Published in 1818, this book contains statistical information on the health of the vast numbers of children working in cotton factories around Manchester.
Doctors and surgeons, often working with ministers and curates, visited Sunday Schools between 1816 and 1818 to conduct research. While assessing the health of the children, examining everything from colds and coughs to muscle strength or evidence of deformity, information was also collected on the children’s working hours and the amount of time allowed for meals. This evidence fed in to the 1819 Cotton Mill Factory Act, which although never properly enforced, was designed to prevent children under nine years old from working in cotton factories and to restrict the working days of children in other factories to 12 hours. Medical inspections were seen to provide substantial evidence that factory conditions had a detrimental impact on children’s health, although little statistical evidence exists to compare the health of employed and non-employed children.