Download A Hidden Workforce: Homeworkers in England, 1850–1985 by Shelley Pennington PDF

By Shelley Pennington

Homeworkers are typically ladies who paintings of their personal houses for an outdoor company and are paid on a one-piece foundation. The paintings is mostly unskilled and of an uneventful and repetitive nature. the industrial prestige of the homeworker has little or not anything in universal with the self sustaining craftsman operating in his own residence sooner than the onset of industrialization; homeworkers paintings with no supervision and feature no genuine touch with their employers or sub-contractors other than whilst amassing or returning paintings. This quantity is an research of the commercial and social place of the predominantly lady labour strength of the homework industries from 1850 to 1985. The textual content examines adjustments that experience happened within the composition of the labour strength, the choices open to girls and the kinds and geographical position of homework. The authors severely assessment makes an attempt to enhance the location of homeworkers and touch upon the customers for homeworking sooner or later.

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Extra resources for A Hidden Workforce: Homeworkers in England, 1850–1985

Sample text

Homework was a useful occupation for daughters of lower-middle-class men who could not easily support unmarried daughters but who naturally did not want this fact to be generally known. Homework could be a useful stop-gap for those girls until a suitable marriage partner was found. As the work could be kept a secret, or at the very worst was 'only a bit of sewing', and therefore quite respectable, it would not have impaired their marriage chances. Widowhood was one of the major causes of poverty in Victorian and Edwardian society.

Decline in the availability of cheap labour was another 'nail in the coffin' for many home industries. A slower population growth, rising affluence, more regular work for men, the greater mobility of the rural population and a larger amount of respectable and alternative employment opening up to girls and single women were all important factors in this decline. Compulsory schooling, beginning with the 1870 Education Act, was responsible for removal of child labour as a considerable element in the pool of cheap labour.

They had to be sewn and roped and a large 'R' worked on to them. One woman claimed that it took her two hours to complete one sack for which she received 43f4d. 1O Twenty years later Clementina Black, in her study of married women's work, discovered a fifty-year-old widow making sacks at home for 6d. and 8d. a time. In order to subsist she was forced to take in washing and also received four shillings Poor Law Relief. A married woman, with a husband in hospital, made small sacks at home for 1V2d.

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