Victorian Values - Health and Environment
Causes of Death - Why Workers Died
Extracts from the 'Report on the Sanatory Condition of the Borough of Sheffield - 1848'. A more detailed version of these extracts can be downloaded as a Word document - see Downloads link below.
'I find that the grinders in these branches of the Sheffield trade, are more careless of the consequences of dust than are any other class; they will not keep their shops clean, but leave the dust to accumulate for weeks together, and the slightest movement causes clouds of it to arise. In many cases they might never have heard, there was such an instrument as a fan in existence for what use they make of it.
'I have at the present time under my care, a table knife hafter, and a butcher's knife hafter, both suffering from grinders' disease, who each work in shops where there are eight other hands, yet in neither is a fan employed. In one of the shops there are now two vacant places, one of which belongs to the patient under me, the other to a young man only twenty-three years of age, who is dying of grinder's disease, and some of the other inmates are occasionally away from work owing to the effect of dust.
'In the other shop, my patient informs me, that although none of the men except himself, are completely invalided as yet, still many of them lose a few days at a time, owing to their coughs. These ‘coughs’ are the beginning of the end'.