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Factory and Workshop Act

The Factory and Workshop Act raised the minimum age at which children could work to 12 years. Children under 14 years were not allowed to work full time, they had to work half or alternate days and spend the rest of the time in education.

Poor wages and uncertainty of work for men put financial pressure on wives and children to go to work in factories and mills. Factory children were often undernourished, living on a diet of tea and bread.

The act was not welcomed by some employers. The Factory Inspector's Report for 1908 reported how a managing director of a large mill viewed the act: "the children are eager to work and quick at it and do not complain of the conditions... it would be the ruin of the trade if children were not employed."

Parliament, Industry, Labour Movement, Welfare, Textiles
Hale Martin's Mill, Dungannon wages books for half-timers.
Deputy Keeper of Records, PRONI D1064/11/21