From the late 1800s until the early 1900s, Europe was undergoing a huge breakthrough: the Industrial Revolution. Factories began to form in the cities, as well as the country, and offered many jobs throughout Europe. People, however, had mixed feelings about the Industrial Revolution. Though it offered more income for a low-class family, it also urged people to work hard, long hours of dangerous, even deadly, work. Women and children were even safe from the carnage that was amounted from the Revolution.
Through the coal mines, women and children were sometimes used, rather than horses, to carry loads of coal up the mine shaft and sometimes, up the hill. The work load was tremendous, but every bit of money helped. The women would leave their younger children with the neighbors, or an elderly woman if the child was very small, while they took the older ones with them to the mine late at night.1 Through these long nights, the children made very good use of themselves, as they were able to fit into small places that the men would normally be unable to.2 These conditions, however, left the families to lose comforts that they may have been used to. Instead of a man coming home in the morning to a warm fire and cooked breakfast, the entire family came home to a cold house, with nothing fixed to eat and everybody terribly exhausted.3 Along with the lack of comfort, many people frowned upon women, and girls, working alongside boys and men. The women and men would be working side by side, all wearing the same clothing, if any. One account stated that, “their sex was recognizable only by their breasts, and some little difficulty occasionally arose in pointing out to me which were girls and which were boys.”4
Apart from the mines, children were also working in factories. According to the Sadler Reports, children who messed up, didn't work hard enough, or even showed up to work late5, were subject to beatings. Michael Sadler stated that there were two types of parents6 ;...
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