In the 1840s, a children’s employment commission discovered that over 1500 children under thirteen worked in the Staffordshire potteries, plus over 3,700 aged thirteen to twenty-one. They usually started work when they were seven or eight years old.
The children, who were directly employed by the potters, typically worked for up to thirteen or even fifteen hours daily. Plate makers’ boys worked in temperatures of up to 120ºF (48 Celsius).
The Children History Forgot.
The Wedgwood works at Etruria. Engraving from Staffordshire and Warwickshire Past and Present, Vol. II, (William Mackenzie, London, no date.)
Gladstone Pottery Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. © Sue and Nigel Wilkes.