History Mesh

Cotton Mills and Factories Act (1819)

The 1819 Cotton Mills and Factories Act stated that no children under 9 were to be employed and that children aged 9–16 years were limited to 12 hours’ work per day.

Relation to Textiles:

The passing of this act was the first in a series of acts (the Factory Acts), which were aimed at improving the working conditions in factories, especially for chidren.

Before these acts, children were often forced to work entire days and nights on the factory floor, from ages as young as 5 or 6, and would often not have any education. Further acts reduced the amount of time children could work even more, placed maximum time limits on women, and required some education for children workers, investigation into accidental death, and fencing off of machinery.

In many ways, they were the precursor of modern Health and Safety laws, but were also designed to prevent the workforce being exploited by the factory owners.

Read more about Cotton Mills and Factories Act on Wikipedia.