SUMMARY OF FACTORY ACTS IN
THE 19TH CENTURY UK
Note: You will notice that as the UK government grew in power, so it attempted
to protect women from exploitation by employers. Men, however, were not
protected. And yet feminists continue to try to imbue women with hatred towards
men by forever claiming that women were treated as second-class citizens.
They were not.
It is men who were treated as such.
The earliest legislation on working conditions
applied only to the cotton industry. The first Act to cover workers in other
industries was the Mines Act of 1842. Gradually legislation was extended to
other industries and smaller establishments.
1802: The Health and Morals of Apprentices Act.
This applied to orphan apprentices in the textile industry. No children under
the age of 9 were to be apprenticed and the working day limited to 12 hours with
no night work. There was no system for enforcement.
1819: The Cotton Mills Act. This applied only to
the cotton mills and restricted the working week for those aged 9 to 16 to 72
hours. No children under the age of 9 were to be apprenticed. No system of
enforcement was devised.
1831: Cotton Mill Act. This act applied only to
cotton mills and restricted the working hours for those under 18 to 12 hours a
day. Night working was forbidden for those under 21. Once again there was no
1833: Factory Act. No children under 9 were to
be employed except in silk mills. Those aged 9 to 13 were restricted to 9 hours
a day and 48 hours a week with two hours school a day. Children and young
persons were not to work outside the period 5.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. For the first
time, factory inspectors were appointed.
1842: Mines Act. This stopped children under 9
and women from working underground.
1844: Factory Act (Mills). This act applied only
to the textile industry and limited the work of children aged 8 to 13 to 6.5
hours a day, which was considered to be "half-time".
1845: Calico Print Works Act. This related to
factories printing designs on cotton fabrics. Children under 8 were not to be
employed. Those under 13 and women were not to work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Children under 13 should attend school for 30 day per half year.
1847: Factory Act. Women and young persons in
textile factories were limited to 10 hours a day or 10.5 if Saturday was a half
holiday. This is sometimes known as the Ten Hour Act.
1853: Factory Act. This act related to mills and
required that the work of children aged 9 to 13 be between the hours of 6 a.m.
to 6 p.m. in summer and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in winter. Similarly the work of women
and young persons was restricted to the hours between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
1860: Bleach and Dye Works Act. This brought
factories engaged in bleaching and dyeing cloth under the same rules as textile
mills. It did not apply to open air bleach crofts but an act of 1862 prevented
night work at such establishments.
1864: Factory Act. Applied to pottery industry,
match making, paper industry and fustian cutting.
1867: Factory Act. This brought any workplace
employing more than 50 persons in manufacture under the factory acts.
1867: Workshops' Regulations Act. Workplaces
with less than 50 persons were prevented from employing children under 8 years
old. Children aged 8 to 13 were restricted to half time working. Young persons
and women were restricted to a 12 hours day with 1 and a half hours allowed for
meal breaks. Children, young people and women were not to be employed after 2
p.m. on Saturdays in establishments with more than five employees and child
employees were to attend school 10 hours a week.
1874: Factory Act. This forbade employment of
children in mills under the age of 9. In 1875 the age limit was raised to 10.
Children aged 8 could still be employed in workshops and non-textile factories.
1876: Education Act. This act made school
attendance compulsory for those up to the age of 10. Once over 10 a child could
leave on attaining the school leaving certificate, also known as a Labour
Certificate. Forster's Education Act of 1870 had not made school attendance
either compulsory or free.
1878: Factory and Workshop Act. This act covered
all mechanically powered textile and non-textile mills. Workshops were treated
as non-textile factories. Domestic workshops were treated as for non-textile
factories in relation to the conditions for children and women workers.
1891: Education Act. The age limit for starting
half time work was raised to 11. The system of working half time continued until
1891: Factory and Workshop Act. Mothers were not
to return to work within 4 weeks of giving birth. From 1893 the limit was raised
to 11 weeks.