Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chapter Review: ****The Child

This is a chapter I found in an email from Lynn Wardle.  It was a book published in 1965 and edited by William Kessen.  The chapter included is called "Children in Mines and Collieries."  It is for the most port the testimony of Earl Anthony Ashley Cooper before parliament in conjunction with with Mines Act of 1842.   The testimony include graphic descriptions of the conditions in the mines, and particularly with regard to children working in the minds.  It also talks about women working in the minds.  I talks about the age of children when they first enter the mines, as young as 5 years, the long days of work, as much as 14 hours, and that the children miss seeing the sun all day, and often have a mile or two to walk home after work.  It talked about the conditions in the mines, low ceilings, damp conditions and poor ventilation.  It started to trigger anxiety reactions in me just to think about some of these conditions.  The children were generally almost naked as they worked.

He quoted a preacher who talked of how working in the mines corrupted the children, but more than corrupted, perhaps caused them to be cynical.  He also talked about the physical abuse some of the children and women were subject to by the men who worked in the mines. 

The mining act of 1842 started to change the environment in the mines, however passing a law and enforcing it are different things.  I appreciate the information, and added it to chapter two of Isaac's book.

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