Newspaper report of fatal accident at the Great Western Cotton Works

Newspaper/Ephemera

Description

English

This report into a coroner’s hearing on the death of a 16-year-old factory worker illustrates some of the most common dangers of industrial production in Britain in the mid-19th century. The deceased is described as having died of ‘lockjaw’ (tetanus poisoning) having got her hand trapped in the cogs of a cotton weaving machine. A doctor amputated her finger but could not stop the infection. 

Industrial accidents of this sort were very common, particularly in textile factories, where machines tended to be packed very close together with no guardrails or protective enclosures. Even leaving aside industrial accidents, cottonworks in particular were a generally deleterious environment: the moist air and ambient dust causing lung damage after long exposure, with the noise of the weaving machines often causing occupational deafness.

Full title
'Melancholy & Fatal Accident at the Great Western Cotton Works'
Published
25 February 1860 , Bristol
Format
Newspaper / Ephemera
Creator
The Bristol Mercury
Held by
British Library
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions
Shelfmark
19th Century British Library Newspapers Y3206700964

Related articles

The Condition of England novel

Article by
Sophie Ratcliffe
Themes: 
Poverty and the working classes, Technology and science

Writers such as Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë illuminated contemporary social problems through detailed descriptions of poverty and inequality. Dr Sophie Ratcliffe considers how the Condition of England novel portrayed 19th-century society, and the extent of its calls for reform.

The rise of technology and industry

Article by
Liza Picard
Themes: 
Poverty and the working classes, Technology and science

Liza Picard considers how the development of technology and industry affected all areas of 19th-century life and work.

An introduction to Mary Barton

Article by
John Sutherland
Theme: 
The novel 1832 - 1880

Professor John Sutherland explores the personal and social circumstances that prompted Elizabeth Gaskell to write Mary Barton, her novel describing industrial poverty in Manchester during the 'hungry forties'.

Related collection items