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In 1832 a Parliamentary Select Committee was set up to investigate conditions in factories, with a view to passing legislation to restrict working hours of females and children. This is part of the evidence taken by the committee. The questions are numbered 4442-4465 in the original document.
Mark Best: 2 June 1832.
One of the Witnesses has stated, that in some mills it was so mixed with the material of the work, that the refuse hangs about the mouth when they are eating their food;
is that the case?
How can the dust hang round their mouths?
Is it a common thing for them to clean their food which has been in these dusty rooms?
Were they always able to eat their food then?
Speaking of the long hours of labour, how were those children treated when they were kept at their work for such a time?
Do you mean to say they beat them at Mr. Marshall's and the rest you have named?
Did you perceive that the beating was worse towards the termination of the day, when the children got fatigued?
Have you reason to think that in any of those mills the masters or the managers were aware that the children were thus beaten and strapped?
Will you describe the sort of straps which are made use of?
Are some of them set in a handle?
Some of them are regularly made for the purpose?
You say you had one of them delivered to you by a master, who urged you to make use of it and to lay it on freely?
Is Mr. Stirk's a large establishment?
Do you think that you could have got the quantity of work out of the children for so great a number of hours without that cruel treatment?
So that the children have to be kept up to their work, more particularly towards the
evening by this flogging?
Were they fined as well as beaten occasionally?
For what were they fined?
What reason was there for fining them for washing themselves?
Do you know on what account they wished to prevent their washing and combing themselves? Was it to prevent their taking up time?
Was there any other reason for preventing it?
Did they fine them for doing this during the hours of work, or for doing it after the house of work were over?
Were the children allowed, when the work went on well, to clean themselves at all in this manner?
So that there was profound silence enjoined?
Would they allow the girls to do a little sewing when the work was going on well?
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