Elizabeth Barrett Browning's influential poem 'The Cry of the Children' was written in response to the dire state of child labour in Britain. A year earlier, in 1842, Barrett Browning had read the official parliamentary reports of the terrible conditions and expolitation faced by working children in mines and factories. Although sentimental, the poem is a powerful and moving protest against the cruelty and injustice of such a system.

The poem was first published, as shown here, in the August 1843 issue of Blackwood's Edinburgh, a magazine which enjoyed a large readership. It has been credited as rousing greater public support for reforms surrounding child labour.