Factory Acts were a series of
UK labour law
UK labour law Acts passed by the
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom to regulate the conditions of
industrial employment. The early Acts concentrated on regulating the
hours of work and moral welfare of young children employed in cotton
mills but were effectively unenforced until the Act of 1833
established a professional Factory Inspectorate. The regulation of
working hours was then extended to women by an Act of 1844. An Act in
1847 (the Ten Hour Act) (together with Acts in 1850 and 1853 remedying
defects in the 1847 Act) met a long- standing (and by 1847
well-organised) demand by the millworkers for a ten-hour day. The
Factory Acts also sought to ameliorate the conditions under which
mill-children worked with requirements on ventilation, sanitation, and
guarding of machinery. Introduction of the ten-hour day proved to have
none of the dire consequences predicted by its opponents, and its
apparent success effectively ended theoretical objections to the
principle of factory legislation; from the 1860s onwards more
industries were brought within the Factory Act, until by 1910, Sidney
Webb reviewing the cumulative effect of century of factory legislation
felt able to write
The system of regulation which began with the protection of the tiny
class of pauper apprentices in textile mills now includes within its
scope every manual worker in every manufacturing industry. From the
hours of labour and sanitation, the law has extended to the age of
commencing work, protection against accidents, mealtimes and holidays,
the methods of remuneration, and in the
United Kingdom as well as in
the most progressive of English-speaking communities, to the rate of
wages itself. The range of Factory Legislation has, in fact, in one
country or another, become co-extensive with the conditions of
industrial employment. No class of manual-working wage-earners, no
item in the wage-contract, no age, no sex, no trade or occupation, is
now beyond its scope. This part, at any rate, of Robert Owen's social
philosophy has commended itself to the practical judgment of the
civilised world. It has even, though only towards the latter part of
the nineteenth century, converted the economists themselves -converted
them now to a " legal minimum wage " — and the advantage of Factory
Legislation is now as soundly " orthodox " among the present
generation of English, German, and American professors as "
laisser-faire " was to their predecessors. ... Of all the nineteenth
century inventions in social organisation, Factory Legislation is the
most widely diffused.:Preface
He also commented on the gradual (accidentally almost Fabian) way this
transformation had been achieved
The merely empirical suggestions of Dr.
Thomas Percival and the
Manchester Justices of 1784 and 1795, and the experimental legislation
of the elder
Sir Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel in 1802, were expanded by
Robert Owen in
1815 into a general principle of industrial government, which came to
be applied in tentative instalments by successive generations of Home
Office administrators. ... This century of experiment in Factory
Legislation affords a typical example of English practical empiricism.
We began with no abstract theory of social justice or the rights of
man. We seem always to have been incapable even of taking a general
view of the subject we were legislating upon. Each successive statute
aimed at remedying a single ascertained evil. It was in vain that
objectors urged that other evils, no more defensible existed in other
trades, or among other classes, or with persons of ages other than
those to which the particular Bill applied. Neither logic nor
consistency, neither the over-nice consideration of even-handed
justice nor the Quixotic appeal of a general humanitarianism, was
permitted to stand in the way of a practical remedy for a proved
wrong. That this purely empirical method of dealing with industrial
evils made progress slow is scarcely an objection to it. With the
nineteenth century House of Commons no other method would have secured
any progress at all.:Preface
1 Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802
2 Cotton Mills and Factories Act 1819
3 Cotton Mills Regulation Act 1825
4 Act to Amend the Laws relating to the employment of Children in
Cotton Mills & Manufactories 1829
5 Labour in Cotton Mills Act 1831 (Hobhouse's Act)
6 Labour of Children, etc., in Factories Act 1833 (Althorp's Act)
6.1 The first 'Ten Hour Bill' - Sadler's Bill (1832), Ashley's Bill
6.1.1 Sadler's Bill (1832)
6.1.2 Ashley's Bill (1833)
6.2 1833 Factory Commission
6.3 Althorp's Act (1833)
7 'Ineffectual attempts at legislation' - (1835 - 1841)
7.1 Poulett Thomson's Bill (1836)
7.2 Fox Maule's Bill (1838)
7.3 Ashley denounces government complacency
7.4 Fox Maule tries again (1839-41)
8 Graham's Factory Education Bill (1843)
8.1 The education issue and Graham's bill
8.2 Reaction, retreats, and abandonment
9 Factories Act 1844 (Graham's factory act)
10 Factories Act 1847
11 Factories Act 1850 (the 'Compromise' Act)
12 Factories Act 1856
13 Factories Act Extension Act 1867
14 Factories (Health of Women, &c.) Act (1874)
14.1 Shaftesbury's valedictory review
15 Factory and Workshop Act 1878 ('the Consolidation Act')
15.1 Provisions of Act
15.2 Inadequate resources for strict enforcement
16 Factory Act 1891
17 Factory and Workshop Act 1895
18 Factory and Workshop Act 1901
19 Factories Act 1937
20 Factories Act 1959
21 Factories Act 1961
22 See also
25 Further reading
26 External links
Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802
Further information: Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802
Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802
Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802 (42 Geo III c.73) was
introduced by Sir Robert Peel ; it addressed concerns felt by the
medical men of Manchester about the health and welfare of children
employed in cotton mills, and first expressed by them in 1784 in a
report on an outbreak of 'putrid fever' at a mill at Radcliffe owned
by Peel. Although the Act included some hygiene requirements for all
textile mills, it was largely concerned with the employment of
apprentices; it left the employment of 'free' (non-indentured)
children unregulated. It allowed (but did not require) local
magistrates to enforce compliance with its requirements, and therefore
went largely unenforced. As the first attempt to improve the lot of
factory children, it is often seen as paving the way for future
Factory Acts. At best, it only partially paved the way; its
restriction to apprentices (where there was a long tradition of
legislation) meant that it was left to later
Factory Acts to establish
the principle of intervention by Parliament on humanitarian grounds on
worker welfare issues against the "laissez-faire" political and
economic orthodoxy of the age which held that to be ill-advised.
Under the Act, regulations and rules came into force on 2 December
1802 and applied to all textile mills and factories employing three or
more apprentices or twenty employees. The buildings must have
sufficient windows and openings for ventilation, and should be cleaned
at least twice yearly with quicklime and water; this included ceilings
Each apprentice was to be given two sets of clothing, suitable linen,
stockings, hats, and shoes, and a new set each year thereafter.
Apprentices could not work during the night (between 9 pm and 6 am),
and their working hours could not exceed 12 hours a day, excluding the
time taken for breaks. A grace period was provided to allow
factories time to adjust, but all night-time working by apprentices
was to be discontinued by June 1804.
All apprentices were to be educated in reading, writing and arithmetic
for the first four years of their apprenticeship. The Act specified
that this should be done every working day within usual working hours
but did not state how much time should be set aside for it.
Educational classes should be held in a part of the mill or factory
designed for the purpose. Every Sunday, for one hour, apprentices were
to be taught the Christian religion; every other Sunday, divine
service should be held in the factory, and every month the apprentices
should visit a church. They should be prepared for confirmation in the
Church of England
Church of England between the ages of 14 and 18 and must be examined
by a clergyman at least once a year. Male and female apprentices were
to sleep separately and not more than two per bed.
Local magistrates had to appoint two inspectors known as 'visitors' to
ensure that factories and mills were complying with the Act; one was
to be a clergyman and the other a Justice of the Peace, neither to
have any connection with the mill or factory. The visitors had the
power to impose fines for non-compliance and the authority to visit at
any time of the day to inspect the premises.
The Act was to be displayed in two places in the factory. Owners who
refused to comply with any part of the Act could be fined between £2
Cotton Mills and Factories Act 1819
Further information: Cotton Mills and Factories Act 1819
The 1819 Cotton Mills and Factories Act (
59 Geo. III c66) stated that
no children under 9 were to be employed and that children aged 9–16
years were limited to 12 hours' work per day. It applied to the
cotton industry only, but covered all children, whether apprentices or
not. It was seen through Parliament by Sir Robert Peel; it had its
origins in a draft prepared by
Robert Owen in 1815 but the Act that
emerged in 1819 was much watered-down from Owen's draft. It was also
effectively unenforceable; enforcement was left to local magistrates,
but they could only inspect a mill if two witnesses had given sworn
statements that the mill was breaking the Act. An amending Act (60
Geo. III., c. 5) was passed in December 1819. When any accident
disabled a factory (as had just happened at New Lanark), nightworking
in the rest of the works by those who had previously worked in the
affected factory was permitted until the accident was made good.
Cotton Mills Regulation Act 1825
' A large manufactory' : the (water-powered) mill complex at
Darley Abbey viewed end-on
John Cam Hobhouse
John Cam Hobhouse introduced a Bill to allow magistrates to
act on their own initiative, and to compel witnesses to attend
hearings; noting that so far there had been only two prosecutions
under the 1819 Act. Opposing the Bill a millowner MP [b] agreed
that the 1819 Bill was widely evaded, but went on to remark that this
put millowners at the mercy of millhands "The provisions of Sir Robert
Peel's act had been evaded in many respects: and it was now in the
power of the workmen to ruin many individuals, by enforcing the
penalties for children working beyond the hours limited by that act"
and that this showed to him that the best course of action was to
repeal the 1819 Act. On the other hand, another millowner MP [c]
supported Hobhouse's Bill saying that he
agreed that, the bill was loudly called for, and, as the proprietor of
a large manufactory, admitted that there was much that required
remedy. He doubted whether shortening the hours of work would be
injurious even to the interests of the manufacturers; as the children
would be able, while they were employed, to pursue their occupation
with greater vigour and activity. At the same time, there was nothing
to warrant a comparison with the condition or the negroes in the West
Hobhouse's Bill also sought to limit hours worked to eleven a day; the
Act as passed (the Cotton Mills Regulation Act :6 Geo. IV., c.
63) improved the arrangements for enforcement, but kept a twelve-hour
day Monday-Friday with a shorter day of nine hours on Saturday. The
1819 Act had specified that a mealbreak of an hour should be taken
between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ; a subsequent Act (60 Geo. III., c.
5) allowing water-powered mills to exceed the specified hours in order
to make up for lost time widened the limits to 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Hobhouse's Act of 1825 set the limits to 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A parent's
assertion of a child's age was sufficient, and relieved employers of
any liability should the child in fact be younger. JPs who were
millowners or the fathers or sons of millowners could not hear
complaints under the Act.
Act to Amend the Laws relating to the employment of Children in Cotton
Mills & Manufactories 1829
In 1829, Parliament passed an 'Act to Amend the Laws relating to the
employment of Children in Cotton Mills & Manufactories' which
relaxed formal requirements for the service of legal documents on
millowners (documents no longer had to specify all partners in the
concern owning or running the mill; it would be adequate to identify
the mill by the name by which it was generally known). The Bill
passed the Commons was subject to a minor textual amendment by the
Lords (adding the words 'to include'[d]) and then received the Royal
Assent without the Commons first being made aware of (or agreeing to)
the Lords' amendment. To rectify this inadvertent breach of
privilege,a further Act (making no other change to the Act already
passed) was promptly passed on the last day of the Parliamentary
Labour in Cotton Mills Act 1831 (Hobhouse's Act)
Mule Spinning in action : child 'piecers' spent their day mending
broken threads on the moving machinery
An Act to repeal the Laws relating to Apprentices and other young
Persons employed in Cotton Factories and in Cotton Mills, and to make
further Provisions in lieu thereof (1 & 2 Will. IV c39)
(Acts repealed were 59 Geo. III, c. 66; 60 Geo. III, c. 5; 6 Geo. IV,
c. 63; 10 Geo. IV, c. 51; 10 Geo. IV, c. 63)
In 1831 Hobhouse introduced a further bill with - he told the
Commons- the support of the leading manufacturers who felt that
"unless the House should step forward and interfere so as to put an
end to the night-work in the small factories where it was practised,
it would be impossible for the large and respectable factories which
conformed to the existing law to compete with them." The Act repealed
the previous Acts, and consolidated their provisions in a single Act,
which also introduced further restrictions. Night working was
forbidden for anyone under 21 and if a mill had been working at night
the onus of proof was on the millowner (to show nobody under-age had
been employed). The limitation of working hours to twelve now applied
up to age eighteen. Complaints could only pursued if made within three
weeks of the offence; on the other hand JPs who were the brothers of
millowners were now also debarred from hearing Factory Act cases.
Hobhouse's claim of general support was optimistic; the Bill
originally covered all textile mills; the Act as passed again applied
only to cotton mills.
Labour of Children, etc., in Factories Act 1833 (Althorp's Act)
Carding, roving, and drawing in a Manchester cotton mill c. 1834
The first 'Ten Hour Bill' - Sadler's Bill (1832), Ashley's Bill
Dissatisfied with the outcome of Hobhouse's efforts, in 1832 Michael
Thomas Sadler introduced a Bill extending the protection existing
Factory Acts gave to children working in the cotton industry to those
in other textile industries, and reducing to ten per day the working
hours of children in the industries legislated for. A network of
'Short Time Committees' had grown up in the textile districts of
Yorkshire and Lancashire, working for a 'ten-hour day Act ' for
children, with many millhands in the Ten Hour Movement hoping that
this would in practice also limit the adult working day. Witnesses
to one of the Committees taking evidence on Peel's Bill had noted that
there were few millworkers over forty, and that they themselves
expected to have to stop mill work at that age because of 'the pace of
the mill' unless working hours were reduced. Hobhouse advised
Richard Oastler, an early and leading advocate of factory legislation
for the woolen industry, that Hobhouse had got as much as he could,
given the opposition of Scottish flax-spinners and 'the state of
public business':[f] if Sadler put forward a Bill matching the aims of
the Short Time Committees “he will not be allowed to proceed a
single stage with any enactment, and … he will only throw an air of
ridicule and extravagance over the whole of this kind of
legislation”. Oastler responded that a failure with a Ten Hour
Bill would "not dishearten its friends. It will only spur them on to
greater exertions, and would undoubtedly lead to certain success
Sadler's Bill (1832)
Sadler's Bill when introduced indeed corresponded closely to the aims
of the Short Time Committees. Hobhouse's ban on nightwork up to 21 was
retained; no child under nine was to be employed; and the working day
for under-eighteens was to be no more than ten hours (eight on
Saturday). These restrictions were to apply across all textile
industries.:51 The Second Reading debate on Sadler's bill did not
take place until 16 March 1832, the Reform Bill having taken
precedence over all other legislation. Meanwhile, petitions both for
and against the Bill had been presented to the Commons; both Sir
Robert Peel (not the originator of the 1802 bill, but his son, the
future Prime Minister) and Sir George Strickland had warned that the
Bill as it stood was too ambitious: more MPs had spoken for further
factory legislation than against, but many supporters wanted the
subject to be considered by a Select Committee. Sadler had resisted
this "if the present Bill was referred to one, it would not become a
law this Session, and the necessity of legislating was so apparent,
that he was unwilling to submit to the delay of a Committee, when he
considered they could obtain no new evidence on the subject". In
his long Second Reading speech, Sadler argued repeatedly that a
Committee was unnecessary, but concluded by accepting that he had not
convinced the House or the Government of this, and that the Bill would
be referred to a Select Committee. (Lord Althorp, responding for
the Government, noted that Sadler's speech made a strong case for
considering legislation, thought it did little to directly support the
details of the Bill; the Government supported the Bill as leading to a
Select Committee, but would not in advance pledge support for whatever
legislation the Committee might recommend). This effectively
removed any chance of a Factories Regulation Act being passed before
Parliament was dissolved. Sadler was made chairman of the Committee,
which allowed him to make his case by hearing evidence from witnesses
of Sadler's selection, on the understanding that opponents of the Bill
(or of some feature of it) would then have their innings. Sadler
attempted (31 July 1832) to progress his Bill without waiting for the
committee's report; when this abnormal procedure was objected to by
other MPs, he withdrew the Bill. Sadler, as chairman of the
committee, reported the minutes of evidence on 8 August 1832, when
they were ordered to be printed. Parliament was prorogued shortly
afterwards: Sadler gave notice of his intention to reintroduce a
Ten-Hour Bill in the next session 
Ashley's Bill (1833)
Sadler, however, was not an MP in the next session: in the first
election for the newly enfranchised two member constituency of Leeds
he was beaten into third place by Thomas Babington Macaulay a Whig
politician of national standing and John Marshall, the son of one of
Leeds' leading millowners. Casting around for a new parliamentary
advocate for factory reform, the short-time movement eventually
secured the services of Lord Ashley, eldest son of the 6th Earl of
Shaftesbury. By the time the new parliament met, public opinion
(especially outside the textile districts) had been powerfully
affected by 'the report of Mr Sadler's Committee'. Extracts from this
began to appear in newspapers in January 1833 and painted a picture of
the life of a mill-child as one of systematic over-work and systematic
brutality. The conclusion many papers drew was that Sadler's Bill
should be revived and passed. However, when Ashley introduced a Bill
essentially reproducing Sadler's MPs criticised both the report (since
the only witnesses heard had been Sadler's, the report was unbalanced;
since witnesses had not testified on oath, doubts were expressed about
the accuracy/veracity of the more lurid accounts of factory life) and
Sadler's conduct. 'An air of ridicule and extravagance' had been
thrown not upon factory legislation, but upon the use of Select
Committees for fact-finding on factory conditions. A Factory
Commission was set up to investigate and report. Sadler and the Short
Time Committees objected to any further fact-finding and attempted
to obstruct the work of the Commissioners. Ashley's Bill proceeded
to a Second Reading in early July 1833 (when the likely main
recommendations of the Commission were known, but its report was not
yet available to MPs); Ashley wanted the Bill to then be considered by
a Committee of the whole House and defeated Lord Althorp's amendment
to refer the Bill to a Select Committee. However at Committee
stage the first point considered where the Bill differed from the
Commission's was the age up to which hours of work should be limited
Ashley lost (heavily) the vote on this, and left it to Althorp to
pilot through a Factory Act based upon the Commission's
1833 Factory Commission
This toured the textile districts and made extensive investigations.
It wasted little time in doing so, and even less in considering its
report; as with other Whig Commissions of the period it was suspected
to have had a good idea of its recommendations before it started work.
During the course of the Factory Commission’s inquiries,
relationships between it and the Ten Hour Movement became thoroughly
adversarial, the Ten Hour Movement attempting to organise a boycott of
the Commission's investigations: this was in sharp contrast with the
commissioners' practice of dining with the leading manufacturers of
the districts they visited. The Commission’s report did not
support the more lurid details of Sadler's report - mills were not
hotbeds of sexual immorality, and beating of children was much less
common than Sadler had asserted (and was dying out). Major millowners
such as the Strutts did not tolerate it (and indeed were distinguished
by their assiduous benevolence to their employees). Working conditions
for mill-children were preferable to those in other industries: (after
a visit to the coal mine at
Worsley one of the Commission staff had
written "as this was said to be the best mine in the place, I cannot
much err in coming to the conclusion, that the hardest labour in the
worst-conducted factory is less hard, less cruel,and less demoralizing
than the labour in the best of coal-mines":D2, 79–82)
Nonetheless, the Commission reported:35–36that mill children did
work unduly long hours, leading to
Permanent deterioration of the physical constitution:
The production of disease often wholly irremediable: and
The partial or entire exclusion (by reason of excessive fatigue) from
the means of obtaining adequate education and acquiring useful habits,
or of profiting by those means when afforded
and that these ill-effects were so marked and significant that
Government intervention was justified but where Sadler's Bill was for
a ten-hour day for all workers under eighteen, the Commission
recommended an eight-hour day for those under thirteen, hoping for a
two-shift system for them which would allow mills to run 16 hours a
Althorp's Act (1833)
The Factory Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV) c103 was an attempt to
establish a regular working day in textile manufacture. The act had
the following provisions:
Children under 9 could not be employed in textile manufacture (except
in silk mills).
Children under 18 must not work at night (i.e. after 8. 30 p.m. and
before 5.30 a.m.)
Children (ages 9–13) must not work more than 8 hours with an hour
lunch break. (Employers could (and it was envisaged they would)
operate a 'relay system' with two shifts of children between them
covering the permitting working day; adult millworkers therefore being
'enabled' to work a 15-hour day)
Children (ages 9–13) could only be employed if they had a
schoolmaster's certificate that the previous week they had had two
hours of education per day (This to be paid for by a deduction of a
penny in the shilling from the children's wages. A factory inspector
could disallow payment of any of this money to an 'incompetent'
schoolmaster, but could not cancel a certificate issued by him.)
Children (ages 14–18) must not work more than 12 hours a day with an
hour lunch break.
Provided for routine inspections of factories and set up a Factory
Inspectorate (subordinate to the Home Office) to carry out such
inspections, with the right to demand entry and the authority to act
as a magistrate. (Under previous Acts supervision had been by local
'visitors' (a Justice of the Peace, and a clergyman) and effectively
discretionary). The inspectors were empowered to make and enforce
rules and regulations on the detailed application of the Act,
independent of the Home Secretary
Millowners and their close relatives were no longer debarred (if JPs)
from hearing cases brought under previous Acts, but were unlikely to
be effectively supervised by their colleagues on the local bench or be
zealous in supervising other millowners
The Act failed to specify whether lunar or calendar months were
intended where the word 'monthly' was used, and one clause limited
hours of work per week where a daily limit had been intended. A
short amending Act was therefore passed in February 1834
'Ineffectual attempts at legislation' - (1835 - 1841)
The 1833 Act had few admirers in the textile districts when it came
into force. The short-time movement objected to its substitution for
Ashley's Bill, and hoped to secure a Ten-Hour Bill. Millowners
resented and political economists deplored legislatory interference in
response to public opinion, and hoped that the Act could soon be
repealed (completely or in part). In 1835, the first report of the
Factory Inspectors noted that the education clauses were totally
impracticable, and relay working (with a double set of children, both
sets working eight hours; the solution which allowed Althorp's Bill to
outbid Ashley's in the apparent benefit to children) was difficult if
not impracticable, there not being enough children.[g]They also
reported that they had been unable to discover any deformity produced
by factory labour, nor any injury to health or shortening of life of
factory children caused by working a twelve-hour day.
Poulett Thomson's Bill (1836)
Three of the four inspectors had recommended in their first report
that all children 12 or older should be allowed to work twelve hours a
day. This was followed by an agitation in the West Riding for
relaxation or repeal of the 1833 Act; the short-time movement
alleged that workers were being 'leant on' by their employers to sign
petitions for repeal, and countered by holding meetings and raising
petitions for a ten-hour act. Charles Hindley prepared a draft
bill limiting the hours that could be worked by any mill employing
people under twenty-one, with no child under ten to be employed, and
no education clauses. Hindley's bill was published at the end of
the 1834-5 parliamentary session, but was not taken forward in the
next session, being pre-empted by a government bill introduced by
Charles Poulett Thomson, the President of the Board of Trade, allowing
children twelve or over to work twelve hours a day. The second
reading of Poulett Thomson's Bill was opposed by Ashley, who denounced
the bill as a feeler towards total repeal of protection for factory
children. The Bill passed its second reading by a majority of only two
(178-176) - a moral defeat for a government measure. Furthermore,
although Poulett Thomson had opened the debate by saying that "at the
present moment he was unwilling to re-open the whole factory
question", Peel had said he would vote for the second reading, not
because he supported the bill, but because its committee stage would
allow the introduction of additional amendments to factory
legislation. Poulett Thomson (eventually) abandoned the bill.
In 1837 Poulett Thomson announced his intention to bring in a factory
bill; consequently Ashley, who had intended to introduce a ten-hour
bill, dropped this, promising instead a ten-hour amendment to the
government bill. No progress had been made with the government
bill when the death of King William, and the consequent dissolution of
parliament, brought the session to an end.
Fox Maule's Bill (1838)
In the 1838 session another government factory bill was introduced by
Fox Maule Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. Children
in silk mills were not to work more than ten hours a day (but this was
not backed up by any certification of age). Otherwise, the bill made
no changes to age limits or hours of work, but repealed the education
clauses of the 1833 Act, replacing them with literacy tests. After a
transitional period, children who could not read the New Testament
were not to be employed more than nine hours a day; children who could
not read an easy reader to be published by the
Home Secretary could
not be employed. His political opponents mocked the thought of
Lord John Russell turning his undoubted talents to the production of a
reading primer, and it was soon announced that once the Bill went into
committee it would be amended to restore the 1833 education
clauses. The second reading of the bill was scheduled for 22 June,
but in early June Russell announced that the bill had been abandoned
for the session.
Ashley denounces government complacency
On 22 June, when the government intended to progress a bill on Irish
tithes, Ashley forestalled them, moving the second reading of the
factory bill. He complained of the evasive conduct of ministers and
government apathy and complacency on factory reform. Peel (who
normally, even in opposition, deprecated obstruction of government
business by backbenchers[h]) supported Ashley: he held very different
views on the issue from Ashley, but the issue was important,
contentious, and should not be evaded : "so long as ineffectual
attempts at legislation remained on the table of the house, the
excitement of the manufacturing districts would continue to be kept
up" [i] Ashley's motion was lost narrowly 111 to 119.
Ashley later attacked the government and its complacency and
connivance at the shortcomings in the current Factory Act identified
by the government's own Factory Inspectors:
Althorp's Act had claimed superiority over Ashley's Bill of 1833
because of its shorter working hours for children and its provision
for education. Those provisions had been violated from the outset, and
continued to be violated, and the government connived at those
violations: "notwithstanding the urgent representations and
remonstrances of their own inspectors, the Government had done nothing
whatever to assist them in the discharge of their duties"
Millowners sat on the bench and adjudicated in their own cases
(because Althorp's Act had repealed the provisions in Hobhouse's Act
forbidding this): they countersigned surgeon's certificates for
children employed in their own factory .[j] One factory inspector had
reported a case of a millowner sitting as magistrate on a case brought
against his own sons, as tenants of a mill he owned.
Magistrates had the power to mitigate the penalties specied in the
Act. The inspectors reported that magistrates habitually did so, and
to an extent which defeated the law; it was more profitable to break
the law and pay the occasional fine than to comply with the Act.
"After these representations .. by his own inspectors, how could the
noble Lord opposite reconcile it with his conscience as an individual,
and with his public duty as a Minister of the Crown, during the whole
course of his administration, never to have brought forward any
measure for the removal of so tremendous an evil?"
The education clauses were not observed in one mill in fifty; where
they were, the factory inspectors reported, "the schooling given is a
mere mockery of instruction"; vice and ignorance, and their natural
consequences, misery and suffering, were rife among the population of
the manufacturing districts. "Would the noble Lord opposite venture to
say that the education of the manufacturing classes was a matter of
indifference to the country at large?"
"He wanted them to decide whether they would amend, or repeal, or
enforce the Act now in existence; but if they would do none of these
things, if they continued idly indifferent, and obstinately shut their
eyes to this great and growing evil, if they were careless of the
growth of an immense population, plunged in ignorance and vice, which
neither feared God, nor regarded man, then he warned them that they
must be prepared for the very worst result that could befall a
Fox Maule tries again (1839-41)
In the 1839 session, Fox Maule revived the 1838 Bill with alterations.
The literacy tests were gone, and the education clauses restored. The
only other significant changes in the scope of the legislation were
that working extra hours to recover lost time was now only permitted
for water-powered mills, and magistrates could not countersign
surgeon's certificates if they were mill-owners or occupiers (or
father, son, or brother of a mill-owner or occupier). Details of
enforcement were altered; there was no longer any provision for
inspectors to be magistrates ex officio, sub-inspectors were to have
nearly the same enforcement powers as inspectors; unlike inspectors
they could not examine witnesses on oath, but they now had the same
right of entry into factory premises as inspectors. Declaring a
schoolmaster incompetent was now to invalidate certificates of
education issued by him, and a clause in the bill aimed to make it
easier to establish and run a school for factory children; children at
schools formed under this clause were not to be educated in a creed
objected to by their parents.
The bill, introduced in February, did not enter its committee stage
until the start of July In committee, a ten-hour amendment was
defeated 62-94, but Ashley moved and carried 55-49 an amendment
removing the special treatment of silk mills. The government
then declined to progress the amended bill.
No attempt was made to introduce a Factory Bill in 1840; Ashley
obtained a Select Committee on the working of the existing Factory
Act, which took evidence, most notably from members of the Factory
Inspectorate, throughout the session with a view to a new Bill
being introduced in 1841. Ashley was then instrumental in
obtaining a Royal Commission on the employment of children in mines
and manufactures, which eventually reported in 1842 (mines) and
1843 (manufactures): two of the four Commissioners had served on the
1833 Factory Commission; the other two were serving factory
In March 1841 Fox Maule introduced a Factory Bill and a separate
Silk Factory Bill. The Factory Bill provided that children were
now not to work more than seven hours a day; if working before noon
they couldn't work after one p.m. The education clauses of the
1839 Bill were retained. 'Dangerous machinery' was now to be
brought within factory legislation. Both the Factory and Silk
Factory bills were given unopposed second readings on the
understanding that all issues would be discussed at committee stage,
both were withdrawn before going into committee, the Whigs having
been defeated on a motion of no confidence, and a General Election
Graham's Factory Education Bill (1843)
Further information: Factories Act 1847
The Whigs were defeated in the 1841 general election, and Sir Robert
Peel formed a Conservative government. Ashley let it be known that he
had declined office under Peel because Peel would not commit himself
not to oppose a ten-hour bill; Ashley therefore wished to retain
freedom of action on factory issues. In February 1842, Peel
indicated definite opposition to a ten-hour bill, and Sir James
Graham , Peel's Home Secretary, declared his intention to proceed with
a bill prepared by Fox Maule, but with some alterations. In
response to the findings of his Royal Commission, Ashley saw through
Parliament a Mines And Collieries Act banning the employment of women
and children underground; the measure was welcomed by both front
benches, with Graham assuring Ashley "that her Majesty's Government
would render him every assistance in carrying on the measure". In
July, it was announced that the Government did not intend any
modification to the Factory Act in that session.
The education issue and Graham's bill
The Royal Commission had investigated not only the working hours and
conditions of the children, but also their moral state. It had found
much of concern in their habits and language, but the greatest concern
was that "the means of secular and religious instruction.. are so
grievously defective, that, in all the districts, great numbers of
Children and Young Persons are growing up without any religious,
moral, or intellectual training; nothing being done to form them to
habits of order, sobriety, honesty, and forethought, or even to
restrain them from vice and crime." [k] In 1843, Ashley initiated
a debate on "the best means of diffusing the benefits and blessings of
a moral and religious education among the working classes..."
Responding, Graham stressed that the issue was not a party one (and
was borne out on this by the other speakers in the debate); although
the problem was a national one, the government would for the moment
bring forward measures only for the two areas of education in which
the state already had some involvement; the education of workhouse
children and the education of factory children. The measures he
announced related to England and Wales; Scotland had an established
system of parochial schools run by its established church, with little
controversy, since in Scotland there was no dissent on doctrine, only
on questions of discipline. In the 'education clauses' of his Factory
Education Bill of 1843, he proposed to make government loans to a new
class of government factory schools effectively under the control of
Church of England
Church of England and the local magistrates. The default religious
education in these schools would be Anglican, but parents would be
allowed to opt their children out of anything specifically Anglican;
if the opt-out was exercised, religious education would be as in the
best type of Dissenter-run schools. Once a trust school was open in a
factory district, factory children in that district would have to
provide a certificate that they were being educated at it or at some
other school certified as 'efficient'. The 'labour clauses' forming
the other half of the bill were essentially a revival of Fox Maule's
draft; children could work only in the morning or in the afternoon,
but not both. There were two significant differences; the working day
for children was reduced to six and a half hours, and the minimum age
for factory work would be reduced to eight. Other clauses increased
penalties and assisted enforcement.
Reaction, retreats, and abandonment
A Second Reading debate was held to flesh out major issues before
going into committee. At Lord John Russell's urging, the
discussion was temperate, but there was considerable opposition to the
proposed management of the new schools, which effectively excluded
ratepayers (who would repay the loan and meet any shortfall in running
costs)and made no provision for a Dissenter presence (to see fair
play). The provisions for appointment of schoolmasters were also
criticised; as they stood they effectively excluded Dissenters.
Out of Parliament, the debate was less temperate; objections that the
Bill had the effect of strengthening the Church became objections that
it was a deliberate attack on Dissent, that its main purpose was to
attack Dissent, and that the Royal Commission had deliberately and
grossly defamed the population of the manufacturing districts to give
a spurious pretext for an assault on Dissent. Protest meetings
were held on that basis throughout the country, and their resolutions
condemning the bill and calling for its withdrawal were supported by a
campaign of organised petitions: that session Parliament received
13,369 petitions against the bill as drafted with a total of 2,069,058
signatures. (For comparison, in the same session there were 4574
petitions for total repeal of the Corn Laws, with a total of 1,111,141
Lord John Russell drafted resolutions calling for modification of the
bill along the lines suggested in Parliament; the resolutions were
denounced as inadequate by the extra-parliamentary opposition.
Graham amended the educational clauses, but this only triggered a
fresh round of indignation meetings and a fresh round of petitions
(11,839 petitions and 1,920,574 signatures). Graham then withdrew
the education clauses but this did not end the objections,
since it did not entirely restore the status quo ante on
education; indeed the education requirements of the 1833 Act now
came under attack, the
Leeds Mercury declaring education was something
individuals could do for themselves "under the guidance of natural
instinct and self-interest, infinitely better than Government could do
for them". Hence "All Government interference to COMPEL Education
is wrong" and had unacceptable implications: "If Government has a
right to compel Education, it has right to compel RELIGION !"
Although as late as 17 July Graham said he intended to get the bill
though in the current session, three days later the bill was one
of those Peel announced would be dropped for that session.
Factories Act 1844 (Graham's factory act)
Further information: Factories Act 1847
In 1844 Graham again introduced a Bill to bring in a new Factory Act
and repeal the 1833 Factory Act. The Bill gave educational issues
a wide berth, but otherwise largely repeated the 'labour clauses' of
Graham's 1843 Bill, with the important difference that the existing
protection of young persons (a twelve-hour day and a ban on night
working) was now extended to women of all ages. In Committee, Lord
Ashley moved an amendment to the bill's clause 2, which defined the
terms used in subsequent (substantive) clauses; his amendment changed
the definition of 'night' to 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.-after allowing 90
minutes for mealbreaks only ten-and-a-half hours could be worked;
this passed by nine votes. On clause 8, limiting the hours of work
for women and young persions, the motion setting a twelve-hour day was
defeated (by three votes: 183-186) but Lord Ashley's motion setting
the limit at ten hours was also defeated (by seven votes:181-188).
Voting on this Bill was not on party lines, the issue revealing both
parties to be split into various factions. On clause 8, both 'ten' and
'twelve' hours were rejected (with exactly the same members voting)
because five members voted against both 'ten' and 'twelve'. Faced
with this impasse, and having considered and rejected the option of
compromising on some intermediate time such as eleven hours,[l] Graham
withdrew the Bill, preferring to replace it by a new one which
amended, rather than repealed, the 1833 Act. A Radical MP warned
the government during the debate on clause 8 that Ashley's first
victory could never be undone by any subsequent vote: morally the
Ten-Hour question had been settled;:c1402 Government might delay,
but could not now prevent, a Ten-hour Act. However, the new bill left
the 1833 definition of 'night' unaltered (and so gave no opportunity
for redefinition) and Lord Ashley's amendment to limit the working day
for women and young persons to ten hours was defeated heavily (295
against, 198 for), it having been made clear that the Ministers
would resign if they lost the vote.
As a result, the Factory Act of 1844 (citation 7 & 8 Vict c. 15)
again set a twelve-hour day, its main provisions being:
Children 9–13 years could work for 9 hours a day with a lunch break.
Ages must be verified by surgeons.
Women and young people now worked the same number of hours. They could
work for no more than 12 hours a day during the week, including one
and a half hours for meals, and 9 hours on Sundays. They must all take
their meals at the same time and could not do so in the workroom
Time-keeping to be by a public clock approved by an inspector
Some classes of machinery: every fly-wheel directly connected with the
steam engine or water-wheel or other mechanical power, whether in the
engine-house or not, and every part of a steam engine and water-wheel,
and every hoist or teagle,[m] near to which children or young persons
are liable to pass or be employed, and all parts of the mill-gearing
(this included power shafts) in a factory were to be "securely
Children and women were not to clean moving machinery.
Accidental death must be reported to a surgeon and investigated; the
result of the investigation to be reported to a Factory Inspector.
Factory owners must wash factories with lime every fourteen months.
Thorough records must be kept regarding the provisions of the Act and
shown to the inspector on demand.
An abstract of the amended Act must be hung up in the factory so as to
be easily read, and show (amongst other things) names and addresses of
the inspector and sub-inspector of the district, the certifying
surgeon, the times for beginning and ending work, the amount of time
and time of day for meals.
Factory Inspectors no longer had the powers of JPs but (as before
1833) millowners, their fathers, brothers and sons were all debarred
(if magistrates) from hearing Factory Act cases.
Factories Act 1847
Main article: Factories Act 1847
After the collapse of the Peel administration which had resisted any
reduction in the working day to less than 12 hours, a Whig
administration under Lord John Russell came to power. The new Cabinet
contained supporters and opponents of a ten-hour day and Lord John
himself favoured an eleven-hour day. The Government therefore had no
collective view on the matter; in the absence of Government
opposition, the Ten Hour Bill (also known as the Ten Hour Act) was
passed, becoming the
Factories Act 1847 (citation 10 & 11 Vict c.
29). This law limited the work week in textile mills (and other
textile industries except lace and silk production) for women and
children under 18 years of age. Each work week contained 63 hours
effective 1 July 1847 and was reduced to 58 hours effective 1 May
1848. In effect, this law limited the workday for all millhands to 10
This law was successfully passed due to the contributions of the Ten
Hours Movement. This campaign was established during the 1830s and was
responsible for voicing demands towards limiting the work week in
textile mills. The core of the movement was the 'Short Time
Committees' set up (by millworkers and sympathisers) in the textile
districts, but the main speakers for the cause were Richard Oastler
(who led the campaign outside Parliament) and Lord Ashley, 7th Earl of
Shaftesbury (who led the campaign inside Parliament). John Fielden,
although no orator, was indefatigable in his support of the cause,
giving generously of his time and money and - as the senior partner in
one of the great cotton firms - vouching for the reality of evils of a
long working day and the practicality of shortening it.
Factories Act 1850 (the 'Compromise' Act)
A Victorian power loom (Lancashire loom)
The Acts of 1844 and 1847 had reduced the hours per day which any
woman or young person could work but not the hours of the day within
which they could do that work (from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.).
Under the 1833 Act millowners (or some of them) had used a 'relay
system' so that the mill could operate all the permitted hours without
any protected person exceeding their permitted workday. The 1833 Act
had hoped that two sets of children would be employed and each work a
full half-day (the 'true relay' system, which left the other halfday
free for education). Instead, some mills operated a 'false relay'
system in which the protected persons worked split shifts. The false
relay system was considered objectionable both because of the effect
on the protected persons [n] and because an inspector (or other
millowners) could relatively easily monitor the hours a mill ran; it
was much more difficult if not impossible to check the hours worked by
an individual (as an inspector observed "the lights in the window will
discover the one but not the other") Section 26 of the 1844 Act
required that the hours of work of all protected persons " shall be
reckoned from the time when any child or young person shall first
begin to work in the morning in such factory." but nothing in it or in
the 1847 Act clearly prohibited split shifts (although this had been
Parliament's intention).[o] The factory inspector for Scotland
considered split shifts to be legal; the inspector for Bradford
thought them illegal and his local magistrates agreed with him: in
Manchester the inspector thought them illegal but the magistrates did
not. In 1850 the Court of Exchequer held that the section was to be
too weakly worded to make relay systems illegal.[p] Lord Ashley
sought to remedy this by a short declaratory Act restoring the status
quo but felt it impossible to draft one which did not introduce fresh
matter (which would remove the argument that there was no call for
further debate). The
Home Secretary Sir George Grey was originally
noticeably ambivalent about Government support for Ashley's Bill: when
Ashley reported his difficulties to the House of Commons, Grey
announced an intention to move amendments in favour of a scheme
(ostensibly suggested by a third party) which established a
'normal day' for women and young persons by setting the times within
which they could work so tightly that they were also the start and
stop times if they were to work the maximum permitted hours per day.
Grey's scheme increased the hours that could be worked per week, but
Ashley (uncertain of the outcome of any attempt to re-enact a true Ten
Hours Bill) decided to support it and Grey's scheme was the basis
for the 1850 Act (citation 13 & 14 Vict c. 54). The Short Time
Committees had previously been adamant for an effective Ten-hour Bill;
Ashley wrote to them, noting that he acted in Parliament as their
friend, not their delegate, explaining his reasons for accepting
Grey's "compromise", and advising them to do so also. They duly did,
significantly influenced by the thought that they could not afford to
lose their friend in Parliament. The key provisions of the 1850
Act were :
Women and young persons could only work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. or - in
winter, and subject to approval by a factory inspector- :43 7 a.m.
to 7 p.m.: since they were to be allowed 90 minutes total breaks
during the day, the maximum hours worked per day increased to 10.5
All work would end on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The work week was extended from 58 hours to 60 hours.
Various public meetings in the textile districts subsequently passed
motions regretting that the 58-hour week had not been more stoutly
defended, with various stalwarts of the Ten-Hour Movement ( various
Cobbetts and Fieldens (
John Fielden now being dead) and Richard
Oastler) offering their support and concurring with criticism of
Ashley's actions, but nothing came of this: the meetings were poorly
attended (that at Manchester was attended by about 900 ) and the
Ten-Hour Movement had now effectively run its course.
Children (8-13) were not covered by this Act: it had been the
deliberate intention of the 1833 Act that a mill might use two sets of
children on a relay system and the obvious method of doing so did not
require split shifts. A further Act of 1853 set similar limits on the
hours within which children might work.
Factories Act 1856
Power shafting, belts and power looms in operation [q]
In April 1855 a National Association of Factory Occupiers was formed
"to watch over factory legislation with a view to prevent any increase
of the present unfair and injudicious enactments". The 1844 Act had
required that "mill gearing" - which included power shafts - should be
securely fenced. Magistrates had taken inconsistent views as to
whether this applied where the "mill gearing" was not readily
accessible; in particular where power shafting ran horizontally well
above head height. In 1856, the Court of Queen's Bench ruled that it
did. In April, 1856, the National Association of Factory Occupiers
succeeded in obtaining an Act reversing this decision: mill gearing
needed secure fencing only of those parts with which women, young
persons, and children were liable to come in contact. (The inspectors
feared that the potential hazards in areas they did not normally
access might be obvious to experienced men, but not be easily
appreciated by women and children who were due the legislative
protection the 1856 Act had removed, especially given the potential
severe consequences of their inexperience. An MP speaking against the
Bill was able to give multiple instances of accidents to protected
persons resulting in death or loss of limbs - all caused by unguarded
shafting with which they were supposedly not liable to come into
contact - despite restricting himself to accidents in mills owned by
Members of Parliament (so that he could be corrected by them if had
misstated any facts). (Dickens thereafter referred to the NAFO as
the National Association for the Protection of the Right to Mangle
Harriet Martineau criticised Dickens for this,
arguing that mangling was the result of workers not being careful and:
"If men and women are to be absolved from the care of their own lives
and limbs, and the responsibility put upon anybody else by the law of
the land, the law of the land is lapsing into barbarism":47)) For
other parts of the mill gearing any dispute between the occupier and
the inspector could be resolved by arbitration. The arbitration was
to be by a person skilled in making the machinery to be guarded; the
inspectors however declined to submit safety concerns to arbitration
by those "who look only to the construction and working of the
machinery, which is their business,and not to the prevention of
accidents, which is not their business" 
Factories Act Extension Act 1867
In virtually every debate on the various Factories Bills, opponents
had thought it a nonsense to pass legislation for textile mills when
the life of a mill child was much preferable to that of many other
children: other industries were more tiring, more dangerous, more
unhealthy, required longer working hours, involved more unpleasant
working conditions, or (this being Victorian Britain) were more
conducive to lax morals. This logic began to be applied in reverse
once it became clear that the Ten Hours Act had had no obvious
detrimental effect on the prosperity of the textile industry or on
that of millworkers. Acts were passed making similar provisions for
other textile trades: bleaching and dyeworks (1860 - outdoor bleaching
was excluded), lace work (1861), calendering (1863), finishing
(1864). A further Act in 1870 repealed these acts and brought the
ancillary textile processes (including outdoor bleaching) within the
scope of the main Factory Act. In 1864 the Factories Extension
Act was passed: this extended the Factories Act to cover a number of
occupations (mostly non-textile): potteries (both heat and exposure to
lead glazes were issues), lucifer match making ('phossie jaw')
percussion cap and cartridge making, paper staining and fustian
cutting. In 1867 the Factories Act was extended to all
establishments employing 50 or more workers by another Factories Act
Extension Act. An Hours of Labour Regulation Act applied to
'workshops' (establishments employing less than 50 workers); it
subjected these to requirements similar to those for 'factories' (but
less onerous on a number of points e.g.: the hours within which the
permitted hours might be worked were less restrictive, there was no
requirement for certification of age) but was to be administered by
local authorities, rather than the Factory Inspectorate. There was
no requirement on local authorities for enforcement (or penalties for
non-enforcement) of legislation for workshops. The effectiveness of
the regulation of workshops therefore varied from area to area;
where it was effective, a blanket ban on Sunday working in workshops
was a problem for observant Jews. A short Act in 1871 transferred
responsibility for regulation of workshops to the Factory
Inspectorate, but without an adequate increase in the
Inspectorates's resources. 
Factories (Health of Women, &c.) Act (1874)
(37 & 38 Vict. c. 44)
The newly-legalised trade unions had as one of their aims a reduction
in working hours, both by direct concession by employers and by
securing legislation. The 1873
Trades Union Congress
Trades Union Congress (TUC) could
congratulate itself on 'a general concession of the "nine-hour day" in
all the leading engineering establishments of the kingdom' but
regretted that a Private Member's Bill introduced by A. J. Mundella
seeking to reduce the hours worked by women and children in textile
industries had not succeeded, although the Government had
responded by setting up a commission on the workings of the Factory
Acts. (The TUC had had to support the measure through a committee
also containing non-unionists; Lord Shaftesbury (as Ashley had become)
had declined to support any measure brought forward on a purely trade
Mundella again introduced a nine-hour bill in 1873; he withdrew this
when the government did not allow enough time for debate; he
reintroduced it in 1874, but withdrew it when the government brought
forward its own bill, which became the Factories (Health of Women,
&c.) Act. This gave women and young persons in textile factories
(silk mills now lost their previous special treatment) a working day
of ten hours on weekdays (twelve hours broken into sessions of no more
than four and a half hours by two meal breaks of at least an hour); on
Saturday six hours could be spent on manufacturing processes, and
another half-hour on other duties (such as cleaning the workplace and
machinery).The provisions for children now applied to 13-year-olds,
and (over a two-year period) the minimum age for children was to
increase to ten.
Shaftesbury's valedictory review
Shaftesbury spoke in the Lords Second Reading debate; thinking it
might well be his last speech in Parliament on factory reform, he
reviewed the changes over the forty-one years it had taken to secure a
ten-hour-day, as this bill at last did. In 1833, only two
manufacturers had been active supporters of his bill; all but a
handful of manufacturers supported the 1874 bill. Economic arguments
against reducing working hours had been disproved by decades of
experience. Despite the restrictions on hours of work, employment in
textile mills had increased (1835; 354,684, of whom 56,455 under 13:
in 1871, 880,920 of whom 80,498 under 13), but accidents were half
what they had been and 'factory cripples' were no longer seen. In
1835, he asserted, seven-tenths of factory children were illiterate;
in 1874 seven-tenths had 'a tolerable, if not a sufficient,
education'. Furthermore, police returns showed 'a decrease of 23
percent in the immorality of factory women'. The various protective
acts now covered over two and a half million people.
During the short-time agitation he had been promised "Give us our
rights, and you will never again see violence, insurrection, and
disloyalty in these counties." And so it had proved: the Cotton Famine
had thrown thousands out of work, with misery, starvation, and death
staring them in the face; but, 'with one or two trifling exceptions,
and those only momentary,' order and peace had reigned.
By legislation you have removed manifold and oppressive obstacles that
stood in the way of the working man's comfort, progress, and honour.
By legislation you have ordained justice, and exhibited sympathy with
the best interests of the labourers, the surest and happiest mode of
all government. By legislation you have given to the working classes
the full power to exercise, for themselves and for the public welfare,
all the physical and moral energies that God has bestowed on them; and
by legislation you have given them means to assert and maintain their
rights; and it will be their own fault, not yours, my Lords, if they
do not, with these abundant and mighty blessings, become a wise and an
Factory and Workshop Act 1878 ('the Consolidation Act')
In the debates on Mundella's bills and the 1874 act, it had been noted
that years of piece-meal legislation had left factory law in an
unsatisfactory and confusing state;[r] the government had spoken of
the need to consolidate and extend factory law by a single Act
replacing all previous legislation, but had not felt itself able to
allocate the necessary legislative time. In March 1875, a Royal
Commission (headed by Sir James Fergusson) was set up to look at the
consolidation and extension of factory law. It took evidence in
the principal industrial towns, and published its report in March
1876. It recommended consolidation of legislation by a single new Act.
The new Act should include workplaces in the open air, and carrying,
washing and cleaning; however mines and agriculture should be
excluded. Work by protected persons should be within a twelve-hour
window (between 6am and 7 pm: exceptionally for some industries the
window could be 8am to 8pm). Within that window: in factories two
hours should be allowed for meals and no work session should exceed
four and a half hours; in workshops work sessions should not exceed
five hours and meal breaks should total at least one and a half
hours. Sunday working should be permitted where both worker and
employer were Jewish. All children should attend school from five
until fourteen; they should not be allowed to attend half-time, nor be
employed under the new Act, until ten. From ten to fourteen employment
would be conditional upon satisfactory school attendance and
The government announced that the report had been produced too late
for legislation in the current parliamentary session, but legislation
would be introduced in the following one. A bill was given a
First Reading in April 1877, but made no further progress;[s] at
the end of July it was postponed to the following year. In 1878,
the Bill was given a higher priority: it had its first reading as soon
as Parliament convened in January; the Second Reading debate was held
11 February and it entered Committee stage on 21 February.;
the Third Reading in the Commons was given at the end of March
Provisions of Act
The Factory and Workshop Act 1878 (41 & 42 Vict. c. 16) replaced
all the previous Acts (it listed sixteen acts repealed in their
entirety) by a single Act of some hundred and seven clauses. The Chief
Inspector of Factories described it as much less restrictive than the
legislation it replaced:  "The hard and fast line" (drawn by the
previous Acts) "is now an undulating and elastic one, drawn to satisfy
the absolute necessities and customs of different trades in different
parts of the kingdom "
The protected persons fell into three categories:
'Children' (aged 10-14 (but a child of 13 who had met required levels
of academic attainment and had a good school attendance record could
be employed as a 'young person'))
'Young persons' (aged 14-18, of either sex: as noted above
13-year-olds satisfying educational requirements could be employed as
'Women' (females aged over 18; it had been urged that women did not
require protection, and their inclusion in factory legislation
deterred their employment. The countering arguments (that married
women required protection from husbands, and unless unmarried women
were subject to the same protection, Parliament would be legislating
to promote immorality; and that the restrictions were in the interests
of public health, since they ensured some maternal attention for the
children of working women) had generally prevailed)
The premises being regulated were now separated into five
categories: Factories fell into two types;
'textile factories' - those within the scope of the 1874 Act
'non-textile factories' - workplaces carrying out a number of
specified processes ((textile) print works, bleaching and dyeing
works, earthenware works(excluding brickworks), lucifer match works,
percussion cap works, cartridge works, paper staining works, fustian
cutting works, blast furnaces, copper mills, iron mills, foundries,
metal and india-rubber works, paper mills, glass works, tobacco
factories, letterpress printing works, bookbinding works ) and
additionally any workplace in which mechanical power was used
(replacing the former distinction between factory and workshop on the
basis on the number of employees)
Workshops were places in which the manufacture, repair or finishing of
articles were carried out as a trade without the use of mechanical
power and to which the employer controlled access (it was irrelevant
whether these operations were carried out in the open air, and
shipyards, quarries and pit banks were specifically scheduled as
workshops (unless factories because mechanical power was used)).
Laundries (originally in the Bill) were excluded from the final Act;
in Ireland much laundry work was carried out in convents and Irish
members objected to inspection of convents by an exclusively
Protestant inspectorate. [t]Three types of workshop were
Workshops not employing protected persons other than women
Domestic workshops (workshops carried out in a private house, room etc
by members of the family living there)
The Act excluded domestic workshops carrying out straw-plait making,
pillow lace making or glove-making and empowered the
Home Secretary to
extend this exemption. The Act also excluded domestic workshops
involving non-strenuous work carried out intermittently and not
providing the principal source of income of the family.
Requirements and enforcement arrangements were most stringent for
textile factories, least stringent for domestic workshops, and the Act
Home Secretary some latitude to vary the requirements for
specific industries (but not individual workplaces) to accommodate
existing practices where these were not detrimental to the underlying
purpose of the Act.
The Act followed the recommendations of the Commission by setting a
limit of 56½ hours on the hours worked per week by women and young
persons in textile factories, 60 hours in non-textile factories and
workshops (except domestic workshops, where there was no restriction
on the working hours of women), but allowing greater flexibility on
how those hours were worked for non-textile factories and workshops.
The ban on Sunday working (and on late working on Saturday) was
modified to apply instead to the Jewish Sabbath where both employer
and employees were Jewish. Except in domestic workshops, protected
persons were to have two full holidays and eight half-holidays The
full holidays would normally be Christmas Day and Good Friday, but
other holidays could be substituted for Good Friday ( in Scotland and
for all-Jewish workplaces, substitution for Christmas Day was allowed;
Ireland kept St patrick'd day as a holiday). Half holdays could be
combined to give additional full-day holidays;  it had to be
clarified later that the Act's definition of a half-holday as "at
least half" of a full day's employment "on some day other than
Saturday" was to give the minimum duration of a half-holiday, not to
prohibit one being taken on a Saturday .
Children were not to be employed under the age of ten, and should
attend school half-time until fourteen (or until thirteen if they had
a good record of school attendance and satisfactory scholastic
achievement). (In Scotland, for factory children only, this overrode
attempts by local school boards to set standards of scholastic
attainment to be met before a child could cease full-time schooling;
the Scottish education acts ceded precedence to the factory acts.
In England (& Wales) it was unclear whether factory acts or
education acts had precedence until the Elementary Education Act of
1880 settled the matter in favour of school board bye-laws, but
without any standardisation of criteria between different boards.
Specification of a minimum educational attainment before a factory
child could work half-time then became enforceable in England, but
remained unenforceable in Scotland until passage of the Education
(Scotland) Act of 1883 :222-224 ) 'Half-time' could be
achieved by splitting each day between school and work, or (unless the
child worked in a domestic workshop) by working and attending school
on alternate days. If the former, the child should work morning and
afternoons on alternate weeks; if the latter the schooldays in one
week should be workdays the next (and vice versa). No child should
work a half-day on successive Saturdays. Surgeons no longer certified
the apparent age of a child (or young person), age now being
substantiated by a birth certificate or school register entry, but
(for employment in factories) they were required to certify the
fitness for the work of children and young persons under the age of
Protected persons should not be allowed to clean moving machinery, the
requirement to guard machinery now extended to the protection of men
as well as protected persons, and the
Home Secretary might direct that
some or all of the fine imposed for a breach of this requirement be
paid to any person injured (or the relatives of any person killed) as
a result.  (Guarding was now only unnecessary if the position of
machinery meant it was equally safe if unguarded, but hoists still
only needed to be guarded if a person might pass close to them).
There were restrictions on the employment of some classes of protected
persons on processes injurious to health. Young persons and children
could not work in the manufacture of white lead, or silvering mirrors
using mercury; children and female young persons could not be employed
in glass works; girls under sixteen could not be employed in the
manufacture of bricks, (non-ornamental) tiles, or salt; children could
not be employed in the dry grinding of metals or the dipping of
lucifer matches. Inspectors were given powers to require the
mitigation of dusty atmospheres by mechanical ventilation or other
A minor Act of 1883 (Factory and Workshop Act, 1883 (46 & 47 Vict.
c.53)) gave additional powers for the regulation of white-lead
manufacture and bakehouses (but sanitary requirements for retail
bakehouses were to be enforced by local authorities); in the same
session a private member's Bill intended to prohibit the employment of
female children in the manufacture of nails was defeated at Second
Inadequate resources for strict enforcement
The TUC had few complaints about the Act, but complained that the
inspectorate enforcing it was too small, and lacking in 'practical
men'. The latter complaint was partially addressed by changeing the
recruitment process and appointing a number of former trade union
officials to the inspectorate. The total number of
inspectors increased from 38 in 1868 to 56 in 1885, but (the general
secretary of the TUC complained) these had to cover the more than
110,000 workplaces registered (in 1881) and attempt to detect
unregistered workplaces falling within the scope of the Act: 16 out of
39 districts in England had no registered workshops and only half the
registered workshops had been inspected in 1881). When, after
several unsuccessful attempts to extend some of the protections of the
Act to shopworkers, Sir John Lubbock succeeded in securing passage of
a Shop Hours Regulation Act at the end of the 1886 session, the Act
made no provision for (and the
Home Secretary (Hugh Childers) refused
to accept any amendment allowing) enforcement by inspection.[u]
The Evening Standard thought that this meant the Act would be a dead
letter, given experiences with the Factory Acts:
Factory Acts are enforced by an elaborate machinery of
inspection. Anyone who has taken the trouble to inquire into the
matter knows perfectly well that without this stringent inspection
they would be absolutely worthless. Even as it is they are contravened
openly every day, because the best inspection must, from the nature of
the case, be somewhat spasmodic and uncertain. When an Inspector
discovers that the law has been broken he summons the offending party;
but, as a rule, if he does not make the discovery himself, no one
informs him of it. The chief provisions of the last Factory Act are
hung up, legibly printed on white cardboard, "plain for all men to
see," in every room of every factory. No one can be ignorant of them;
yet when they are disregarded, as they are constantly, it is the
rarest thing for any of the women affected by the illegality to give
Factory Act 1891
Under the heading Conditions of Employment were two considerable
additions to previous legislation: the first is the prohibition on
employers to employ women within four weeks after confinement
(childbirth); the second the raising the minimum age at which a child
can be set to work from ten to eleven
Factory and Workshop Act 1895
Main article: Factory and Workshop Act 1895
The main article gives an overview of the state of Factory Act
legislation in Edwardian Britain under the Factory and Workshop Acts
1878 to 1895 (the collective title of the Factory and Workshop Act
1878, the Factory and Workshop Act 1883, the Cotton Cloth Factories
Act 1889, the Factory and Workshop Act 1891 and the Factory and
Workshop Act 1895.)
Factory and Workshop Act 1901
Minimum working age is raised to 12. The act also introduced
legislation regarding education of children, meal times, and fire
Factories Act 1937
The 1937 Act (1 Edw. 8 & 1 Geo. 6 c.67) consolidated and amended
the Factory and Workshop Acts from 1901 to 1929. It was introduced to
the House of Commons by the Home Secretary, Sir John Simon, on 29
January 1937 and given
Royal Assent on 30 July.
Factories Act 1959
This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (July 2008)
Factories Act 1961
Main article: Factories Act 1961
This Act consolidated the 1937 and 1959 Acts. As of 2008[update], the
1961 Act is substantially still in force, though workplace health and
safety is principally governed by the Health and Safety at Work etc.
Act 1974 and regulations made under it.
History of labour law in the United Kingdom
UK labour law
Mines Act of 1842
^ On the left an (expensive) adult male - on the left a female
'piecer' (mending broken threads) and a 'scavenger' (sweeping up
debris before it can contaminate the threads) (the children may be
drawn to look older than in real life: scavenger looks a bit too
big/old for the job
^ George Philips; "the Member for Manchester" in fact MP for Wootton
Bassett but his mill was in Salford and his business interests in
^ William Evans, MP for East Retford; he and his step-father had a
variety of commercial interests in Derbyshire, including large
water-powered mills at
Darley Abbey on the Derbyshire Derwent
^ to make a list indicative, rather than prescriptive ; a prudent
amendment and not as trivial as it sounds. An Elizabethan parliament,
feeling that nobody should take up a trade without having served an
apprenticeship, passed a law to that effect. However since the law
listed the trades then practised, without any preceding 'to include',
the Act was subsequently held to cover only the trades it listed:
trades which developed subsequently did not (legally) require an
apprenticeship. Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations mocked the consequent
Hansard for 1829 is not accessible online; nor do
Hutchins and Harrison appear to take any notice of these very minor
bits of Factory Legislation. The necessary trawl through contemporary
newspapers for 1829 throws up some interesting straws in the wind on
the spirit of the age: two very young children accidentally locked in
a Bolton cotton mill over the weekend (Lancaster Gazette, 13 June
1829) were there from 5 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday , and a
millowner working a nine-year-old more than twelve hours was fined
£20 thanks to a prosecution at Stockport brought by a member of a
society for enforcing the provisions of the 1825 Act ('Overworking
Children in Cotton Factories' Manchester Times 25 April 1829). The
same prosecutor had less success with a later prosecution at
Macclesfield ('Overworking Children and Paying in Goods' Manchester
Times 15 August 1829) (but if laws are passed to change behaviours not
to punish wrongdoersthe
Truck Act action was successful : the
millowner having been found not guilty (on a defence that his tokens
could be exchanged for legal tender at face value at the company shop)
promised to take the bench's advice and to henceforth pay in coin of
the realm )
^ by which he meant that Parliament had been fully occupied with the
Reform Bill, so time could not have been found for a debate on opposed
clauses: as noted above the Third Reading debate on Hobhouses's Bill
took place c. 2 am
^ As of May 1835, there were reported to be 360,000 employed in
factory labour, of whom 100,000 were children under fourteen,
80-90,000 adult males, and the remaining 170-180,000 women and young
persons (aged 14-20) The 1841 Census reported that in England,
Scotland and Wales there were about 7.3 million people under 21, which
would appear to imply that whilst less than 3% of the adult population
of the UK were factory workers, factory children constituted about 7%
of the total 10-13 age-group. The 1841 Census reported the population
of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire to be about 10% of the
total British population.
^ In this case and presumably on Peel's instructions, obstruction
seems to have been avoided: once the debate on Ashley's motion was
complete the reading of the Irish tithes bill was unopposed
^ 1838 had seen the first flowering of
Chartism in the manufacturing
districts, which would lead to monster meetings at Kersal Moor
(September 1838) and Peep Green (Hartshead Moor)(October
1838): the speeches at those meetings suggest however that the New
Poor Law was the major immediate issue, rather than factory
^ age certificates for children could be issued by surgeons other that
those approved by a factory inspector, provided the certificate was
counter-signed by a magistrate
^ A member of the Commission separately suggested, in his capacity as
Factory Inspector, that the
Plug Plot Riots
Plug Plot Riots and other Chartist
Ashton-under-Lyne could have been averted had more
attention been paid in the past to the education of the humbler
classes of the district by their superiors). It is unclear how far
this political aspect drove the education initiative. For the record,
the Chartist Northern Star supported Graham's education clauses;
education and intellectual culture were the means "by which the
working man comes to know something of the framework of society, and
to understand what his rights are, as a first step towards the
assertion of them"
^ of the five MPs who voted 'against both 'ten' and 'twelve', three
seem to have given no explanation, of the other two William Aldam
spoke in support of an eleven-hour day in the 22 March debate,
William Ewart spoke in favour of an eleven-hour compromise in the 25
^ dialect word for 'hoist' (OED)
^ both because thrown out of mill for a couple of hours in all
weathers, and because releasing teenagers from factory discipline and
leaving them to their own devices for a couple of hours in the
proximity of members of the opposite sex (and possibly of dram-shops)
was inconsistent with Victorian morals
^ The legal issues are laid out concisely and in layman's language in
a newspaper report of the 1849 prosecution of the employers of
Isabella Robinson 15 year-old cotton spinner at a mill in Colne "last
Tuesday she began to work at 6 am; she worked until 6:15 , then she
gave over working and someone else worked in her place; she returned
to work at 8:30 and worked until 12:30, when she went to dinner and
was away an hour; she came back at 1:30, and worked till 7:15"
^ prompting Punch to suggest it would be more appropriate to refer to
the Unsatis-Factory Act
^ at Boott Mills, Lowell Massachusetts, but arrangements in Victorian
Britain would have been much the same
^ According to the then Chief Inspector of Factories the more recent
Acts "were necessarily incomplete and experimental ... by the time the
last of these several Acts had received the Royal assent there existed
a perfect chaos of regulations - all good in themselves when enacted -
all having a direct purpose, which most of the trades have outlived,
and which required constant care and consideration to prevent an
application of them which would have imperiled that impartiality and
that uniformity of administration which are absolutely essential to
secure harmonious and cheerful co-operation". The lace
manufacturers of Nottingham told the 1875 Royal Commission that
workers in the industry fell under one (or none) of three different
acts ; all branches customarily worked a 54-hour week but most
workers - where the Act of 1874 did not apply - preferred to breakfast
before starting work: a work pattern incompatible with the Act
^ Irish members were making their presence felt by obstructing
progress with legislation across the board: the Canal Boats Act 1877
was, however, passed. This addressed a recommendation of the Factory
and Workshop Commission, which had taken evidence on the living
conditions of barge children, but the Act led to the registration and
regulation of canal boats as residences, rather than as
Home Secretary assured the Commons that religion was not a
consideration when appointing to the inspectorate; upon inquiry he
found that the inspector for Manchester was a Catholic
^ Gladstone's administration had been defeated on Irish issues; a
dissolution was to follow once essential non-controversial Bills had
been passed. Therefore no controversial amendments to the Bill could
be accepted; its remaining opponents also objected to its treatment as
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Hutchins & Harrison (1911).
^ a b c d e Statutes at Large: Statutes of the United Kingdom,
^ Early factory legislation. Parliament.uk. Accessed 2 September 2011.
^ "COTTON FACTORIES BILL".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 41:
cc815–6. 7 December 1819. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
^ a b c "Cotton Mills Regulation Bill".
Hansard House of Commons
Debates. 13 (cc643-9). 16 May 1825. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
^ "Member Biographies: George Philips". The History of Parliament.
Retrieved 2 August 2014.
^ "Employment of Children". Manchester Times. 30 May 1829.
^ "Imperial Parliament". Morning Post (23 June 1829).
^ "Imperial Parliament (subheading: Legislative Mistake)". Hull
Packet. 30 June 1829.
^ "Appentices in Factories".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 2
(cc584-6). 15 February 1831. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
^ "Section I: Extracts from the evidence of Working Spinners,
Overlookers, and Managers Shewing the mode of conducting Cotton
Factories; the Hours of Working; and the Effects of the System on the
Health and Constitutions of the Children". Reasons in favour of Sir
Robert Peel's bill, for ameliorating the condition of children
employed in cotton factories; comprehending a summary view of the
evidence in support of the bill, taken before the Lords' committees in
the present session of parliament. W. Clowes. 1819. pp. 1–39.
Retrieved 23 July 2014. see in particular the evidence of a
36-year-old spinner Robert Hyde pp 25–30
John Cam Hobhouse
John Cam Hobhouse to Richard Oastler, 16 November 1831, quoted in
'Alfred' The History of the Factory Movement from the year 1802, to
the Enactment of the Ten Hours' Bill in 1847, (1857) vol I, pp
138–41 , reproduced in Ward, J.T. (1970). The Factory System: Volume
II: The Factory System and Society (David & Charles Sources for
Social & Economic History). Newton Abbot: David & Charles.
ISBN 0 7153 48957. (pages 92–94; quote is from page 94 of
Richard Oastler to John Cam Hobhouse, 19 November 1831, quoted in
'Alfred' The History of the Factory Movement from the year 1802, to
the Enactment of the Ten Hours' Bill in 1847, (1857) vol I, pp
141–6, reproduced in Ward, J.T. (1970). The Factory System: Volume
II: The Factory System and Society (David & Charles Sources for
Social & Economic History). Newton Abbot: David & Charles.
ISBN 0 7153 48957. (pages 94–98; quote (italics are in
original) is from page 98 of Ward)
^ the correspondence can also be found as "Correspondence Relative to
the Factories Act". Leeds Intelligencer. 24 November 1831. in
the British Newspaper Archive
^ "Factories Regulation Bill".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 11
(cc 204-5). 14 March 1832.
^ a b "Factories Regulation Bill".
Hansard House of Commons Debates.
11 (cc340-98). 16 March 1832.
^ "Factories' Commission".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 17
(cc79-115). 3 April 1833. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
^ "Factories Bill".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 14 (cc965-6). 31
July 1832. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
^ "Friday's Express". Stamford Mercury. 10 August 1832.
^ "Local Intelligence". Leeds Intelligencer. 11 August 1832.
^ "As to the proceedings of Mr Sadler and his committee, or rather Mr
Sadler in committee, last year, they are a perfect burlesque on
legislative inquiries" Sheffield Independent. 23 March 1833.
Missing or empty title= (help) quoting Manchester Guardian (date not
^ "Mr Sadler's Speech". London Standard. 2 May 1833.
^ "The Factory Commission – Replies to Mr Sadler's Protest". London
Standard. 30 May 1833.
^ "FACTORIES REGULATIONS".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 19
(cc219-54). 5 July 1833. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
^ "FACTORIES' REGULATIONS".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 19
(cc898-913). 18 July 1833. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
^ a b c (Report of the Commissioners on Conditions in Factories,
Parliamentary Papers, 1833, volume XX ), subsequent extracts are as
given in extracts from Young, G M; Hancock, W D, eds. (1956). English
Historical Documents, XII(1), 1833-1874. New York: Oxford University
Press. pp. 934–49. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
^ a b R J Saunders "Report on the Establishment of Schools in the
Factory District" in Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons
(1843). Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons and Command. H.M.
^ "Factories Regulation Bill". The Examiner. 9 February 1834.
^ "Parliamentary Analysis". Morning Post. 21 February 1834.
^ a b c "Factory Bill". Caledonian Mercury. 23 February 1835.
^ "Factory Question". Evening Standard. London. 10 June 1836.
^ "Information on the Factory Act". Leeds Times. 28 February 1835.
^ "Factories Regulation Bill". Manchester Times. 14 March 1835.
^ "New Factory Bill". Bolton Chronicle. 19 September 1835.
^ "The Factory Bill". Westmorland Gazette. 26 March 1836.
^ "FACTORIES REGULATIONS BILL".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 33:
cc737–88. 9 May 1836. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 34: cc306–7. 10
June 1836. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
^ "The Standard". Evening Standard. London. 6 April 1837.
^ full text of the draft Bill is given in "New Factory Bill". Leeds
Mercury. 28 April 1838. p. 7.
^ "Imperial Parliament". Bell's Weekly Messenger. 6 May 1838.
^ "Factory Bill". Sherborne Mercury. 11 June 1838. p. 3.
^ a b "Factories". Evening Standard. London. 23 June 1838.
p. 4. : not to be found in the on-line Hansard,; that jumps
from volume 42 to volume 44
^ "Great Radical Demonstration on Kersal Moor". Manchester Courier and
Lancashire General Advertiser. 29 September 1838. p. 4.
^ "The Peep Green Demonstration". Leeds Times. 20 October 1838.
^ "CHILDREN IN FACTORIES".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 44:
cc383–443. 20 July 1838. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
^ full text is given in "New Factory Bill". Leeds Mercury. 2 March
1839. p. 6.
^ a b "FACTORIES".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 48: cc1063–94.
1 July 1839. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
^ "The Parliament". The Champion. 7 July 1839. p. 2.
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 49. 26 July
^ "THE FACTORY ACT".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 52: cc860–1.
3 March 1840. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
^ "Factory Bill". Leeds Mercury. 28 March 1840. p. 5.
^ "Factory Bill". Leeds Mercury. 18 July 1840. p. 4.
^ "EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 55:
cc1260–79. 4 August 1840. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
^ "List of commissions and officials: 1840-1849 (nos. 29-52):29 .
CHILDREN'S EMPLOYMENT 1840-3". British History Online. Institute of
Historical Research. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
^ "Children in Factories". Morning Post. 27 March 1841.
^ "The Poor Law Amendment Bill". Evening Mail. London. 31 March 1841.
^ a b "Factories Bill". Yorkshire Gazette. 1 May 1841.
^ "Factories". Birmingham Journal. 3 April 1841. p. 3.
^ "Notice of Motions". Evening Mail. 24 May 1841. p. 6.
^ "Church Rates". Evening Chronicle. 9 June 1841. p. 2.
^ "Lord Ashley and the Ten Hours Factory Bill". London Evening
Standard. 8 September 1841. p. 2.
^ "Factory Bill". Evening Standard. London. 3 February 1842.
^ "POOR-LAW —FACTORY REGULATIONS".
Hansard House of Commons Debates.
60: cc100–2. 7 February 1842. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
^ a b "EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN MINES AND COLLIERIES".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 63: cc1320–64. 7 June 1842.
Retrieved 19 August 2015.
^ "House of Commons, July 11". Evening Standard. London. 12 July 1842.
^ 2nd Report of the Commission on the Employment of Children (Trades
and Manufactures), (1843) Parliamentary Papers volume XIII, pp 195-204
as quoted in Royston Pike, E, ed. (1966). Human Documents of the
Industrial Revolution. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
^ Horner, Leonard (7 March 1843). "Reports of the Inspectors of
Factories". Morning Post. p. 3.
^ "The Government Factory Bill". Northern Star and Leeds General
Advertiser. 25 March 1843. p. 20.
^ "CONDITION AND EDUCATION OF THE POOR".
Hansard House of Commons
Debates. 67: cc47–114. 28 February 1843. Retrieved 22 August
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 67:
cc1411–77. 24 March 1843. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
^ e.g. open letter by Edward Baines junior published as "Effect of the
Government Education Bill on Sunday Schools". Leeds Mercury. 8 April
1843. p. 4. ; Jelinger Cookson Symons, a member of the
Commission staff who Baines had attacked by name responded in "Morals
and Education in the Manufacturing Districts". Leeds Mercury. 30
September 1843. p. 6.
^ a b "Petitions Against the Factory Bill". Manchester Courier and
Lancashire General Advertiser. 19 August 1843. p. 5.
^ "Political Intelligence". Leeds Times. 22 July 1843.
^ "NATIONAL EDUCATION".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 68:
cc744–7. 10 April 1843. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
^ "The Factories Education Bill". Staffordshire Advertiser. 15 April
1843. p. 1.
Hansard House of Commons Debates:
cc1103–30. 1 May 1843. Retrieved 30 August 2015. reports his
exposition of the amendments; text of amended clauses is in "Factories
Education Bill Amended clauses proposed by Sir James Graham". Evening
Chronicle. 3 May 1843. pp. 3–4.
^ e.g. "Factories Education Bill Large and Important Meeting in the
Tower Hamlets". Morning Chronicle. 12 May 1843. p. 6. -
page 6 also gives accounts of a similar meeting at "St James Clerken
Well" and a "Great Meeting at Manchester"
^ "THE FACTORIES—EDUCATION".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 69:
cc1567–70. 15 June 1843. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
^ a b "STATE OF PUBLIC BUSINESS".
Hansard House of Commons Debates.
70: cc1215–23. 17 July 1843. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
^ "THE FACTORIES BILL".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 70:
cc483–4. 30 June 1843. Retrieved 30 August 2015. gives
Graham's explanation of this
^ a b "Sir James Graham's Third Edition. Labour clauses - Compulsory
Education". Leeds Mercury. 1 July 1843. p. 4.
^ "PUBLIC BUSINESS— WITHDRAWAL OF, MEASURES". 70. 20 July 1843:
cc1281–3. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
^ "EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN IN FACTORIES".
Hansard House of Commons
Debates. 72: cc277–86. 6 February 1844. Retrieved 1 September
^ brief abstract is given in e.g. "The New Factory Bill". Manchester
Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser. 17 February 1844.
^ "HOURS OF LABOUR IN FACTORIES".
Hansard House of Commons Debates.
73: cc1073–155. 15 March 1844. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
^ "HOURS OF LABOUR IN FACTORIES—ADJOURNED DEBATE".
Hansard House of
Commons Debates. 73: cc1177–267. 18 March 1844. Retrieved 1
^ a b c "HOURS OF LABOUR IN FACTORIES".
Hansard House of Commons
Debates. 73 (cc1371-464). 22 March 1844. Retrieved 1 September
^ names and constituencies given in "The Worcester Journal". Berrow's
Worcester Journal. 28 March 1844. p. 3.
^ a b "HOURS OF LABOUR IN FACTORIES".
Hansard House of Commons
Debates. 73: cc1482–525. 25 March 1844. Retrieved 1 September
^ see account given by Sir James Graham in 1846 "THE FACTORIES BILL".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 85 (cc1222-50). 29 April 1846.
Retrieved 16 July 2014.
Sir Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel to Frederick Peel dated Friday June 1844
printed in Peel, George (1920). The Private Letters of Sir Robert
Peel. London: John Murray. pp. 257–8. Retrieved 25 July
^ a b Hutchins, B L; Harrison, A (1903). A History of Factory
Legislation. Westminster: P King and Sons. Retrieved 16 July
^ "The Ten Hours Act The Relay System at Colne". Manchester Courier
and Lancashire General Advertiser. 25 August 1849.
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 109 (cc883-933). 14
March 1850. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
^ "A Manufacturer" (27 April 1850). "The Ten Hours Act". Leeds
Mercury. giving text of a letter to the Times - John Walter,
both the editor of the Times and a Government MP, was said by
contemporaries to have discussed such a scheme before the date the
letter was supposedly written
^ a b letter Lord Ashley , dated 7 May , to "The Short Time Committees
of Lancashire and Yorkshire""Lord Ashley and the Factory Act". London
Standard. 9 May 1850.
^ "The Factory Question". Preston Chronicle and Lancashire Advertiser.
18 May 1850.
^ (von) Plener, Ernst; trans Weinmann, Frederick L (1873). The English
Factory Legislation, from 1802 Till the Present Time (1st ed.).
London: Chapman and Hall.
^ "The Ten Hour Bill - The Government Measure". Preston Chronicle. 1
June 1850. p. 7.
^ "FACTORIES BILL".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 141 (cc351-77).
2 April 1856. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
^ a b Martineau, Harriet (1855). The factory controversy; a warning
against meddling legislation. Manchester: National Association of
Factory Operatives. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
^ "The New Act on Factories and Workshops". Kentish Gazette. 30 August
1870. p. 8.
^ paragraph (not separately titled) in editorial material under
general heading "Birmingham Daily Gazette". Birmingham Daily Gazette.
3 August 1870. p. 4.
^ "Royal Commission on the Factory amd Workshops Acts". Nottingham
Journal. 25 June 1875. p. 3. - in particular evidence of Mr
^ "Inspectors of Factories". Liverpool Daily Post. 30 August 1871.
^ "The Royal Commission on the Factory and Workshops Acts :
Sittings at Sheffield". Sheffield Daily Telegraph. 14 July 1875.
p. 3. gives details for Sheffield
^ summarised in "The 'Factories, Hours of Labour' Bill". Bolton
Evening News. 18 April 1872. p. 3.
^ a b "
Trades Union Congress
Trades Union Congress at Leeds". Sheffield Daily Telegraph. 14
January 1873. p. 3.
^ "Factories". Nottingham Journal. 21 August 1874. p. 3.
^ a b c "Second Reading".
Hansard House of Lords Debates. 220:
cc1326–40. 9 July 1874. access-date= requires url= (help)
^ a b c d e f g h i j Redgrave, Jasper A; Redgrave, Alexander (1893).
The factory & workshop acts, 1878 to 1891: with introduction,
copious notes, and an elaborate index (5 ed.). London: Shaw.
^ "Royal Commission on the Factory amd Workshops Acts". Nottingham
Journal. 25 June 1875. p. 3.
^ "The Factory and Workshops Acts". Globe 30 March 1875. 30 March
1875. p. 5.
^ a b "The Factory Acts : Report of the Royal Commission".
Evening Standard. London. 17 March 1876. p. 3.
^ "Board of Deputies of British Jews". Yorkshire Post and Leeds
Intelligencer. 9 August 1876. p. 3.
^ "Factory and Workshop Commission — The Report - Question". Hansard
House of Commons Debates. 228: cc618–9. 27 March 1876.
^ "Factories and Workshops Law Consolidation Bill".
Hansard House of
Commons Debates. 233: cc756–63. 6 April 1877.
^ "The Canal Boats Act". Shipping and Mercantile Gazette. 15 August
1877. p. 6.
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 236: cc165–6. 30
July 1877. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
^ "[Bill 3.] Second Reading".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 237:
cc1454–82. 11 February 1878. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
^ "[Bill 3.] Committee".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 238:
cc63–85. 21 February 1878. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
^ "Factories and Workshops Bill".
Hansard House of Commons Debates.
239: cc261–7. 29 March 1878. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
^ Mr (Alexander) Redgrave, reported in "Trade Work & Wages:
Sheffield Chamber of Commerce". Newcastle Courant. 31 January 1879.
^ 'Annual Report for 1878 of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of
Factories and Workshops' quoted in "Factories and Workshops: Chief
Inspector's Report". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 12 April
1879. p. 6.
^ "Fastory and Workshop Acts — Employment of Females in Laundries".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 288: c23. 12 May 1884. Retrieved 24
^ "Sunderland Chamber of Commerce". Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping
Gazette. 5 January 1881. p. 3.
^ "Factory and Education Acts (Scotland).—Resolution".
of Commons Debates. 276: cc1910–35. 9 March 1883. Retrieved 28 March
^ "Education and Factory Act Anomalies". Sheffield Independent. 16
March 1883. p. 3.
^ "Education (Scotland) [Bill 226.] Committee".
Hansard House of
Commons Debates. 283: cc416–29. 13 August 1883. Retrieved 28 March
^ "Important Case under the Factory Act". Bradford Daily Telegraph. 29
August 1879. p. 2.
^ "Second Reading".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 279: cc343–54.
9 May 1883. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
^ "Factory and Workshops Act —Factory Inspectors — Appointment of
Mr. J. D. Prior."
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 258: cc1377–9.
21 February 1881. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
^ Second leader (paragraph beginning "The chorus of praise...") in
editorials under general heading "The Independent". Sheffield
Independent. 24 July 1886. p. 6.
^ "Class II.—Salaries and Expenses of Civil Departments". Hansard
House of Commons Debates. 298: cc1193–317. 4 June 1885. Retrieved 4
^ "Committee on Re-Commitment".
Hansard House of Commons Debates. 306:
cc1785–819. 17 June 1886. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
^ untitled paragraph (column 1, page 5) in editorials under general
heading "The Standard". Evening Standard. London. 2 November 1886.
^ The Short Titles Act 1896, section 2(1) and the second schedule
^ "House of Commons Hansard; vol 319 c1199". Hansard. Parliament of
the United Kingdom. 29 January 1937. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
^ Factories Act 1937 (PDF). London: His Majesty's stationery Office.
30 July 1937. ISBN 0-10-549690-1. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
Hutchins, B. L.; Harrison, A. (1911). A History of Factory
Legislation. P. S. King & Son.
Encyclopedia of British History
W.R. Cornish and G. de N. Clark. Law and Society in England
1750-1950. (Available online here).
Finer, Samuel Edward. The life and times of Sir Edwin Chadwick (1952)
excerpt pp 50–68.
Aspects of the Industrial Revolution in Britain : Working
Conditions and Government Regulation - a selection of primary
The 1802 Health and Morals of Apprentices Act
Timeline of Factory Legislation in Britain
Ten Hours Act
United Kingdom legislation
List of English statutes
Charter of Liberties
Acts of Parliament by states preceding
the Kingdom of Great Britain
Parliament of England
Parliament of Scotland
Acts of Parliament of the
Kingdom of Great Britain
Acts of the Parliament of Ireland
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland and the United
Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
2000 to date
relating to the European Union
1972 to date
Church of England
Church of England measures
Church of England
Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919
Legislation of devolved institutions
Acts of the Scottish Parliament
Acts and Measures of the National Assembly for Wales
Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly
Acts of the Parliament of Northern Ireland
Orders-in-Council / Orders in Council
for Northern Ireland (1972-2009)
Orders in Council for Northern Ireland
United Kingdom Statutory Instruments
Scottish Statutory Instruments
Acts of Sederunt
Acts of Ad