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John Meads 2012
Children at Work - 1901

Boys working at Whitney & Westley's shoe factory in Girls working at Wallis & Linnell's clothing factory
This photograph, taken in the early 1900s, shows
boys working at Whitney & Westley's shoe factory in
Finedon Street
The young girls at the front of this 1905 photograph are working
at the High Street factory of Wallis & Linnell

A hundred years ago it was necessary for most families to send their children out to work at the first opportunity, in Burton Latimer this usually meant on to farms or into the boot and shoe and clothing factories, but some other occupations are also shown on the 1901 census: Sarah M Gibson, aged 13 of Meeting Lane was a tailoress; Frank Evans, aged 13, Croxens Yard, a shoehand clicker; Annie Loak, aged 13, Finedon Road, shoe machinist; George Wilson, aged 13, Victoria Street. clothes presser; George W Braines, aged 13, William Street, shoe eyeletter; Frederick Broughton, aged 13, Kettering Road, ironstone carter; Florrie Sail, aged 13, Kettering Road, suit buttonholer; Eva Clipson, aged 13, Duke Street, clothing work; Sarah Meads, aged 13, pupil teacher; Charlotte Willis, aged 13, Duke Street, domestic nursemaid; George Sturgess, aged 13, Duke Street, farm labourer; Dorothy E Capps, aged 13, Duke Street, at clothing factory; Hilda Miller, aged 13, Duke Street, clothier's assistant; Louis O. Floyd, aged 13, Duke Street, tailoress; George Styles, aged 13, Alexandra Street, farm labourer; Harry Webb, aged 13, Alexandra Street, clothing seam presser; Walter Stokes, aged 13, Alexandra Street errand boy; Hannah E Boddington, aged 13, Finedon Street, knot tier (shoe); Alfred Green, aged 13, Alexandra Street, employed in shoe factory; Harold Tailby, aged 13. Finedon Road, shoe heel builder; Millie West, aged 13, Piggotts Lane, buttonholer.

A new Factory Act has come into force that year, which raised the minimum working age for children, otherwise by now some of those shown above could have been 'old hands'. For example, ten years earlier, at the time of the 1891 census, the occupations of five 11 year-old boys, James Toseland, Charles Evans and Edward W Ambler were given as working in the shoe trade and Frank W Mason and John C Howard were working as agricultural labourers.


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