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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Tobacco Manufacture

In the mid-1860s, children as young as eight worked in tobacco factories in Newcastle-on-Tyne, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, Scotland and Ireland. The tobacco was imported from Virginia plantations like this one.

In Britain, children were usually employed ‘spinning’ (making rolled tobacco), packing cut tobacco, and making ‘bunches’ of tobacco (stripping the leaves from the stem so they could be used to make cigars).
At Glasgow (Mitchell & Son’s), the youngest workers earned 1s 6d (7½d) per week; they worked from 6am-6.30pm, with two hours for mealtimes. Both boys and girls worked in the industry.
Image: A boy stripping tobacco leaves for cigar manufacture, and achild spinning a wheel to twist ‘pig-tail’ tobacco. Charles Knight’s Pictorial Gallery of Arts, Vol. I, c.1862.

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