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The New Britain Times Friday 15th December, 1848

The truth behind the Smoke. Industrialisation in Britain walk to the factory at the has never been better, the centre of the city, known as factories are in full flow, Manchester. Where he is and Her Majesties power forced to work a large has never been greater dangerous weaving since the factories first machine, for fourteen hours appeared. People see the every day with a half hour outside of the factories lunch break and a half hour every day, big strong dinner break. According to structures, thick black the factory worker records, smoke billowing out of Jim didn’t start working the chimneys. But does here until a month ago, but anyone really know what after a secret interview with things go on, inside of the him, Jim has told our factory compound? What reporter that his mother dark secrets are held begged the factory owner to within? The pure let him work at the said inhumane conditions that factory as, Jim tells me, the poor workers have to they were so poor Figure 1: Secret child workers in a textile work in. But the New sometimes they went factory. Britain Times has been without food for two days working extremely hard to get a story out to the and they had lived in the same clothes for ten Public, and now it is finally ready. Our reporter months, up to the extent that the majority of his (who wishes to remain nameless, for personal clothes were mere tatters. safety), had to go undercover into a textile Even after the Factory act had been passed in factory in the heart of Manchester, has 1833, some children under the age of nine have uncovered a story of a small nine year old boy still been hired by Factory owners and overseers, who had been forced to work, in conditions mostly because the children’s families need extremely out of his league. more money to survive. After the factory act Jim, a small boy of eight years and two months was passed, and government inspectors started has been working inside John and Johnson’s patrolling around factories, Jim said that he was textile factory for the past year. Every morning shoved into a dark and damp cupboard, which Jim wakes up a four thirty am for the hour long remained locked for at least two hours, with two 1

The New Britain Times Friday 15th December, 1848

other children about his age, and they were thrown a couple of scraps of mouldy bread and bad fruit to keep them occupied while the inspector was there. After the inspector had gone the three children who had been kept in the cupboard were put to work again straight away and got no more breaks for the rest of the work day. Sometimes, Jim said that they even had to work extra hours to make up the time that had been lost when they were under lock and key. The reporter managed to get a few minutes alone with Jim one day and the exact dialogue is as follows:

Jim: aye, it’s John Crowens innit? He beats me sumtimes e dus. Reporter: Why? Jim: ‘cos I ask fer a bit more food, sumtimes at meal times. Reporter: Do you like working here Jim? Jim: it brings money for the famly, don’t it? So me Da can git ‘imself drunk a bit more. Reporter: Could you describe a typical working day for you Jim?

Reporter: How many people are in your family Jim?

Jim: ‘ah wake up at four thirty, and if we have enough money I get brekkers on the hour walk to the factory, wher I operate this machine fer six hours straight, then we get a liddle ‘arf hour break, where we get some mouldy bread and a cuppa cold tea, if we are lucky, if not then its water. I then werk for anuda six hours with no rest, after that we get anuther half hour break, with similar food. Then I work anuther two hours, four if the government inspecter comes, cos ah bin locked up fer two innit’ before I can go for the hour long walk back home.

Jim: well, theres me Da, me Ma, me big sis, and ah got a lil brother who’s three.

Reporter: Thanks Jim, could I just ask you one more question?

Reporter: and do all of your family work?

Jim: Long as it don’t keep me longer than five minits, and I can git back to ma machine befer the overseer beats me.

Reporter: Hello Jim. Jim: whaddya want? Reporter: I just wanted to know how you came to be in this horrible place. Jim: It wers me Mum wern’t it? She sed we needed more money and that ah had to werk, to ‘elp the famly.

Jim: yea, ‘cept for the lil’ one, me Da’s a coal miner by day and a drunk by night, me Ma works for whoever will take her, and me sis works at the brothel we need the money so bad. Reporter: Do you know the factory overseer Jim?

Reporter: it’s just a quick one. What sort of machine do you work Jim? Jim: Whatever is the most dangerous.


The New Britain Times Friday 15th December, 1848

Reporter: what do you mean by that? Jim: what ah mean is that cos I got small arms and hands they make me reach behind or inside of the machines cos only ma hands can fit in them small holes. An’ now I gotta go, otherwise that Crowens pig is gunna come and beat me more. After Jim had been interviewed, he quickly returned to his to his machine, scurrying across the factory floor dodging other workers returning from their break. This was how he was described by the reporter. After this had taken place, the reporter travelled to a small, well to do house on the outskirts of Manchester, where the government inspector resided. The reporter was admitted cordially enough, but the very second the subject of Jim, and the other secret child labourers was brought up he was asked to leave immediately, after persisting for a while the reporter managed to pursed the inspector to give a quote, “I do not know what children you are talking about, I can assure you that factory is completely legal.� Are the government factory inspectors taking secret bribes from the owners of those factories, that is yet to be determined. But the truth will come out soon enough, and this illegal child labour will come to a halt.

Bibliography: The text book,,


The Truth behind the Smoke.  
The Truth behind the Smoke.  

Industrial revolution child labour.