Child Labour

As part of the Fabric of Our Town project, research uncovered interviews with local children who worked at the Swaisland factory. These interviews were undertaken in 1842 as part of a Children’s Employment Commission. In 1845, whilst campaigning to restrict child labour and control working hours, Lord Ashley (later the Earl of Shaftesbury) was able to use the evidence provided from these interviews as an example of good practice. The interviews and the information they provided made a significant contribution to the passing of the Factories Act in 1847 (also known as the 10 hour act). The Act restricted the working hours of woman and children who worked in factories to 10 hour per day.

The text of the interviews is reproduced here, courtesy of the Irish University Press.

The interviews were acted out by Crayford school children as part of the Fabric of Our Town documentary film which is available to view on this website.