What was the purpose of the factory laws

From work to education

The Importance of English Factory Laws in the Formation of Youth in the Nineteenth Century

Riccardo Marinello

Studies in European Legal History 298
Age and Law 8
Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2016. XI, 307 pp.

ISSN 1610-6040
ISBN 978-3-465-04284-6

State protection against child labor and the enforcement of compulsory schooling are still not a matter of course in many countries. This book describes the first legislation against child labor and the associated introduction of compulsory schooling in England during the industrial revolution.

At the same time, it describes the change from a phase of youth characterized by work to a phase of life that was characterized by upbringing and education. The English factory protection legislation of the 19th century has significantly influenced this change and made a significant contribution to the segmentation of a separate phase of youth. The purpose of this legislation was to protect the lower-class children and young people working in the factories from the dangers of factory work and to enable them to be educated. The book highlights the key players in the introduction of factory protection legislation and shows how a new understanding of youth emerged through the work of philanthropists, medical professionals, lawyers, social and educational reformers and socialists. The reports of the factory inspection, which was specially introduced to enforce this legislation, also played a major role in this development.

The book begins with Sir Robert Peel's Moral and Health Act of 1802 and the emergence of the Factory Act of 1819, which introduced age limits for the first time. The Althorps Act of 1833, which expanded the scope of the previous provisions and, with the state factory inspection, created the decisive prerequisites for effective monitoring of legal restrictions was particularly important for the enforcement of norms and the introduction of education. The Factory Act of 1844 shows the consolidation of the principle of education alongside the principle of work and the expansion of the factory protection laws to the other business and industrial sectors in the 1860s. Finally, the systematic change from work to education to the outlawing of child labor at the end of the 19th century, under the influence of the international occupational safety conference in Berlin of 1891, is presented in an outlook.


Foreword | XI

Introduction | 1

  1. The factory laws as a means of segmenting and synchronizing the phase of life youth | 3
  2. State of research and method | 11

Part 1 The discovery of the youth by the first factory law of 1802 | 19th

  1. The abuse of the parish apprentices as a motivation for a legal restriction in the late 18th century | 19th
  2. The legislator as a motor for legal protection of minors | 25th
    1. The Health and Morals of Apprentices Act and its purpose | 25th
    2. The aspirations of philanthropists, medical professionals,
    3. Associations, lawyers and justices of the peace to prevent
    4. the exploitation of the parish apprentices | 29
      1. Protective measures by judges and justices of the peace | 31
      2. Aspirations of philanthropists | 34
      3. The ecclesiastical social in fl uence | 36
      4. The reports of doctors and associations as a recommendation for a protection law | 40
    5. The genesis of the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act in parliament | 43
  3. The effect of the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act | 46

Part 2 The encroachment on free trade and the right to bring up parents by extending the legal protection of minors to the free children (1815 to 1830) | 49

  1. The transition from domestic work to factory work: the social problems that emerged after the Napoleonic Wars | 49
  2. The genesis of the Factory Act from 1819 | 55
    1. The Factory Act and its purpose | 55
    2. Robert Owens and Sir Robert Peel's commitment to an expanded factory law | 57
    3. The parliamentary special committees and debates on youth work in the factories | 65
      1. The Peel’s Special Committee of 1816 to study the effects of factory work on the youth | 65
        1. The statements of the manufacturers | 68
        2. The statements of the medical professionals and other proponents of a protection law | 73
        3. Sir Robert Peel's announcements to defuse the draft | 78
      2. The new draft law of 1818 and the central question: Are children free labor? | 79
        1. Children are not free labor: the position of Tories | 80
        2. Children are free labor: the position of Whigs | 84
      3. The Lord Committee of 1818 | 88
      4. The adoption of the draft as Act by testimony of the factory workers before another Lord Committee in 1819 | 96
  3. The ineffectiveness of the Factory Act and first extension laws to improve the protection of minors in times of transition from a philanthropic to a social movement (1820 to 1830) | 103
  4. Summary | 108

part 3 “[T] first legislative step in this country towards […] a compulsory education for all classes” (1830–1840) | 109

  1. The introduction of the Althorps Act from 1833 and its importance for the Factory youth | 109
  2. The social and political framework before and after the electoral reform of 1832 | 114
    1. The social circumstances and the views in contemporary literature on the state of the Factory youth | 114
    2. "Slavery in Yorkshire": The Formation of the Ten Hour Movement in the run-up to the electoral reform of 1832 as a drive for factory reform | 119
      1. Michael Thomas Sadler's speech on the introduction of a ten-hour law in 1832 | 123
      2. Sadler’s Special Committee of 1832 | 126
    3. The In fl uence of Utilitarianism on Factory Protection Legislation after the Suffrage Reform of 1832 | 134
      1. The 1832 electoral reform and its impact on factory protection legislation | 134
      2. The royal committee of inquiry of 1833 and the utilitarian model for education | 137
    4. The controversial debate in Parliament between representatives of the Tory Humanitarianism and utilitarianism | 149
    5. Summary | 155
  3. The effect of the Althorps Act between 1833 and 1840 | 155
    1. The factory inspection and its tasks | 155
    2. The failure of the sense and purpose of Althorps Act | 158
      1. Decline in child labor: the geographical distribution and gender relations in textile and silk factories, 1836 vs. 1839 | 159
      2. The behavior of manufacturers and parents as the cause of the decline in child factory work | 161
    3. The control effect of the Althorps Act on working conditions and upcoming legislation | 168
      1. The improvement of the protection of minors through the factory inspection | 170
      2. The establishment of the special committee in 1840 to improve the coming legislation | 176
    4. Summary | 179

Part 4 The expansion of the legal protection of minors between 1840 and 1870 | 181

  1. The expansion of the protection of minors in the textile industry between 1840 and 1860 | 181
    1. The expansion of education through the establishment of the Half-Time System of Education in 1844 | 182
      1. The Factory Act of 1844 and the solution to the dilemma between free trade and the protection of minors | 182
      2. The Genesis of the Factory Act of 1844 | 186
        1. The introduction of the Half-time system by the failed government draft in 1843 | 186
        2. The revitalization of the ten-hour movement: the parliamentary debates on the new factory law of 1844 | 192
      3. Summary | 197
    2. The extension of legal protection to the young persons by the triumphant advance of the ten-hour movement in 1847 | 198
      1. The debates among the liberal-conservative ToryGovernment in 1846 | 199
      2. The debates under new political auspices in 1847 | 203
      3. Summary | 209
    3. The normal working day and the improvement of occupational health and safety for the Factory youth by the factory laws from 1850 to 1856 | 209
      1. The introduction of the normal working day for young people through the Factory Act of 1850 | 210
      2. The introduction of the normal working day for children through the Factory Act of 1853 | 216
      3. The Factory Act of 1856 to Improve Occupational Health and Safety | 217
      4. Summary | 219
    4. Improved control effect of the factory laws? The inspector's reports between 1844 and 1860 | 219
      1. Increase in the total number of children and adolescents | 219
      2. The look of the factory inspectors on the factory and school system in Prussia and France in the context of the world exhibitions of 1851 and 1855 | 224
      3. Summary | 232
  2. The motive of education for the extension of the legal protection of minors to the other branches of trade and industry (1840–1870) | 233
    1. The expansion to the free trades in the 1840s | 233
    2. The expansion of the Half-time system in the 1860s | 240
      1. The extension of the factory protection legislation to the as yet unregulated areas of the textile industry | 242
      2. The extension of factory protection legislation to the rest of the industry | 246
      3. Summary | 254
    3. The inspector's reports between 1860 and 1870 | 254
      1. The Half-time system as "the best method to educate the people"? | 254
      2. The demands for a state school system are getting louder | 257

Part 5 Systematic change up to the outlawing of child labor (1870–1900) | 259

  1. The introduction of compulsory schooling alongside the Half-time system after the second reform of the electoral law in 1870 | 259
  2. The Extended Factory Act of 1874 | 262
  3. The Consolidation Act from 1878 | 267
  4. The further development up to the outlawing of child labor and the abolition of the Half-time system at the beginning of the 20th century | 273
  5. Summary | 280

Conclusion | 281

Bibliography | 287