Commission into Children’s Employment 1842

Commission into Children’s Employment 1842We can’t imagine allowing our children to work down mines, but in early Victorian England that was what was happening and the outcome was a report entitled Commission into Children’s Employment 1842.

In 1840 the government set up a Royal Commission into child labour and the conditions that children found themselves working in. It took two years before a report into conditions in mines was published, followed later by reports on children working in trades and factories.

The commissioners spoke not only to employers, but also to the children themselves asking what their working lives were like and came up with a series of measures to protect the children whilst still allowing them to continue to be part of the work force. The morality of all of this is a whole subject on it’s own, but what concerns us as genealogists is that Ancestry has put online an indexed copy of the commissions report.

The indexing has been completed by a team of volunteers who give their time freely to make the Commission into Children’s Employment 1842 easily accessible to genealogists via the Ancestry World Archives Scheme. Anyone can join in and even if you have only a few minutes to spare. More details are available on the Ancestry website.

Back to the Commission into Children’s Employment 1842 report. You can search the index by first and last names and also put in keywords. The children, also some parents were asked a series of questions and the report noted the following

  • name
  • age
  • type of work
  • working conditions
  • hours worked
  • pay
  • whether they go to school
  • housing
  • what they ate at home

An interesting dataset that is a glimpse into the working lives of our child ancestors.

www.ancestry.co.uk

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