What was life like for children apprenticed in textile mills? Huge mills were built in the 18th and 19th centuries. To produce cotton and woollen cloth, the mills needed a vast workforce which included children. Children were apprenticed at nine and were given lodgings, food and an hour of schooling a week. Hours were long and the mills were noisy, hot, dusty and dangerous places to work. Medical records reveal that accidents and disease were common.

First broadcast:
29 February 2008

After watching the clip, ask pupils where the apprentice children came from, and why they worked without pay. What jobs did they do in the cotton factory, and how long did they work each day? They could then, if they had already looked at children working in coal mines, be asked about the differences between working in a coal mine and in a factory. They could research child labour in cotton factories to see if all factories were the same, and how conditions in factories changed during Victorian times. They could discuss whether all Victorians felt the same way about children working.