Three young children 'hurrying' a loaded wagon in a mine, 1842.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustration from the Children's Employment Commision Report. One child is seen pulling the wagon along a narrow and steep tunnel, while two other children push it from behind. 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.