The Peel Web

I am happy that you are using this web site and hope that you found it useful. Unfortunately, the cost of making this material freely available is increasing, so if you have found the site useful and would like to contribute towards its continuation, I would greatly appreciate it. Click the button to go to Paypal and make a donation.


Hours of Work

Nassau Senior, Professor of Economics at Oxford, maintained that the profits of factory production were made in the last hour of work. His ideas were responsible for holding back factory legislation. In the following extract, he sets out the rationale for the theory.

Under the present law, no mill in which persons under eighteen years of age are employed (and, therefore, scarcely any mill at all) can be worked more than eleven and a half hours a day, that is, twelve hours for five days in the week and nine on Saturday.

Now, the following analysis will show that, in a mill so worked, the whole net profit is derived from the last hour. I will suppose a manufacturer to invest £100,000; £80,000 in his mill and machinery, and £20,000 in raw materials and wages. The annual return of that mill; supposing ... gross profits to be fifteen per cent., ought to be goods worth £115,000 ... Of this £115,000, each of the twenty-three half hours of work produces one twenty-third ... £100,000 out of the £115,000 makes up for the deterioration of the mill and machinery. The remaining 2-23rds., that is the last two of the twenty-three half hours of every day, produce the net profit of ten per cent. If, therefore, (prices remaining the same) the factory could be kept at work thirteen hours instead of eleven and a half, ... the net profit would be destroyed - if they were reduced by an hour and a half, even gross profit would be destroyed ... there would be no fund to compensate the progressive deterioration of the fixed capital ...

Nassau W Senior


Meet the web creator

These materials may be freely used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with applicable statutory allowances and distribution to students.
Re-publication in any form is subject to written permission.

Last modified 4 March, 2016

The Age of George III Home Page

Ministerial Instability 1760-70

Lord North's Ministry 1770-82

American Affairs 1760-83

The period of peace 1783-92

The Age of the French Wars 1792-1815 Irish Affairs 1760-89

Peel Web Home Page

Tory Governments 1812-30

Political Organisations in the Age of Peel

Economic Affairs in the Age of Peel

Popular Movements in the Age of Peel

Irish Affairs
1789-1850
 
Primary sources index British Political Personalities British Foreign policy 1815-65 European history
index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind