Child coal bearers, 1842.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Three illustrations from the Report of the Children's Employment Commision. From top to bottom: an 11-year old coal-bearer, an older girl bearing coals and girls carrying coals up a ladder. Child labour was a feature of the Industrial Revolution, with children often made to perform particularly difficult and dangerous tasks, for minimal wages. Succesive 19th century Acts of Parliament gradually raised the minimum age of child workers and limited the jobs they could be made to do. The Mines Act of 1842 prohibited the employment of women, girls and boys younger than 13 in British mines.

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