A child working in a mine as a 'drawer', 1842.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustration from the Children's Employment Commision Report. A young boy wearing a skull-cap with a candle attached, is shown pulling a loaded wooden sled along a tunnel. The sled is attached to the boy's belt with a chain, and his candle-holder, cap and girdle are detailed in small drawings above the main image, and in text below. 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.