print button

An industrial Nation Timeline
Detailed Timeline Basic timeline

1781 James Watt's rotary steam engine invented, this could be used to lower miners down a shaft or to pump water out of a mine.

1794 James Buddle's exhaust pump was invented. This could draw stale air out of a mine.

1815 Sir Humphrey Davy invented the miners' safety lamp, George Stephenson invented a similar lamp at almost the same time. This meant that miners did not have to carry naked candles down mines.

1819 Cotton Factory Act, this banned children under the age of nine from working, and limited the hours of children from nine to sixteen to twelve hours a day. The Act was not enforced as this was left to the local magistrates and they usually supported the factory owners.

1833 Factory Act, this banned children from working in textile factories under the age of nine. From nine to thirteen they were limited to nine hours a day and 48 hours a week. From thirteen to eighteen they were limited to twelve hours a day and 69 hours a week.

All children under eleven were to have two hours education a day.
Government Factory Inspectors were appointed to enforce the law.

1836 Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages, this enabled factory inspectors to check the ages of children working in factories (only applicable in England and Wales. - Scotland 1855, Ireland 1864).

1842 Publication of the 'First Report of the Children's Employment Commissioners: Mines and Collieries', which had been prepared by Lord Ashley (later Lord Shaftesbury). This included many pictures of conditions in mines.

1842 Mines Act, this banned the employment underground of boys under the age of ten and all women and girls. No one under the age of fifteen was to be in charge of machinery.

Inspectors of Mines were appointed to enforce the law.

1844 Factory Act, this classed women as young persons under the age of eighteen and limited the hours of both groups to twelve on weekdays and nine on Saturdays. Children under the age of thirteen were only to work six hours on Saturday and six and a half hours on weekdays. They were to have three hours education a day.

All dangerous machinery had to be boxed in.

1847 The Ten Hour Act, this cut the hours of women and the under-eighteens to ten a day and 58 a week.

1850 The Ten Hour Act, this set the working day for all workers at ten and a half hours. They could begin work at either 6.00 or 7.00 a.m. and finish at either 6.00 or 7.00 p.m., with one and a half hours for breaks. Saturday afternoons were to be free.

1864 Factory Act, this extended the regulations to factories other than textiles and coalmines.

1867 Factory Act, the legislation was extended to all workshops with more than 50 workers.

Detailed Timeline Basic timeline