Child Labour, 1904

In April 1904, it was reported to Blantyre School Board that there were 88 children of school age working jobs before or after school including on Saturdays. The School Board were rightly appalled at this and vowed to do something about it.

One little girl, outwith her normal school hours was working a 40 hour week, comprising of evenings and weekends on a production line. The average hours of all the others, were over 20 hours per week.

The Board maintained children should NOT be working if they were of school age and a clear separation was required, to afford time for study, family time and play outwith school.

The Blantyre School Board during May and June that same year investigated and found the Glasgow School Board had implemented a rule into their by-laws which had been successful. Copying this model, the authorities imposed a new by-law in Blantyre to make it illegal for any children aged 11 or under to be working, being still of school age. This certainly would have made a difference, but unfortunately poverty and circumstance still had children leaving school at 12 years old or so, in order for families to make ends meet.

Photo: Not Blantyre, but for illustration only.

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