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By the Factory Acts and the Workshop Acts are understood the laws which have been made, from time to time, for the purpose of regulating the employment of labour in the various branches of manufacturing industry. The former expression applies to the larger establishments known as factories, whilst the latter comprehends all those places where any handicraft work is carried on, on however small a scale, which do not come within any of the definitions of a “factory” under the Factory Acts ; these last-mentioned establishments being distinguished by the legislature by the term "workshop” (a).
The expression “The Factory Acts, 1833 to 1871," has received a special definition, and comprises all the provisions of the statutes above referred to, now in force
(a) As to what is comprised under these statutes within the terms “factory” and “workshop,” see infra. For it must not be assumed that any place which comes within the ordinary acceptations of the words is by law subject to these Acts. The former term originally meant either the establishment or building occupied by factors who conducted trade in foreign or colonial parts, or the collective body of such factors (see WEBSTER'S Dict., sub verbo), and did not receive its present popular meaning (that is, a manufactory, or place where large numbers are employed in carrying on some manufacture) until about the close of the last century, when, owing to the more extensive use of machinery in the manufacture of cotton and wool, establishments began to be erected in various parts of the United Kingdom of considerably larger dimensions, and involving the employment of far greater numbers of workpeople than had before been known. (See The PENNY ENCYCLOPEDIA, sub “ Factory.”)
respecting factories, except 42 Geo. 3, c. 73, and 24 & 25 Vict. c. 117 (as to certain lace factories) (6). In like manner the expression “ The Workshop Acts, 1867 to 1871,” comprises all of the provisions of those statutes now in force respecting workshops (c).
The Acts apply either by express enactment (d), or by necessary implication to the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. And their enforcement is now mainly secured by the very efficient system of inspection instituted by the provisions in that behalf of. the statutes of 1833 and 1844 (e).
It was at the beginning of the present century that the efforts of the legislature were first effectually directed towards the object of ameliorating the condition of children and young persons employed in manufacture, resulting in 1802 in the passing of 42 Geo. 3, c. 73, entitled “ An Act for the preservation of the health and morals of apprentices and others, employed in cotton and other mills, and cotton and other factories.” The operation of this statute, however, was limited to the manufacture of cotton and wool, and applied only to those mills and factories wherein three or more apprentices, or twenty or more other persons were employed.
It was afterwards amended from time to time by various Acts, making several important additions to its provisions (see 59 Geo. 3, c. 66; 60 Geo. 3, c.5 ; 6 Geo 4, *. 63; 10 Geo. 4, c. 51; 10 Geo. 4, c. 63): but all these amending Acts were afterwards expressly repealed by 1 & 2 Will. 4, c. 39, s. 1. This statute, which was intituled, “An Act to repeal the Laws relating to Apprentices and
(b) 34 & 35 Vict. c. 104 the Factory and Workshop Act, 1871), s. 2, and n. (c) there; post, p. 259. As to the excepted statutes, see post, p. 1, n. (a); post, p. 174, n. (a).
(d) See post, 42 Geo. 3, c. 73, s. 1 ; 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 103, s. 1; 30 & 31 Vict. c. 103, s. 2 ; 30 & 31 Vict. c. 146, s. 2.
(e) See post. pp. 24, et seq., 49, et seq.
other young Persons employed in Cotton Factories and Cotton Mills, and to make further Provisions in lieu thereof," and comprised a full code of provisions regulating the employment of labour in factories (so much so, indeed, as to seem to supersede and virtually repeal 42 Geo. 3, c. 73), was itself repealed by the Factory Act, 1833 (f ), thus leaving 42 Geo. 3, c. 73, the only one of the earlier statutes unrepealed.
The statutes of 1833 and 1845 (3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 103, and 7 & 8 Vict. c. 15) together constitute the foundation of the laws at the present time in force for the regulation of labour in factories throughout the United Kingdom. • They were the results of much agitation amongst the classes most nearly interested in or affected by them, as well as of many Parliamentary and other official inquiries of a laborious and exhaustive character into the whole subject (9).
(f) 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 103, s. 48; post.
(9) It is not within the scope of this work to trace the course of the movement in which the present factory laws originated, or to review the history of their gradual development. But reference, for the
purpose of information upon this subject, may with advantage be made to “THE ENGLISH FACTORY LEGISLATION,” by Ernst Edler Von Plener (First Secretary to the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Embassy in London), translated from the original German by F.L. Weinman; with an Introduction by A.J. Mundella, Esq., M.P. ; London, Chapman & Hall, 1873. This treatise comprises within 200 pages an able and succinct history of the development and present working of the factory legislation in England, and of the causes which gave rise to it. “But a special value and interest attaches to Herr Von Plener's history at this moment, from the fact that in almost all countries where manufacturing is conducted on an exten." sive scale, and where the social and educational condition of the people is an object of public solicitude, steps are being taken to adopt and extend the principles of the English factory legislation.”Mr. Mundella's Introduction, p. viji. The work was prepared with the view of promoting the carrying out of similar legislative measures
They brought the manufactures of several materials besides cotton and wool (to which alone 42 Geo. 3, c. 73 had applied), within the factory law, and established the machinery of inspection, by means of which the provisions of the Acts are still enforced.
In the following year was passed 8 & 9 Vict. c. 29 (entitled "An Act to regulate the labour of children, young persons, and women in print works”), which consisted of a series of enactments, applying the principles of the Factory Acts to print works as therein defined. See n. (d) to 33 & 34 Vict, c. 62 (the Factory and Workshop Act, 1870), s. 3; post, p. 245.
But this Act together with its amending Act, 10 & 11 Vict. c. 70, is now repealed, and those works are now within the provisions of the Factory Acts, as “factories." 33 & 34 Vict. c. 62, ss. 4, 5; post, pp. 246, 247.
The Factory Act, 1850 (13 & 14 Vict. c. 54), after repealing so much of the previous Acts, including 10 & 11 Vict. 29 (which had been passed in the interval for the purpose of limiting the hours of labour of young persons and females), as limited the hours of labour of young persons and women, made the provision with respect to that matter which is now in force. Post, p. 155.
So by the Factory Act, 1853 (16 & 17 Vict. c. 104), a like provision was made with respect to children (that is, persons under the age of thirteen years). Post, p. 168.
. By the Factory Act, 1856 (19 & 20 Vict. c. 38), some of the provisions of the Act of 1844, relating to dangerous machinery were amended. Post, p. 171.
In the year 1860 23 & 24 Vict. c. 78 was passed, entitled “ An Act to place the employment of women, young persons, and children in bleaching works and dyeing works under the regulations of the Factories
on the continent, and it comprises a valuable appendix, added by the translator, containing abstracts of continental laws and regulations respecting the labour and education of children and young persons employed in factories, workshops, &c.
Acts.” It contained enactments applying the principles of the Factory Acts to those works as therein defined. See n. (e) to 33 & 34 Vict. c. 62, s. 3 ; post, p. 245. But this Act, together with its amending Acts (25 & 26 Vict. c. 8; 26 & 27 Vict. c. 38; 27 & 28 Vict. c. 98), is now repealed, and the works in question are now subject to the immediate operation of the Factory Acts as “factories” within the definition of the Factory Acts Extension Act, 1867 (30 & 31 Vict. c, 103, s. 3 ; post, p. 192). Id, ss. 4, 5.
The manufacture of lace had been expressly excepted from the interpretation of the term “factory” under the Factory Acts. (See 7 & 8 Vict. c. 15, s. 73; post, p. 127.) But by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 117, which is still in force (), factories in which machines for the manufacture of lace are moved by steam or water power were brought within the operation of the Factory Acts. Post, p. 174.
In 1862, a Royal Commission (The Children Employment Commission, 1862) was again appointed to inquire into the employment of children and young persons in trades and manufactures not then already regulated by law (i).
Inquiries of a very exhaustive character were thereupon made, and upon the recommendations contained in the reports issued from time to time by the Commissioners, has been based the subsequent legislation upon the subject.
Thus, by The Factory Acts Extension Act, 1864 (27 & 28 Vict. c. 48), six manufactures and employments were added to those then already regulated by law, namely, those of the manufactures of earthenware (except brick and tiles not being ornamental tiles), lucifer matches,
(h) Although, perhaps from an oversight, it is not included within the definition of the expression “The Factory Acts, 1833 to 1871." post, p. 259.
(i) A Royal Commission had been appointed with the same object in 1840 ; and it was upon their recommendations that the Act of 1844 was passed.