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Factory Reform

Factory Legislation

There were various Acts of Parliament during the 19th Century which were intended to improve the working conditions of children in the factories. Some of the features of the main Acts are:

1819 Factory Act

  • Children must be at least nine before being employed
  • Children under 16 cannot work more than 12 hours per day
  • Mill owners will be fined if they break the rules not comply

1833 Althorp's Factory Act

  • Children aged 9-13 can work a maximum of 9 hours per day
  • Night work is banned for young people under 18 
  • Factory owners must allow children up to 13 to 'attend some school'
  • Four factory inspectors to be appointed to check factories around the country

1844 Factory Act (Graham's Act)

  • Children aged 8-13 can work a maximum of 6.5 hours per day
  • All textile machinery must be fenced off, to stop workers from becoming caught in it
  • Cleaning of moving machinery is banned

1847 Fielden's Act

  • Maximum working day for young people under 18 is 10 hours
  • The same regulations will now apply to women workers

1878 Disraeli's Factory Act

  • No child under 10 is allowed to be employed
  • Children aged 10-14 can only be employed for half-days
  • The factory laws now cover all trades

View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas. 

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