Child Employed Contrary to Factory Act

July 1895

Mexborough and Swinton Times July 12, 1895

The Factory Act

Robert Wilson, sawmill proprietor, Conisborough, was charged with a breach of the factory act on 6 June.

Cmdr Hamilton Pym Smith, R.N., H.M. Inspector of Factories, appeared in support of the charge and said that the information was laid on the 21st section of the Factories and Workshops Act 1878.

It was stated that on 6 June Mr Robert Wilson was the occupier of a factory in which a lad named George Crawcroft had worked without a certificate having been given. He proceeded to read the section, which provided that any young person under the age of 16 years is not be occupied in a factory unless the occupiers of such a factory was in possession of a certificate. He would prove conclusively that this lad was and had been working for two or three weeks, without having his name entered in the factory register. He will also prove that the lad had been discharged from similar works because he was not eligible. A bad feature in the case was that this boy was working full-time.

Joshua Dodgson, Inspector under the Factory Act, deposed that on the date in question he visited the sawmill in the occupation of Robert Wilson of Conisborough. The lad Crawcroft was not registered, nor had he been examined by the doctor. Witness questioned him as to how long he had been working, and is seen him in similar works on other occasions, one of which was that Mr Thomas Booth’s, sawmill, Conisborough, from which place he had been discharged owing to his age. He answered “two or three weeks.” He was chopping wood.

George Crawcroft said he had worked for 17 days when the inspector found him. He had also worked for Mr Booth.

Richard Crawcroft, the father of the last witness, was also charged with a breach of the Factory Act in allowing his son to work in a factory contrary to the provisions of the Factory and Workshops Act 1878.

Commander Smith explained that the section infringed in this case was the 84th, which provided that if the parent of a child or young person who allowed such child to work in a factory or workshop, contrary to provisions of the act, he would be liable to a fine of not exceeding 50 shillings. He would be able to prove that the parent of the child in the last case, namely Richard Crawcroft, the defendant, knew very well that he was doing wrong in allowing him to work without being certificated. As previously stated to the Bench, the lad had been previously employed at the sawmill of Mr Thomas Booth, but when that gentleman found that the lad was under age he turned him off. The father thereupon procured for him another place.

Joshua Dodgson, inspector of factories, stated that on 6 June he visited the factory in the occupation of Mr Robert Wilson. He then found Crawcroft at work. He afterwards saw the parent, and charged with allowing his child to be at work contrary to the regulations.

Thomas Booth, of Conisborough, deposed that the lad in question, George Crawcroft, had been in his employment from February 8 to March 3, when he was discharged.

The Bench decided to fine the defendant five shillings and costs.