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Reader's letter: Time to consider mills suffering?




The laudable Black Lives Matter campaign has reminded me of the inhumane treatment of children in the wealth producing cotton factories and woollen mills of England in the 18/19th Centuries.

Campaigners for reform likened the employment of children to that of slaves because of the appalling abuse and mistreatment that was suffered and condoned.

While slavery was abolished in Britain by the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act, the 1833 Factory Act only made it unlawful (but with minimal enforcement) to employ children under nine.

Subsequent legislation brought some improvement in restriction of hours worked and the provision of education, but serious accidents continued for many years, with young children suffering loss of limb and even life.

Many examples can be seen in The National Archives, such as the case of Martha Atherton, aged 13, who lost all of the fingers of her left hand in a factory accident.

One wonders what future she could have had after that.

Given the emphasis now of restitution being made by large concerns, such as Greene King and Lloyds of London to the descendants of slaves, I wonder if there will be a move for similar restitution to be made to the descendants of children who were maimed or even lost their lives in the ‘Dark Satanic Mills’ of England. ­SC MCCARTHY, Newark.



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