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Key dates

Elizabethan Poor Law: parishes to be responsible for their poor

Jonas Hanway, merchant and philanthropist, campaigns to improve working conditions for chimney sweeps' apprentices

Poor Law costing £1.25 million annually; in 1802, £4.25 million, and in 1832, £7 million

1788 - 'Act for the Better Regulation of Chimney Sweepers and their Apprentices'
Sets eight as minimum age for apprenticeship

20,000 apprentices employed in cotton mills

1802 - Health and Morals of Apprentices Act
The first piece of factory legislation

1819 - Cotton Mills Act
No child to be employed under the age of nine in cotton mills

1831 - Factory Act
Limits working day to 12 hours for those under 18

1833 - Factory Act
No children under nine to be employed in factories; most important provision was the appointment of factory inspectors

1834 - Poor Law Amendment Act
Reorganises poor relief under central control

1834 - Chimney Sweeps Act
Raises minimum age of apprenticeship to 10

1840, 1864 and 1875
Further Acts passed to limit the employment of children by chimney sweeps; only the last has any effect

1842 - Mines and Collieries Act
Women and young children under 10 forbidden to work in mines

1844 - Factories Act
Introduces safety regulation in factories

1847 - Factories Act ('Ten Hours Act')
Establishes the ten hour day for women and young people aged 13-18

1850 - Coal Mines Inspection Act
Appoints inspectors of coal mines

Census reveals more than 24,000 boys under 15 working in coalmining

Cotton industry employing 255,000 men, 272,000 women; woollen industry employing 171,000 men, 113,000 women

1860 - Coal Mines Regulation Act
Raises age limit for boys from 10 to 12

1867 - Factory Acts (Extension) Act
Brings all factories employing more than 50 people within the terms of all existing factory legislation; forbids the employment of children, young people and women on Sundays

1872 - Coal Mines Regulation Act
Pit managers to have training

1881 - Mines Regulation Act
Home Secretary empowered to appoint official inquiries into mine accidents

1891 - Factory and Workshop (Consolidating) Act
Raises minimum age of employment in factories to 11; consolidates all previous safety and sanitary regulations

Also within Living Heritage


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Jonas Hanway

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