Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Children aged 6 - forced to work down the mine
CHILDREN WORKED 18hrs a day for 5 pence a day – AT SIX YEARS OF AGE.
In the 1800s boys of not more than 6 years worked as trappers opening traps/doors in various parts of a coal mine.
They remained in the pit for 18 hours every day, and received 5 pence a day each as wages. Unless a cart passed, the child was in solitude and total darkness the whole time. He went to work at 2 am and for most of the year did not see daylight apart from him one day off.
Girls also worked down the mines and in the 1838 Huskar Pit Disaster (Yorkshire) 26 children drowned. Of the 11 girls, 3 were aged only 8 years and of the 15 boys, 8 were under 10 years old. In the records of one north of England pit disaster, one of the boys was aged only six.
I found this information when I was researcing my latest novel, The Tainted Prize - the sequel to FLOATING GOLD.
So what does a child working down a mine have to do with a sailing ship heading for CAPE HORN? Time will tell.