Description: Someone, a child, who worked in the textile industry employed to crawl beneath machinery to gather loose cotton. The machines were still in use at the time, so this was an extremely dangerous job. Many children were killed (sometimes they went to sleep and fell into the machine, such were the long hours) or maimed (scalping when their got caught and crushed hands and limbs) in doing ths job but even when this became illegal, child labour still occurred but was hidden by taking in orphans or impoverished children who were not recorded. Even if they avoided a major accident, they often stooped from adolescence onwards thanks to constantly crouching. By 1850 there were some 550 cotton mills in Lancashire, which had become the hub for the industry, centered on Manchester. Conditions in those mills were poor with aching head and limbs and nausea being commonplace, not to mention the over-crowding, the smell, the heat, lack of sanitation, the long hours and the repetitive, boring work. Workers developed tuberculosis, bronchitis and asthma thanks to the cotton lint in the air. See also: Beater, Fustian Weaver, Weaver, Fustian Cutter, Fuller, Beamer, Cotton Feeder, Cotton Winder, Beetler, Billier, Cotton Spinner, Cotton Weaver, Bobbin Carrier, Bobbin Turner.
The Worshipful Company of Cotton Scavengers
Victorian London: Cotton Scavengers
The Book of English Trades, and Library of Useful Arts
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