I also visited the lead-mines, stone-quarries and smelting-mills at Crich, Wirksworth, Bonsall,
Lea and Middleton, and found, except at Crich, very few children and young persons employed,
not only owing to the mining business being so depressed, but mainly because of the veins of lead being nearly exhausted.
From what information I could obtain, I considered their situation beyond any remedy of the
Legislature. My Report, therefore will be short as to this district.
There are no children, and but few young persons employed in the mines at Crich; several are
employed in dressing the ore. That is, washing it after it has been ground, and passing it through
riddles and sieves. They work 11 hours, but out of that time are allowed half an hour for breakfast and half an hour for dinner. They are paid weekly, in cash. They seldom work overtime. If they do they are paid for it according to their weekly wages.
The places of work are open sheds. but there are cabins with fires, which they can retire to
during their meals, or, if they prefer it, they may go home.
I did not hear of a single accident nor do I conceive any could occur.
They have the same holidays as at the collieries, with the addition of the miners’ festival on
They are neither bound apprentice or hired; their only contract is a month’s notice required on
They are not punished, more than by words, or being turned away.
In external appearance these children are robust and well formed, and in every respect a much
healthier and apparently happier body of children than those I had just left in the coal districts.
They are full as well clothed as the other labouring children.
Considering the nature of their employment, I must say they are cleanly.
I refer you to the evidence of the medical men, as to the amount of sickness (See Crich and
I am sorry to sat there were some exceptions to what I should wish to state as to their moral
condition, but these are exceptions that must in a great degree be attributed to their extreme poverty (See Bonsall, Nos. 519 and 520 and Meerbrook, No. 514); the remainder I consider a well-behaved and an intelligent set of boys.
As regards their habits, education, and religious instruction, I consider them very superior to the
collier children I had hitherto examined.
The favourable account I am enabled to give of the small but in most parts distressed district, I
in a great degree attribute to the interest felt in the welfare of the children by their employers and the various clergy of every denomination in the neighbourhood.
I have pleasure to inform the Board there are two Sunday-schools at Crich, four at Wirksworth,
two at Middleton, two at Bonsall, one at Alderwasley, one at Holloway and two at Lea; besides the following free day-schools.
Before noticing the free schools, however, I cannot omit mentioning the Unitarian Sunday
School at Lea, I only regret the minister and the principle members of the congregation, who have exerted themselves as successfully, had not a wider field for their usefulness than a Sunday School.
The service being only once a day, the remainder of the Sunday is devoted to the instruction, not only of their own congregation, but of other children in the neighbourhood who desire it.
They are taught to read the Bible and Testament, write, and accounts; and for the last year they have introduced the first book used in the Pestalozzian Schools and I cannot but add my evidence to their success, by stating, that, on examining the children of the Crich mines, two or three of the boys answered the questions I have generally put to other children with such readiness, at the same time displaying great desire to be further interrogated, that it caused me to inquire of the Agent the reason, which I found to be, they were educated at this Sunday-school upon the new plan just introduced.
Lea Day-School. - At this school all the children of the neighbourhood may be taught reading,
writing and accounts, by paying 2d. each per week. There are now 56 boys, and 50 girls. 8 of the latter are taught free.
In this district I could not either make out from masters, parents, or children a desire for, or an
objection to, a legislative interference. There are but few young children employed. In summer
they are never worked more that 11 hours (including meals), and in winter not so much; the nature of their employment being such that would not allow them to work by candle light.
The young men employed in the mines only work six hours.
No.391. Samuel Shaw.
He is 11 years old and has worked in the pits for three years. He now works at night and drives
the ass. He has 1s. per night with candles deducted. He formerly worked in Pinxton where he drove between. He was much more tired at Pinxton as they then worked from six to nine or ten. He goes to the Wesleyan Sunday School and reads in the Bible. He cannot write but spells pretty well.
[Stevenson and Co.’s Lime works at Crich, that at this time only employ 2 under 13 as flag boys and 5 under 18 at various jobs.]
No.392. Jabez Wright.
He is 10 years old and has worked only six weeks. His duty is to attend to the single flag and oil
the pulleys. He comes at six to six and has half an hour for dinner allowed for his breakfast and one hour for dinner. He was a years and half at a day school and pays 3d. a week and now goes to the Crich Methodist Sunday School. He reads in the Testament and writes a little. He has 6s. per week.
No.393. William Barber.
He is 16 years old and attends the stopper, that is, in case of the rope getting wrong or any
accident, he can, by a break, throw the waggon on the opposite bank to where he is stationed. He served masons before he came to this employ. He was two years at Heage day school and paid 3d. per week. He now goes to the Heage Methodist Sunday School and reads in the Testament. He cannot write and spells badly. He has 9s. per week.
No.394. David Walters.
He is 14 years old and has worked for nearly one month. He is flag boy and attends the lower
stopper. He used to carry picks on the North Midland Railway before he worked here. He has 6s.
per week. He goes to the Ranters’ Sunday School at Fritchley. He reads in the Testament but can neither write or spell.
No.395. William Swindall.
He is 16 years old and supplies the kiln with coals by means of a gangway. He neither attends
church, chapel or school.
[Appears quite ignorant but rather ashamed.]
No.396. John Wragg.
He is 17 years old and throws the stone into the kilns and has 12s. per week. He was at
Wirksworth day school two years. He can write his name and spells pretty well.
No.397. William Drewy.
He is 14 years old and throws stone into the kilns. He formerly worked on the North Midland
Railway where he carried picks. He now has 6s. per week. He has never been to school, church or chapel.
[Appears very ignorant and says he now employs his Sundays in bird nesting.]
No.494. William Frost.
He is the agent to Mr. Wass, Mr. Allsop and Mr. Cox. They now have five shafts or mines at
work. Wakebridge is 184 yards deep. It is worked by an engine. They have three waggon ways,
one is between 400 and 500 yards, the other two much less. The waggons are pushed by young men 17 or 18 year old. They have no younger in the pit. They are paid by the shift and only work six hours a day and earns about 12s. per week. The lead is let to the whole body of miners, say 45 or 50 who find the young men and pay them their wages. They descend and ascend by ladders, never by the main shaft. He frequently goes down the mines and windways. Wakebridge is well winded from various old shafts. They have no wildfire and but little sulphur. Glory is 60 yards deep. There are six or eight waggon ways from 100 to 500 yards long. The waggons are drawn by young men 17 or 18 year old. The mine is ventilated from an old shaft and cupola. It is well winded and they have no wildfire or sulphur.
Plaistow Field Lead mine is 124 yards deep, There are two waggon roads, one 50 and one 150
yards. They have no children and at this time, only two men at work. It is winded from a cupola
and it is well winded and neither subject to wildfire or sulphur. Bacchus Pit Lead Mine is worked
by one gin horse. It is 130 yards deep with one waggon road of 500 yards. The waggons are
worked by three men and one boy who shoves. It has communication with Wakebridge and Glory
and is well winded and neither subject to wildfire or sulphur. The mines are all entered by
circuitous passages and ladders, that is, staves fastened in the sides of the shafts. They all have at the entrances convenient cabins with stoves and everything necessary for the miners to dry and change their clothes.
Ridgeway Sough is not at work but is not worked out. His employers do not as a body
contribute to any school but Mr. Wass has built a school room at Lea and assists it with his and
Mrs. W’s personal services on a Sunday. There is neither school nor reading room but the
proprietors, in case of accident, mostly pay for medical assistance. The boys are not allowed to be struck. If they misbehave they are turned away. They are very much checked if they used bad language and are in other respects kept in good order. They are neither hired nor apprenticed. The companies since they have crushed the ore by steam, have employed no women.
At the Glory Mine they employ boys to wash and dress the ore. Amongst others are:-
No.496. Thomas Peach.
He is 12 years old and has worked for three years. He comes to work at half past six to half past five and has half an hour allowed for breakfast and half an hour for dinner. He has 4s. per week and he never works nights or Sundays. He goes to the Holloway Methodist Sunday School and was one year at a day school. Spells very badly.
No.497. Enos Harrison.
He is nine year old and has not worked for many weeks. He attends the Crich Methodist Sunday
School and has done so for more than two years. He cannot spell his name.
No.498. Samuel Wortley.
He is 16 years old and has worked eight months. Formerly he was a penknife grinder at
Sheffield. He likes his present work best. He went for five years to a day school at Lea and he now goes to the Methodist Sunday School. He learns to write on a Saturday evening and earns 6s. per week.
No.499. Henry Poyser.
He is 13 years old and has worked a year. He worked at the hat factory before and he liked it
best but he had not so much wage. He has 5s. per week and writes.
No.500. Thomas Else.
He is 15 years old and has worked for six years and has 6s. per week. He goes to the
Wirksworth Church Sunday School and has been for six years. He writes and reads in the Bible.
Wakebridge Lead Mine. The following dressers:-
No.501. George Woolley.
He is 17 years old and has worked at the mines five years. He has 7s. per week and did nothing
before he came to the mines. He begins at half past six to half past five with half an hour for
breakfast and half an hour for dinner. He never works nights or Sundays. Sometimes he works two hours a day overwork for which he is paid. He attends the Lea Unitarian Sunday School and he is taught reading, writing and accounts. He is in multiplication.
[An intelligent youth.]
No.502. William Pearson.
He is 12 years old and has worked half a year and earns 3s. 6d. per week. He was one year at a
day school and now goes to the Wirksworth Baptist Sunday School. He cannot write his name but reads in the Testament. Cannot spell bread.
No.504. William Else.
He is 13 years old and has worked for four years and has 5s. 6d. per week. He goes to the
Wirksworth Church Sunday School and has been for four years. He is only in the spelling book and cannot spell church or chapel but knows what c o w spells.
No.505. George Walker.
He is 14 years old and has worked for three years and earns 7s. per week. He has been five years to a day school and now goes to the Crich Baptist Sunday School. He is in long division, writes and reads in the Testament.
No.506. Andrew Blackwell.
He is 12 years old and has worked for three years. He has 4s. per week and goes to the Lea
Methodist Sunday School and has been two years to a day school. He cannot write but reads in the Bible.
[Very moderate speller.]
No.507. William Wortley.
He is 12 years old and has worked at the mines only half a year. He was a wood turner but likes
his present work best. He has been one year at the Lea Unitarian Sunday School. He writes and
reads in the Bible.
No.508. William Walton.
He is 14 years old and has worked for four years and has 5s. per week. He attends the Crich
Baptist Sunday School and has been at day school a year. He can write his name and learns to write and reads in the Testament.
No.509. Mr. Joseph Mather, Barmaster for the Manor of Crich.
The principle worker of the mines are the Glory Company, Mr. Jos. Wass and Co., Bacchus
Pipe Company, Jos. Wass and Co., Pearson’s Venture, John Allsop and Co., Old End Mine or
Crich Old Sough, Francis Hurt, Esq., Under Town Mine, the Butterley Company. He considers
they all employ children and young people. He has been barmaster 11 years. He believes neither
young nor old work more than six hours a day in the mines. The dressers never more than 12 hours in summer and not so much in winter. He considers the mining children better off than others so much so that they are willing, when wanted, to come six or seven miles to work. He is also the agent for the Butterley Company. In these mines they have none under 13 and only one under 18 years old.
No.510. Edward Brown, Surgeon.
He is in the habit of attending the miners. He considers they are more subject to diseases of the
lungs from working in the damp and confines air, than other labourers as well as rheumatism from
the same cause but not to a very great extent. He is only surprised to find they are not more so. He does not think they are over worked. He considers, mentally, they are a very superior set to the colliers.
Thanks to Sylvia Taylor for bringing this report to our attention.
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