Terrible Times for Children during Bradford's Textile Revolution

Jobs for Children

Many children were employed in Bradford’s textile mills. Their families relied upon the extra wages children brought in. During Victorian times, parents often sold their children to the mill owner. The Terrible Times for Children display at the museum encourages children to choose which job they would have preferred at the mill.  Jobs commonly performed by child workers included:


  • These were the smallest and youngest members of the workforce.
  • Scavengers gathered up the fibres of wool that fell under the machines.
  • They had to crawl underneath the machines whilst they were still running noisily over their heads.

“You was overwhelmed at the roar of noise, and for about three days that was, all you could hear was the roar in your ears.”


Lap Joiner

  • Lap joiners were responsible for making sure that the spinning machines were constantly being fed with wool.
  • They joined together the end of one wool top and the start of the next wool top. This had to be done extremely quickly
  • The constant handling of wool made lap joiners’ skin sore.


  • Piecers joined together by hand, any threads that were broken during spinning and weaving. Broken ends had to be fixed almost instantly.
  • The job required skill and speed. A piecer could walk up to twenty miles a day as part of their work in the mill.

Salt's Mill at Saltaire is a few miles from Bradford. This is a map reference to it.»

Document icon Learning article provided by: Bradford Industrial Museum | 
This content is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA

Accessibility Statement | Terms of Use | Site Map

Copyright © My Learning 2018. All Rights Reserved

Website by: Grapple