per week, and not requiring same to attend school. Working at John and James Stotts, Wasp, Wardle.

Dec 10 1838--Charles Wild, Parent, Wasp

  • Allowing his child, being under 13 years of age, to work more than 9 hours per day, or 48 hours per week, and not requiring same to attend school. Working at John and James Stotts, Wasp, Wardle.

Dec 10 1838--Edmund Schofield, Parent, Wasp

  • Allowing his child, being under 13 years of age, to work more than 9 hours per day, or 48 hours per week, and not requiring same to attend school. Working at John and James Stotts, Wasp, Wardle.

Dec 10 1838--John Dearden, Parent, Wasp

  • Allowing his child, being under 13 years of age, to work more than 9 hours per day, or 48 hours per week, and not requiring same to attend school. Working at John and James Stotts, Wasp, Wardle.

Dec 10 1838--J. Schofield, Parent, Wasp

  • Allowing his child, being under 13 years of age, to work more than 9 hours per day, or 48 hours per week, and not requiring same to attend school. Working at John and James Stotts, Wasp, Wardle.

Dec 10 1838--James Holt, Parent, Wasp

  • Allowing his child, being under 13 years of age, to work more than 9 hours per day, or 48 hours per week, and not requiring same to attend school. Working at John and James Stotts, Wasp, Wardle.

Dec 10 1838--S.Fielding, Parent, Wasp

  • Allowing his child, being under 13 years of age, to work more than 9 hours per day, or 48 hours per week, and not requiring same to attend school. Working at John and James Stotts, Wasp, Wardle.

Dec 24 1838--John Ashworth, Mill Owner, Wallstones

  • Not producing Registers.
  • Not producing certificates of age.

June 17 1844--Thomas Bamford, Mill Owner, Sleighty

  • Employing children without their attending school, and thereby overworking them; indeed he deliberately kept them from school, one of them his own son, from a very good school in the immediate neighborhood of his mill.
    He had been fined for a similar offence only four months previously, he was fined £4.
    The Manchester Times dated Saturday June 22 1844.
    Reported the case in more detail. The children in question were named as Sarah Sharrocks, Sarah Cryer, Samuel Leach.
    The headmaster of Wardle Church School confirmed that the children had not attended school.
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