Social Impact of the 1800's Industrial Revolution in Europe

What age are you? — Twenty-three. Where do you live? — At Leeds. What time did you begin to work at a factory? — When I was six years old. At whose factory did you work? — Mr. Busk's. What kind of mill is it? — Flax-mill. What was your business in that mill? — I was a little doffer. What were your hours of labour in that mill? — From 5 in the morning till 9 at night, when they were thronged. For how long a time together have you worked that excessive length of time? — For about half a year. What were your usual hours when you were not so thronged? — From 6 in the morning till 7 at night. What time was allowed for your meals? — Forty minutes at noon. Had you any time to get your breakfast or drinking? — No, we got it as we could. And when your work was bad, you had hardly any time to eat it at all? — No; we were obliged to leave it or take it home, and when we did not take it, the overlooker took it, and gave it to his pigs. Do you consider doffing a laborious employment? — Yes. Explain what it is you had to do? — When the frames are full, they have to stop the frames, and take the flyers off, and take the full bobbins off, and carry them to the roller; and then put empty ones on, and set the frame going again. Does that keep you constantly on your feet? — Yes, there are so many frames, and they run so quick. Your labour is very excessive? — Yes; you have not time for any thing. Suppose you flagged a little, or were too late, what would they do? — Strap us. Are they in the habit of strapping those who are last in doffing? — Yes. Constantly? — Yes. Girls as well as boys? — Yes. Have you ever been strapped? — Yes. Severely? — Yes. Could you eat your food well in that factory? — No, indeed I had not much to eat, and the little I had I could not eat it, my appetite was so poor, and being covered with dust; and it was no use to take it home, I could not eat it, and the overlooker took it, and gave it to the pigs. You are speaking of the breakfast? — Yes. How far had you to go for dinner? — We could not go home to dinner. Where did you dine? — In the mill. Did you live far from the mill? — Yes, two miles. Had you a clock? — No, we had not. Supposing you had not been in time enough in the morning at these mills, what would have been the consequence? — We should have been quartered. What do you mean by that? — If we were a quarter of an hour too late, they would take off half an hour; we only got a penny an hour, and they would take a halfpenny more. The fine was much more considerable than the loss of time? — Yes. Were you also beaten for being too late? — No, I was never beaten myself, I have seen the boys beaten for being too late.

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