Scriven's Report on Child Labour in the pottery industry
Testimony of the Workers (3)

 

 


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Testimony of the Workers (3)

[ HOOD and BUXTON ] [ Mr. WM. POINTON ] [ Mr. THOS. GODWIN ]
[ Messrs. MADDOCK and SEDDONS ] [ Mr. PETER HOPKINS ]
[ Messrs. JAS. and THOS. EDWARD ] [ Messrs. BARKER, SUTTON, and TILL ]
[ Messrs. ALLCOCKS ]


EVIDENCE TAKEN IN THE STAFFORDSHIRE POTTERIES By SAMUEL SCRIVEN, Esq

HOOD and BUXTON

 
Messrs. HOOD and BUXTON'S Egyptian Ware Factory, Burslem.
No. 180. Robert Hood,   aged 10
I run moulds for father; have been employed three years for Mr. Hood. 

I cannot read; I cannot write; never went to day school; I go to Sunday school. My father is a saucer- maker; he is always in work; don't know how much he gets a week; but I get 3s. 

Have no mother. Have one sister and one brother. My sister stops at home to look after house; she cannot read. My brother goes to school, but he is young yet. I go home to breakfast, and have milk-meat; and go home to dinner, when I get bacon and tatees. 

I like my work very well; would like to work in the warehouse better, cause they are paid there for working till nine, and I am not; I think ours harder: and get so much a day. I am always very tired when I go home at night, get my supper, and be glad enough to go to bed. 

'Tis very hot in the mould-room, and a good deal hotter in summer; it makes us sweat, and we drink plenty of water. I catch cold very often, but have never been laid up with it. 

Father flogs me some-times, if I let go a mould or break a saucer; nobody else. Master is very good to me.

These premises have very small work-rooms, are hot, and ill-ventilated.

February 1st. (1842)


Mr. WM. POINTON'S

 
Mr. WM. POINTON'S Earthenware Factory, Burslem.
No. 181.- George Wilcox,    aged 11
I have been to work three or four years; first picked stilts, then run moulds, then brush ware in the warehouse. I am not able to read or write. 

Father works in the sagger-house; he is in regular work six days in the week; he gets 18s. a week, or rather more; I earn 2s. 6d. a week always. 

Mother looks after house. I have three brothers and sisters; they are younger than me; they go to school week days and Sundays; I don't know if they can read. I come to work at six and go home at six. 

I get milk-meat for breakfast, and bacon and tatees sometimes for dinner; sometimes only tatees. I go to Sunday school, and learn spelling and the Catechism.

 
Mr. WM. POINTON'S Earthenware Factory, Burslem.
No. 182: Josiah Mostyn,   aged 11
I turn jigger for William Wilcox; used to run moulds. 

Come to work at six, and leave at eight or half past. William Wilcox does not always come Mondays; I stop at home then. 

I cannot read; I cannot write. I went to day school when I was little; I go to Sunday school now, at the National. I get 2s. a week, and am always in regular work.

These premises are small ; rooms small and close, dirty, ill ventilated ; a stagnant pond in the middle of yard.


Mr. THOS. GODWIN's

 
Mr. THOS. GODWIN's Earthenware Factory, Burslem.
No. 183: Sampson Beard,  aged 12
I run moulds for Wm. Machin; I cannot read, I cannot write; I never went to day school; I go to Sunday school 'top of the hill chapel; 

father is dead; mother does nothing, her stays at home; I have two sisters, one a painter, the other a cutter of paper; I get 3s. 6d. a-week; I and my sisters all carry our wages home to support mother; she is too old to work, she used to make triangles and spurs.

I first came to work when I was five years old; I am sure I was not more than five; I am twelve now; I have been to work seven years; father died before I came. I don't go home to breakfast because I take it here in the paint room with one of my sisters; I get my dinner with her, I get it in half an hour and work the other a half; 

I come at six in the morning and go home at six and eight o'clock, sometimes at one time, sometimes at the other, all depends ; we work six days in the week.
I am always tired when I go home.

This is a good and well regulated factory, the rooms are comparatively large, light, and tolerably ventilated: situation on the side of the canal.


Messrs. MADDOCK and SEDDONS' 

 
Messrs. MADDOCK and SEDDONS' Earthenware Factory, Burslem.
No. 184.  Jos. Wilkinson,   aged 11
I run moulds and wedge clay for Wm. Bentley; have been at work five years; I am sure I was but six years old when I began; cannot read or write; never went to day school; go to Sunday school and learn a bit 

have got a father; he's a collier, but has had no work this good while; my mother is a baller (supplies the thrower with balls of clay); she is out of work; have three sisters and four brothers; one brother drives donkeys, another works in pit another has got nothing to do; one sister turns wheel, 'tother two canna work, them is little 'uns. I get 3s 3d. a-week; come at half-past six to work, go home at nine; work Mondays and every day.

Wm. Bentley licks me sometimes with his fist; he has knocked me the other side the pot-stove for being so long at breakfast; half an hour is allowed, but he makes me work before the half hour is up. I go home to dinner, but only stop half an hour, he won't let me bide an hour; I live a quarter of a mile away, and have to run home and back out of it, and get my dinner to;

I never get a bit of play, am very tired when I get home at night, get my supper, and am glad to go to bed. I get milk-meat for breakfast, and taters and salt for dinner, sometimes a bit of bacon; would rather work 10 hours a-day than 15; should not care then if I had less wages a good sight. I should go to school then, and have a bit of time for play. 

I don't wear shoes and sockings while I am at work; have got a pair at home and better clothes than this, what they gave me at school: my father is very good to me; he is a totaler.


 

Mr. PETER HOPKINS'

 
Mr. PETER HOPKINS'S Earthenware Factory, Burslem.
No. 185: George Webb,   aged 10
I am a runner for Adam Downs; have been to work four years next Stoke wake: come at six and leave at eight; get 2s. 6d.. a week which I give to father and mother.

I cannot read; I cannot write; never went to day school. I go to Sunday school at Bethel; my father works at Sneyd Farm Iron-Stone Pits; he has been bad for three weeks; my mother stays at home; have one sister and four brothers; sister is a dress-maker, my brother Robert is a squeezer, John is a handler, Thomas and I run moulds: we all carry our money home Saturdays to support father and mother. I don't know what we all get.

I said that I went to Sunday school and am in spelling class: I cannot tell who made me! I cannot tell who made the world I live in; I never heard talk of heaven; I don't know whether I do right or wrong if I tell a lie; two of my brothers can read a bit, the others cannot.

 
Mr. PETER HOPKINS'S Earthenware Factory, Burslem.
No. 186. Ann Jones,  aged 13
I am cutter of paper for Thomas Knight; have been at work three years; I went to day school at St. John's National afore I come to work; I can't tell how long I go to Sunday school, but I cannot read or write;

I come to work at six, light fires and sweep room; leave at six, sometimes at nine; 'twas twenty-five minutes to eight last night when I went home.

My father is a dish maker; he gets 25s. a-week mostly; mother stays at home; have one sister, two brothers; one runs moulds for father, the others go to school; father nor mother don't go to church or chapel, except very seldom.

I never miss going to Sunday school. I am very tired when I go home at night, get my supper, say my prayers, and go to bed.


 

Messrs. JAS. and THOS. EDWARD'S

 
Messrs. JAS. and THOS. EDWARD'S Earthenware Factory, Burslem.
No. 187: Chas. Baskerfield,   aged 12
I am mould runner for James Baskerfield, my half brother; cannot read or write; went to day school at the Free Grammar School for five months before I came to work ; never went to Sunday school; 

my father is a slip maker; I have four half brothers and two of my own sisters; one of them treads lathes, 'tother is a little un; my four brothers nor sisters can neither read or write; nor father nor mother; 

mother stops at home to look after house; none of us ever go to church or chapel; I am sure none of us go, we stop at home; I come to work  in the morning at half-past six, get the fires in, and clean room ; have stopped to work all night here once, and went home then at seven in the morning, and stayed at home all day; we had then a good deal to do; I am allowed half an hour for breakfast, and go home to it; I go home to dinner, sometimes I take my time, sometimes I do not, as the work wants us back earlier; I get milk-meat for breakfast, and beef and taters for dinner.

 

To corroborate this evidence, I called No. 188. - Jas. Baskerfield, aged 25:-

I am the brother-in-law of the last witness; I cannot read or write; my father is a slipmaker; he is in pretty good work; he has played lately on account of the frosts, else he has plenty to do; one brother is a banksman for Mr. Wood. I have a sister as works for Enoch Wood, 'till this last week ; nobody works there now, as Mrs. W. is lying dead; I can't tell what father gets; I got last week with Charles 19s. 1d. I don't know what my sister gets; none of us can read or write; I go now and then to chapel; none of the rest do, except when mother is churched or the children christened; the youngest is six weeks old, the other before that died a year old; they never went to church between times.


United earnings of this family from 3 to 4. a-week.


 

Messrs. BARKER, SUTTON, and TILL

 
Messrs. BARKER, SUTTON, and TILL's Earthenware Factory, Burslem.
No. 189. John Mayer,   aged 9
I am a runner of moulds for Adolphus Hancock ; I come to work at six o'clock and go home at six; sometimes stay till half-past seven or eight. 

I cannot read; I cannot write; I went to day school before I came to work; I go to Sunday school now;

my father was a plate-maker; he is now blind; he has not worked for four years or more; mother takes in washing I've got two brothers and two sisters; my two brothers work, one is a squeezer or presser, the other is a colour maker; my sisters are too young to work ; they go to school and pay each 2d. a-week;

I get for breakfast a bowlfull of stir-pudding, as much as I can eat and bacon and taters for dinner; I go home to both; and take the time allowed me, an hour and a half. I am very tired when I get home, and get my supper and go to bed, 'cause I have to be up early next morning.


 

Messrs. ALLCOCKS

 
Messrs. ALLCOCKS' Earthenware and China Factories, Burslem.
No. 191.- Sus. Wilcox,   aged 10
I am an apprentice to Mr. Allcock, as a burnisher. Have been bound 12 months. There are three apprentices, and 30 or 40 young women working in the same room with me; the three are under 13 years; most all the women served their time here. We have no men or boys in the same room with us.

There are three superintendents looking over us; they are very kind to me sometimes: sometimes they give me a slap upon the back when I look off; my work; that is all the punishment I get, except a scolding. 

I never forfeit pay for breakages. I get rewarded sometimes with a penny, when I'm a good girl; the burnishers give it, not the master.

I get 1s, or 1s. 6d. a week, and carry it home to mother. She stays at home to look after the children: she has five. I can read and write a bit; not much. I go to Sunday school ; went to a day school afore I came. I like my work very well, and should not like to leave it.

 
Messrs. ALLCOCKS' Earthenware and China Factories, Burslem.
No. 192.-Hannah Rogers,    aged 12
I am an apprentice to the company as a burnisher; have served one year; we are bound for six. I ought to come in the morning at six, to sweep out, but sometimes come as late as seven; then I have to pay 2d. to another.

We do this work in turns, 20 of us. I go home at different times; it depends upon what I have to do. I don't know how much work I do; but when there's plenty I carry home 2s. Saturday nights: I give it to mother; she stays at home. Father is a gilder, and works here. I have one brother and three sisters.

I can read, but cannot write: my brother can read, my sisters cannot. I go to chapel school twice a day.

 
Messrs. ALLCOCKS' Earthenware and China Factories, Burslem.
No. 193. Mary Nixon,   aged 11
I am a paper cutter for Mary Sergeant; she is employed by Samuel Sergeant, the printer, who is her husband. We have two pressmen, two girls, and four women working with me in the same room. I have been to work three weeks next Tuesday.

Can read, but cannot write. Went to day school at Mrs. Williams's; go every Sunday to Baptist school. I come to work at half-past six; get my dinner in the same room in which I work; never hear bad language there; never hear swearing I go home at six o'clock, or half-past. Work Mondays, when there is work to do. Did not work last Monday.

Samuel Sergeant is a very good man. I get now 2s. a week; shall have 3s. soon. I always take it home for my mother. 

My father is a slip-maker; mother stops at home to look after the young ones. Have two sisters and one brother; one of my sisters is older than I am; she is a transferer.

This factory is one of the largest and best conducted in the Potteries. The recent building, comprising the show and ware-rooms, painting, and burnishing rooms, with offices, &c. is of an elegant design ; the rooms are very lofty , spacious, well ventilated, and healthy ; most of the workshops in other parts are of a similar kind with others.

February 6th. (1842)

 


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