Factory Production in Nineteenth-Century Britain

By Elaine Freedgood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
CHILDHOOD AND DOMESTICITY

JAMES PHILLIPS KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH


from THE MORAL AND PHYSICAL CONDITION
OF THE WORKING CLASSES

The population employed in the cotton factories rises at five o'clock in the morning, works in the mills from six till eight o'clock, and returns home for half an hour or forty minutes to breakfast. This meal generally consists of tea or coffee, with a little bread. Oatmeal porridge is sometimes, but of late rarely used, and chiefly by the men; but the stimulus of tea is preferred, and especially by the women. The tea is almost always of a bad, and sometimes of a deleterious quality; the infusion is weak, and little or no milk is added. The operatives return to the mills and workshops until twelve o'clock, when an hour is allowed for dinner. Amongst those who obtain the lower rates of wages this meal generally consists of boiled potatoes. The mess of potatoes is put into one large dish; melted lard and butter are poured upon them, and a few pieces of fried fat bacon are sometimes mingled with them, and but seldom a little meat. Those who obtain better wages, or families whose aggregate income is larger, add a greater proportion of animal food to this meal, at least three times in the week; but the quantity consumed by the labouring population is not great. The family sits round the table, and each rapidly appropriates his portion on a plate, or they all plunge their spoons into the dish, and with an animal eagerness satisfy the cravings of their appetite. At the expiration of the hour, they are all again employed in the workshops or mills, where

From The Moral and Physical Condition of the Working Classes. London: J. Ridgway, 1832.

-185-

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Factory Production in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments x
  • Chronology xii
  • Introduction 1
  • One - Looking Inside 19
  • Chapter One - Tourists 21
  • Chapter Two - Investigators 61
  • Chapter Three - Historians 70
  • Two - Machines and Management 83
  • Chapter Four - Theory 85
  • Chapter Five - Practice 122
  • Three - Calculating Losses 183
  • Chapter Six - Childhood and Domesticity 185
  • Chapter Seven - Limbs and Lives 215
  • Four - By Hand 281
  • Chapter Eight - The Humanity of the Handmade 283
  • Chapter Nine - [Manual] Labor and National Independence 297
  • Glossary 303
  • Contributors' Biographies 305
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 312
  • Index 315
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