Living and working conditions
When concerns were raised about the working conditions in factories, especially for children, reformers began to propose changes to improve working environments.
The first supporters of factory reform were caring mill owners, many of them in the Tory Party, who were motivated mainly by their religion. One such factory owner was Robert Owen.
In 1830 Richard Oastler wrote to the Leeds Mercury newspaper, complaining that the conditions of factory workers in Bradford was
"more horrid than that hellish system of colonial slavery". Even so, the campaign to reform conditions achieved little attention until Sadler’s Report was published. The report was written in 1832 by Michael Sadler and included testimonies from factory workers to reveal appalling conditions, especially for women and children. The report shocked public opinion.
In 1832 Lord Ashley, Earl of Shaftesbury took over leadership of the movement for factory reform in Parliament. He organised campaigns that achieved new laws to improve conditions.
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