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Title: Boy Labour and Apprenticeship
Author: Bray, Reginald Arthur
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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       *       *       *       *       *


Times.--"The problem already felt acutely in London and in large towns has
now appeared even in the country town and village, and to those who still
doubt its extent or seriousness we commend this most instructive work."

Morning Post.--"An important book on an important subject."

Daily News.--"Mr. Bray's book is as full of counsel as of instruction, and
it should be in the hands of every student of one of the most serious of
social problems."

       *       *       *       *       *




Author of "The Town Child"

Second Impression

Constable & Co. Ltd.


We are beginning to realize clearly that all is not well with the youth of
this country. From all sides complaints of neglect, and the evils of
neglect, are thronging in. Boys as they leave school are casting off the
shackles of parental control, and, with no intervening period of youth,
are assuming the full independence of the adult. The old apprenticeship
system is falling into disuse, and methods of industrial training are at
once unsatisfactory and, for the majority, difficult to obtain. Boys in
increasing numbers are entering occupations where they learn nothing and
forget all they have previously learned, and in which they can see no
prospects of employment when manhood is reached. As a consequence, there
is a general drift into the army of unskilled labour, and later into the
ranks of the unemployed. All expert opinion is unanimous in voicing these
complaints. The Report of the Poor Law Commission, Majority and Minority
alike, with its volumes of special inquiries and evidence, is one long
testimony to the gravity of the evils which are the consequence of
neglected youth.

Further, we are coming to understand that the period of adolescence forms
a critical epoch in the development of the lad. "The forces of sin and
those of virtue never struggle so hotly for possession of the youthful
soul." [1] And the boy too often is left to fight out this struggle without
assistance, and even without advice. The conditions of modern life are
increasingly hard on youth. "Never has youth," says Mr. Stanley Hall, the
greatest living authority on adolescence, "been exposed to such dangers of
both perversion and arrest as in our land and day. Increasing urban life,
with its temptations, prematurities, sedentary occupations, and passive
stimuli, just when an active objective life is most needed; early
emancipation and a lessening sense for both duty and discipline; the haste
to know and do all befitting man's estate before its time; the mad rush
for sudden wealth, and the reckless fashions set by its gilded youth----"
all in increasing degree imperil the passage to manhood.

And, lastly, we are compelled to confess that an evil which is at once a
grave and a growing evil is one which demands immediate attention. It is
not a problem that can be laid on the shelf for that convenient season
which never arrives, when legislators have nothing else to think about.
There is urgent need for reform in the near future, unless we would see a
further degeneration of the youth of the country.

The object of this volume is altogether practical--to show what reforms
are necessary to prevent the growth of the evil by laying the foundation
of a new and true apprenticeship system. But to achieve this object it is
necessary first to explain how the problem was dealt with in days gone by,
when life was more stable and industrial conditions less complex; and,
secondly, to understand in detail the characteristic features of the
question as it presents itself to-day. Only with the experience of the
past and the present to guide us can we face the future with any hope of
controlling its destinies.

As "she" is mentioned nowhere else in the volume, it seems desirable to
say a word here about the girl. This book is, indeed, concerned with boys
alone, but, with a few changes in details, all that is written about
conditions, and all that is recommended in the way of reforms, is equally
applicable in her case also.

I have endeavoured, even at the risk of being termed unduly dogmatic, to
make my proposals for reform as definite as possible. I have done so in
the cause of clearness. But if I fail to carry my readers with me all the
way, I shall be well content if only I have succeeded in starting them on
a pilgrimage in quest of the new apprenticeship system.





  PREFACE                                                  v


  THE ESSENTIALS OF APPRENTICESHIP                         1


  THE OLD APPRENTICESHIP                                   4

      I. The Age of the Gilds                              4
     II. The Statute of Apprentices                       11
    III. The Industrial Revolution                        20


  THE AGE OF RECONSTRUCTION                               26


  THE GUARDIANSHIP OF THE STATE                           36

      I. State Supervision                                36
         § 1. State Regulation                            37
           (_a_) Prohibition of Employment                41
           (_b_) Limitation of Hours                      43
           (_c_) Protection of Health                     52
         § 2. State Enterprise                            59
     II. State Training                                   62
           (_a_) The Elementary School                    63
           (_b_) The Continuation School                  65
    III. State Provision of an Opening                    70


  APPRENTICESHIP OF TO-DAY                                75

      I. The Contribution of the State                    76
         § 1. State Regulation                            76
         § 2. State Enterprise                            83
         § 3. Summary                                     88
     II. The Contribution of Philanthropy                 89
    III. The Contribution of the Home                     92
         § 1. The Boy of School Age                       96
         § 2. The Boy after School Days                  100
     IV. The Contribution of the Workshop                103
         § 1. London                                     104
           (_a_) The Employment of School-Children       105
           (_b_) The Entry to a Trade                    113
           (_c_) The Passage to Manhood                  142
           (_d_) Summary                                 149
         § 2. Other Towns                                151
           (_a_) The Employment of School-Children       151
           (_b_) The Entry to a Trade                    155
           (_c_) The Passage to Manhood                  160
         § 3. Rural Districts                            161
      V. The Break-up of Apprenticeship                  165


  THE NEW APPRENTICESHIP                                 176

      I. Supervision                                     191
           (_a_) The Raising of the School Age           192
           (_b_) The Prohibition of Child Labour         195
           (_c_) The New Half-Time System                197
           (_d_) The Parents' Point of View              202
     II. Training                                        207
    III. The Provision of an Opening                     221
     IV. General Conclusions                             231

  LIST OF AUTHORITIES                                    241

  INDEX                                                  245




Originally the term "apprenticeship" was employed to signify not merely
the practical training in the mysteries of a trade, but also that wider
training of character and intelligence on which depends the real
efficiency of the craftsman. Apprenticeship was regarded as a preparation
for life, and not only as a preparation for the workshop. It is in this
sense that the word is used throughout the present volume.

In a volume concerned with any branch of social reform, and consequently
likely to arouse differences of opinion, it is always desirable to start
on good terms with the reader. This can best be done by beginning with
assumptions the truth of which no one is likely to call in question. In
dealing with the problem of boy labour and apprenticeship, it is not
difficult to venture on certain statements which will receive the
unqualified approval of all.

An apprenticeship system worthy of the name must satisfy three conditions.
First, it must provide for the adequate supervision of boys until they
reach at least the age of eighteen. Before that age a lad is not fit to be
his own master, and should remain at least to some extent under the
control of elder persons. Such supervision must have respect both to his
conduct and to his physical development. Secondly, an apprenticeship
system must offer full opportunities of training, both general and
special--the training of the citizen and the training of the worker. And,
lastly, it must lead forward to some opening in the ranks of adult labour,
for which definite preparation has been made, and in which good character
may find reasonable prospects of permanent employment. Supervision,
training, the provision of a suitable opening--these must be regarded as
the three essentials of an apprenticeship system. How they may be assured
is, no doubt, a problem which invites controversy; that they ought to be
assured will be allowed by all.

Further, it is perhaps allowable to assume that an apprenticeship system
must not be regarded merely as a means of entering a skilled trade. We
must not think of it as an organization reserved for a comparatively small
section of the community: all must be brought within the sphere of its
influence. All boys alike need supervision; all boys alike require some
training; all boys alike should see before them, as manhood approaches,
the prospects of an opening in some form of occupation where diligence and
aptitude may receive its due reward. And all alike must one day play
their part in the complex life of the State. We want some to be skilled
workers; we want all to be intelligent and well-conducted citizens.
Apprenticeship, then, using the word in its widest sense, must be
universal. Here again, it is hoped, the reader may express his agreement.

In what follows an attempt is made to examine the old apprenticeship
system, to criticize apprenticeship as it exists to-day, and so to lead on
to proposals which will pave the way for the coming of the new and real
apprenticeship system of to-morrow. Throughout, the industrial
organization will be judged by bringing it to the test of the principles
just laid down. An apprenticeship system must be universal; it must make
proper provision for three essentials--supervision, training, opening.
Where these are wanting, in whole or in part, the youth of the nation
must, in a more or less degree, suffer irreparable loss.



Prior to the nineteenth century and the beginning of factory legislation
the conditions of boy labour were determined in and through the industrial
organization of the times. Of this organization, so far as the youthful
worker was concerned, the indentured apprenticeship system formed the most
characteristic feature. The history of the apprenticeship system falls
into three periods. In the first the gilds were the predominant factor; in
the second the State, by prescribing a seven years' apprenticeship,
insured the continuance of the system; in the third the industrial
revolution and the triumph of _laissez-faire_ ushered in the age of decay
and dissolution.



During the Early and Middle Ages the gilds constituted the central feature
of the industrial organization. The merchant gilds began to come into
existence in the second half of the eleventh century.[2] They were
societies formed for the purpose of obtaining the exclusive privilege of
carrying on trades. Later they became either identified with the municipal
body, or a specialized department of that authority. The craft gilds
appeared about a century later, and were associations of artisans engaged
in a particular industry. It is not necessary here to enter on a
discussion of the complex relations between these two kinds of gilds. The
subject is obscure, but, so far as concerns the regulation of boy labour,
the general facts are unquestioned.

Either by obtaining a royal charter of their own or by using the authority
of the municipality, the gilds were enabled to prescribe, down to the most
minute details, the conditions under which the trades of the district were
carried on. The control was essentially of a local character, varying from
place to place; it was, moreover, a control with, for all practical
purposes, the full force of the law at its back. "The towns and even the
villages had their gilds, and it is certain that these gilds were the
agencies by which the common interests of labour were protected." [3]

The gild organization included three classes of person--the apprentice,
the journeyman, and the master.

_The Apprentice._--The apprentice paid the master a premium, and was
indentured to him for a period of years, usually seven. He lived in his
master's house, and received from him, in addition to board and clothing,
wages on a low and rising scale. The master engaged to teach him his
trade, and the boy promised to serve his master honestly and obediently.
The following is a typical example of a fifteenth-century indenture:[4]

"This indenture made the xviii of September the year of the reign of King
Edward the iiiith the xxth between John Gare of Saint Mary Cray in the
county of Kent, cordwainer on that oon partie and Walter Byse, son of John
Byse sumtyme of Wimelton, in the same county, fuller on that other partie,
Witnesseth that the saide Walter hath covenanted with the saide John Gare
for the time of vii yeres, and that the saide John Gare shall find the
saide Walter mete and drink and clothing during the saide time as to the
saide Walter shall be according. Also the saide John Gare shall teche the
saide Walter his craft, as he may and can, and also the saide John Gare
shall give him the first yere of the said vii yeres iii{d} in money and
the second yere vi{d} and so after the rate of iii{d} to an yere, and the
last yere of the saide vii yeres the saide John Gare shall give unto the
said Walter x shillings of money. And the saide Walter shall will and
truly keep his occupacyon and do such things as the saide John shall bid
him do, as unto the saide Walter shall be lawful and lefull, and the saide
Walter shall be none ale goer neyther to no rebeld nor sporte during the
saide vii yeres without the licence of the saide John. In witness whereof
the parties aforesaide chaungeably have put their seales this daye and
yere abovesaide."

_The Journeyman._--At the expiration of the identureship the apprentice
became a journeyman. The change of status, beyond bringing with it a rise
in wages, made no great difference to the youth. He usually continued to
work for his master, and not infrequently remained a lodger in his house.
To some extent the master was still responsible for the good conduct of
his journeymen. Various regulations forbade the master to entice away the
journeymen of others and the journeymen to combine against the masters.

_The Master._--By a somewhat similar process of growth and without any
sudden break in social status, the journeyman became a master. Between
journeyman and master there were no class distinctions. Both worked at
their craft; and, in an age preceding the era of capitalistic production
on a large scale, the need of capital to start business on his own account
presented no difficulties which could not easily be overcome by any
intelligent journeyman.

Period of apprenticeship, hours and conditions of work, wages and
premiums, were all rigidly determined by the rules of the gild. Through
its officers the gild visited the workshops, inspected the articles in
process of manufacture, satisfied themselves as to their quality,
prescribed methods of production, were empowered to confiscate tools not
sanctioned by the regulations, and settled all disputes between the three
classes of persons concerned. Masters, journeymen, and apprentices alike
benefited by an organization which was created and controlled in their
common interests; while the general public were well served in the system
of expert inspection which guaranteed the quality of the goods supplied.
The gild, in short, was "the representation of the interests, not of one
class alone, but of the three distinct and somewhat antagonistic elements
of modern society--the capitalist _entrepreneur_, the manual worker, and
the consumer at large." [5]

From the point of view of the boy's training the system presented unique
advantages. To the age of twenty-one, and sometimes twenty-four, he was
under control. Living in the same house as his master, that control was
paternal in character, inspired by a living and individual interest in his
welfare. He received a thorough training in the trade to which he was
indentured. Finally, when apprenticeship was over, he found ready-made for
himself an opening that led upwards from the journeyman to the small
master. Under this system there was no boy his own master from an early
age, no master irresponsible for the conduct of his boys outside the
workshops, and no blind alley of boy employment that closed with boyhood
and ended in the sink of unskilled labour.

It its best days the gilds represented something more than a privileged
trade organization. The close connection between the gilds and the
municipality guarded the interests of the public. "The city authorities
looked to the wardens of each craft to keep the men under their charge in
order; and thus for every public scandal, or underhand attempt to cheat,
someone was responsible, and the responsibility could, generally speaking,
be brought home to the right person." [6] Further, there was no sharp
barrier between trade and trade. It is true that no one could enter a
trade without being apprenticed, but the person who had served his seven
years' apprenticeship in any one trade became free to follow all trades
within the city.[7] The gild system represented therefore something very
different from the individualist methods of modern times. There was in a
real sense, at any rate in each town, a trade organization under no
inconsiderable amount of collective control.

But the organization of the gild was suited only to the conditions of a
more or less primitive society. For a country rising rapidly to a front
place in the commercial world it was ill adapted. Increasing trade brought
wealth and a desire for wealth; and with wealth came power to those who
possessed it. The richer members of the gild gained the upper hand in the
administration of its affairs and oppressed the poorer.[8] The gild was no
longer an association of equals; and the weaker went to the wall.
Competition turned the methods of production in the direction of cheapness
rather than good quality; and the supervisory functions of the gild
disappeared. In general the whole system, rigid and inelastic, became a
heavy drag on the industrial organization. The members had paid for their
privileges in money and a long apprenticeship, and bitterly resented the
appearance of intruders not hall-marked by the gild. With shortsighted
policy, the gilds limited admissions by exacting high entrance-fees, and
strove to secure the maximum of benefits for the smallest possible number.

No longer an association of equals, united by common interests and a
common outlook; no longer a guarantee of excellence in matters of
craftmanship; no longer the guardian of the interests of the general
public, but a narrow sect claiming exclusive privileges--the gilds, rent
by strife and envy within, and regarded with open hostility by those
outside, drifted slowly towards that inevitable end which awaits those who
seek to sacrifice the needs of all on the altar of the selfish desires of
the few. "In the sixteenth century," says Dr. Cunningham, "the gilds had
in many cases so entirely lost their original character that they had not
only ceased to serve useful purposes, but their ill-judged interference
drove workmen to leave the towns and establish themselves in villages
where the gilds had no jurisdiction." [9] They received their death-blow in
the year 1547, through the legislation directed against the property of
the semi-religious bodies. With the decay of the gilds and their final
dissolution passed the ancient system which had for centuries regulated
the conditions of boy labour. So far as the boy was concerned the system
was founded on three principles: It recognized his need for prolonged
control and supervision, and made provision for the need by securing for
him, through his master, an interest at once individual and paternal. It
recognized the need for a thorough training in the mysteries of the craft;
and it recognized the need that, at the close of this training, the lad
should find opening out for him a career for which he had been specially
prepared. And it made provision for these needs by its scheme of
inspection and control carried on by those responsible for the common
interests of the trade. In short, the gild organization, in its earlier
and flourishing days, may justly be regarded as satisfying the conditions
of a true apprenticeship system.



If the gild system was dead, the principles for which it stood and made
provision continued to be as important as ever. Nor under the industrial
conditions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries did there appear to
be any practical difficulty in the way of enforcement. The small master
remained, and with him remained the possibility of an effective
apprenticeship system. Regulated by custom or by the municipal authority,
apprenticeship lost nothing of its old vitality. Indeed, with the increase
of trade and the increasing profits derived from trade, it became more
popular than ever. None the less, signs are not wanting that people were
conscious of faults in the industrial organization. Into the statute book
of the period creep frequent allusions to intruders who had entered the
trade other than through the door of apprenticeship. There was nothing new
in these complaints; they existed even in the best days of the gilds. "We
seem at a very early time," says Mrs. Green, "to detect behind the gild
system a growing class of 'uncovenanted labour,' which the policy of the
employers constantly tended to foster, their aim being on the one hand to
limit the number of privileged serving-men, and on the other to increase
the supply of uncovenanted labour." [10] But with the decay of the
supervisory functions of the gild these complaints became more frequent.

The condition of this "uncovenanted labour" has always been the unsolved
problem in any apprenticeship system. If uncovenanted labour is allowed to
enter a trade on the same terms as those who have served an
apprenticeship, the latter have clearly a grievance. They have paid for
their privilege in premium and long service at low wages, and not
unnaturally demand some assured recompense in return. If, on the other
hand, uncovenanted labour is rigidly excluded, there is no method of
rapidly increasing the supply of workers in times of expanding trade. From
this dilemma there is but one way of escape. All boys, irrespective of the
trades they follow, must pass through a system of apprenticeship before
they are permitted to earn the wages of a man. Two conditions are
necessary to success. First, all boys without exception must serve an
apprenticeship; secondly, having served this apprenticeship, they must not
in their employment be restricted to the trade to which they have been

As already shown, the gilds, at any rate in certain districts, allowed a
person who had served an apprenticeship in one trade to be free of all the
trades of the town. The gilds satisfied the second condition, and in their
earlier days, when they included the majority of the population, they
satisfied to a large extent the second condition as well. To satisfy the
first condition was clearly, as will appear later, the intention of the
Statute of Apprentices.

But apart from the problem of uncovenanted labour, the disappearance of
the controlling influence of the gilds left many anomalies. Here
apprenticeship was regulated by custom, here by charter, and there left
undetermined. In one place a certain period of service was exacted, in
another place a different period. Finally, in the minds of the leaders of
the day there was firmly fixed the belief that, as trade was becoming the
life-blood of the nation, there was need of a general and consolidating
Act giving the force of law to what was often only a floating custom
applicable in a certain district.

In the reign of Elizabeth these growing feelings of discontent found voice
in an Act which marks an epoch in industrial legislation. It is usually
known as the Statute of Artificers and Apprentices. After reciting the
confusion that existed in previous legislation, the preamble continues:

"So if the substance of as many of the said Laws as are meet to be
continued shall be digested and reduced into one sole law and Statute, and
in the same an uniform Order prescribed and limited concerning the Wages
and other Orders for Apprentices, Servants and Labourers, there is good
hope that it will come to pass, that the same law (being duly executed)
should banish Idleness, advance Husbandry, and yield unto the hired
person, both in the time of Scarcity and in the time of Plenty, a
conventient Proportion of Wages." [11]

We are here concerned with the Act only so far as it affects the
conditions of boy labour. The principal regulations are the following:

"No person shall retain a servant in their services (_i.e._, in employment
for which apprenticeship was required) under one whole Year." [12]
Husbandmen may take apprentices "from the age of 10 until 21 at least," or
till twenty-four by agreement.[13] Householders in towns may "have and
retain the son of any Freeman not occupying Husbandry nor being a Labourer
... to serve and be bound as an Apprentice, after the Custom and Order of
the City of London, for seven years at the least so as the Term and years
of such Apprentice do not expire or determine after such Apprentice shall
be of the Age of twenty-four Years at the least." [14] "None may use any
manual occupacyon unless he hath been apprenticed to the same as
above." [15] "If a person be required by any Householder to be an
Apprentice and refuse he may be brought before a justice of the peace who
is empourred to commit him unto Ward, there to remain until he be
contented, and will be bounden to serve as an Apprentice should
serve." [16]

The Elizabethan Poor Law gave additional powers with regard to the
compulsory apprenticing of those likely to fall into evil ways, and made
it lawful for churchwardens and overseers "to bind any such children as
aforesaid to be Apprentices, when they shall see convenient, till such Man
child shall come to the age of four-and-twenty yeares." [17]

Taken together, these two Acts gave to public authorities large powers of
control over the growing boy. They did not, indeed, provide that everyone
should be apprenticed, but in the majority of occupations no one could be
employed unless he had served his time. Nor did they allow a person who
had been apprenticed to one trade to work at another. But they applied the
system of compulsory apprenticeship to all parts of the country, and they
made provision for the proper care, by way of apprenticeship, of neglected
children. People of the time were clearly of one mind in their desire to
supervise, through the State, the training of the youth. "Contemporary
opinion held that it was neither good for society nor trade that the young
man should enjoy any independence. 'Until a man grows unto the age of
xxiii yeares he for the moste parte, thoughe not alwayes, is wilde,
withoute Judgment, and not of sufficient experience to govern himself. Nor
(many tymes) grown unto the full or perfect knowledge of the arte or
occupation that he professed.'" [18]

As to the general effect of the far-reaching Statute of Apprentices, it is
not possible to do better than quote Dr. Cunningham: "A proof of the
wisdom of the measure seems to lie in the fact that we have no complaints
as to these restrictions in the Act or proposals for amending the clauses,
but that, on the contrary, there was, on more than one occasion, a demand
that it should be rigorously enforced, so that the industrial system of
the country should be really reduced to order." [19] For more than two
centuries, without amendment, the Act remained in force; and while it
lasted it provided at least the possibility for the adequate training and
supervision of the youth of the country.

These two centuries constitute the second stage in the history of boy
labour regulation. From a superficial point of view there appears no
essential difference between this period and the preceding. In the first
apprenticeship was enforced through the action of the gilds, in the second
by special legislative enactment. In either case apprenticeship was, for
all practical purposes, compulsory; but here the similarity ends.

Under the régime of the gilds apprenticeship was enforced, but in addition
its conditions were determined by a careful system of regulation. The
gild, an association representing the three classes concerned--masters,
journeymen, apprentices--supervised the industrial organization in the
interests of all alike. In the best days of the gilds the trade, as a
whole, inspected the workshops; the trade, as a whole, watched over the
training of the youth; the trade, as a whole, so fixed the number of those
entering, that at the conclusion of the apprenticeship there was room in
the ranks of the skilled artisan for those who had learned their craft.

During the disintegration of the gilds, this second factor gradually
disappeared. The Statute of Apprentices did indeed make apprenticeship
compulsory, but provided no efficient system of regulation. Measures were
frequently advocated and occasionally embodied in Acts for determining the
proportion of apprentices to journeymen, but never proved effective. We
see gradually emerging the struggle between the conflicting interests of
those engaged in production. A seven years' apprenticeship, enforced by
law, gave the employers a source of cheap labour, and we begin to hear
complaints that the number of apprentices was unduly multiplied and that
boys were taking the place of men. To what extent this practice prevailed
it is not easy to ascertain; but there is no question that, at any rate
among one class of apprentice--the pauper apprentice--abuses were grave
and frequent.

The whole story of the pauper apprentice forms an ugly episode in the
industrial history of the period. The Statute Book is punctuated with
frequent allusion to his unfortunate lot, coupled with proposals for
reform, for the most part ineffective. As already mentioned, the overseers
had large powers of compulsorily apprenticing the children of the poor. A
sum was paid to the employer, the lad handed over, and no steps taken to
guard his well-being or guarantee his training. It was inevitable that
under conditions such as these abuses should occur. The employer found
himself provided with a continual supply of lads, bound to serve him until
the age of twenty-one, or sometimes twenty-four; he was not troubled by
visits of inspectors; he could use them as he pleased. The luckless
apprentices were herded together in overcrowded and insanitary dwellings;
they were overworked and underfed; they learned no trade, and were
regarded as a cheap form of unskilled labour. If they misbehaved
themselves the justices of the peace would punish them; if they ran away
the law would see to it that they were returned to their masters; if they
complained of ill-treatment there was no one to substantiate the charge.
Whole trades seemed to have flourished by exploiting the parish
apprentices; and not infrequently the overseer, himself an employer, made
a comfortable profit out of their misfortunes.[20] In his "History of the
Poor Law" Sir G. Nicholls summarizes the legislation on the subject.[21]
With the rapid increase in the number of paupers at the close of the
eighteenth century these evils multiplied, and to an increasing extent
engaged the public attention.

If one class of apprentice was thus exploited, it is difficult to resist
the conclusion that, in a less degree, others suffered in a similar way.
Compulsory apprenticeship, without effective regulation, brought with it
the danger of compulsory servitude. The State was conscious of the danger,
and duties of supervision were laid on the justices of the peace. The
State was likewise conscious of the value of apprenticeship, and gave much
attention to the subject. A Commission of Charles I. dealt with the
problem, while an Act of James I. was concerned with the misuse of
apprenticeship charities, which led to children being brought up in
idleness, "to their utter overthrow and the great prejudice of the
commonwealth." [22] But legislation proved incapable of preventing evils
which increased rapidly as the years went by. From the standpoint of the
boy the second period, whose characteristic was compulsion without
supervision, was distinctly inferior to the first, when the gilds
regulated the affairs of the trade for the common good. But if the
apprenticeship system was weakening and abuses on the increase, an
effective training was always possible. The small master still remained,
there was still the call for the all-round craftsman, and the huge changes
in methods of production, that were destined to appear later, still lay in
the mists of the future.



It was the invention of the steam-engine and the consequent introduction
of machinery that ushered in the period of the industrial revolution. In
the trades affected the consequences were immediate, profound, and
disastrous for boys, journeymen, and small masters alike. "On the whole,
machinery rendered it possible in many departments of industry to
substitute unskilled for skilled labour." [23] In branches of certain
trades boys took the place of men. "Under the new conditions (of
calico-printing) boys could be employed in what had been hitherto the work
of men; so that, in the introduction of machinery, complaints began to be
made by the journeymen as to the undue multiplication of apprentices.
There was one shop in Lancashire where fifty-five apprentices had been
working at one time and only two journeymen; it was obvious that under
such circumstances the man who had served his time had very little hope of
obtaining employment." [24] A system of compulsory apprenticeship, under
such conditions, was exploited for the benefit of the employer, and led
inevitably to the injury of the boy. The latter was bound and could not
escape, while the former could readily find an excuse for discharging an
apprentice. Further, with the growing division of labour and the
separation of boys' work from men's work, training became less easy. The
boy was kept to a single operation, and when his time was up found no
further call for his services. The position of the workmen in the trade
appeared desperate. Owing to the competition of boys and the decrease in
the demand for his skill, wages were rapidly falling, and at the same time
the price of corn was rising by leaps and bounds. The small master, unable
to compete with the cheapness of the machine-made goods, fared as badly as
the journeyman. Both appealed to Parliament for redress, "usually
demanding the prohibition of the new machines, the enforcement of a seven
years' apprenticeship, or the maintenance of the old limitation of the
number of boys to be taught by each employer." [25]

But appeals of this kind fell on deaf ears. The spirit of the age was
against interference, and opposition to all form of regulation was rapidly
growing. The Statute of Apprentices was disliked by the large employers,
and an eager agitation began for its repeal. Though obsolescent, it was
still sufficiently alive to be troublesome. A seven years' apprenticeship,
it was argued, was unnecessarily long; weaving, for example, could be
learnt in two or three years. A Commission was appointed to consider the
question, and the large employers pointed out "that the new processes
could be learnt in a few months instead of seven years; and that the
restriction of the old master craftsman to two or three apprentices apiece
was out of the question with the new buyers of labour on a large
scale." [26] In the House of Commons "Mr. Sergeant Onslow urged the repeal
of the Act, and remarked that 'the reign of Elizabeth was not one in which
sound principles of commerce were known.' The true principles of commerce
(said another M.P.) appeared at that time to be misunderstood, and the Act
in question proved the truth of this assertion. The persons most competent
to form regulations with respect to trade were the master manufacturer,
whose interest it was to have goods of the best fabric, and no legislative
enactment could ever effect so much in producing that result as the merely
leaving things to their own courses and operations." [27] The skilled
craftsmen, on the other hand, petitioned in favour of compulsory
apprenticeship. But in the growing enthusiasm for the theory whose sole
tenet lay in the belief that the haven of prosperity lay in the mid-ocean
of uncontrolled liberty, all pleas in favour of regulation were treated
with contempt. The famous Chalmers, speaking of the Statute of
Apprentices, declared that "this law, so far as it requires
apprenticeship, ought to be repealed, because its tendency is to abolish
and to prevent competition among workmen." [28]

In the year 1814 the Statute of Apprentices was repealed;[29] and with its
repeal the State washed its hands of all responsibility for the well-being
of the youth of the land. Henceforth things were to be left "to their own
courses and operations." It is no doubt true that there remained the
"Health and Morals of Apprentices Act," passed in 1802; this Act
prescribed certain conditions as to hours of work and sanitation. But the
Act in itself was utterly "ineffective," [30] and for all practical
purposes employers were unfettered in their use or misuse of children.

There remained one more blow to be struck before the condition of the boy
touched the lowest level of misery reached in the whole history of this
country; and it was soon struck with that relentless vigour which marked
the actions of the reformer in those times.

After the repeal of the Statute of Apprentices there was for the lad no
sort of legal guarantee of training, no kind of State supervision over his
conduct; he could work how and when it pleased him or his parents. But the
Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 made it necessary for him to work how and
when it pleased his employer, and took from him all possibility of
effective choice. This Act abolished the allowance system in aid of wages.
Salutary and even necessary as some reform of the kind was, in the
particular way in which it was carried out it fell with crushing force on
the unfortunate children. Hitherto parents could receive so much per child
out of the rates; from henceforth this was to be illegal. Wages indeed
rose, but rose slowly and in patches. The earnings of the child were
required to make existence even possible for the family. A foreign and
impartial student of English affairs has made this truth abundantly clear:
"Even granted that the labourer himself now needed no allowance, what had
he in place of the allowance for his family and the out-of-work relief?
Something in place of these he must have, for even labourers' families
must live.... What was the way out? The labourer must sell more labour
power; and since his own was already sold, he must put that of his family
upon the market. This was how the problem of the married man was
solved.... We have already seen that the expansion of the gang system took
place mainly after 1834; it appears that the exploitation of child-labour
and women's labour is the main characteristic of the period between the
Poor Law and the Education Acts. When Dr. Kay was examined before the
Lords' Committee on the Poor Law Amendment Act, he described the
astonishment of travellers at the number of women and children working in
the fields, and traced their increased employment to the Poor Law. In his
own words: 'The extent of employment for women and children has most
wonderfully increased since the Poor Law came into operation. It has had
that effect by rendering it necessary that the children should be so
employed in order to adjust the wages to the wants of the family....' And
a country clergyman gave expression to similar views in 1843: 'By these
allowances their children were not then obliged, as now, to work for their
subsistence. Their time was at their own disposal; and then they were
sent more regularly to the schools. But since the new Poor Law this has
been reversed.'" [31]

Those persons who nowadays talk genially of the ease with which the new
Poor Law was enforced, would do well to remember that the ease was
purchased at the high price of the physical and moral deterioration of the
children. Chalmers had got his way, there was now free competition among
the workmen; and free competition among the workmen meant then, as it has
always meant since, the unregulated slavery of the weak.

With the repeal of the Statute of Apprentices and the passing of the Poor
Law Amendment Act, the old apprenticeship system came to an end. No longer
capable of being controlled in the common interests of the trade and the
community, no longer capable of being enforced by statutory enactment, the
apprenticeship system in its ancient form, though it might linger among
certain industries, was destined slowly to disappear. We may regret its
disappearance, as the vanishing of a fragment of an old-world life; but
repinings are idle unless directed toward the search for some substitute
adequate to the needs of the present.



The last chapter closed on the darkest scene in the long history of child
labour in this country. Of the three factors essential to a true
apprenticeship, not one was found or its need even recognized in the wild
riot of the industrial revolution. Of public or organized supervision of
the youth of the land there was not a trace. The controlling influence of
the gild system had long since disappeared; the powers of regulation that
lay in the Statute of Apprentices and the Elizabethan Poor Law had been
withdrawn; free and unrestricted traffic in the use of children was the
watchword of the age. Babies of four and five years worked alongside the
adult and for the same number of hours; there were persons of intelligence
who saw in this gain extracted from infants not the least of the triumphs
of the day. Children's lives were often a mere alternation of two kinds of
darkness--the darkness of night giving place to the darkness of the mine.
Boys and girls were hired out in troops to a taskmaster, herded in barns
regardless of the claims of health and decency, and driven in gangs into
the fields of the farmer. Whether in the mine or the factory or on the
farm, the present profits of the employer, and not the future welfare of
the race, were alone considered. Industrial training throughout the new
manufacturing districts was treated with open contempt. A person, the
masters urged, could learn the trade in a few months; while as for the
provision of an opening that would lead from the work of the youth to the
work of the adult, it was not to be imagined that a subject of this
complexity should receive attention at a time when the narrow circuit of
the prosperous factory set a limit to the horizon of men's thoughts. In
short, over the whole field of industry the desire for immediate success
dominated the larger, but more remote, interests of the future.

What was most significant of the times was not the flood of misery that
swept over the country so much as the spirit of complacent satisfaction
with which it was regarded. That the industrial revolution was in the
cause of progress, the reform of the Poor Law essential, and the decay of
the old apprenticeship system inevitable, men of intelligence could not
fail to recognize; but they might also have recognized that the profound
transformation of the whole social and industrial structure involved could
not take place without widespread suffering and demoralization. Men of the
day did see these things, but saw them with unconcern. Progress involved
change, and change demanded its toll of pain; but it was not the duty of
the State to ease the passage or to yield to the outcry of what they
looked on as the silly sentimentalist.

The general view of contemporary opinion finds itself reflected in the
Whig and Radical journals. In 1819 the _Edinburgh Review_ declared: "After
all, we must own that it was quite right to throw out the Bill for
prohibiting the sweeping of chimneys by boys--because humanity is a modern
invention; and there are many chimneys in old houses that cannot possibly
be swept in any other manner;" while the Radical paper, the _Gorgon_, was
also inclined to sneer at the House of Commons for "its ostentatious
display of humanity in dealing with trivialities like the slave trade,
climbing-boys, and the condition of children in factories." [32] The above
represents the orthodox opinion of the time. The age was the age of the
triumph of the individualist. His was the gospel that inspired the
economist; his were the maxims which guided the legislator; his were the
principles that were realized in the practice of the manufacturer. For one
brief moment in the history of the world's progress the individualist was
supreme; and then the world reeled back in horror from the hell of sin and
misery he had created. Even in the early days there were not wanting
voices to protest against the theory that in the balance-sheet of the
trader was to be found the final test of national righteousness. As far
back as the year 1801 Mr. Justice Grose, in sentencing an employer for
overworking and maltreating an apprentice, declared: "Should the
manufacturers insist that without these children they could not
advantageously follow their trade, and the overseers say that without
such opportunity they could not get rid of these children, he should say
to the one, that trade must not for the thirst of lucre be followed, but
at once, for the sake of society, be abandoned; and to the other, it is a
crime to put out these children, who have no friend to see justice done,
to incur deformity and promote consumption or other disease. This
obviously leads to their destruction--not to their support." [33] And in
the year 1802 was passed the "Health and Morals of Apprentices Act," an
Act important not for its results, which were insignificant, but as a
protest against the gospel of individualism, and as the first of the long
series of Factory Acts which heralded the dawn of a new age.

This new age, which reaches down to the present time, and of which the end
is not yet, was an age of reconstruction. It represented an attempt,
unconscious for the most part, to reinstate in a changed form the
principles which underlay the old apprenticeship system. It is true that
throughout the whole period indentured apprenticeship was in process of
gradual decay, and is now become almost a negligible factor in the
industrial world; but it is no less true that from its ruins was slowly
rising an organization destined to prove a fitting and even a superior
substitute. The final stage of development lies still in the future; the
adjustments required to meet the complex needs of modern industry are
innumerable; and we are only beginning to see the outlines of a new
apprenticeship system towards which we have been drifting for nearly a
century. To tell in detail the history of these long years of slow
progress would be foreign to the purpose of this book; but certain
characteristics, which mark the process of change, are sufficiently
germane to the discussions of to-day to justify consideration.

In the first place, the forces which repeatedly faced and beat down the
resistance of those who stood for unregulated industry were not the forces
of economic analysis; few forces that make for great changes are the
product of such unimpassioned reason. Factory and kindred legislation were
throughout the triumph of sentiment, and not the victory of logic. During
the course of the nineteenth century men became slowly more sensitive to
the fact of suffering, less tolerant of its continued existence. The
Liberal essayist was historically correct when he said contemptuously that
humanity was a modern invention. In earlier days little heed was paid to
the physical well-being of the individual journeyman or apprentice. If the
gilds forbade the carrying on of a craft by night, it was because the dim
gloom of ancient illuminants meant bad work, and not because protracted
toil made unhealthy workmen. When the State concerned itself with hours of
employment, it was to prescribe a minimum, and not to fix a maximum; to
keep a man busy, and therefore out of mischief, was deemed more important
than to allow him leisure for thought or recreation.

In this new sentiment of humanity lay the motive power which drove
Parliament on to spasmodic acts of factory legislation. The sentiment was
at once a source of weakness and a source of strength. It was a source of
weakness because sentiment is essentially local in its sphere of
influence. It does not search out the objects on which its favours are
lavished; they must be brought by others to its very doors and repeatedly
thrust over the threshold till entrance is forced. It lacks the breadth,
the insight, and the calm of that imaginative reason which is now slowly
taking its place. In the case of suffering, for example, it troubles
itself not at all about the more remote causes of suffering or the more
remote sufferer, but surges round some particular sufferer or some
particular grievance, existing here and now.[34] Sentiment, at any rate
the British type of sentiment, is not touched by abstractions; visions of
humanity in the throes of travail leave it unmoved; appeals to the
ultimate principles of justice fail to produce even a throb of sympathetic
interest; it is only the concrete--the oppressed child or the widowed
mother--that lets loose the flood. For the more profound solution of
social problems such sentiment is useless, but for the attack of specific
evils, especially where the opposition is well organized, it displays
amazing stubbornness and resource. Its strength lies in its unreason;
argument is of no avail; here are certain cases of suffering it will not
tolerate; a remedy must be found and Parliament must find it; there will
be no peace until something is done.

It was in this way that regulation of child labour began, and indeed has
continued down to the present time. The result is patchy, and the removal
of evils partial and unsystematic. There has been, for example, no serious
attempt made to set up a minimum standard of conditions under which alone
children shall be employed; least of all has the State endeavoured to
formulate a new apprenticeship system, adapted to the needs of modern
industry. Much indeed has been done in both directions; but much more
remains for the future to carry through before we can hope to read in the
efficiency of the race the sign-mark of our success. The first
characteristic, then, of the age of reconstruction is to be found in the
predominating influence of sentiment.

The second characteristic is seen in the triumph of the idealist over the
combined forces of the doctrinaire and the practical man. Every proposal
for regulating child labour was fought on the same lines; there were the
same arguments and the same replies. The individualist urged that State
interference was in itself an evil, that, though the consequences might be
delayed and the immediate effect even beneficial, you might rest assured
that in the long-run your sin would find you out. The wealthy citizen
declared that if boys might not climb his chimneys, his chimneys must go
unswept; the manufacturer predicted certain ruin to his trade if he were
forbidden to use children as seemed best to him; while all united in
urging that if the children were not at work they would be doing something
worse, and pointed out the obvious cruelty of depriving half-starved
parents of the scanty earnings of their half-starved offspring.

To all these and similar objections the idealist, with his clearer vision
of the reality of things, and firm in his faith that the prosperity of a
people could never be the final outcome of allowing an obvious wrong, made
response. He sympathized with the individualist for the dreary pessimism
of a creed which could see the future alone coloured with hope if heralded
by the sobs of suffering children. The wealthy citizen he bade roughly
burn his house and build another sooner than sacrifice the lives of boys
to the needs of his chimneys. While as for the manufacturer, he told him,
as Mr. Justice Grose had told him earlier, that, if his engines needed
children as fuel, his was a trade the country was best rid of. To those
employers who pleaded the small wages of the parents he suggested the grim
and crude and obvious remedy of paying those parents more. And the
idealist, with the sentiment of the British public to back him, won the

But if sentiment gave the idealist his victory, it was the future that
brought him a full justification. His sin after many years is yet seeking
him; the wealthy citizen found other and innocent means of cleansing his
chimneys; the manufacturer placidly adapted himself to the new conditions,
and his trade flourished exceedingly; the wages of parents rose rapidly,
and what small measure of health and happiness that has come to the
children of the poor during the last century has come to them through the
defeat and the defiance of the individualist.

A hundred years have rolled by, and yet to all new regulation the same old
objections are raised by the individualist. But his day is gone, and with
his day he also is going. A few, indeed, are left, interesting survivals
of the early Victorian age. But for the great majority of the population
regulation has no fears; they welcome and invite it. And, further, not
only are they willing to forbid unsatisfactory conditions of employment,
they are also ready to spend public money to secure a proper environment
and a suitable training for children. What they will not tolerate is the
continued existence of unnecessary suffering; and they are coming more and
more to realize that a vast mass of the suffering of to-day is
unnecessary. Principles, even though openly professed, will not look
suffering in the face and pass on.[35] Humanity is no longer a modern
invention, it has become the guiding spirit of the age.

Thus we can face the morning of the twentieth century in a spirit of hope.
We may look for more consistent support and less strenuous opposition than
in the past. We may in consequence think out and introduce schemes of a
more far-reaching character. Empirical patching will give place to
reconstruction on a large scale. In other words, the sentiment of the
nineteenth century, wayward and uncertain in its method of action, and at
its best troubling itself about a remedy for actual suffering, will be
superseded by the imaginative reason of the twentieth, which looks rather
to prevention than to cure.



The age of reconstruction is not complete, and for the moment we are left
with the products of sentiment as revealed in the tangled and piecemeal
legislation respecting boy labour. Before making new proposals, it is
desirable to survey the existing laws on the subject, in order to discover
to what extent the State acts as the guardian of the child by making
provision for the three essential factors of a true apprenticeship
system--supervision, training, opening. The present chapter will be
concerned with a description of the statutory machinery; in the next the
value of the machinery will be tested by examining its results in actual



Supervision is the first essential of an apprenticeship system. A boy must
remain under adequate control, as regards his conduct and physical
development, until the age of eighteen is reached; before then he is too
young to be allowed safely to become his own master. What part does the
State, as guardian, play in this work of supervision? This volume is
concerned with the answer to the question only so far as that answer has a
direct bearing on the general problem of boy labour. A statement, for
example, of the criminal law, of the law relating to public health, or of
the poor law, lies outside its scope.

The guardianship of the State, in respect of supervision, is of two kinds.
On the one hand the State appears as the guardian of the boy by
restricting his employment, or by forbidding it under certain specified
unfavourable conditions--State regulation; on the other hand--as, for
example, in its system of education--it assumes a more active rôle, and
itself provides for the boy some of the discipline and training he
requires--State enterprise.


The State, by regulation, may protect the boy in three ways--

1. _Prohibition._--The State may protect the boy by forbidding his
employment below a certain age or in certain classes of industry.

2. _Limitation of Hours._--The State may protect the boy by fixing a limit
to the number of hours during which he may be employed.

3. _Health and Safety._--The State may protect the boy by enforcing
certain regulations as regards sanitation in the workshop or the proper
guarding of machinery, or may require a medical certificate to show that
the boy is physically fit for the occupation in which he is engaged.

We shall best understand the measure of protection afforded the boy by the
State by classifying the statutory regulations under these three headings
rather than by taking the individual Acts and analyzing them separately.
The principal Acts concerned are the following:

The Factory and Workshop Act, 1901.

Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act, 1872.

Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887.

Mines (Prohibition of Child Labour Underground) Act, 1900.

The Shop Hours Act, 1892.

The Employment of Children Act, 1903.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 1894.

Children Act, 1908.

And the various Acts relating to compulsory attendance at school--

Elementary Education Act, 1876.

Elementary Education Act, 1880.

Elementary Education (School Attendance) Act, 1893.

And the Act amending this last Act, 1899.

To make what follows clearer, and to avoid repetition, it is desirable to
add a few remarks about two of these Acts.

The Factory and Workshop Act is concerned with the conditions of
employment in premises "wherein labour is exercised by way of trade or for
purposes of gain in or incidental to any of the following

    "(i.) The making of an article or part of any article; or

    "(ii.) The altering, repairing, ornamenting, or finishing of any
    article; or

    "(iii.) The adapting for sale of an article." [36]

Premises in which such operations are carried on are divided into these
four classes:

1. _Textile factories_, where mechanical power is used in connection with
the manufacture of cotton, wool, hair, silk, flax, hemp, jute, or other
like material;

2. _Non-textile factories_, where mechanical power is used in connection
with the manufacture of articles other than those included in (1), and, in
addition, certain industries, such as "print works," or lucifer-match
works, whether mechanical power is or is not employed;[37]

3. _Workshops_ where articles are manufactured without the aid of
mechanical power; and--

4. _Domestic workshops or factories_, where a private house or room is, by
reason of the work carried on there, a factory or a workshop, where
mechanical power is not used, and in which the only persons employed are
members of the same family dwelling there.[37]

The Act also has a limited reference to laundries, docks, buildings in
course of construction and repair, and railways.[39]

Certain definitions are important in the interpretation of the
regulations. The expression "child" means a person under the age of
fourteen, who is not exempt from attendance at school.[40] The expression
"young person" means a person who has ceased to be a child, and is under
the age of eighteen.[41] These expressions will be used with this
significance in the remainder of this chapter, unless the contrary is

The authority for the enforcement of the Factory and Workshop Act is in
general the Home Office, acting through its inspectors. In certain cases,
which will be mentioned later, the duty of enforcement is imposed on one
or other of the locally elected bodies.

The regulations comprised in the Employment of Children Act are in part of
general application, in part dependent on by-laws made by the local
authority, and approved by the Home Secretary. The local authority, for
the enforcement of the Act and for the making of by-laws, is, in the case
of London, exclusive of the City, for which the Common Council is the
authority, the London County Council; in the case of a municipal borough
with a population according to the census of 1901 of over 10,000, the
Borough Council; in the case of any other urban district with a population
of over 20,000, the District Council; in the case of the remainder of
England and Wales, the County Council.[42]

These are the chief Acts through which are regulated the conditions of boy
labour. Each in a more or less degree is concerned with prohibition,
limitation of hours, and health regulations. It now remains to examine the
extent of the protection provided.

_(a) Prohibition of Employment._

There is no law forbidding children below a certain age to work for wages.
In default of local by-laws, it is still legal to employ children of any
age, however young, in a large number of occupations. Prohibition takes
the form of forbidding the employment of children in certain trades
regarded as specially dangerous to health or demoralizing to character.

1. It is illegal to employ children or young persons "in the part of a
factory or workshop in which there is carried on the process of silvering
mirrors by the mercurial process or the process of making white lead." [43]
And the Secretary of State has power to extend this prohibition to other
dangerous trades.[44]

2. It is illegal to employ underground in any mine boys under the age of
thirteen,[45] and no boy under the age of twelve may be employed
above-ground in connection with any mine.[46]

3. A child may not be employed "in the part of a factory or workshop in
which there is carried on any grinding in the metal trade, or the dipping
of lucifer-matches." [47]

4. A child under the age of eleven may not be employed in
street-trading--_i.e._, in "the hawking of newspapers, matches, flowers,
and other articles, playing, singing, or performing for profit,
shoe-blacking, or any like occupation carried on in streets or public
places." [48]

5. In theatres and shows, children under seven may not be employed at all,
and children under eleven can only be employed on a licence granted by a

Omitting ways of earning money, as by begging, which cannot properly be
regarded as forms of employment, and ancient Acts, such as the Chimney
Sweepers Act of 1840, which prohibited the apprenticing of children under
the age of sixteen to the trade of the sweep, or the Agricultural Gangs
Act, 1867, which forbade the employment of children under eight in an
agricultural gang--Acts which have now little practical importance--the
regulations outlined above comprise the whole of the regulations which
prohibit throughout the country the employment of boys in certain forms of
occupation. For any extension of prohibition we must look to the by-laws
which may, but need not, be made by local authorities under the provisions
of the Employment of Children Act.

Under this Act the local authority may make by-laws prescribing for all
children below the age which employment is illegal, and may prohibit
absolutely, or may permit, subject to conditions, the employment of
children under the age of fourteen in any specified occupation.[50] The
by-laws may likewise prohibit or allow, under conditions, "street trading"
by persons under the age of sixteen.[51] But in either case the by-laws,
before becoming operative, must be confirmed, after an inquiry is held, by
the Home Secretary.[52]

As an example of prohibition through by-laws made under this Act, the case
of London outside the City may be cited. The by-laws of the London County
Council forbid the employment of all children under the age of eleven, the
employment of children under the age of fourteen as "lather boys" in
barbers' shops, and the employment of boys under the age of sixteen in
"street trading," unless they wear on the arm a badge provided by the

_(b) Limitation of Hours._

There is no law limiting for all children or for all young persons the
number of hours which may be worked. It is still legal in the majority of
occupations to employ young persons, and in default of by-laws
school-children on days when the schools are closed, for a number of
hours restricted only by the length of the day. As with prohibition, so
the matter stands with the limitation of hours. Glaring evils, just
because they glared, have from time to time been dealt with by
legislation; other evils no less serious have been ignored merely because
they have not chanced to attract attention. The result of this piecemeal
legislation and enactment by by-laws is a chaos of intricate regulations,
applicable to persons of different age and different sex, varying from
trade to trade and from place to place. I am, fortunately, concerned here
only with the male sex, and shall begin with the boy young person, and
then proceed to the boy child.

_The Young Person._--Far the most important, because the most detailed and
the most comprehensive, of the Acts dealing with the limitation of hours
is the Factory and Workshops Act. Under this Act the hours of employment
are restricted by specifying the hours during which alone employment may
be carried on. No employment is allowed on Sundays except in the case of
Jewish factories closed on Saturday, or of certain industries specially
sanctioned for the purpose by the Home Secretary.

In textile factories,[53] the period of employment for young persons is
from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with two hours for meals,
and on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 11.30 a.m., with half an hour for
meals.[54] In non-textile factories and workshops the chief difference
lies in the fact that the interval for meals is half an hour shorter,
while on Saturdays employment is permitted between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., with
half an hour for meals.[55] In domestic factories and workshops the hours
of employment are from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., with four and a half hours for
meals, and on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., with two and a half hours
for meals.[56]

Overtime is in general prohibited.[57] Employment inside and outside a
factory or workshop in the business of the factory or workshop is
prohibited, except during the recognized period, on any day on which the
young person is employed inside the factory or workshop both before and
after the dinner-hour.[58] Thus the maximum number of hours in a week,
including meal-times, during which a young person may be employed is, in
textile factories, 65-1/2; in non-textile factories and workshops, 68; in
domestic factories and workshops, 85; or, excluding meal-times, the hours
in the three classes are 55, 60, and 60 respectively.

The Act applies only to those employed in factories and workshops. It has
limited application to certain other trades, but the application is
unimportant in connection with boy labour. To the regulations quoted there
are numerous exceptions, and the Home Secretary has large discretionary

A young person may not be employed "in or about a shop" for a longer
period than seventy-four hours, including meal-times, in any one week.
Further, an employer may not knowingly employ a young person who has
already on the same day been employed in a factory or workshop, if such
employment makes the total number of hours worked more than the full time
a young person is permitted to work in a factory or workshop.[60]

By-laws may be made limiting the hours of employment of young persons
under the age of sixteen engaged in "street trading." [61] The by-laws of
the London County Council forbid the employment of such persons "before 7
a.m. or after 9 p.m., or for more than eight hours in any day, when
employed under the immediate direction and supervision of an adult person
having charge of a street stall or barrow; before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
when employed in any other form of street trading."

With the exception of the regulations outlined above, there is no limit to
the number of hours during which young persons may legally be employed.

_Children._--The most important Acts regulating the hours of employment
for children are the Acts which enforce attendance at school. They limit
hours, not by fixing a maximum number of hours during which children may
be employed, but by pursuing the far more effective plan of seeing that
the children are in school, and therefore not in the workshop, during part
of the day.

Taken together, these Acts provide that children shall be at school, and
consequently not at work, at all times when the schools are opened until
the age of twelve is reached. There is one exception to this regulation:
children may, under a special by-law of the local education authority, be
employed in agriculture at the age of eleven, provided that they attend
school 250 times a year up to the age of thirteen. This exception is of
small importance, as "the number of children who are exempt under this
special by-law seems to be very small, not exceeding apparently 400 in the
whole country." [62]

Between the ages of twelve and fourteen attendance is compulsory, subject
to a complex scheme of partial or total exemptions, depending on the
by-laws of the local education authority. It rests, for instance, with
each local education authority to decide "whether, as regards children
between twelve and fourteen, they will grant full-time or half-time
exemption, or both, and upon what conditions of attendance or attainments,
always subject, of course, to the fact that the by-laws must be approved
by the Board of Education, and must not clash with any Act regulating the
employment of children." [63] For all practical purposes, it is possible
for the local education authority, if they think fit, to insist on such a
standard of attainment to be reached before exemption is allowed that,
with a few exceptions, relatively insignificant, children are compelled to
attend school until the age of fourteen. It is important to remember that
these Acts limit the employment of children only during times when the
schools are opened. As a general rule, the hours of attendance are
between 9 and 12 in the morning, and between 2 and 4.30 in the afternoon;
while the schools are open on five days a week during some forty-four
weeks in the year. During holidays, and on Saturdays and Sundays, so far
as these Acts are concerned, there is no limit to the numbers of hours a
child may work.

A further limit is put on the hours children may work by the Employment of
Children Act, 1903. A child under fourteen may not be employed between 9
p.m. and 6 a.m. This provision is subject to variation by local
by-laws.[64] Local by-laws may prescribe for children under fourteen:
(_a_) The hours between which employment is illegal; (_b_) the number of
daily and weekly hours beyond which employment is illegal; and (_c_) may
permit, subject to conditions, the employment of children in any specified

Under this Act the by-laws of the London County Council provide that a
child liable to attend school shall not be employed on days when the
school is open for more than three and a half hours a day, nor--

    (_a_) Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.;

    (_b_) Before 6.30 a.m. or after 9 p.m.;

and on days when the school is not open--

    (_a_) Before 6.30 a.m. or after 9 p.m.;

    (_b_) For more than eight hours in any one day.

On Sundays a child shall not be employed except between the hours of 7
a.m. and 1 p.m. for a period not exceeding three hours. A child liable to
attend school shall not be employed for more than twenty hours in any week
when the school is open on more than two days, or for more than thirty
hours in any week when the school is open on two days only or less.

Additional limitations are imposed on the number of hours during which
children may be employed by the Factory and Workshop Act. A child between
"twelve and thirteen, who has reached the standard for total or partial
exemption under the Elementary Education Acts, and consequently may be
employed, must still, if employed in a factory or workshop, attend school
in accordance with the requirements of the Factory Act. So must a child of
thirteen who has not obtained a certificate entitling him to be employed
as a young person." [66] The famous half-time system is not, as sometimes
supposed, a special privilege allowed to workshops and factories. It is
permissible in all forms of occupation in a practically unrestricted
shape. In factories and workshops the conditions are subject to definite
regulations. It is, however, only in factories and workshops, and, indeed,
only in certain trades among these, that the half-time system has much
practical importance. The general regulations, subject, however, to
certain variations, are as follows:[67] Employment must be either in
morning and afternoon sets, or on alternate days The morning set begins
at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m., and ends--

    (_a_) At one o'clock in the afternoon; or

    (_b_) If the dinner-hour begins before one o'clock, at the beginning
    of dinner-time; or

    (_c_) If the dinner-time does not begin before 2 p.m. at noon.

The afternoon set begins either--

    (_a_) At 1 p.m.

    (_b_) At any later hour at which the dinner-time terminates; or

    (_c_) If the dinner-hour does not begin before 2 p.m., and the morning
    set ends at noon, at noon--

and ends at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.

On Saturdays the period of employment is the same as for young persons--6
a.m. to 11.30 a.m.--but a child shall not be employed on two successive
Saturdays, nor on Saturday in any week if on any other days in the same
week his period of employment has exceeded five and a half hours.

A child must not be employed in two successive periods of seven days in
the morning set, nor in two successive periods of seven days in an
afternoon set.

On the alternate day system, the period of employment is the same as for a
young person--_i.e._, from 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., with two
hours for meals; and on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 11.30 a.m., with half an
hour for meals. Under this system a child may not be employed on two
successive days, nor on the same day in two successive weeks.

Under all the systems a child may not be employed continuously for more
than four and a half hours without an interval of half an hour for
meals.[68] Nor must a child be employed on any one day on the business of
the factory or workshops both inside and outside the factory or

This system of regulation refers to textile factories, but these include
the vast majority of half-timers. The regulations with regard to
non-textile factories and workshops are less rigorous; and in the case of
domestic workshops and factories there is additional relaxation of the

The parent or guardian of the half-timer is responsible for the child's
attendance at school. As an additional precaution against truancy, the
employer may not employ the child unless each Monday the child has
obtained from the school a certificate of attendance during the past

If we take into account the hours worked in the factory and the hours
spent in school, we shall find that the half-timer's week of strenuous
effort is a long and a weary one. "Taking one week with another, the
employment of the half-timer is for twenty-eight and a quarter hours a
week in a textile factory, and thirty in a non-textile factory or
workshop; and as he is in school for thirteen or fourteen hours, his total
week in school and factory is from forty to forty-four hours." [71]

In view of proposals made later, I have thought desirable to insert in
detail the half-time regulations, in order to show how, in the actual
carrying out of industrial operations, a half-time system can be put into

_(c) Protection of Health._

There is no law prescribing in all cases the conditions as to buildings,
sanitary arrangements, and safety, under which alone children and young
persons may be employed. There is no law requiring in all cases a medical
certificate from children and young persons to show that they are
physically suited for the employment in which they are engaged.

It is no doubt true that the buildings in which juveniles are employed
come, in respect of sanitation, drainage, and water-supply, under the
general Public Health Acts. It is no doubt a fact that local building
by-laws occasionally insist on means of escape in case of fire in premises
where more than a certain number of persons are employed. It is likewise
part of the law of the land that, if a lad in the course of his work meets
with a fatal accident, twelve just men and a coroner must sit on the dead
body and investigate the cause.

But, apart from such regulations, which are not confined to the employment
of juveniles, or, indeed, to employment generally, it is only in special
forms of occupation that there are required additional precautions
designed to protect the health and safety of the workers. Elaborate rules
prescribe the conditions which must be observed in the management of a
railway or a mine. The Shop Hours Act requires that seats should be
provided for shop assistants. Such Acts have in practice only a limited
application in the case of children and young persons, who do not to any
large extent come into the classes affected.

Here, as in regard to the regulation of hours, the chief Act of importance
is the Factory and Workshop Act. This Act makes careful provision, so far
as premises are concerned, for the health of the workers, juveniles and
adults alike. Whether the provisions are in practice always enforced is a
matter open to some doubt.

In the case of factories,[72] the outside walls, ceilings, passages, and
staircases must be painted every seven years, and washed every fourteen
months; and in general the premises must be kept clean and free from
effluvia, and the floors properly drained. Ventilation must be adequate,
and all gases, dust, and other impurities generated in the course of work
rendered, so far as is practicable, innocuous to health. In certain cases
the inspector may insist on the provision of ventilating fans.
Overcrowding is prevented by requiring a minimum space in each room of 250
cubic feet for each person, or during overtime of 400 cubic feet. A
reasonable temperature must be maintained in each room in which any person
is employed. There must be sufficient and suitable supply of sanitary
conveniences. In textile factories a limit is set on the amount of
atmospheric humidity. In certain dangerous or poisonous trades additional
precautions are required. The Secretary of State has large powers of
imposing additional regulations on the one hand, and of granting
exemptions on the other. The authority for enforcing the regulations in
factories is the inspector acting through the Home Office.

The regulations applicable to workshops do not differ very materially from
those imposed on factories, but the enforcing authority is different. The
authority in the case of workshops is the district or the borough
council--_i.e._, the public health authority. The medical officer of
health and the inspector of nuisances have for this purpose the power of
factory inspectors. A breach of the law on the subject is declared to be a
nuisance, and may be dealt with summarily under the Public Health Acts.
The district or borough council are compelled to keep a register of the
workshops within their area; and the medical officer of health is required
to report annually to the council on the administration of the Factory
Acts in the workshops and workplaces in the district. A copy of this
report must be sent to the Secretary of State, who remains the supreme
authority, and in certain cases of default may authorize a factory
inspector to take the necessary steps for enforcing these provisions, and
recover the expenses from the defaulting council.

An attempt is also made to regulate the sanitary conditions under which
out-workers are employed. Where provisions are made by the Secretary of
State, the employers concerned are made responsible for the condition of
the places in which his out-workers carry on work. The employer must keep
lists of out-workers. The district council, in cases where the place is
injurious to the health of the out-workers, may take steps to have the
evil remedied or the employment stopped.

The Act requires machinery to be properly fenced, and special precautions
to be taken in cleaning machinery in motion. Children may not clean any
part of machinery in motion, or any place under such machinery other than
a overhead gearing. Children and young persons may not be allowed to work
between the fixed and traversing parts of a self-acting machine while the
machine is in motion.

When there occurs in a factory or workshop any accident which either (_a_)
causes loss of life to a person employed in the factory or workshop, or
(_b_) causes to a person employed in the factory or workshop such bodily
injury as to prevent him on any one of the three working days after the
occurrence of the accident from being employed for five hours on his
ordinary work, written notice shall forthwith be sent to the inspector for
the district.

In the case of new factories erected since January 1, 1892, and of new
workshops erected since January 1, 1896, in which more than forty persons
are employed, a certificate must be obtained from the local authority for
building by-laws, stating that reasonable provision for escape has been
made in case of fire. With regard to older factories and workshops, the
local authority must satisfy itself that reasonable means of escape are
provided. From these regulations it will be seen that precautions guarding
the health of boys are taken in the case of factories and workshops. There
are rules, there is an enforcing and inspecting authority, and there is
required a report in all cases of serious accident. But, with one
exception, no steps are taken to test the adequacy of the precautions by a
periodic medical examination of children and young persons, or to prevent
the employment of certain individuals who are physically unfit for the

The exception is important, and observes attention, because it indicates a
possible line of reform. "In a factory a young person under the age of
sixteen, or a child, must not be employed ... unless the occupier of the
factory has obtained a certificate, in the prescribed form, of the fitness
of the young person or child for employment in that factory. When a child
becomes a young person, a fresh certificate of fitness must be
obtained." [73] A certifying surgeon is appointed for each district. "He
must certify that the person named in the certificate is of the age
therein specified, and has been personally examined by him, and is not
incapacitated by disease or bodily infirmity for working daily for the
time allowed by law in the factory." [74] "The certificate may be qualified
by conditions as to the work on which a child or young person is fit to be
employed," and the employer must observe such conditions.[75] The surgeon
has power to examine any process in which the child or young person is
employed.[76] A factory inspector who is of opinion that any young person
or child is unsuited on the ground of health for the employment on which
he is engaged may order his dismissal, unless the certifying surgeon,
after examination, shall again certify him as fit.[77]

This provision only applies to young persons under the age of sixteen, and
to children. It does not, moreover, apply to workshops. In the case of
workshops, the employer may obtain, if he thinks fit, a certificate from
the certifying surgeon.[78] The Secretary of State has, however, power to
extend the regulation to certain classes of workshops, if he considers the
extension desirable.[79]

In these cases, and these cases alone, is it necessary to call in the
doctor to certify the physical fitness of the boy for the employment in
which he is engaged. But under the Employment of Children Act, 1903, taken
in conjunction with the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907,
it is possible to extend considerably the system of medical tests. Under
the first of these Acts, which applies to children under the age of

"Sect. 3 (4). A child shall not be employed to lift, carry, or move
anything so heavy as to be likely to cause injury to the child.

"(5) A child shall not be employed in any occupation likely to be
injurious to his life, limb, health, or education, regard being had to his
physical condition.

"(6) If the local authority send a certificate to the employer saying that
certain employment will injure the child, the certificate shall be
admissible as evidence in any subsequent proceedings against the employer
in respect of the employment of the child."

If the child has left school--and under certain conditions a child can
leave school at the age of twelve--it is not easy to see how the local
authority can enforce these provisions. But with children attending
school, whole or part time, circumstances are different. Medical
inspection of school-children is now compulsory, and it is within the
power of the education authority to inspect any such children.[80] They
are therefore at liberty to examine any children known to be at work, and
any certificate of "unfitness" sent to an employer would probably be

Further, under the Employment of Children Act, Sects. 1 and 2, a local
authority may make by-laws permitting, subject to conditions, the
employment of children under the age of fourteen in any specified
occupation; and in the case of "street trading" the age is extended to
sixteen. It would be possible therefore, subject to the approval of the
Secretary of State, to make by-laws requiring a medical certificate of
fitness in certain forms of occupation in which children under the age of
fourteen are engaged.


In the preceding sections the State has played a passive part in the
supervision of the boy. It has contented itself with giving orders to
others, and with taking some more or less inadequate steps to see that its
commands are obeyed, but has directly done nothing itself. We are now to
see the State assuming duties of its own, and appearing as the active
guardian of the child. Individual or voluntary effort having failed, it
has been driven, at first reluctantly, but later with increasing
readiness, to fill the gap.

The State has now made itself directly responsible for providing schools
for the children of the nation. The schools play an important part in the
supervision of character. Attendance at school may be either compulsory or
voluntary. The law of compulsory attendance has already been stated.[81]
As a rule children must attend school till they reach the age of twelve,
and under local by-laws can in general be retained till they reach the age
of fourteen. In certain cases, important from the point of view of
discipline, the period of compulsory attendance can be prolonged. Children
under fourteen found begging, or wandering without home, or under the care
of a criminal or drunken guardian, or in general living in surroundings
likely to lead to crime, may be brought before a magistrate and sent to an
industrial school.[82] Here they are boarded and lodged, and may be kept
there up to the age of sixteen, after which time the managers of the
school have duties of supervision for a further period of two years, with
power of recall if desirable. Children who are truants or are convicted of
criminal offences can be treated in the same way.

For the majority of boys State guardianship is confined to the years of
compulsory attendance. But a considerable number continue their education
in various ways, and so remain under some sort of supervision. Children
may remain at the elementary school till the close of the school year in
which they attain the age of fifteen. The education authority has power to
provide and aid secondary and trade schools, and to make these
institutions accessible by means of scholarships; and secondary schools,
if in receipt of grants from the Board of Education, must in general
reserve a quarter of the places for pupils whose parents cannot afford to
pay fees. The education authority has power to provide evening
continuation classes for those who desire to avail themselves of the
opportunities thus afforded. Those who choose to attend these places of
higher education continue in some degree under the supervision of the

But the supervision of the State through its schools is not confined to
the supervision of conduct. The education authority now exercises
important duties in connection with the health of the children in the
elementary schools. It is now obligatory on every education authority to
inspect medically all children on their admission to school, and at such
other times as may be prescribed by the Board of Education.[83] In their
original memorandum to education authorities the Board of Education
required these inspections--on admission to school, and at the ages of
seven and ten.[84] These regulations have not at present been enforced,
but the London County Council has now adopted a scheme which practically
embodies them. The local education authority is empowered, with the
consent of the Board of Education, to make arrangement for attending to
the health of the children.[85] Medical inspection is compulsory, medical
treatment optional. Further, the local education authority may draw on the
rates to feed school-children, whether their parents are destitute or not,
provided it is satisfied that the children, for lack of food, are unable
to profit by the instruction given.[86]

Finally, the local education authority may receive into its day industrial
schools children at the request of their parents, who must pay towards the
expense such sum as may be fixed by the Secretary of State.[87]

It will be seen that, acting through the local education authorities, the
State has now assumed large duties in connection with the supervision of
children. To submit to the discipline of the schools the vast majority of
the children of the county; to examine medically all children in these
schools; to feed the necessitous children, and to treat medically the
ailing children in the elementary schools; to remove and provide for until
the age of sixteen unfortunate children exposed to an unfavourable
environment--these are powers which constitute no small measure of State



Training that shall fit a boy for a trade is of two kinds, general and
special. The first must develop those mental qualities of alertness,
intelligence, and adaptability required in all forms of occupation; the
second must give definite instruction in the principles and practice of
some particular industry or branch of industries. For the first provision
is made in the elementary school system, with its powers of compelling
attendance. For the second we must look to the various types of
continuation school. Here, under existing conditions, the State can only
offer facilities; it cannot enforce attendance.[88]

Since the passing of the Education Act, 1902 and 1903, progress has been
marked in both directions. The old "voluntary" schools, whose rolls
contained the names of half the scholars in the country, and whose limited
funds constituted an impassable barrier to all advance, are now maintained
out of the rates; and the gap between non-provided and council schools is
closing up. The breaking up of the small School Boards and the
establishment of larger authorities controlling all forms of education
have made for efficiency, while the merging of educational matters in the
general municipal work is insuring that practical criticism of his schemes
which the educationalist always resents but always requires.

_(a) The Elementary School._

It is obvious that, with the variety of children every school contains and
their tender age, no definite trade training can be given in the
elementary school. On the other hand, we have advanced far beyond the old
educational ideal of providing a common and uniform type of instruction in
the common school. Types of school are being multiplied to meet the needs
of different kinds of pupils. Provision has long since been supplied for
the mentally and physically defective, and serious attempts are now being
made to break up and classify that huge group which includes the so-called
normal child. In addition to the varying types of elementary school which
are in process of being adapted to the differing needs of the locality,
and the different classes of child, we have, under the elementary school
system, what is known as the "higher elementary school." Originally a
school specializing in science and of little value, it is tending to
become, under the more recent regulations of the Board of Education, a
school where a definite bias, either in the direction of commerce or
industry, is given to the curriculum. It is true that the number of
schools called "higher elementary" shows little signs of increase.[89]
This is due to the rigid and inflexible rules of the Board of Education,
which seem expressly designed to kill, and not to encourage, the
experiment. But while the name is being dropped, the thing is being
preserved and multiplied. London, for example, has recently adopted a
scheme for the development of sixty of these types of school, to be called
"central schools." The curriculum of each school is determined after
taking into account the industrial needs of the neighbourhood in which it
is placed. The education given is general in character, but the selection
of subjects has special reference to some profession or group of trades.
Broadly speaking, there are two general types of school, the commercial
and the industrial. The industrial type is already subdivided into the
woodwork and the engineering type, and further subdivisions will gradually
be formed. In these schools no attempt will be made to teach a trade, but
such subjects are included in the curriculum as will be found useful in
the trade. In the woodwork type, for example, in addition to a
considerable amount of time devoted to practical instruction in woodwork,
special attention is given to the kinds of arithmetic and drawing required
by the intelligent carpenter. An elaborate scheme for picking out between
the ages of eleven and twelve the children suitable for these different
kinds of school has been drawn up. A four years' course of instruction is
provided for. In order to induce the poorer parents to allow their
children to remain beyond the age of compulsory attendance, the education
committee offers bursaries, thereby exercising that negative form of
compulsion technically known as a bribe. Other education authorities are
establishing schools with similar aims. The experiments are recent, and
mark an important and new development. Two advantages are anticipated.
First, the variety in the types of school and the careful selection of
scholars will promote intelligence by providing that particular kind of
educational nutriment best adapted for encouraging the growth of a
particular order of mind. Secondly, by guiding the interests of boys in
the direction of various occupations, it is hoped that on leaving school
these interests will lead the boys to enter those occupations for which to
some extent they have been prepared, and in which they are most likely to
succeed. The elementary schools, as a body, will thus become a kind of
sorting-house for the different trades, and be freed from that charge, to
some extent justified, of catering only for the lower ranks of the
clerical profession.

_(b) The Continuation School._

It is becoming year by year more generally recognized that a system of
education which comes to an end somewhere about the age of fourteen is
incomplete and profoundly unsatisfactory. Without attendance at a
continuation school of some kind, a boy rapidly loses much of the effect
of his previous education, and at the same time is deprived of all
opportunity of enjoying the advantages of a more specialized training. To
meet this need a complex system of continuation school has grown up. It
lacks, however, the element of compulsion, except that negative form
already alluded to--the bribe of a scholarship. Looking at the machinery
as a whole, it may be admitted that the State does afford considerable
opportunity to those anxious to continue their general education, or to
obtain some specific form of technical instruction. Whether sufficient use
is made of this opportunity is a question that must be answered in the
following chapter. But taking the machinery as a whole, and as it exists
under the best education authorities, the machinery does touch to some
extent the principal trades and professions.[90]

1. Provision is gradually being made for those likely to succeed in the
higher branches of industry and commerce. The number of secondary schools
is being increased, their quality improved, and their types varied.
Technical institutes providing day and evening classes of an advanced
character are being rapidly multiplied. University instruction, aided out
of public funds, is becoming more plentiful and efficient, and, whether
during the day or in the evening, is year by year offering larger
opportunities to students. Progress is especially marked in the faculties
of economics and technology. Scholarship systems, more or less
incomplete, make access to these institutions possible for the poorer
classes of the community. The trend of development seems to suggest that a
system of organization, calculated to provide training for the highest
positions in the industrial and commercial world, is developing along the
following lines:

Between the ages of eleven and twelve the brightest children will be
transferred from the elementary to the secondary school. The secondary
school will provide a course of instruction extending to the age of
eighteen. Broadly speaking, there will be three types of secondary school,
the first giving a general and literary education, the second specializing
in commerce, and the third in some branch of science and technology. At
the age of eighteen the suitable students will be removed to the
University, where they will receive a three or four years' course of
instruction suitable to the profession they are intending to enter. It is
probable that at the age of fourteen there will be an additional, though
smaller, transfer of children from the elementary schools, in order that
provision may be made for those who have slipped through the meshes of the
scholarship net at the first casting. Scholarships with liberal
maintenance grants will make readily accessible to all who are fit the
advantages of a prolonged education. Evening classes, leading even to a
degree, will remain for those who, for one reason or another, have failed
to obtain in their earlier years the advanced instruction they now

An organization of this kind is not at present found anywhere in its
complete form, but it is sufficiently complete in certain directions to be
considered here, where we are concerned with attainments, and not reserved
for a later chapter, where we shall be examining new paths of progress.

2. For those likely later to fill the position of foreman, or to become
the best kind of artisan, the day trade school is provided. The boys enter
the trade school on leaving the elementary school about the age of
fourteen or fifteen, and go through a two and sometimes a three years'
course of instruction. These schools continue the education of the boy,
with special reference to the trade concerned, and at the same time devote
a large amount of time to supplying an all-round training in the various
skilled operations the trade requires. They are essentially practical in
character, and this practical character is often assured by a committee of
employers, who visit the school and criticize the methods of instruction.

3. For those already apprenticed to, or engaged in, the trade two forms of
instruction are provided. The most satisfactory are the classes attended
during the day. Attendance at such times can only be secured by inducing
the employers to allow their lads time off during working hours. In some
cases the element of compulsion is introduced by the employers, who make
attendance at such classes a condition of employment. The other form of
instruction is provided during the evening at a technical institute. In
either case the instruction is of a practical nature, and designed to
supplement the training of the workshop.

4. For those who have entered, or desire to enter, the lower walks of
commerce, or the civil or municipal service, there is the evening school
of a commercial type, usually held in the building of an elementary

5. Of the boys who, engaged in unskilled work during the day, are anxious
to continue their general education or to improve their position, the
evening school again supplies the need. Some practical work is done in the
woodwork or metal centres, but the limited equipment of the elementary
school stands in the way of any advanced technical instruction. If we omit
the commercial classes, already mentioned, attendance at an evening school
often means little more than attendance once a week at a class where
instruction is given in a single subject, and not infrequently the
recreative element is predominant. Recently, and with considerable
success, the "course" system has been introduced. Here the students,
instead of being present at a single class once a week, attend on several
evenings during the week, and go through a course of instruction in
several subjects connected together and leading up to some definite goal.

If to these various types of continuation school we add the large number
of lectures on numerous subjects, we shall see that the State through its
schools supplies a considerable amount of technical instruction. It would
be false to say that the boys receive all the training that they need, but
it would not be beyond the mark to assert that in the case of many
education authorities they are afforded all, and not infrequently more
than all, the opportunities for which they ask. It is the demand, and not
the supply, that is deficient.



Until the year 1910 the provision of openings in suitable occupations was
not considered among the duties of the State. It is true that here and
there, usually in co-operation with voluntary associations, an education
committee made some attempt to place out in trades the boys about to leave
school. But any expenditure in this direction was illegal, and under no
circumstances was it possible to do anything for those who had already
left school. But in the year 1910 the State, without premeditation, has
found itself committed to the duty of finding openings for children and
juveniles. The revolution was upon us before we had seen the signs of its

This assumption of a new duty was the unforeseen result of the
establishment of Labour Exchanges. The Act of 1909 thought nothing, said
nothing, about juveniles. It was passed as a measure intended to deal with
the problem of adult unemployment. Now, there is no problem of
unemployment in connection with boys and youths; the demand of employers
for this kind of labour appears insatiable. Nevertheless, no sooner were
Labour Exchanges opened, than the question of juveniles came to the
front. Employers asked for juveniles, and the managers of the local Labour
Exchange, eager to meet the wishes of the employer, searched for and found
juveniles. Enthusiastic about his work, and prompted by the laudable
desire to show large returns of vacancies filled, it did not occur to him
that the problem of the juvenile and the problem of the adult had little
in common. He was not permitted to remain long in this condition of
primitive ignorance. Questions were asked in the House, letters were
written to the papers, deputations waited on the President of the Board of
Trade, all complaining that the Labour Exchange was becoming an engine for
the exploitation of boy labour. In the case of adults, no bargain as to
conditions was struck with the employer; the man had to make his own
terms. But the boy could not make his own terms, and public opinion had
for some years been uneasy about the increasing employment of boys in
occupations restricted to boys, and leading to no permanent situation when
the years of manhood were reached. Returns showed that it was largely into
situations of this character that lads were being thrust by the Labour
Exchange. The Board of Trade rapidly realized the evil, and set itself to
work to repair the unforeseen mistake. It wisely decided to grapple
seriously with the problem, and did not, as it might well have done,
restrict the Labour Exchange to adults.

It determined to appoint Advisory Committees to deal with juveniles. In
London the following machinery is in process of being established: There
is a Central Advisory Committee, consisting of six members nominated by
the Board of Trade, six by the London County Council, and six by the
committee of employers and trade unionists, who advise the Board of Trade
on questions of adult employment. The duty of this Central Committee is to
advise the Board of Trade as to the appointment of the local Advisory
Committees, which will be formed to control the juvenile department in
connection with each of the London Labour Exchanges. It will also be the
duty of the Central Advisory Committee to advise generally on questions
affecting the employment of juveniles. Though the duties of this committee
are nominally advisory, its work will in practice become administrative in
character. Here then is an organization which in course of time will
probably have to deal with the problem of finding suitable occupations for
the child and juvenile population of London. Similar bodies are being
formed in other towns. As will appear later, this is one of the most
important social questions of the day. How these committees will do their
work only the future can show. But if the Board of Trade act liberally in
matters of expenditure, there is no cause for despondency, and we may well
hope that, by the purest of accidents, we are on the threshold of a new
era in the history of industrial organization. Chance is not always blind,
and some of its wild castings hit the mark.

Such, in broad outline, have been the achievements of the State during the
age of reconstruction, so far as concerns the problem of boy labour and
apprenticeship. Guided by sentiment, partial and limited in the sphere of
its operations, the State has yet drifted far from the moorings of
_laissez-faire_, and is destined to drift farther as the years go by.

How far the intricate machinery, slowly pieced together during the last
three-quarters of a century, is successful when judged by results, what
are its more serious defects, and what should be the lines of future
advance, before the establishment of a real apprenticeship system, it will
be the object of the following chapters to explain. But one truth should
now be abundantly clear: of the three essential factors of that system,
not one has been altogether neglected by the State, and in certain
departments its guardianship has been widely extended. In the department
of supervision it has, through its schools, created an organization to
watch over and to control the conduct of all its children; it has recently
recognized through the same agency its duty to provide for them at least
the elements of physical well-being; and through numerous Acts it has
endeavoured to insure for the boy worker a minimum standard--low, indeed,
but still real--of proper conditions of employment. In the department of
training it has covered the land with a network of educational
institutions, which offer to all the possibilities of nearly every kind of
instruction. While, as regards the provision of an opening, it has
realized the urgency of the problem, and has taken the first steps to
supply the deficiency. These are all, in spite of many shortcomings, solid
achievements, hopeful in the present, and more hopeful for the promise
they bring of a larger measure of State guardianship in the years that are
to come.



A true apprenticeship system, as already explained, must satisfy three
conditions: It must guarantee the adequate supervision of the youth of the
country as regards physical and moral development until the age of
eighteen at least is reached; it must supply means of effective training,
both general and specialized; and, finally, it must provide to those about
to cross the threshold of manhood an opening in some form of occupation
for which definite preparation has been given. The efficiency of the
industrial organization of to-day must be judged by the extent to which
these three conditions are satisfied.

To what extent does the apprenticeship of to-day satisfy the conditions of
a true apprenticeship system? To answer this question we must look far
beyond the narrow limits of indentured apprenticeship as it still exists.
It touches only a fringe, and a vanishing fringe, of the problem. Life for
the youth has grown more complex since the passing of the old organization
of the gilds; its success or failure is the outcome of the interplay of
numerous forces. Four factors contribute, in a more or less degree, to the
result. There is the contribution of the State--the last chapter was
concerned with the description of the machinery which has slowly been set
up during the age of reconstruction--we have yet to test its influence in
the actual working; there is the contribution of philanthropic enterprise,
as represented in the religious bodies, the clubs, the apprenticeship
associations, and skilled employment committees; there is the contribution
of the home, with its discipline and training; and, finally, there is the
contribution of the workshop, using this term to include all forms of
occupation, with the methods of entry and the organization for securing a
supply of labour. Only when we have taken into account the effects of
these four factors can we pass judgment on the apprenticeship of to-day.



In estimating the contribution of the State towards apprenticeship of
to-day, it will be convenient, as in the last chapter, to trace the effect
of this influence in two sections, the one devoted to a survey of the
results of State regulation, and the other to an examination of the
achievements of State enterprise.


In its scheme of regulation the State has aimed, broadly speaking, at
securing three results. It has endeavoured to prevent boys from being
overworked or wrongly worked; it has sought to guard them from being
engaged in demoralizing forms of employment; and it has striven to secure
satisfactory conditions within the walls of the workshop.

The third task presents the fewest difficulties. Medical science is
sufficiently advanced to prescribe the conditions as to ventilation,
heating, sanitation, and cubic contents essential to the health of the
boys. The sad catalogue of accidents is sufficiently long to show where
danger, through inadequately guarded machinery, is probable. To enforce
the necessary regulations is comparatively easy. There must be a suitable
number of inspectors, and these inspectors must be specially trained for
their work. Neither condition is at present fulfilled. The staff of
inspectors is much too small, and the inspectors themselves frequently
lack the requisite technical qualifications.

In the work of guarding boys from being engaged in occupations
demoralizing to character, the State has only recently taken the first
steps. The Employment of Children Act prohibits street trading under
certain conditions. As will appear later in this chapter, there are a
large number of occupations where regulation is much required. Indeed, it
is a comparatively new idea that the nature of the employment of the boy
may have a profound influence on the well-being of the man.

In the department of regulation the most elaborate machinery has grown up
around the attempts of the State to prevent boys from being overworked or
wrongly worked. The difficulties in the way of success have been two.
There has been the difficulty in getting the necessary law passed. In this
respect it is enough to mention that the "half-time" system, in spite of
practically universal condemnation, is still permitted, to show the almost
insurmountable obstacles presented by vested interests. There is next the
difficulty of enforcing the law. It is often urged that it is idle to
place on the statute-book laws which can easily be evaded. Too much weight
must not, however, be given to this argument. There is a moral effect in
the passing of every law. The fact that the State has condemned certain
modes of action is an important factor in the formation of public opinion.
Many people realize for the first time that the evils which are the result
of conduct hitherto regarded as harmless, because not regarded at all, are
sufficiently serious to call for State interference. The law may not have
its full effect; it will without doubt have some effect.

The question of enforcement is, however, of vital importance, and it is
well to consider the limits of the power of enforcement.

The best method of restricting the hours of employment is to see that the
boy is somewhere else during part of the working day. The half-time
system, which insured that the boy should spend half his time in school,
was established, not primarily with a view to his education, but to
prevent him from being overworked. It has, moreover, from its point of
view, been completely successful, and has in practice been enforced
without difficulty. The various laws relating to compulsory attendance at
school have exercised an influence more potent in the work of limiting
the hours of employment than all the other elaborate regulations on the
subject. If we see to it that a boy is in school, he cannot at the same
time be found in the factory. The machinery for enforcing attendance now
runs without difficulty, and its action is uniform and comprehensive.

The next method of restricting employment is the method of prohibition.
Here, again, enforcement presents no serious difficulty. If we forbid
children under a certain age to work for wages or to take part in certain
forms of occupation, it is enough to find them so engaged at any one
moment to secure a conviction.

The third method, which seeks to prevent boys from being overworked by
setting a limit on the number of hours during which they may be employed,
is almost impossible to carry out. The Shop Hours Act is frequently
infringed, and only the most rigid system of inspection can get evidence
of cases of infringement. Yet even here detection is comparatively easy. A
watch can be kept on the number of hours during which a shop is open, and
if this exceed the legal limit we have a fair presumption that the shop
assistants are over-employed. But in the case of children we cannot draw
this conclusion. We are supposing their hours are more limited than in the
case of the adults, and the mere fact that the shop is open during a
longer period affords no proof that the child is there all the day on all
days of the week. To enforce regulations of this kind we must set a watch
on the individual child, and on a large scale this is impracticable.

In judging of the results of State regulation, as described in the
preceding chapter, we may assume that the regulations are enforced--or at
any rate are enforceable--where employment is prohibited, or where
attendance at school is required, but that regulations which entail the
counting of hours have little effect in preventing overwork except by the
indirect method of forming public opinion. Further, when we are seeking a
path of reform, we must take the road of prohibition or alternative
attendance at school.

Leaving general considerations, and coming to details, it may be said
that, so far as children under the age of fourteen are concerned, the
system of State regulation, though a little cumbersome, covers a
considerable part of the field, provided always that local education
authorities make full use of the powers conferred by the Education Acts,
the School Attendance Acts, the Children Act, and the Employment of
Children Act, and provided also that the Board of Education and the Home
Office render full and cordial support. Unfortunately, these provisos are
very far from being fulfilled. More than 58 per cent. of the population,
for example, live in districts where the attendance by-laws allow of
conditional exemption at the age of twelve.

It is true that in nearly half the cases a fairly high standard of
attainment is required from the children, but with the remainder no higher
standard is required than that reached by the normal child at the age of
twelve.[91] Or, again, in connection with the Employment of Children Act,
out of seventy-four county boroughs, fifty have made by-laws in reference
to street trading, but large towns, like Leeds, Nottingham, or Salford,
have made none. Out of 191 smaller boroughs and urban districts, only
forty-one have made by-laws; and out of the sixty-two administrative
counties, other than London and Middlesex, only one.[92] It may fairly be
assumed that, where no by-laws relating to street trading exist, little is
done to enforce the other provisions of the Act.

As regards young persons, if we exclude the Acts relating to mines, which
affect a comparatively small number of lads, the Shop Hours Act, with its
mild provisions of seats for assistants and a maximum week of seventy-four
hours, the only Act which can be said to exert a large measure of
supervision is the Factory and Workshop Act. Assuming that the system of
regulation there found is adequate, and adequately enforced--both
assumptions far from being fulfilled in practice--there remain the young
persons who do not come within its provisions. The number of these is very
large. In the next chapter figures are given relating to the occupations
of London children on leaving school and between the ages of fifteen and
twenty. A study of these tables will show that not more than at most a
third of the young persons are brought within the scope of the Factory
and Workshop Act. A large proportion of the lads engaged in the building
trades, and practically the whole of those employed in shops, in
transport, in commerce, and in general labour, are excluded. In their case
there is no State supervision to regulate the conditions of their work.

Coming to concrete examples, the van-boy may in all kinds of weather spend
a dozen hours a day lolling on the tail of a cart, idle for much of his
time, and for the remainder holding the horses outside a public-house, or
lifting weights too heavy for his strength. The errand-boy, none too well
clad or shod, may, delivering parcels and messages, trudge through the
cold and rain over long leagues of streets during long stretches of the
week. The office-boy may be cooped up in a dark and ill-ventilated office
during most of the hours of daylight. The shop-boy may stand ten, twelve,
or on Saturdays fifteen hours of the twenty-four in the street or in the
shop, with one eye on the goods and the other on a penny novelette. And
there is no public authority to say whether the conditions of his
employment are satisfactory, no power to have him medically inspected, no
possible guarantee to insure that when he passes the threshold of early
manhood the vigour and the brightness of youth shall not have given way to
the feeble health and the torpor of old age. Unquestionably, we owe much
to sentiment for the evils it has denounced and remedied, but we owe also
to the régime of sentiment the fact that some two-thirds of the young
persons in the country are engaged in occupations carried on without
regulation and unvisited by any inspector of the State.


The most signal example of State enterprise in the realm of boy labour is
to be found in that huge organization of schools, elementary and
continuation, which now cover the country, and whose efficiency is rapidly
increasing. The organization has already been described; it remains to
summarize briefly its principal effects. First, the boys attend school
with astonishing regularity. An average percentage of attendances during
the year of ninety-five, and even more, is become common. Truancy is rare,
and growing rarer. The truant schools are being gradually emptied, and
several have been closed. This result is no doubt in part due to the
increased fine for non-attendance, and the pressure thus placed on the
parent. But excellent attendance implies much more than the elimination of
the truant; it means that, after making allowance for absences due to
illness and other sufficient causes, the boy attends school with perfect
regularity and punctuality at all times when the schools are opened. Now,
this ideal is in the case of the vast majority of boys attained. The
result must be attributed to the influence of the teachers over the boy.
Prosecution of the parent may cure gross irregularity, but perfect
attendance can only be secured by enlisting the co-operation of the boy.
The first effect of the school, then, is seen in the almost unqualified
regularity and punctuality of the attendance. If we reflect on the home
conditions of many of the boys, we shall be compelled to pay a high
tribute of praise to the work of the teacher. The second achievement lies
in the admirable order maintained within the walls of the school. Ready
obedience is the rule, and not the exception. This is in general not the
result of a system of harsh discipline--corporal punishment is decreasing
at once in severity and in frequency--it is due to the personal influence
of the teacher. In the third place, a spirit of industry and active
attention pervades the work of the school. In discussing with the
authorities of secondary schools the career of the children who have won
scholarships from the elementary schools, I have more than once been told
that the chief characteristic of these scholars lies in their patient and
strenuous diligence. In this respect they serve as an admirable example to
the fee-paying pupils. It is true that the scholars are picked children,
but ability and diligence are, as experience shows, by no means
inseparable companions. Here, again, we see the effect of the school.
Finally, the schools are institutions which make for character in the best
sense of the word. The moral training is gradually freeing itself from the
"do and don't" of the home, and is beginning to reach the higher level of
morality where the command is "to be this, not that." A standard of school
honour is being sought for, and sometimes attained. To take a single
example. In what is perhaps the poorest school in all London, set in the
most squalid and vice-haunted region, it has been made a matter of honour
with the boys who are receiving school dinners to come to the headmaster
as soon as the home circumstances temporarily improve and say: "I don't
want a dinner this morning, because father has got a day's work."

Habits of regularity, obedience, and industry, and the cultivation of a
sense of honour--these are the chief results of State supervision carried
out by means of the schools. Two questions require an answer: Do these
qualities, found within the precincts of the school, overflow and affect
the conduct of the boys outside the school? Do they last when school-days
are over, and the boys gone out to work? With regard to the first, there
is good reason to believe that they do overflow. The school training does
influence the conduct of the boys outside. No one who has watched a
zealous headmaster replace an ancient and inefficient teacher of the old
type can fail to have observed a striking change in the behaviour of the
boys as seen in the street and in the home. With regard to the second
question, we must reply that undoubtedly in many cases the qualities
gradually disappear. When we come, as we shall do shortly, to the survey
of the conditions of boy labour, we shall not be surprised at this
unfortunate truth. It would be difficult to imagine any form of training
that would be permanent when all discipline is relaxed or entirely
discontinued at the most critical period of the development of the boy.

The elementary school is now made responsible for the supervision of the
health of the children. Medical inspection of all children is now
compulsory, while medical treatment is made legal. The education authority
may also draw on the rates to provide meals for necessitous children. It
is too soon to estimate the effect of these new powers, but if they are
used with wise generosity they should exercise a profound influence on the
health of the rising generation.

But however beneficent may be the influence of the elementary school, it
comes to an end abruptly at the age of fourteen, and often a year or two
earlier. Up to the age of leaving school, the boy is carefully guarded by
the State, and then, with no transitional stage, he becomes a man, and, so
far as the State is concerned, all control is withdrawn. Two or three per
cent., with the help of scholarships, may pass annually to the secondary
school, where State supervision is continued. Not more than 30 per cent.
of those who leave the elementary school attend an evening school,[93] and
even if they do there is no medical inspection in such places, and little
effective discipline is possible for boys attending evening school on two
or three nights a week. The remaining two-thirds disappear from the sight
of the State, which henceforth renounces all responsibility for their

We have next to regard the schools as training-grounds for the workmen of
the future. We ought not to look to the elementary schools to provide any
definite preparation for a trade. Unfortunately, through no fault of
their own, and because of the industrial development of the day, the
schools are turning out in thousands lads completely equipped for a
certain class of occupation. We have already seen that the most signal
triumph of the schools is to be found in the habits of regularity,
intelligence, and obedience, which they impress on the boys. Now, these
qualities are essential to success in all walks of life; but for one form
of employment alone are they all that is required. This form of employment
includes those occupations in which boys and boys only are engaged, and
where the boys are discharged as soon as they become men. The
messenger-boy, the shop-boy, the van-boy, and even the boy who attends to
some machine which monotonously performs a single operation--the boy who
comes into one of these classes need take with him nothing but the three
recommendations of regularity, obedience, and intelligence. We shall trace
later the disastrous effects of these forms of employment. It is not
without significance that the rapid increase in the number of boys so
engaged has synchronized with the rapid improvement in the system of
elementary education. It is something of a tragedy that the most signal
triumph of the schools should be, perhaps, the cause of their most signal

Definite training must be looked for in the continuation school. It is
unnecessary to add much to what has been said in the last chapter; the
State offers opportunity, but with its existing powers can do little more.
Speaking generally, for the child of comparatively well-to-do parents,
for the clever child, for the child of unusual energy and physical vigour,
these opportunities can be enjoyed; but for the remainder--and that the
great majority--they are useless, because beyond the reach of ordinary

Of State enterprise in the provision of an opening it is too early to
speak; the juvenile branch of the Labour Exchange is only creeping into
existence. In the next chapter an attempt will be made to explain how best
can be realized the possibilities which lie latent in these institutions.


We are now in a position to summarize the achievements and the defects of
the contribution of the State towards the creation of a true
apprenticeship system. Its machinery of regulation has removed the worst
abuses of child labour, and in certain departments of industry protects,
with some degree of success, the health of the young persons engaged. Its
enterprise in the field of education is providing supervision over the
health and conduct of the boy till he reaches the age of fourteen, while
for the young person it offers opportunities of longer supervision and
technical training.

If much has been done, much more remains undone. Regulation still leaves
rampant many of the evils of child labour. Some two-thirds of the boys as
they leave school enter occupations where regulation hardly exists. State
enterprise for all practical purposes exerts no supervision over lads
between the ages of fourteen and eighteen--the most important epoch of
their lives. Technical training, and even the continuance of general
education, are possible only for a favoured few, and for the present there
is no State provision of an opening.

These are grave defects, and apprenticeship of to-day stands condemned
unless it can be shown that one or other of the remaining factors supply
what the State has failed to give.



The second of the general forces, as distinguished from the individual and
special influences of the home and the workshop, which may make some
contribution towards the apprenticeship of to-day must be sought among the
varied religious and philanthropic associations. While we could not expect
from these bodies any assistance in the work of technical training, we
might hope to find in their midst conditions which make for the better
supervision and control of the lads who have left school.

Beginning with the more distinctly religious associations, we find among
them practical unanimity of opinion. One and all confess sadly that they
are unable to keep in touch with the boys after they have gone out to
work. For the tens of thousands of schoolboys who attend Sunday-school
there are only hundreds of lads on the roll of Bible-classes. The sudden
change from the status of schoolboy to the status of wage-earner, which
for the majority severed all connection with the education authority, has
even more decisively brought to an end the supervision of church and

The miscellaneous associations represented by clubs, lads' brigades, boy
scouts, and the like, have all been called into existence for the express
purpose of exerting some measure of control over that transition period of
life which separates the boy from the man. How many lads between the ages
of fourteen and eighteen come within the sphere of influence it is not
possible to say with any exactness. The Twentieth Century League estimated
in 1903 that in London about 27,780 boys were connected with institutions
of this character, and we shall see later that there are in London about
120,000 boys between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.

It would be no less difficult to weigh the value of the work done.
Existing as they do on a voluntary basis, and free from all element of
compulsion, such supervision as they exert must take the form of tactful
guidance. Their success or failure depends less on the machinery and more
on the personal qualities of the manager. The wide and admirable influence
of the best clubs is the triumph, not of the system, but of the
exceptional individual. Exceptional individuals are, it must be
remembered, exceptional, and an organization which depends on their
presence is necessarily limited in the extent of its operations. We cannot
therefore look to these associations to meet adequately the call for

Of recent years numerous associations have been formed with the object of
providing suitable openings for boys. There are two sides to their work.
On the one hand, situations are found, terms made with employers as to
wages and training, and steps taken to see that these terms are carried
out. On the other hand, periodic visits are paid to the boy in his home,
advice given as to attendance at evening schools, and friendly relations
established between boy and visitor. In general, these bodies are
concerned with placing out lads in skilled trades, though here and there
some attempts have been made to attack the better parts of the unskilled
labour market. Work of this character entails the expenditure of much time
and money, and requires for the negotiation with employers considerable
technical qualifications. Experience has shown that a staff of volunteers
cannot alone perform the necessary duties, and paid officers have been
appointed. The cost necessarily limits the expansion of the organization.
Out of the 30,000 boys who annually leave the elementary schools of
London, it is probable that not more than 2 per cent. come under the
influence of these associations. On the other hand, if the sphere of their
operations is limited, within that sphere it has achieved very
considerable success. They have been pioneers in a new movement, have
fully justified their existence, and must now look to the State to
continue on a larger scale, but on the same general lines, the work that
they have begun. Unlike most volunteers, these employment committees
welcome this transfer, and are now readily placing their services at the
disposal of the Board of Trade through its juvenile Labour Exchange.

This brief survey of the contribution of philanthropic enterprise to the
apprenticeship of to-day reveals one obvious conclusion: the associations
only touch a fringe of the problem, and in no way exert any comprehensive
measure of control over the lads between the ages of fourteen and
eighteen. Their number, their variety, and their enthusiasm, indicate the
urgent need of supervision rather than supervision successfully achieved.
We cannot look to them to supplement in any large degree the defects in
the scheme of State guardianship, or the more grave defects which will
appear when the conditions of home and workshop have been passed in



What contribution does the home make to the solution of the apprenticeship
question? We cannot, indeed, expect to find within the walls of the home
provision made for the general education of the boy, or the specialized
training of the youth; but it is not unnatural to look to the parent to
exercise supervision over his children till manhood is reached, and
likewise to offer to the boy leaving school advice and material assistance
in the selection of a trade. We are still inclined to regard the family as
the one relic of the patriarchal system that has retained a vigorous
vitality through all the ages; we are still apt to see in the home a
small world, edged off from the large world outside, self-centred,
self-ruled, and enjoying all the advantages of a benevolent despotism.

To what extent is this general assumption justified by the results of
actual experience? The question is of profound importance, and has not
received the attention it deserves from those who have written on boy
labour. If we can take it for granted that in the normal home we have the
means of controlling the boy and the growing lad up till the age of
eighteen, we have a solid foundation on which to rest the new
apprenticeship. Abnormal homes may need attention; but if the problem of
supervision is solved for the majority, if there is an authority to which
the boy submits himself as a matter of course, to add training and to
organize openings are tasks which should present no serious difficulty.

Can we look to the home to provide this fundamental basis of a true
apprenticeship system? To answer this question we must study the homes
themselves. A few years ago I devoted a large amount of time to the
collection of material touching the character of family life in towns. The
results were published in an essay entitled "The Boy and the Family." [94]
I may perhaps be allowed to summarize the conclusions there established.

Home varies from home; each may be said to have its own individuality, but
each has much in common. To give definiteness to the problem, I
endeavoured to class the homes under three types. In the main, type
number one referred to the inhabitants of one and two room tenements; type
number two embraced the families possessing three rooms; while the third
type included those persons fortunate enough to rent more than three
rooms. The size of the home proved a rough, though the best attainable,
method of classifying the characteristics of the inmates.

Supervision has been interpreted to mean two things--supervision of health
and supervision of conduct.

So far as the supervision of health is concerned, it is probable that very
few of the parents belonging to the three types possess the necessary
knowledge to carry out this duty. Among all classes of the community
ignorance on matters affecting the hygiene of the home is almost
universal. But even if knowledge were present, the resources at the
disposal of large numbers would prove inadequate to make that knowledge
effective. With type number one overcrowding is the rule; with type number
two it is common; and only in the third type do we reach conditions of
housing favourable to health.

The experience derived from medical inspection of school-children and the
administration of the Provision of Meals Act has revealed the deplorable
condition of large numbers of children when left to the unaided care of
their parents. The returns of necessitous children fed, which are
published weekly in the minutes of the London County Council, showed that
during the winter of 1909-10 at the time of most acute distress, about 9
per cent. of the children in the schools were receiving meals. A careful
inquiry, the most elaborate of its kind, made into the home circumstances
of the necessitous children in certain schools showed that the number of
children actually fed was probably below, and certainly not above, the
number who required meals. The same inquiry, with its lurid pictures of
squalor and distress, proved how small was the prospect of health for many
of those children, even though they were fed at school. It may be regarded
as a conclusive demonstration of the call for more searching regulation on
the part of the State.[95] It is probable, however, that the need for food
is far larger than that represented by the number of children actually
fed. Several inquiries, such as those carried out by Mr. Charles Booth in
London, and Mr. Rowntree in York, indicate that the effective income of
nearly a third of the population is too small to supply in adequate
quantity even the bare necessities of existence.

Medical inspection is now revealing the number of children suffering from
definite ailments, and urgently requiring medical treatment, which they
have hitherto been unable, in a large proportion of cases, to obtain. It
would appear that some 10 per cent. suffer from defective vision, about 1
per cent. from discharging ears, about the same number from ringworm,
while at least a third are suffering in health from the result of
decaying teeth.[96]

Everywhere we have abundant evidence to show that, from want of
supervision, or of the effective means of supervision in the home, large
numbers of children are growing up ill-clad, ill-nourished, and suffering
from definite diseases, all alike leading to inefficient manhood.

The second department of supervision is concerned with the supervision of
character. Can we rest satisfied that the parents exercise over the
growing lads that salutary control all growing lads require? The question
is of profound importance, if, as all agree, character is the condition of
success when the first steps are taken in the industrial world. It is
necessary to distinguish between the boy attending school and the boy
exempt from compulsory attendance. In what follows I shall draw largely on
my essay in "Studies of Boy Life." The conclusions are derived from the
experience of many years' residence in a poor part of London, and have
been tested by a careful inquiry among ministers of religion,
school-teachers, rent-collectors, and others with special knowledge of the


If the parents are to control the boys, the boys must come much under the
personal influence of the parents; in other words, rulers and ruled must
meet frequently. Now, in all three types of family the father exercises
little direct control over the children. If of good character, he is
either out at work or out looking for work during five days of the week,
and sees the children only in the evening. On Saturday afternoons and on
Sundays he is at home; but a week-end visitor cannot be the dominant
factor in domestic affairs. If control is exercised, it must be exercised
by the mother. To trace her influence, it is necessary to picture the kind
of life led by each type. I quote from my essay:

"So far as the first type is considered, it is not easy to say when the
children and parents meet.... The general order of events is something as
follows: If it is one of the days on which he elects to work, the father
rises about five o'clock, finds his own breakfast, and then quits the
house. Some two or three hours later the school-children get out of bed,
wash their faces, take a slice of bread and dripping, and go out.
Sometimes the mother rises at that time and gets the breakfast, but in
most cases remains in bed. At nine the boys go to school. At noon school
is over, and the boys, after amusing themselves in the playground or
street for an hour, go home to get some food. The mother meanwhile has
risen, dressed the smaller children, performed the irreducible minimum of
domestic work, and then left the house to gossip with a neighbour, or earn
a few pence by charing. On rare occasions she may cook the children some
dinner, but as a rule they get what food they can find, and eat it in the
streets. Sometimes they receive a halfpenny to buy their own meal at a
fried-fish shop. The boys then return to school, escape at half-past four,
possibly go home to tea, and then once more turn for amusement to the
streets. There they remain until it is dark, and often in summer till dawn
begins to break, when at length they seek their dwelling and go to bed. In
many cases the boys do not find their way back to their own houses, but
take up their quarters for the night in the house of some friend.
Sometimes they do not sleep in a house at all. In one case of which I have
heard three boys spent a fortnight in a wash-house on the top of some
blocks. There they lived an independent existence, getting their food and
attending school regularly all the while. Later on, being discovered by a
policeman, they were sent to their respective families.... Week follows
week with little variation to mark the march of time. As brief a fragment
of the boy's life as is possible is spent within the common dwelling,
which offers him no occupation, and is entirely devoid of interest or
attraction. The mother does not demand his presence indoors, while he
himself has no wish to be there. The street, and not the house, ought
probably to be regarded as the home or meeting-place of the family." [97]

Supervision under circumstances of this kind must be an almost negligible
factor in the life of the home. Let us now come to the second type. I
quote again:

"In the second type, as already mentioned, the family usually occupies
three rooms. At first sight the conditions found in the former type seem
to prevail here also. Indeed, as a matter of fact, the boys spend hardly
more time at home than those just considered. Out of school hours they are
either in the street or employed in some form of paid work.... School,
street, meals, and bed alternate with one another here in much the same
way as they did in the first type. But while the facts remain for the most
part unchanged, their setting and colouring are very different. Another
atmosphere seems to pervade the whole life; some sense of order and
regularity begins to manifest itself; meals are at fixed hours; and the
boys are expected home and sent to bed at more or less definite times.
They return to their own tenements, and do not spend the night with some
of their neighbours. As will appear later, home interests begin to
develop; and if the boys spend their leisure in the streets, this is due
more to their own choice than to the wish of their parents.... The mother
does not display the utter indifference to the state of the dwelling or
the habits of the children conspicuous in the first type. Some sort of
ideal of home she seems to possess, but to obtain this ideal is beyond her
power. She has the look of one who feels that things are wrong, and yet
can see no remedy. She notes, for example, the evil influence the street
exerts on the characters of her boys, but does not know how to preserve
them from its overwhelming attractions." [98]

"The chief difference, then, between the first and second type lies not so
much in a different kind of life as in a certain change of atmosphere that
pervades and transforms the common existence. In the third type this
change of atmosphere becomes more conspicuous. A great part of the boy's
time is, indeed, still spent outside the dwelling-place, but the life at
home begins to assume larger proportions. There is more order and quiet in
the house--a condition which reacts favourably on the boys. They are no
longer seen hanging about the streets, loafing at the corners, or shouting
noisily in the gutters. Though much out of doors, they go farther afield,
and visit parks or museums; while, if they stay near home, they will
usually be discovered in the school playground. In the evening many of
them are indoors, and have various occupations, of which, perhaps, reading
is the chief." [99]

In type number one, then, there is, for all practical purposes, a complete
absence of supervision. In the second type there is a desire for
supervision, but the narrowness of the house accommodation thrusts the
boys into the streets. In the third type alone are the conditions
favourable to supervision.


If the boy while at school is under little parental control, it is not to
be expected that this control will be tightened when school days are over.
With the first type of family there was no supervision before, and there
is no more afterwards. The boy is self-supporting, and troubles little
about the home, and the home troubles little about him. There is a partial
exception in the case of the coster. Here the boy may become one of the
regular working members of the establishment, and remains with his father;
but the discipline is of a rude and ready sort.

With the second type of family the boy's earnings are of great importance
to the family, and the mother does her best to keep him at home. Any
exercise of discipline is avoided, lest the lad should take his earnings
and go elsewhere. He is rather in the position of a favoured lodger, whose
presence is valuable to the home, and who must be treated well for fear he
should give notice.

In the third type of family, the boy, with growing years, passes out of
the control of the mother, and is resentful of any restraint exerted by a
woman. What supervision he enjoys comes from the father. The two do not
meet often; father and son are seldom employed together, and the long
distance that frequently separates home and work places the boy beyond the
reach of parental control during the greater portion of the week.

Such in broad outline, rendered jagged, no doubt, by numerous exceptions,
is the quantity and the quality of the supervision exercised by the town
parent over the town boy. Even with the highest type no high standard is
reached, while with the lower we cannot contemplate the picture with any
degree of satisfaction. Speaking generally, the city-bred youth is
growing up in a state of unrestrained liberty; and what makes the problem
more serious is the fact that all evidence goes to show that this
disquieting phenomenon is not an accident, but the direct product of the
social and industrial conditions of the times. Towns are growing larger,
and with the growth of towns the whole conditions of family life are being
transformed. The old patriarchal system is gone; the father is no longer
an autocratic ruler in his small world. The family, so to say, has become
democratized; we have in it an association of equals in authority. Now,
the most ardent advocates of the extension of the suffrage have always
limited their demands to an appeal for adult suffrage; they have never
clamoured for children to be given a vote. Yet this, for all effective
purposes, is what happens in the home in the case of the boy as soon as he
has left school. The status of wage-earner has brought with it the status
of manhood, and his earnings have conferred on him immunity from control
and the right to be consulted in the politics of the home. Another fact,
not sufficiently recognized, tends to break down the patriarchal system.
With the steady improvement in the State schools, the boy is usually
better educated than the father; the father knows this, and the boy knows
it too.

It is idle, therefore, to look for any large amount of parental control
over the boy who has left school. We must face realities, however
unpleasant these realities may happen to be; and one of the realities of
the time is the independence of the lad. What is equally significant is
the suddenness with which this independence comes. Until the age of
fourteen he has remained under a carefully designed system of State
supervision, exerted by the school authorities; while in a large number of
cases the discipline of the home has been an important factor in his
existence. At the age of fourteen, as a general rule, the control of
school and home end together. The lad goes to bed a boy; he wakes as a
man. There should therefore be little cause for surprise if the habits of
the school and home are rapidly sloughed off in the new life of
irresponsible freedom.

Whether, therefore, we look to the State, to philanthropic enterprise, or
to the home, we find no satisfactory guarantee for the supervision of the
youth of the country. We have yet to search for this supervision in the
workshop; but if it is absent there, we shall be faced with the
disquieting phenomenon of the boy at the age of fourteen enjoying the full
and complete independence of the adult.



Having examined three out of the four factors which contribute to the
apprenticeship of to-day, and found them all inadequate, we must now turn
to the workshop in the hope that we shall discover there conditions more
favourable to the well-being of the youth of the country. If, however,
this last factor prove defective, the apprenticeship of to-day will stand
condemned, and the case for drastic reform will become unanswerable. It
will therefore be desirable to devote considerable space to this, the
central feature of the problem of boy labour.

In what follows it is proposed first to make a detailed study of
conditions in London, and then to present a general picture of the state
of boy labour in other parts of the country. London has been selected for
a detailed study because in a peculiar degree it represents the extreme
type of urbanization. There is also the advantage that in the case of
London the material required for the examination has to a large extent
been collected. The investigations of Mr. Charles Booth, the publications
and inquiries on the subject carried out by the London County Council, Mr.
Cyril Jackson's report on boy labour presented to the Poor Law Commission,
and numerous other writings, have provided for the study of London a mass
of information which, though not in all respects exhaustive, is more
complete than can be found elsewhere.

§ 1. LONDON.

A study of the problem of boy labour in London involves the study of three
questions. First we have to consider the case of the children who, while
still attending school, are employed for wages. Next we must devote
special attention to the boys as they leave school and distribute
themselves among the different occupations. Finally, we must watch the
later career of those lads, and in particular endeavour to ascertain in
what way and with what results is made the difficult passage from the
status of the youth to the status of the man.

_(a) The Employment of School-Children._

In London the half-time system is not permitted. The standard of
attainment for total exemption has been made sufficiently high to prevent
the great majority of boys from leaving school till the age of fourteen is
reached. It is, however, a fact that improved methods of instruction and
more rapid promotion from class to class are tending to lower the age at
which it is possible to obtain a Labour Certificate. How far this
opportunity is used it is not easy to say; but in certain schools,
situated in the poorer districts, it is alleged that there is a growing
tendency for the brighter children to claim exemption in this way. The
regularity of attendance is admirable, the average attendance in boys'
schools exceeding 90 per cent. We may therefore assume that, if the boys
work for wages, they must work at times when the schools are not opened.

To what extent are boys employed while still liable to attend school? In
1899 a return was obtained throughout the elementary schools of England
and Wales of the number of children so employed. In London, in the case of
boys, the figures were 21,755.[100] The tables also give the ages of the
children, but boys and girls are not separated. If, however, we assume
that the number of children of each sex at each age is proportionate to
the total number of children of each sex at all ages, we find that 78 per
cent. of the boys were eleven and upwards, and 22 per cent. under eleven.
The number of boys of eleven and upwards would be about 17,000. There are
in the elementary schools about 70,000 boys eleven years of age and
upwards, so that about 24 per cent. of these boys are employed. In other
words, nearly a quarter of the boys in the elementary schools above the
age of eleven were employed at the time of the return. The actual number
of boys who are employed during the course of their school career would be
considerably larger, as they would not all be employed at the same moment.
The return is more than ten years old, but, with the exception of the
children under eleven, it is improbable that there has been much change.
Similar figures may be deduced from the Report of the Interdepartmental
Committee on the Employment of School-Children, 1901.[101]

With regard to the number of hours worked, Miss Adler's evidence is
selected, and typical schools show that 56 per cent. were employed for
more than twenty hours a week, while 14 per cent. were employed
thirty-five hours or upwards.[102] In individual cases the figures were
much higher. "Thus a boy of eleven years of age, for four shillings a
week, was employed for forty-three and three-quarter hours in carrying
parcels from a chemist's shop, and, except on Sundays, was practically
every moment of his life at school or at work from seven in the morning
till nine o'clock at night. Another boy, aged thirteen, worked fifty-two
hours a week, being employed by a moulding company, and attending a
theatre for five evenings a week and for half a day on Wednesday for a
_matinée_--for the last, however, playing truant from school." [103] The
following graphic account taken from a school composition, and obtained
under circumstances which guarantee its essential accuracy, shows the
amount of work which may be compressed into a single day. It refers to

"I first got up from bed about half-past six, and put my clothes on and
had a wash. Then I went to work at B.'s, and swept out his shop, and then
I did the window out. But after I done the window I had my breakfast and
went in the shop again. I started taking out orders that came in. While I
was taking the orders out, Mr. B. went to the Borough market for some
potatoes, cabbages, and some onions; but when he came home I had to unload
his van. After I unloaded his van, he went for some coal, which he sells
at one and sixpence a hundredweight, but he got two tons of coal in. Then
we had dinner about one o'clock. When we had our dinner, I had a rest till
about four o'clock, when I had tea. When I had my tea I had to go and chop
some wood, when it was time to shut up the shop. I had my supper and went
home, and went to bed, and the time was about twelve o'clock." [104] It
will be seen that, with the exception of a break in the middle of the day,
the boy was on duty for nearly three-quarters of the twenty-four hours,
and for part of the time was engaged in heavy manual labour.

What effect does employment have on the physical condition of children
under the age of fourteen? "That excessive employment is injurious alike
to the education and to the health of the children is hardly in question.
It was testified to by witness after witness, many of them in no way
likely to be influenced by merely theoretical objections to child
labour." [105] On the other hand, most of the witnesses that appeared
before the Interdepartmental Committee were of opinion that "moderate
work" was in many cases not only not injurious, but "positively
beneficial." [106] It is not easy to understand what is meant by the last
statement. If some form of employment is beneficial, then the 76 per cent.
who are not so employed suffer, and steps should be taken to encourage
them to work. It is doubtful whether the witnesses would have accepted
this conclusion, from which, on their own assumptions, there is really no
escape. The difficulty lay in drawing the line. "Most of the witnesses
seemed to suggest that twenty hours might be fixed as the maximum weekly
limit; but, on the other hand, we found some cases where less than twenty
hours a week, if concentrated in one or two days, or if done at night,
must be injurious." [107]

But the evidence of most value on the subject is to be found in a Report
of the Medical Officer of the London County Council.[108] About 400 boys
employed outside school hours were examined. The following table, with
defects in percentages, was obtained as the result:[109]

  |                  | Actual |Fatigue|       |Severe|            |Severe|
  |Hours worked      | Number |Signs. |Anæmia.|Nerve |Deformities.|Heart |
  |  Weekly.         |of Boys.|       |       |Signs.|            |Signs.|
  |All schoolboys of |        |       |       |      |            |      |
  |  district workers|        |       |       |      |            |      |
  |  and non-workers |  3,700 |  --   |  25   |  24  |      8     |   8  |
  |Working 20 hours  |        |       |       |      |            |      |
  |  or less         |    163 |  50   |  34   |  28  |     15     |  11  |
  |Working 20 to 30  |        |       |       |      |            |      |
  |  hours           |     86 |  81   |  47   |  44  |     21     |  15  |
  |Working over 30   |        |       |       |      |            |      |
  |  hours           |     95 |  83   |  45   |  50  |     22     |  21  |

It will be seen that the defects rise rapidly with increase in the hours
of work; while, even in the case of those working less than twenty hours,
there is a serious deviation from the average. The fact that 50 per cent.
of those working less than twenty hours should exhibit signs of fatigue,
even where no permanent physical evil results, must seriously affect the
value of the school instruction. In every case the workers compare
unfavourably with the average for the whole of the workers and
non-workers. We cannot view with satisfaction the truth that, even in
those employed with moderation, deformities and severe heart signs should
be nearly 50 per cent. above the average. The medical officer adds other
conclusions no less disquieting. "Working eight hours on Saturday is as
inimical as thirty hours during the week, and working through the
dinner-hour appears particularly productive of anæmia," [110] "Retardation
in school work was noted in 209 out of these 330 boys, 86 being one
standard, 83 two standards, 37 three standards, and 3 four standards
behind that corresponding to their age." [111] As his final conclusion the
medical officer states: "We must set up as an ideal the suppression of
child labour below twelve years of age, and during school life regulate it
to twenty hours weekly, and a maximum of five hours on any one day." [112]
The figures, however, would seem to go far in justifying the more drastic
remedy of complete prohibition.

It is, however, fair to mention that the Report of the Interdepartmental
Committee, and also the Report of the Medical Officer, refer to a state of
affairs prior to the passing of the Employment of Children Act. Under this
Act, as explained in the last chapter,[113] employment of children under
the age of eleven is forbidden, while the by-laws of the Council place
restrictions on the number of hours children may work, and the times of
day during which such work may be carried on. It is too soon to judge of
the extent to which these restrictions can be enforced. During the first
year of effective operation in London there were, in respect of boys under
the age of sixteen, 13,461 cases of infringement. Prohibition under a
certain age or during certain times of the day is comparatively easy to
enforce; but limitation of hours, as experience of the Shop Act shows, is
extremely difficult to enforce, and peculiarly difficult where, as with
school-children, persons are not employed regularly, but work irregularly
at times when the schools are not open. To get evidence sufficient to
justify convictions is almost impossible, except in a few outrageous

What, if any, effect does the employment of school-children have on the
general question of the preparation for a trade? Into this general
question the Interdepartmental Committee did not enter. They did indeed
regard certain forms of occupation as injurious, while they pronounced as
beneficial employment in moderation. But this statement has apparently
reference only to matters of health, and not to the relation of employment
during school days to employment afterwards. The question is of great
importance, as habits, in respect of work for wages, formed by the boy
cling persistently to the youth. It is necessary, therefore, to pay some
attention to the characteristics of the work which schoolboys undertake.
In London 90 per cent. of the work would be included in the three
following classes: (1) Shops--errand-running and delivery of parcels,
milk, newspapers, and watching the goods spread on the counters outside
the shops; (2) domestic--knife and boot cleaning, and occasionally
baby-minding; and (3) street employment--hawking of newspapers, matches,
and flowers, organ-grinding, and the like. Now, none of these forms of
occupation provide any trade-training, or offer an opening with
satisfactory prospects, to the boy as he leaves school. On the other hand,
this class of work has distinctly injurious effects. First, it is
employment of a casual character. Affected as it is, on the one hand, by
attendance at school, and on the other by Saturdays and holidays, it is
essentially irregular as regards hours. Secondly, it is easy to obtain,
and consequently lightly undertaken and lightly dropped. Where another
situation can be obtained at will, there is no demand on the worker to
display the qualities that make for permanence of employment. Thirdly, it
is work in which youths as well as boys are engaged; in other words, it
does provide an opening to the boy as he leaves school--an opening which
he is likely to accept, because it is the most obvious, but at the same
time an opening in one of those forms of occupation entrance into which we
should, as will appear later, do our utmost to discourage. It is
singularly unfortunate that a boy's first association with any kind of
paid employment should be of this nature. And, finally, it is at least
open to grave doubt whether that sense of independence of home which comes
with the consciousness of earning wages should begin at as early an age
as twelve or thirteen.

It would not be easy to imagine a more unsatisfactory form of preparation
for a trade than that provided by the kind of work carried out by
wage-earning children. If we add to this demoralizing influence the
injurious effect on health and education, the case for total prohibition
of boy labour during school-days becomes very strong.

_(b) The Entry to a Trade._

The great majority of boys remain at the elementary school till they
attain the age of fourteen; it is no less true that the vast majority
cease attendance as soon as that age is reached. The period of the next
four years--that is, from fourteen to eighteen--forms the most critical
time of their career. It is during these four years that the boy must, if
ever, have taken the first steps towards learning a trade. During this
interval his physical strength must mature, his character take on itself a
more or less permanent set, and the question whether his education shall
represent something more than a faint shadow of early impressions be
finally determined. In short, it is during these four years that the
future citizen is made or marred.

The previous survey, whether of the factors which contribute to the
apprenticeship of to-day, or of the evils which are found among
wage-earning school-children, does not guarantee a favourable start in the
world of whole-time employment. Each year about 30,000 boys leave school
at the age of fourteen to take up some form of work. These figures do not
agree with the Census returns, because the latter include all London boys
in all classes of society, whether at school or at work. Here we are
concerned only with the boys of fourteen who leave the elementary school
with the intention of earning their own living. Between the ages of
fourteen and eighteen there will therefore be 120,000 boys. It is the
careers of these 120,000 boys that we must now try to follow.

What are the first occupations selected by these 120,000 boys? During the
last few years the London County Council has endeavoured to find an answer
to this question. Each head-master of an elementary school is required
annually to fill up a form in respect of each boy who has left the school
during the preceding twelve months. The information asked for is
"occupation of parent," "occupation of boy," "whether skilled or
unskilled," or "whether a place of higher education is attended." Returns
have been received and summarized for the years 1906-07 and 1907-08. The
first return was incomplete, but the second included the vast majority of
those who left. Below is given the summary for the two years:

  |                         | Skilled.| Unskilled.|  Higher  |
  |                         |         |           |Education.|
  | Number                  | 8,662   |   15,910  | 1,524    |
  | Percentage              |  33·2   |     61·0  |   5·8    |
  | Percentage, 1906-07     |  28·5   |     67·9  |   3·6    |

It will be seen that, including those who went to some higher form of
education, little more than a third of the boys left school to enter a
skilled trade.[114]


  |                                |      Number.     |   Percentage.    |
  |       Class of Occupation.     |------------------|------------------|
  |                                | Parent. |  Boy.  | Parent. |  Boy.  |
  |Trades and industries           |   615   |   347  |  40·87  |  18·74 |
  |Domestic offices or services    |    23   |    46  |   1·52  |   2·48 |
  |Transport (including messengers,|         |        |         |        |
  |  errand-boys, van-boys, etc.)  |   191   |   829  |  12·69  |  44·76 |
  |Shopkeepers, shop-assistants,   |         |        |         |        |
  |  and dealers                   |   137   |   133  |   9·10  |   7·18 |
  |Commercial occupations          |    61   |   141  |   4·05  |   7·61 |
  |General labour                  |   436   |   215  |  28·98  |  11·61 |
  |Professional occupations and    |         |        |         |        |
  |  their subordinate services    |    11   |     5  |   0·73  |   0·27 |
  |General or local government     |    26   |     6  |   1·73  |   0·32 |
  |Defence of the country          |     5   |     1  |   0·33  |   0·06 |
  |Higher education                |    --   |    27  |     --  |   1·45 |
  |Unemployed                      |    --   |   102  |     --  |   5·52 |
  |          Total                 | 1,505   | 1,852  | 100·00  | 100·00 |

It is unfortunate that no full analysis has been made of these returns.
The value of the information which would have thus been obtained was not
supposed to justify the labour and expenditure involved in such an
analysis. I have, however, roughly analyzed nearly 4,000 cases, and
endeavoured to classify the occupations, in accordance with the table
founded on the Census return which will be given later.[115] I selected
for this purpose typical districts in London. Table I. includes returns
from all the schools in the electoral areas of Bermondsey, North
Camberwell, and Walworth; it represents a typical miscellaneous
working-class district. Table II. includes the electoral areas of Dulwich
and Lewisham; it may be regarded as typical of suburban villadom so far as
its inhabitants send their children to the elementary schools. Table III.
includes the electoral areas of Whitechapel and St. George's-in-the-East,
districts distinguished by the presence of a large number of small trades
and sweated industries. Table IV. includes the collective results of the
three preceding tables, and may be taken as fairly typical of London as a
whole. It was necessary to exclude the returns of a few schools as
incomplete, indefinite, or obviously inaccurate. Parent stands for
occupation of parent, boy for occupation of boy. The two do not quite
correspond, as in a certain number of instances the occupation of the
parent was unknown. I have included the telegraph-boys under "Transport,"
as for my purpose this classification was the more suitable.


  |                                |       Number.    |    Percentage.   |
  |       Class of Occupation.     |------------------|------------------|
  |                                | Parent. |  Boy.  | Parent. |  Boy.  |
  |Trades and industries           |    347  |    151 |   35·57 |  14·86 |
  |Domestic offices or services    |     14  |     27 |    1·45 |   2·64 |
  |Transport (including messengers,|         |        |         |        |
  |  errand-boys, van-boys, etc.)  |     70  |    350 |    7·24 |  34·31 |
  |Shopkeepers, shop-assistants,   |         |        |         |        |
  |  and dealers                   |    100  |    126 |   10·34 |  12·35 |
  |Commercial occupations          |    180  |    157 |   18·61 |  15·38 |
  |General labour                  |    144  |     54 |   14·89 |   5·29 |
  |Professional occupations and    |         |        |         |        |
  |  their subordinate services    |     47  |      2 |    4·86 |   0·19 |
  |General or local government     |     66  |      9 |    6·83 |   0·88 |
  |Defence of the country          |      2  |      5 |    0·21 |   0·48 |
  |Higher education                |     --  |     76 |      -- |   7·45 |
  |Unemployed                      |     --  |     63 |      -- |   6·17 |
  |           Total                |    967  |  1,020 |  100·00 | 100·00 |


  |                                |       Number.    |     Percentage.  |
  |      Class of Occupation.      |------------------|------------------|
  |                                | Parent. |  Boy.  | Parent. |  Boy.  |
  |Trades and industries           |   349   |   305  |  51·09  |  41·84 |
  |Domestic offices or services    |    25   |    18  |   3·66  |   2·47 |
  |Transport (including messengers,|         |        |         |        |
  |  errand-boys, van-boys, etc.)  |    72   |   189  |  10·54  |  25·93 |
  |Shopkeepers, shop-assistants,   |         |        |         |        |
  |  and dealers                   |    91   |    48  |  13·33  |   6·58 |
  |Commercial occupations          |    11   |    39  |   1·61  |   5·35 |
  |General labour                  |   116   |    63  |  16·99  |   8·64 |
  |Professional occupations        |         |        |         |        |
  |  and their subordinate services|    10   |     3  |   1·46  |   0·41 |
  |General or local government     |     8   |    --  |   1·17  |     -- |
  |Defence of the country          |     1   |    --  |   0·15  |     -- |
  |Higher education                |    --   |     7  |     --  |   0·96 |
  |Unemployed                      |    --   |    57  |     --  |   7·82 |
  |        Total                   |   683   |   729  | 100·00  | 100·00 |


  |                                |      Number.     |   Percentage.    |
  |      Class of Occupation.      |------------------|------------------|
  |                                | Parent. |  Boy.  | Parent. |  Boy.  |
  |Trades and industries           |  1,308  |   803  |  41·46  |  22·31 |
  |Domestic offices or services    |     62  |    91  |   1·97  |   2·53 |
  |Transport (including messengers,|         |        |         |        |
  |  errand-boys, van-boys, etc.)  |    333  | 1,368  |  10·55  |  38·00 |
  |Shopkeepers, shop-assistants,   |         |        |         |        |
  |  and dealers                   |    328  |   307  |  10·39  |   8·52 |
  |Commercial occupations          |    252  |   337  |   7·98  |   9·36 |
  |General labour                  |    696  |   332  |  22·06  |   9·22 |
  |Professional occupations and    |         |        |         |        |
  |  their subordinate services    |     68  |    10  |   2·16  |   0·28 |
  |General or local government     |    100  |    15  |   3·17  |   0·41 |
  |Defence of the country          |      8  |     6  |   0·26  |   0·16 |
  |Higher education                |     --  |   110  |     --  |   3·05 |
  |Unemployed                      |     --  |   222  |     --  |   6·16 |
  |Total                           |  3,155  | 3,601  | 100·00  | 100·00 |

In the interpretation of these tables certain facts must be borne in mind.
None of the parents are returned as unemployed; this is because the trade
of the parent was asked for, and no account was taken as to whether he was
or was not employed. Secondly, the occupations are somewhat vaguely
described; this in particular is true of the term "labourer." More exact
information would no doubt have removed the parent from the class "general
labour," and placed him in the class "transport," and occasionally in the
classes "domestic servant" or "shop-assistant." Thirdly, the
messenger-boys are included partly under "transport" and partly under
"shop-assistants," the boy being termed sometimes an errand-boy and
sometimes a shop-boy. The term "office-boy," which appears frequently in
the returns, is vague. I have classed the office-boy as an errand-boy
unless the school return places him in the column "skilled employment,"
when I have included him under the heading "commercial occupation."

Making allowance for a certain inevitable inaccuracy which belongs to
returns of this kind, we have a general picture, accurate in all
essentials, of the distribution of boys among the various forms of
occupation immediately after leaving the elementary school. The columns
which refer to the trade of the parents, and indicate therefore the
distribution of the parents among the various forms of occupation, are of
considerable value. If we take Table IV., which may be regarded as typical
of London as a whole, and compare the last two columns, we shall at once
notice the striking difference that marks the distribution of boys and of
adults among the several kinds of employment. In "trades and industries,"
41 per cent. of parents are engaged, and only 22 per cent. of boys; 38 per
cent. of the boys are engaged in "transport," and only 10 per cent. of
parents. This fact carries with it a conclusion of great importance--son
and father can seldom work together. If, for example, 10 per cent. of the
parents are included under "transport," and 38 per cent. of the boys, it
is clear that little more than a quarter of such boys can be employed in
company with their parents. The actual facts, as revealed by an
examination of the individual returns, are much stronger, and demonstrate
the extreme rareness of father and son following the same occupation. In
the case of "trades and industries" the trade of father and son is not
infrequently the same; this is in particular true of "tailoring" trades of
the East End, included in Table III., where the proportion of adults to
boys are as fifty-one to forty-two. In suburban villadom, pictured in
Table III., the clerk is often father to the clerk, while the son of a
shopkeeper occasionally assists his parents in the shop. The coster habit
likewise runs in families. But with these exceptions father and son do not
work together. In consequence, in his first situation the boy is cut
adrift from the home and its control, such as it is. He has not his father
by his side to note and guide his conduct; and if he enters a skilled
trade, he lacks the personal interest of the parent to guarantee his
satisfactory training. We have already seen that the school supervision is
at an end; in consequence, the only disciplinary influence left is the
influence of the employer. The character of the employment and the nature
of the supervision of the master become, therefore, of supreme importance
to the well-being of the boy. It is consequently necessary to examine in
some detail the distinguishing features of the various kinds of
occupation. They are usually roughly classed as skilled or unskilled,
according as they do or do not lead to a form of employment which requires
specialized skill or specialized intelligence.

THE UNSKILLED TRADES.--Practically the whole of the unskilled trades are
included under the terms "domestic service," "transport," "shop," and
"general labour," and the great majority of the boys who select these
occupations may be said to select an unskilled trade. In Table I., a
typical working-class district, it will be seen that 66 per cent. of the
boys who leave the elementary schools come within this class. In Table
II., a suburban area, the figures are 55 per cent.; but a considerable
proportion of those included under "shops" appear to be employed in the
shops of their parents, and to be learning the business. In Table III.,
representing the small East End trades, the figures are 44 per cent.; but,
judged by wages and conditions of employment, the majority of the 42 per
cent. included under trades should be transferred to the class of
unskilled work. For all the districts, as a whole typical of London, Table
IV. shows the figures to be 58·27 per cent. The figures quoted above
ignore the boys returned as unemployed and unknown, the number of these
for all London being 6 per cent. They are boys waiting for something to
turn up; what will turn up it is impossible to predict. But it is safe to
say that a considerable portion will drift into unskilled work.

The unskilled trades fall into three classes. The first and smallest is
included under "domestic service." Under this head are found boys in
barbers' shops, page-boys, club-boys, boot and knife boys. Employment in a
barber's shop is notoriously unhealthy;[116] a barber's shop is also
supposed to be not infrequently the resort of the betting fraternity. The
fortunes of the page and club boy await the zeal of an investigator; the
knife and boot boy soon passes to some other occupation. Of the three
classes, domestic service is the least important and the soonest left by
the boy.

The second class, included under "transport" and "shopkeepers," is far the
largest and the most important. In all London some 47 per cent. of the
boys are found here; or, if we add a half of the 6 per cent. returned as
unemployed, we may say that half the boys who leave the elementary schools
belong to this class. It is necessary to take "transport" and
"shopkeepers" together, because it is impossible to tell whether a
"shop-boy" is merely an errand-boy, or a boy on the road to become a
properly trained shop-assistant. It is probable, however, that only a
small number could be regarded as future shop-assistants.

Ignoring these exceptions, we have to follow the fortunes of 50 per cent.
of the boys leaving school--in other words, of 15,000 persons. Their forms
of employment have much in common. In the first place, they are what is
known as "blind-alley" occupations--they lead nowhere. Boys only are
engaged, and when the boys become men they are cast adrift. Sometimes they
are absorbed in the adult service, but more usually, if they have not
already left, are given notice, and must at the age of eighteen seek out
some new way of earning a living. The report of Mr. Cyril Jackson makes
this fact abundantly clear.[117] "The industrial biographies received," he
says, "show clearly that there is generally a time of transition when boys
have to seek new occupations, for which they have little aptitude." [118]
Or again: "There appears to be no doubt that the restlessness of many of
the boys doing more or less unskilled work obscures from some employers
the fact that they are using a greater number of boys than can ever be
employed in connection with their trade as men. The employers who have
filled up forms often state that they 'never discharge a boy who is
willing to stay,' or 'that boys are only discharged for misconduct,' when
it is evident from the figures appearing in the same form that there must
be a considerable proportion of the boys passing out of the trade each
year.... That many employers, on the other hand, do in fact discharge a
considerable proportion of their boys because they have no room for them
as men--or, to express the same thing in the form in which it presents
itself to the masters, because they cannot afford to offer men's wages--is
shown in the short accounts of the trades in the Appendix." [119] It is
needless to labour the point further, as everyone familiar with the
conditions of boy work give evidence to the same effect.

The second characteristic of these trades is that they are mainly
concerned with fetching or carrying something--messages, letters, parcels.
It is characteristic of that stage of civilization at which we have
arrived that we want to save ourselves trouble, or to save ourselves time.
Boys are the instruments we use. "Here we are, all of us," says a modern
writer, "demanding an endless number of tiny jobs to be done on our
behalf. Every year multiplies these demands, increasing the pace at which
the jobs can be done, and the number of them that can be crowded into the
time. We learn to expect more and more conveniences at our elbow by which
communication can be made, business transacted, messages despatched,
parcels transferred, news brought up to date, transit hastened, things of
all kinds put under our hand. We touch buttons, press knobs, ring bells,
whisper down telephones, keep wires throbbing with our desires, bustle and
hustle the world along. And all this in the end means _boys_. Boys are
what we set moving. Boys are the material in which we deal. Boys are our
tools. Every wire has a boy at the end of it." [120]

This tendency to demand the services of boys has spread through all
classes of society. To take a single example of quite recent growth: It is
becoming less and less common for the housewife to bring the results of
her marketing home herself; a boy delivers the goods instead. Go into any
shop, even in the poorest part of the town, and make a few purchases; the
shopman will probably offer to send them home for you. There is something
flattering and pleasant in the offer; it is one of the new products of
competition to multiply conveniences instead of cutting prices. The demand
for boys is rapidly increasing; and while the demand is increasing, the
supply of boys has diminished. The raising of the school age, the improved
attendance, and the decrease of truancy, have all removed from the labour
market an immense number of boys. "The Census figures show that there has
been a steady diminution of boys employed under fifteen during the last
quarter of a century." [121] The Labour Exchanges testify to the same
effect, the managers frequently saying: "There is an unsatisfied demand
for juvenile labour of an unskilled type." [122] This growing demand has
two effects. First, as it becomes increasingly easier for boys to obtain
situations, there is less and less inducement for them to show such
industry and good conduct as are necessary to retain their places.
Dismissal has no terrors; it means, if they please, a few days' holiday,
or, if they prefer it, a new employer can be at once discovered. It
becomes therefore difficult for an employer to exercise over the boys the
discipline they need; if he attempt to do so, he will soon find himself
without boys. Lads change situations for the mere sake of change, to see
what happens. "I have known," says Mr. J. G. Cloete, "boys who, within
three years of leaving school, have been employed in as many as seventeen
different occupations." [123] The second consequence of the increased
demand for boys in these kinds of occupations is a rise in wages. The
earnings of these boys are considerably higher than those obtained by a
boy who enters a skilled trade. "The casual and low-skilled employments
give higher wages in the early years in order to attract the boys." [124]
With boys choosing, as they do, their own occupations, high wages at the
outset are more attractive than low wages with the prospect of learning a

The third characteristic these occupations have in common lies in certain
general conditions of employment. Hours are long; at the same time, the
boy is often idle for long periods, waiting for messages to come in and
parcels to go out. Shop-boys and telegraph-boys are kept hanging about
with nothing to do. The office-boy in a small office is often the whole
staff, and is left alone for hours when his master is out, and "spends his
time either in vacancy, in mischievous expeditions along the corridor, or
in reading trash of a bloodthirsty nature." [125] The boy has often heavy
goods to carry long distances, and overtaxes his strength. Either there
is too much idleness or too much work; these are the alternatives. In
neither case is there the possibility of much supervision.

The fourth characteristic has not received the attention it deserves.
These forms of occupation, though unskilled in the sense that the boy
receives no training in his present place of business, nevertheless demand
qualities of a high standard. The boy must be regular, obedient, and,
above all, intelligent. A dull boy as a messenger is liable to make stupid
and irritating mistakes. The stories of district messengers carrying
letters unaided over the Continent show that the boys possess no ordinary
intelligence. Now, we have already seen that these are the qualities which
are in a peculiar degree the product of the elementary schools. The
schools turn out innumerable boys of this kind. It is not, perhaps, a mere
coincidence that the increasing use of boys in occupations which call for
alertness of mind has gone on side by side with improvements in the
educational system. The State has spent much money on these boys. A boy
who starts to attend school at the age of three and leaves at fourteen has
had spent on him a sum of money which, if invested year by year at 4 per
cent., and left to accumulate till the time for leaving school comes,
would amount to nearly £100. Each year in the 30,000 boys who leave school
£3,000,000 of State-created value is turned adrift. The State has
therefore a right to demand that this capital sum of £100 invested in the
boy shall not be squandered by the employer. He ought to give back at the
age of eighteen at least as valuable an article as he received four years

This consideration leads to the last characteristic distinguishing these
occupations. They lead to nothing, and when the boy reaches the end, he
is, in the majority of cases, distinctly inferior in every way to what he
was three or four years before. Evidence in favour of this assertion is
overwhelming. "At the present time, at the age of eighteen, after a four
years' course of employment, whose chief characteristics are the long
hours, the lack of supervision, and the total absence of any educational
influence, the lad is a distinctly less valuable article in the labour
market than he was when he left school four years previously. His only
asset is represented by greater physical strength, accompanied probably by
a marked decrease in general health and vigour. He has lost the
intelligence and aptitude of the boy, and remains a clumsy and
unintelligent man, fitted for nothing but unskilled labour, and likely to
become sooner or later one of the unemployed." [126] "There seems little
doubt that the boy labour is used up for industrial purposes, and that
they are left less capable members of the community, with little prospect
of good work when they become adults." [127] "The most hopeless position is
that of the errand-boy at a small shop in a poor neighbourhood; his
prospects are absolutely nil." [128] "The chart prepared from the forms
filled in by boys who entered life as errand-boys shows that the small
proportion who find steady and skilled employment afterwards have ceased
to be errand-boys very early; the vast majority become workers in
low-skill trades, or general and casual labourers." [129] "Mr. Courtney
Terell, who has been making inquiries from the Passmore Edwards
Settlement, writes: 'I feel confident ... that the messenger work produced
a definite effect on the boys, as will the continual performance of any
one of a definite function which admits of no improvement, and that this
has unfitted them for other work.'" [130] "The injury done to these boys is
not that they are compelled as men to devote themselves to low-skilled
labour, but that from the more or less specialized nature of the work
which has employed this boyhood, they are unfitted to become good
low-skilled labourers." [131]

It is impossible to resist the mass of evidence of this kind which might
easily be increased indefinitely. The boy gains nothing from this form of
employment and loses much. He loses the results of his training in the
elementary school; the habits of obedience, regularity, and industry are
dead; the bright intelligence is dulled, and with the coming of dulness
goes the power of learning. He loses his prospects; his future is the
future of the unskilled labourer--the unskilled labourer, robbed of that
grit and alertness which alone secure for unskilled labour the adequate
reward of permanent employment at a steady wage. His loss is the loss of
the community, which is compelled later to relieve him and his family, and
perhaps in the end find a home for him in the workhouse. And in thinking
of this deterioration, and of that hopeless future which that
deterioration involves, we must never forget that it is not a mere handful
of lads who suffer in this way, but that half the boys who leave the
elementary school start on this dreary journey, and, so starting, bid fare
to reach that dreary end.

Reckoned in money, the State has spent a million and a half on these boys,
and but little comes back to the State or remains with the boy. If it has
gone anywhere, and it probably has, then it has gone into the pockets of
the employers who have sucked out of the boys their value, and then cast
them aside as worthless refuse, a sort of slag or waste product of their
works, for which neither they nor anyone else can find a use. In saying
this there is no desire to censure unfairly the employers. They are
undoubtedly to blame, because thoughtlessness and ignorance in persons of
their position are always blameworthy; but there is nothing deliberate in
their actions, and they are largely unconscious of the harm they are
doing. There is no active cruelty, and often much rude and ready kindness.
The boys to them are merely instruments in the machinery of their
business, for the moment the cheapest instruments that can be found, to be
used until a new and better supply takes the place of those who are used
up. They are ignorant of the consequences of their conduct, and, as their
evidence shows, generally imagine that the boys who leave find suitable
jobs. It is only of late years that numerous investigators and managers of
boys' clubs have revealed the grave results of this thoughtlessness.
Employers who generally enjoy a good reputation as employers are often the
worst offenders. Indeed, the most flagrant example of this exploitation of
boy labour is to be found in the Imperial Government and the Municipal
Service. Mr. Cyril Jackson has in his report devoted much space to the
telegraph-boys in the service of the Post Office. "The boys come from very
good homes, and are often the pick of the family. They are examined
medically, and bring characters." [132] A mere fraction are absorbed in the
adult service. "It appears as if the Post Office is one of the least
promising occupations into which a boy can enter. The better boys go into
it, and it is very depressing to see from our returns how very few of the
very large number discharged at sixteen or seventeen get into as good
employment as their good social standing and general standard of education
should have guaranteed for them." [133] "Everyone of experience seems to
agree that these telegraph-messengers who are discharged exemplify in a
very striking way the evils of a parasitic trade." [134] Yet these things
had been going on for years in a service like that of the Post Office,
which is subject to much criticism by its employees, and yet no attention
had been called to the evil. Unfortunately, boys have no votes, and do not
form trade unions. Other Government departments and the Municipal Service
seem no less ignorant and no less worthy of blame. A short time back the
Education Committee called the attention of the London County Council to
the misuse of its boy labour, and now the Council allows its boys, weekly,
six hours "off" during working hours, and provides classes which they are
compelled to attend. At the same time it has nominated one of its officers
to look after the interests of these boys, and to guide them into useful

If the public service is thus guilty, we must not be surprised that
private employers are not conscious of wrongdoing in their use of boys.
The evil is now revealed; there can be no further excuse for ignorance.
How to deal adequately with the problem must be left to the consideration
of the next chapter.

The third division of the unskilled occupations comes under the head
"General Labour." Some 9 per cent. of the boys as they leave school fall
into this class. This is a nondescript class not clearly defined in the
returns. Probably a considerable proportion should be brought into the
preceding class, but there are evidently a large number who could not be
disposed of in this way. Boys employed in warehouses, in gardens and
parks, boys in small places assisting the master in the lighter forms of
labour, boys accompanying their fathers and joining in his work--these
come into this division. The returns are not sufficiently explicit to
yield materials for a critical examination; but one or two conclusions can
be derived from their examination. It will be seen that 22 per cent. of
the parents, as compared with 9 per cent. of boys, are recorded as being
general labourers. There is here no excess of boys; there should not be
the same difficulty in boys finding openings in the adult service as in
those occupations where boys can claim a practical monopoly. Boys have
always taken some part in labouring work, and so passed to the better
class of unskilled labour. Boys in warehouses, for example, frequently
find there permanent situations. Further, the proportion of parents to
sons would indicate the possibility of the two being employed together,
and the boy thus remaining under the supervision of his father. An
examination of individual returns justifies this conclusion. On the other
hand, it is to be remembered that the hours of employment are frequently
very long, and the work arduous and ill suited to the strength of a
growing lad, and in no way regulated by legislation. Taken as a whole, it
is probable that the boys who enter this kind of occupation, though
without opportunity of continuing their education, are not in as forlorn a
condition as those in the previous class. But the whole question is
obscure, and it is difficult, without fuller information, to test the
nature of their training.

THE SKILLED OCCUPATIONS.--The skilled occupations fall into two
classes--those where manual skill is required, and those concerned with
commercial and clerical operations. The former are included under "Trades
and Industries," and the latter under "Commercial Occupations,"
"Professional Occupations," and "Local Government."

1. _Trades and Industries._--From the tables printed on pp. 115-118, it
will be seen that under this heading there are in Table I., the type of a
working-class district, 41 per cent. of parents and 19 per cent. of boys;
in Table II., the type of a suburban district, the figures are 36 and 15
respectively; in Table III., the type of the small trader of the East End,
51 and 42; while in Table IV., the type of London as a whole, the
percentage is in the case of fathers 41, and in the case of boys 22. We
have now to consider the prospects as regards supervision, training and
opening which these trades offer to the boys who enter.

Table III., with its percentage of 51 parents and 42 boys engaged in
trades and industries, presents a pleasing appearance, but the bulk of the
trades concerned belong to the tailoring and other industries where
sweating is rife, where the skill required is of a low order, and the
wages small and often below the level of bare subsistence. The boys learn
something, are frequently employed with their fathers, and have a more or
less permanent outlook, though within the horizon of that outlook is
seldom included the vision of a living wage. They in general do not form
part of the class which finds its way into the ranks of that miscellaneous
unskilled labour whose chief characteristic is casual employment.

Ignoring this table, and taking the table for all London, we find again
the great disproportion of boys and parents. There are two ways in which
the boys may learn. They may become indentured apprentices, or, engaged
only by the week, though sometimes still termed apprentices, they may
enter the workshop, and take what chance is afforded them of "picking up"
the mysteries of the trade.

_(a) Indentured Apprenticeship._--Apprenticeship is of little importance
in London; the system is rapidly becoming obsolete. Whether this is
desirable is a matter of opinion; that it is a fact cannot be gainsaid.
All evidence is unanimous in support of this conclusion. In 1906 a special
committee was appointed by the London County Council to make inquiries
into the question, and, after careful investigation, reported that "in
London the old system of indentured apprenticeship has for many years been
falling into decay. In the majority of the industries it has almost
entirely disappeared; in others it is occasionally found existing in a
haphazard and highly unsatisfactory manner; while in only a few trades can
it be said to be the commonly recognized way of entering the
profession." [135] There are in London various charities, with an income of
about £24,000 a year, which, in accordance with the terms of their trusts,
might be used for purposes of apprenticeship; "but not more than a third
of the income has been devoted to this purpose." "The fact that so small a
fraction of the income has been devoted to apprenticeship indicates that
the trustees have not found it an easy task to find candidates anxious to
be indentured to one of the skilled trades." [136] "The recurring note,"
says Mr. Charles Booth, "throughout the whole of the industrial volumes of
the present inquiry is that the system of apprenticeship is either dead or
dying." [137] The numerous letters to the Press, the wealth of speeches on
the matter, the sundry public meetings presided over by all manner of
persons, from the Lord Mayor downwards, all voice the same opinion. It is
needless to labour the question; we may take it as an accepted fact that
in London indentured apprenticeship is obsolescent, and the system itself
of negligible value as a factor in the training of youths in the process
of skilled trades.

_(b) Picking up a Trade._--Here a boy enters a workshop, and takes his
chance of learning the trade from watching and assisting the men. The
employer is under no agreement to give him instruction--least of all, to
make an all-round craftsman of him. The boy rarely acquires more than a
certain dexterity in the performance of a single operation; and, however
proficient he may become in that operation, his general intelligence and
skill suffer from a narrow and exclusive specialization. The system and
consequences are dealt with at length in the Report of the London County
Council already mentioned. The importance of the problem must be the
justification for a long quotation:

"The high wages a lad can earn as an errand-boy ... are more attractive
than the low wages associated with an industrial training. Earning looms
larger in his imagination than the laborious and less remunerative
learning.... Even if, on leaving school, he obtains employment in a
workshop, his prospects may not be materially improved. As an errand-boy
running in and out of the workshop, if possessed of aptitude and
sharpness, he may in a haphazard fashion pick up a smattering of the
trade. If he is taken into the shop as a learner, he has little chance of
getting an all-round training. He is frequently out of work, and even when
employed seldom learns more than a single operation. The Advisory
Committee of the London County Council Shoreditch Technical Institute[138]
recently held an exhaustive inquiry on the subject, and some of the
conclusions are so germane to the present question that they merit
quotation. 'It is thus possible,' they write, 'for a boy to be at one
branch of a trade for a few months only, and when bad trade intervenes he
is thrown out of employment, and frequently finds himself at twenty years
of age without a definite knowledge of any craft whatever, and he swells
the ranks of the unemployed. We have it on the authority of foremen,
employers, apprentices, and parents, that very little opportunity exists,
even in big houses, for a boy to learn his trade thoroughly; indeed, we
have had students who have been in a workshop as apprentices for three or
four years who could not make a small drawer, and in many cases who could
not square up true or make the usual joints; and in the woodworking trade
their knowledge of drawing when they come to us is practically _nil_. It
is a rare thing to find a young workman who can attack any branch of his
trade successfully. It frequently occurs that, in consequence of extensive
subdivision of labour and excessive competition, a man or boy is set to do
one thing--_e.g._, music-stools, overmantels, chair-legs, sideboards--all
the time. It is true the man or boy becomes skilled in one direction, but
correspondingly narrow in a true appreciation of his trade. It is also a
frequent occurrence that a master who has a job on hand which is slightly
out of the usual run finds it impossible to put it in the hands of his
usual staff. Moreover, when work of delicate design and construction has
to be made from specified drawings, it is extremely difficult to obtain
men who can proceed with the work on their own responsibility. Not only do
these remarks apply to the woodcrafts generally, but they apply with equal
force to such work as upholstery (both stuffing and drapery), to
metal-work, and to carving. In connection with the latter subject, it is a
rare thing indeed for carvers to design a carcass in the rough, and then
to see whether the proposed carved portion is in harmony with the
whole--whether the said carving be too much in relief, too flat, too
expansive, or altogether out of character with the general work. It is
notorious that good polishers and furniture decorators are exceedingly
rare, and many a high-class manufacturer has his goods spoiled on account
of bad polish and decorative treatment.'" [139] It must be remembered that
this last quoted opinion is not the opinion of the amateur, but the
informed opinion of representative employers.

The woodwork and furniture trades are not peculiar in the characteristic
of inadequate training. "We have reason to believe," continues the Report,
"that if a similar inquiry were made into other trades, the same
unsatisfactory picture would be disclosed. Either the training is
one-sided, or there is no training at all. The consequences are
sufficiently obvious. The skilled trades are, we fear, recruited in the
main by immigrants outside London. In many trades the Londoner is at a
discount. Acquainted as he is with but one or two operations of his
industry, if he loses his situation, it is only with the greatest of
difficulty that he can find another. Mr. Charles Booth states that 'with
carpenters and joiners, brick-layers, carriage builders, engineers,
smiths, and saddlers, the percentages of heads of families born out of
London range from 51 to 59,' An inquiry made of the Technical Board of the
London County Council on the Building Trades in 1858 showed that '41
typical firms in various branches of the building trades having 12,000
employés had only 80 apprentices and 143 learners, instead of 1,600, which
would have been the normal proportion.' The same Report mentions that
'among the foremen and operatives who have come before us, not one stated
that he was born or trained in London.' In these trades the better
positions go inevitably to the country-bred man, with his all-round
training. In the docks alone does the Londoner hold his own. An inquiry
there showed that among the dock-labourers proper more than 72 per cent.
were born in London--a result not calculated to excite any very solid
satisfaction. These facts should arouse serious apprehension concerning
the future of the London-bred citizen. We cannot view with equanimity his
relegation to lower positions, while the better places are given to
better-trained immigrants. We are not prepared to admit that the Londoner
is, on the average, inherently inferior either in intelligence or manual
dexterity to his country-born neighbour." [140]

These quotations indicate clearly the general aspects of the situation.
They show the small prospects boys enjoy who enter a skilled trade in
London. Parents are not blind to the condition of affairs, and it is not
unnatural on their part to allow the boys to go out as errand-boys, where
at least the immediate earnings are larger and the hope of advancement not
much more discouraging.

2. _Clerical and Commercial Occupations._--Including under this head
commercial and professional occupations, and general or local government,
we find in Table I., the type of a working-class district, 6-1/2 per cent.
of parents and 8 per cent. of boys; in Table II., the type of the suburbs,
30 per cent. of parents, and 16-1/2 per cent. of boys; in Table III.,
typical of the East End, 4 per cent. of parents, and 6 per cent. of boys;
in Table IV., typical of London as a whole, 13 per cent. of parents, and
10 per cent. of boys. In the school returns no boy was placed under these
headings unless he appeared in the column "Skilled Work." In judging of
these results it must be borne in mind that the better positions fall to
those who have had at least a secondary education. Nevertheless, clever
boys, who attend evening schools, have some prospects of advancement. One
feature in the returns was the large number of boys who were apparently
employed with their fathers. In many instances boys obtain their positions
as the result of examination. This is true of several banks, assurance
companies, railway companies, and is becoming the general practice in the
Civil and Municipal Service. Many of these examinations are within the
standard of attainment reached by the cleverer boys in the elementary
schools. The boys at their place of employment are taught sufficient to
enable them to do the work allotted them. This is often of a specialized
character; and without further education they cannot expect to escape from
the lowest ranks of clerks. If well conducted, they can probably obtain a
permanent position when manhood is reached, or, at any rate, are not
discharged because they have become men. Change in the methods of
business, or failure of the concern, may entail dismissal; and after
dismissal a new position is not easily obtained. But the lower ranks of
the clerical profession are ill paid, and the need to present a good
appearance makes serious inroads on the meagre stipend. Unless the boy
continues his education and means to rise, his outlook is not very
encouraging. He has, however, the advantage of supervision, of relatively
short hours, and enjoys the possibilities of attendance at evening
schools. In spite of what is often said to the contrary, taking things as
they are, he has the best prospects of those included in the returns. The
fact that so large a proportion of boys coming from the suburbs is found
in this class would seem to indicate that the more thoughtful parents
share this opinion.

_(c) The Passage to Manhood._

The tables quoted on pp. 115-118, and founded on school returns, refer
only to the first occupations of boys as they leave school. It is
unfortunate that no figures exist which trace year by year the later
careers of the boys. All persons, however, who have any intimate knowledge
of the subject agree that the boys repeatedly move in an almost aimless
fashion from one situation to another.

The census returns indicate in a general way the distribution, among the
trades and occupations, of persons of various ages. They do not, however,
give us a yearly survey; and after the age fourteen to fifteen we are
compelled to rest content with figures which cover periods of five years.
The following table is taken from a table printed in a Report to the
Education Committee of the London County Council, made by a special
committee appointed to deal with the apprenticeship question; it is
founded on the 1901 census return:[141]



  |Class of Occupation.         |  Age   |   Age   |   Age   |   Age   |
  |                             | 14-15. |  15-20. |  20-45. |  45-65. |
  |Trades and industries        |  14·74 |   31·54 |   35·76 |   38·85 |
  |Domestic offices or services |   1·75 |    3·29 |    3·55 |    3·35 |
  |Transport (including         |        |         |         |         |
  |  messengers, errand-boys,   |        |         |         |         |
  |  van-boys, etc.)            |  27·65 |   19·49 |   16·04 |   14·19 |
  |Shopkeepers, shop-assistants,|        |         |         |         |
  |  and dealers                |   6·03 |   12·52 |   14·51 |    9·23 |
  |Commercial occupations       |   4·61 |   11·50 |    9·55 |   12·40 |
  |General labour               |   1·46 |    5·53 |    8·46 |    7·02 |
  |Professional occupations and |        |         |         |         |
  |  their subordinate services |   0·73 |    2·00 |    4·55 |    5·08 |
  |General or local government  |        |         |         |         |
  |  of the country (including  |        |         |         |         |
  |  telegraph-boys)            |   3·01 |    2·53 |    3·70 |    2·24 |
  |Defence of the country       |   0·15 |    1·77 |    1·40 |    0·62 |
  |Without specified occupation |        |         |         |         |
  |  or unoccupied (including   |        |         |         |         |
  |  boys at school)            |  39·87 |    9·83 |    2·48 |    7·02 |
  |Total number analyzed        | 41,889 | 208,921 | 869,466 | 313,949 |

In comparing this table with the tables founded on the school returns, it
must be borne in mind that this table is not confined to persons who have
passed through the elementary schools, but refers to all the inhabitants
of London.

The most striking feature in the table is the marked difference in the
distribution of occupations at the age of fourteen to fifteen, and at
other ages. The third column, which includes persons between the ages of
twenty and forty-five, covers the period of a man's greatest vigour, and
may be regarded as the normal or stable distribution. Comparing the first
and the third column, it becomes obvious that the first year, at least,
after leaving school is a year of uncertainty and aimless wandering. The
boys have not definitely chosen any particular occupation as their life's
work. How long is spent in this state of unprofitable drifting the census
returns do not show as the following years are not separated. But the fact
that the distribution in the second column differs materially from the
normal distribution of the third column would seem to indicate that this
period stretches some distance into the years that lie between the ages of
fifteen and twenty.

In default of this general information, we must fall back on special
investigations; and here the facts are drawn from too narrow a circle of
inquiry to be regarded as altogether typical. In his report to the Poor
Law Commission, Mr. Cyril Jackson gives an instructive table[142] (see p.
145). It is founded on biographies of boys obtained from boys' clubs,
schoolmasters, and managers of schools.

I have omitted the ages that follow, as the number of boys concerned was
too few to justify any conclusions. The rapid diminution in the number of
boys when the age of eighteen is reached impairs the value of the last
two columns. In general, the districts from which the boys are drawn are
poor; but the fact that the boys come into relation with various
organizations, and were no doubt assisted by them, should lead us to
believe that the picture presented errs, if anything, by being too
favourable. The steady increase in the trades, and the equally steady
decrease in the number of van-boys, Post Office boys, errand and shop boys
during the first three years is instructive. Trades, skilled and
low-skilled, reckoned in percentages, have risen from 39·4 to 50·9, while
the messenger class has fallen from 40·1 to 23·8. The changes in the
earlier years are the most significant, and little stability of occupation
is reached before the age of eighteen. The age of fourteen evidently
represents the year of greatest indecision and maximum drift.


  |  Occupations.   |Age 14.|Age 15.|Age 16.|Age 17.|Age 18.|Age 19.|
  |Skilled trades   |  11·2 |  14·0 |  16·8 |  17·8 |  18·0 |  16·3 |
  |Clerks           |  14·6 |  15·0 |  16·4 |  15·2 |  15·4 |  14·3 |
  |Low-skilled      |  28·2 |  32·8 |  34·1 |  33·9 |  32·5 |  34·1 |
  |Carmen           |   0·6 |   0·2 |   0·6 |   2·6 |   4·5 |   5·1 |
  |Van-boys         |   8·2 |   6·6 |   5·2 |   4·9 |   2·8 |   1·2 |
  |Post Office      |   1·4 |   1·4 |   0·2 |   0·2 |   0·3 |   1·2 |
  |Errand and shop  |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |  boys           |  30·5 |  22·0 |  18·4 |  15·0 |  12·6 |  10·3 |
  |General and      |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |  casual labour  |   5·3 |   7·0 |   6·7 |   6·9 |   6·4 |   8·7 |
  |Army             |    -- |   0·6 |   0·6 |   1·1 |   3·6 |   4·0 |
  |At sea           |   0·2 |   0·4 |   0·8 |   1·5 |   2·8 |   3·5 |
  |Emigrants        |    -- |    -- |   0·2 |   0·4 |   0·8 |   1·2 |
  |Total No. of boys|   485 |   500 |   474 |   448 |   356 |   252 |
  |Unemployed       |     1 |     2 |     1 |    13 |    22 |    22 |

In other parts of his report Mr. Jackson has endeavoured to follow the
history of boys who have begun life as errand-boys or as van-boys. "From
the forms returned," he writes, "it seems clear that the theory that boys
can become errand-boys for a year or two, and then enter skilled trades,
cannot be maintained. Very few boys can pick up skill after a year or two
of merely errand-boy work." [143] Or again: "The chart prepared from the
forms filled in by boys who entered life as errand-boys shows the small
proportion who find any steady and skilled employment afterwards, and
those have ceased to be errand-boys very early. The vast majority become
workers in low-skilled trades or general and casual labourers." [144] Of
all the "blind-alley" occupations, that of the van-boy appears the most
deplorable. "The life of the van-boy is a rough and somewhat lazy one.
They have long hours, spells of idleness, and considerable opportunities
of pilfering and drinking." [145] "The chart shows that it is a very low
grade of occupation, and that very few boys who begin as van-boys get into
skilled trades--a far lower percentage, in fact, than errand-boys." [146]

The second point to be noted in the table founded on the census returns is
the large number--nearly 40 per cent.--of boys of the age of fourteen
returned as without specified occupation or unoccupied (including boys at
school). There are in the elementary schools about 5,000 boys between the
age of fourteen and fifteen, and probably about the same number in
secondary schools. Converted into percentages, this 40 per cent. would be
broken up into 24 per cent. at school and 16 per cent. without specified
occupation. The last figure is high, and justifies the conclusion, not
only that the boys of fourteen wander from occupation to occupation, but
that they also are frequently doing nothing. The habit of shifting from
situation to situation necessarily involves considerable periods of
unemployment. Thus early in their career the boys become accustomed to the
evils of casual labour.

We can arrive at the same conclusion by approaching the problem from a
somewhat different point of view. If in some trades we discover an excess
of boys, and in others an excess of men, it is clear that there must be
shocks and shiftings in the passage from youth to manhood. In London the
number of lads between the ages of fourteen and twenty is 17·5 per cent.
of the number of males between the ages of fourteen and sixty-five. If,
therefore, we find the proportion of lads to total males engaged in any
trade, reckoned in percentages, differs much from 17·5, either lads must
at some time pass out of the trade or men come in. On the other hand, in a
trade where this percentage is approximately 17·5 boys who enter have, at
any rate, the chance of finding employment as men. In this sense we may
regard the distribution of lads and men in a trade as normal when this
percentage lies between 15 and 20; less than normal when it drops below
15; more than normal when it rises above 20. The following table may be
taken as an example of trades in which considerable numbers of persons are

  |                           |  Number in   |  Number in   |           |
  |        Trade.             |1,000 of Males|1,000 of Males|Percentage.|
  |                           | Aged 14-20.  | Aged 14-65.  |           |
  |LESS THAN NORMAL:          |              |              |           |
  |  Building trades          |     13·2     |     144·2    |    9·1    |
  |  Skin, leather, etc.      |      2·6     |       8·5    |   14·1    |
  |  Food, tobacco, drink,    |              |              |           |
  |    and lodging            |     19·9     |     135·2    |   14·8    |
  |  General labour           |     15·0     |     111·1    |   13·5    |
  |  General or local         |              |              |           |
  |    government             |      6·5     |      45·8    |   14·3    |
  |  Professional             |      4·8     |      62·2    |    7·8    |
  |NORMAL:                    |              |              |           |
  |  Domestic services        |      7·8     |      51·7    |   15·1    |
  |  Commercial occupations   |     25·9     |     131·1    |   19·8    |
  |  Metals, machines, etc.   |     14·4     |      92·7    |   15·5    |
  |  Precious metals          |      6·6     |      36·5    |   18·2    |
  |  Furniture, etc.          |      9·3     |      59·5    |   15·7    |
  |  Textile fabrics          |      4·1     |      23·5    |   17·3    |
  |MORE THAN NORMAL:          |              |              |           |
  |  National Government      |              |              |           |
  |    (messengers, etc.)     |      3·9     |      13·5    |   29·2    |
  |  Clerks, office-boys, etc.|     23·1     |      83·0    |   27·8    |
  |  Transport, errand-boys,  |              |              |           |
  |    etc.                   |     52·3     |     236·3    |   22·1    |
  |  Printers                 |      7·1     |      34·1    |   20·7    |

If we could have taken the period fourteen to eighteen instead of fourteen
to twenty, these tables would have been even more striking than they are.
But, even as they are, they are sufficient to enforce the lesson that
between the occupation of the boy and the occupation of the man there is a
gulf fixed. The one does not lead naturally to the other. When the boy
becomes a man he does not find provided for him a natural opening; with
more or less pains, he is driven to force a way in trades for which he has
received no definite preparation, and in which diligence and good
character do not afford any guarantee of success.

_(d) Summary._

Before proceeding to examine the conditions of boy labour in other parts
of the country, it will be desirable to summarize the results for London,
and so to determine how far the essentials of a true apprenticeship system
are found in that city.

_Supervision._--The boy should be under adequate supervision until he
reaches the age of at least eighteen. In London, so far as the majority
are concerned, all State supervision ends at fourteen. When the boy goes
out to work what measure of supervision was previously found in the home
comes to an end; it is beyond the power of parents to exert any real
control over the boy. He is his own master, finds his employment for
himself, and leaves it when he thinks fit. Philanthropic enterprise
touches a fringe, and a fringe only, of the boys; their growing sense of
independence resents restraint. The story of the workshop points the same
moral. Personal relations between boy and employer are seldom possible;
and where the demand for the services of boys is unlimited and
unsatisfied, attempts to enforce discipline fail, because, sooner than
submit, the boy seeks another situation.

_Training._--For the unskilled labourer of the future London provides no
training. The schools do, indeed, turn out in the boys ready made and
completely finished articles for boy-work and "blind-alley" occupations,
and three or four years of such employment destroy the most-marked results
of elementary education. The skilled workman of the future finds in the
workshop small chance of gaining that all-round training which will make
of him a man, and not a machine. Technical education for the minority is
successful, but without power to compel attendance and limit the hours of
boy-labour it is only the few who can avail themselves of the
opportunities offered.

_Opening._--Boys' work is separated from man's work, and there is no broad
highway leading from the one to the other. The lad of eighteen is
compelled to make a new beginning just when new beginnings are most
difficult. His power of learning is gone from him, and in the unskilled
labour market alone does he see any prospect of earning immediate wages.
The State Labour Exchange is an infant which has yet to justify its

In London the provision of supervision, of training, of an opening, is
alike defective, and beyond the age of fourteen for the majority of boys
can hardly be said to exist at all; and, what is most serious, we are face
to face with a state of affairs where there is no sign of improvement, and
where all tendencies indicate for the future an accelerated rate of
progressive failure. In short, London cannot claim even the beginnings of
a real apprenticeship system.


Among the cities London does not stand alone in its conditions of boy
labour. It may indeed be regarded as the most extreme example of
urbanization, but it is nothing more; it is a normal type, not an
exception or monstrous exaggeration. As the capital of the Empire and the
seat of government, it has its own characteristics, but so likewise has
every other town. But dominating all these local variations and giving
uniformity to the conditions of boy labour in our cities, remain the
common features of the industrial development of to-day. This, at any
rate, is the unanimous testimony of all those investigators--and they have
been many--who have studied the problem.

I shall not, therefore, make any attempt to apply to other towns the
detailed method of investigation I have endeavoured to employ in the case
of London. It will be enough to show that the general conditions are the
same. What differences exist are differences of degree, and not
differences of kind.

_(a) The Employment of School-Children._

The investigations of the Interdepartmental Committee has proved beyond
doubt that throughout the country it is common for children, while still
attending school, to work long hours for wages. One or two quotations
will be sufficient to justify this statement. The Report declares "that,
as the door has been closed to their employment in factories and workshops
and during school-hours, there has been a tendency, which many witnesses
believe to be an increasing one, towards their employment in other
occupations before morning school, between school-hours, in the evening,
and on Saturdays and Sundays. Provided they make eight or ten attendances
every week, they may be employed (with a few exceptions, and these little
enforced) in the streets, in the fields, in shops, or at home, for the
longest possible hours, and on the hardest and most irksome work, without
any limit or regulation." [147] Evidence abounded to show that such
possibilities of overwork were frequently realized. Examples have already
been quoted in the case of London, and it is unnecessary here to go over
the same ground again.

That legislation, as at present enforced, has done little to cure the evil
of overwork may be seen from the reports of school medical officers. Some
of these are quoted in the Annual Report for 1909 of the Chief Medical
Officer of the Board of Education. The school medical officers were not
asked to report specially on the problem, but their inspection of
school-children revealed the magnitude of the evil.

"Several school medical officers report on the question of child labour
during 1909. Dr. Thresh (school medical officer, Essex) places on record
the serious extent to which children are employed out of school-hours in
the Grays and Tilbury districts, and gives many individual examples. Dr.
Forbes (school medical officer, Brighton) gives some interesting
particulars from a statement prepared by the Inspector under the
Employment of and Cruelty to Children Acts. In this area the head-teachers
furnish regularly lists of children known by them to be employed out of
school-hours. Among these children it was found that 39, 25, and 22 per
cent. were illegally employed during 1907, 1908, and 1909 respectively.
Dr. Clarke (school medical officer, Walthamstow) found that 19 per cent.
of the boys examined were employed out of school-hours, of whom 19 per
cent. worked an average of eleven hours per week; 32 per cent. worked ten
hours and over on Saturdays; 20 per cent. worked twenty hours or over
during school-days. A full analysis of all children known to be employed
out of school-hours at Yeovil is made by Dr. Page (school medical
officer), who found that 22 per cent. of all children eight years of age
and upwards were so employed, and of these 40 per cent. worked for twenty
hours and upwards per week. Dr. Hope (school medical officer of Liverpool)
produces evidence to show how usefully medical inspection may be linked up
with the arrangements made to put into force by-laws relating to the
employment of children. Thus, all cases where there was reason to suppose
that the by-laws were being infringed were reported to the Sanitary
Department. These children cases numbered 308 during the year, and a table
is given showing in what manner they were dealt with. At Leamington, 119
boys and 30 girls were reported by Dr. Burnet as employed in a
wage-earning capacity either before or after school-hours, and 90 boys and
11 girls both before and after school-hours. Of these, 63 children were of
subnormal nutrition, 22 were suffering from anæmia, 2 from phthisis, 8
from heart disease, and 25 had enlarged tonsils. Several of these children
were quite unfit for such employment, and the subject is deserving of a
thorough investigation with a view to adopting protective measures where
necessary. At Southport, 131 leaving boys (32·7 per cent.) were found to
be doing unskilled or casual work, and in Oldham 179 of the children
inspected were similarly engaged." [148]

As in London, so in other parts of the country, school-children work for
long hours, and no adequate means exist at present to prevent the evil. As
in London, so in other parts of the country, signs of serious physical
weakness are the common accompaniments of this employment, and the health
of the rising generation is injured. As in London, so in other parts of
the country, the forms of employment in which children are engaged are
uneducational, and tend to lead children, when school-days are over, into
the "blind-alley" occupations.

Besides these children, there are about 38,000 "half-timers." [149] It is
needless here to dilate on the evils of the half-time system, which allows
children who have reached the age of twelve to spend half the day in the
factory and workshop. It is condemned by all qualified to pass on it an
impartial judgment. Its continuance reflects little credit on the humanity
of those employers and those trade unions who have repeatedly opposed its

_(b) The Entry to a Trade._

The survey of conditions of juvenile employment in London made clear
certain facts. There was the growing demand for boys in what has been
called "blind-alley" occupations, and the demoralizing effect of such
work. There was the difficulty of obtaining adequate training for those
who had entered a skilled trade. There was a general lack of supervision
in the workshop. And, finally, there was no easy passage from youth to
manhood. It is impossible to read the Report of the Poor Law Commission
and the volumes of evidence, or to study the various investigations into
the conditions of sundry towns, without being convinced that London is in
no way peculiar. The chief difficulty in approaching the problem lies in
the selection of the all too numerous witnesses.

The Report of the Poor Law Commission probably provides the best summary
of the mass of evidence on the subject. Both Reports--Majority and
Minority--alike realize the gravity of the problem, not for London alone,
but for the whole of the country. "The problem," says the Majority Report,
"owes its rise in the main to the enormous growth of cities as
distributive centres, giving innumerable openings for errand-boys,
milk-boys, office and shop boys, bookstall-boys, van, lorry, and trace
boys, street-sellers, etc. In nearly all these occupations the training
received leads to nothing; and the occupations themselves are, in most
cases, destructive to healthy development, owing to long hours, long
periods of standing, walking, or mere waiting, and, morally, are wholly
demoralizing." [150] Or, again: "The almost universal experience is that in
large towns boys, owing to carelessness or selfishness on the part of the
parents, or their own want of knowledge and thought--for the parents very
often have little voice in the matter--plunge haphazard, immediately on
leaving school, into occupations in which there is no future, where they
earn wages sufficiently high to make them independent of parental control
and disinclined for the lower wages of apprenticeship, and whence, if they
remain, they are extruded when they grow to manhood." [151] Or, to go to
the Minority Report: "There are the rivet-boys in shipyards and boiler
shops, the 'oil-cans' in the nut and bolt department, the 'boy-minders' of
automatic machines, the 'drawers-off' of sawmills, and the 'layers-on' of
printing works, and scores of other varieties of boys whose occupations
presently come to an end." [152] Or, again: "In towns like Glasgow,
Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle, the proportions of van-boys, etc., are as
large as in London." [153] Employers do not always conceal the fact: "In
the words of a frank employer, they (the boys) are not taught; they are
made to work continuously at their own little temporary trades." [154] If
we desire actual figures of those engaged in one class of the
"blind-alley" occupations--messengers--Mr. Jackson tells us that "under
fourteen years of age there are no less than 32,536 (23·5 per cent. of
those occupied under that age), while there are 41,659 aged fourteen, and
54,592 from fifteen to nineteen years of age inclusive, of which it is
probable that the bulk are under seventeen years of age." [155] Writing of
Norwich, the same writer says: "There seems little doubt that the boy
labour is used up for industrial purposes, and that they are left less
capable members of the community, with little prospect of good work when
they become adults." [156]

Apart from the Report of the Poor Law Commission, individual writers of
wide and varied experience outside London have voiced the same view. "It
has never been so easy," writes Dr. Sadler, "as it is in England to-day,
for a boy of thirteen or fourteen to find some kind of virtually unskilled
work, involving long hours of deteriorating routine, in which there is
little mental or moral discipline, but for which are offered wages that
for the time seem high, and flatter his sense of being independent of
school discipline and of home restraint." [157] And the same writer
continues: "Certain forms of industry, which make large use of boys and
girls who have recently left the elementary schools, are in part (except
where the employers make special efforts to meet their responsibility)
parasitic in character, and get more than they ought, and more than their
promoters realize that they are getting, of the physical and moral capital
of the rising generation." [158]

The Rev. Spencer J. Gibb, who has devoted special attention to the
problem, writes: "The characteristic evils of boy work invade office work
in a peculiarly subtle and dangerous form. In every city small offices are
to be found in which the whole of the business, such as it is, is carried
on by the master himself, who has frequently to be absent from his
one-roomed office. The office-boy, who constitutes the entire staff, is
meanwhile left in charge. He has probably nothing to do, and spends his
time either in vacancy, in mischievous expeditions along the corridor, or
in reading trash of a bloodthirsty nature." [159] Under such conditions
supervision and control are negligible factors in the training of the
workshop. It seems unnecessary to multiply examples; all persons of
experience lament the increasing employment of boys in "blind-alley"
occupations, and deplore the general lack of supervision.

The question of the skilled trades has received less attention, and there
is much need of such a careful inquiry in various towns as had been made
by Mr. Tawney in the case of Glasgow. Writing of the woodwork trades in
that town, he says: "There is no regular training system; a boy learns
incidentally, and is only shifted from one machine to another when the
shop needs it.... One of its employés was the best producer of wooden
rings in his town, but could not make a wage at turning a table-leg," and
adds that, "with the exception of a few old men who were trained under the
apprenticeship system, the foremen are the only men with all-round
skill." [160] While of the engineering trades he says: "On entering the
works the lad who is going to be a fitter goes straight to the fitting
shop and learns nothing else; a lad who is going to be a turner goes to
the machine shop and does not learn fitting." [161] Specialization is
pushed even farther, and lads are kept to a single machine. Drilling,
milling, slotting, punching, band-sawing, or screwing machines can be used
after a few days' training, and this is all the experience a boy gets.
And, speaking generally of Glasgow firms, Mr. Tawney says: "Boys are kept,
as a rule, in their own departments. They are not taught; they are made to
work." These facts were obtained as the result of a careful inquiry among
100 firms in Glasgow.

Glasgow, then, repeats the story of London; and there is good reason to
believe that other towns, if submitted to a similar examination, would
demonstrate the fact of the inadequacy of the workshop training of to-day.
Apprenticeship, according to numerous witnesses, is everywhere decaying,
and there is nothing except the technical school rising to take its place;
and under existing conditions the technical school can touch only a fringe
of the problem.

_(c) The Passage to Manhood._

The evidence of the last few pages, relating to the increase in the number
of "blind-alley" occupations and to the inadequate training of the
workshop, would show that, as in London, so likewise in other towns, there
is no easy passage from the work of the youth to the work of the man.
There is a break in the continuity of the service somewhere about the age
of eighteen. New openings have then to be searched for, and new beginnings
made, when the habits of learning have disappeared, even if the
opportunities for it presented themselves.

It would seem superfluous to repeat for other towns the statistical
evidence in support of this statement which was given in the case of
London. "Blind-alley" occupations and troubled passage to manhood
necessarily go together. Mr. Tawney's researches in Glasgow indicate
clearly the difficulties of this transition period. A single quotation
must suffice: "A district secretary of the Amalgamated Society of
Engineers says of a world-famous firm which employs several thousand men
making a particular kind of domestic machine: 'It is a reception home for
young bakers and grocers. Boys go to it from other occupations to do one
small part of the machine.... When they leave they are not competent
engineers, and find it difficult to get work elsewhere.'" [162] Detailed
figures for the country as a whole in respect of certain trades may be
found in Mr. Jackson's Report on Boy Labour. All evidence, from
wheresoever collected, goes to show the existence of the break between the
work of the boy and the work of the man.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is trusted that sufficient evidence has been produced to prove
conclusively that the conditions of boy labour in London do not differ
essentially from the conditions of boy labour in other towns. The evidence
could have been multiplied indefinitely and, what is most striking, among
the mass of witnesses forthcoming there is none found to venture a
contrary opinion. We may take it, then, as a well-established fact that in
other towns besides London, supervision, training, and the provision of an
opening are alike gravely and progressively defective. In other words,
among the urban districts of the country no true apprenticeship system
exists or is in course of creation.


No comprehensive inquiry has been made into the conditions of boy labour
in rural districts and small towns. A few studies of individual villages
exist--as, for example, "Life in an English Village," by Miss Maude
Davies--but these are not sufficiently numerous to justify any general
conclusions. The return on Children Working for Wages, made to the House
of Commons in 1899, gives certain statistics. From the returns on pages 21
and 23 we see that for England and Wales some 5·2 per cent. of children
above Standard I. were working for wages. The percentage for boys alone
would be 8·5 per cent., or for boys eleven years and upwards about 17 per
cent., compared with 24 per cent. for London alone. These figures would
seem to show that, while common, work among school-children over the
country as a whole does not quite reach the London level. So far as can be
gathered from the returns, it is in towns that the employment of
school-children is most frequent, though in rural districts it is frequent
enough to constitute a grave evil.

The same return gives the occupation of children as they leave school. On
page 163 is the summary.

The table is incomplete: "In London the proportion of children is no less
than 94 per cent.; in the group of large urban districts, 72 per cent.;
while in the rest of England and Wales, including the rural districts and
small towns, the percentage sinks to 47." [163] Without a careful analysis,
such as only local knowledge could supply, it would be dangerous to give
much weight to the return. It does, however, appear from the summary that
"blind-alley" occupations bear a close relation to urbanization, and that
the two increase together. Or looking at the question from another point
of view, a boy in rural districts enjoys greater opportunities of
continuity of employment in the passage from youth to manhood than he does
in the towns.


  |                      |               |Large Urban and|  Rural and    |
  |    Occupation.       |    London.    | Manufacturing | Small Urban   |
  |                      |               |  Districts.   |  Districts.   |
  |                      |   No.  |   %  |   No.  |   %  |   No.  |   %  |
  |Agriculture           |    101 |   -- |    730 |    2 | 17,950 |   26 |
  |Building              |    787 |    3 |  1,973 |    4 |  3,744 |    5 |
  |Woodworking           |    905 |    4 |    591 |    1 |    661 |    1 |
  |Metal, engineering,   |        |      |        |      |        |      |
  |  and shipbuilding    |    949 |    4 |  4,090 |    8 |  3,119 |    4 |
  |Mining and quarrying  |     -- |   -- |  1,584 |    3 |  6,510 |    9 |
  |Textile               |     49 |   -- |  6,046 |   13 |  5,522 |    8 |
  |Clothing              |    665 |    3 |  1,634 |    3 |  1,612 |    2 |
  |Printing and allied   |        |      |        |      |        |      |
  |  trades              |  1,121 |    4 |    868 |    2 |    680 |    1 |
  |Clerical              |  2,060 |    8 |  5,666 |   12 |  2,727 |    4 |
  |In shops              |  3,584 |   14 |  6,084 |   13 |  7,045 |   10 |
  |Errand, cart, boat,   |        |      |        |      |        |      |
  |  etc., boy           | 10,283 |   40 | 10,496 |   22 |  9,917 |   14 |
  |Newsboy and street    |        |      |        |      |        |      |
  |  vendor              |    964 |    4 |  1,472 |    3 |  1,223 |    2 |
  |Teaching              |    120 |   -- |    430 |    1 |    557 |    1 |
  |Domestic service      |    301 |    1 |    173 |   -- |  1,090 |    2 |
  |Miscellaneous and     |        |      |        |      |        |      |
  |  indefinite          |  2,256 |    9 |  4,159 |    9 |  4,817 |    7 |
  |   Total occupied     | 24,145 |   94 | 45,996 |   96 | 67,174 |   96 |
  |No reported occupation|  1,623 |    6 |  2,097 |    4 |  2,765 |    4 |
  |     Grand total      | 25,768 |  100 | 48,093 |  100 | 69,939 |  100 |

There is good reason to believe that the prospects of an all-round
training are more favourable in a village than in a town. The fact,
already mentioned, that immigrants from rural districts obtain the better
positions in London trades, especially in the building trades, would seem
to justify this conclusion. There is also the general consideration that
rural districts are always nearly a century behind the industrial
development of the towns, and represent therefore an older condition of
affairs. Workshops are smaller, the gulf between man and employer less
impassable, and the old paternal relation between boy and master more
possible of attainment. We may therefore assume, without much risk of
error, that training is better in rural districts than in towns.

On the other hand, while it is true that in industrial progress the
villages lag behind the towns, they still follow them, though at an
interval. Machine-made goods, especially in the woodwork trades, are in
villages replacing the hand-made goods, and the demand for manual
dexterity is to this extent decreasing. It would also seem to be true that
the old indentured apprenticeship is falling into disuse. In the Wiltshire
village of Corsley, for example, while apprenticeship occupied a prominent
position in the past, in the story of to-day it passes almost without
mention. In Miss Davies's[165] study of the occupations of the inhabitants
of that village, only one apprentice is mentioned. It is also a fact that
those who are concerned with the administration of local charities for
apprenticeship are finding increasing difficulty in discovering masters
who are willing to take boys as indentured apprentices, even for a
premium, and boys who are desirous of being indentured.

We may, perhaps, therefore assume that, while the conditions of boy labour
are more favourable in rural districts than they are in towns, the old
machinery of training is falling into disuse, and no adequate substitute
is taking its place.



The survey of the elements that make up the apprenticeship of to-day is
now complete. Each of the factors which contribute to the result--the
State, Philanthropy, the Home, the Workshop--has been examined, and their
influence appraised. It is therefore possible to pass judgment on the
system, and, by realizing the present situation in all its relations, to
understand clearly the nature and the extent of the problems which call
for solution in the immediate future.

The period of apprenticeship has been shown to divide itself naturally
into two parts. There are the years during which the boy is at school,
ending somewhere about the age of fourteen. For the right use of these
years we have seen that the State is beginning to accept full
responsibility. Whether we have been concerned with the conduct, the
physical welfare, or the training of the child, we have found collective
enterprise assuming new duties, and carrying them out with a growing
enthusiasm. Nor can we have remained blind to the large measure of success
achieved. If defects here and there mar the result, they are clearly the
defects that belong to all experiments in the early stages, and are
obviously not the ineradicable faults of a worn-out system. In short, so
far as regards the earlier years of the apprenticeship of to-day, there is
no cause for despondency. Progress is the distinguishing characteristic of
this first period; the boy is the centre of influences increasing in
number, and deliberately planned to promote his well-being. One
disquieting phenomenon that calls for attention is the large mass of
school-children working long hours. Health is undermined, the effect of
education impaired; while the occupations, essentially of the
"blind-alley" type, encourage an unfortunate taste for this form of
employment. Further, the various local authorities, especially in rural
districts, have been very lax in using the powers conferred by the
Employment of Children Act.

The second stage of apprenticeship covers the years between the ages of
fourteen and eighteen. In our survey of this period we have been unable to
find much cause for satisfaction. The State no longer recognizes its
responsibility for the well-being of all its youth; it is content to offer
opportunities of training to those who are able and willing to avail
themselves of these advantages, and these last form only a small minority
of the whole. The success of evening schools, technical institutes, and
other places of higher education, so far as concerns those who come within
that sphere of influence, only adds to our regret that that sphere of
influence is so narrowly restricted. The majority, at least two-thirds, of
the boys pass out of the control of the State, and for the completion of
their apprenticeship we must look in other directions. Our search in these
other directions has met with little reward; we have found everywhere
failure, and, what is worse, failure that is rapidly progressive. Nowhere
on a large scale can we discover provision made for the supervision and
training of juveniles; from all sides we receive a tumult of complaint
that things have gone astray. Philanthropic enterprise, whether
represented by the religious bodies or lads' clubs, laments the lack of
control over the boys, and frankly confesses its inability to deal
satisfactorily with more than a small minority. The testimony of the home
is the same; parents complain of the growing independence of their
children, and to a large extent have ceased to attempt to exert any
restraint over the conduct of their sons. Under the stress of modern
industrial conditions and accentuated urbanization, the old patriarchal
system of the family has broken down; the home represents an association
of equals, in which, perhaps, the young can claim a predominant influence.

When we pass to the workshop, in the hope of reaching law and order and
constructive thought, it is only to be confronted with the most signal
example of an organization which defies every principle of a true
apprenticeship system. That the boy of to-day is the workman of to-morrow
is a thought that suggests itself to only a few of the most enlightened
employers. To the many he is merely a cheap instrument of production to be
used up, and then scrapped as waste machinery. He is kept at "his own
little temporary task"; and, to make things worse, he is in so much demand
that discipline cannot keep him very steadily even to this, or his
services will be withdrawn. With the separation of man's work from boy's
work there is no easy passage from youth to manhood. With the minute
subdivision of operations, there is small chance of a lad in a skilled
trade becoming a master of his craft.

Apart from the small amount of medical inspection required by the Factory
and Workshop Act, no attempt is made to insure that the growing lad is
physically fit for the work in which he is engaged. His health is the
concern of no one till its breakdown brings him under the Poor Law or
thrusts him into the ranks of the unemployable. Undisciplined, with health
and training neglected, the lad of eighteen tends to find himself more and
more left without prospects, and a person for whom no one in particular
has any particular use. In short, our survey of the problem of the
apprenticeship of to-day shows conclusively that we have, in the true
sense of the word, no apprenticeship system. The old apprenticeship system
has broken up, and there is nothing come to take its place.

It would be incredible if serious consequences did not accompany this
complete break-up of the apprenticeship system; and it needs but little
search to discover evils of far-reaching significance. There is first the
evil of an uncontrolled youth. A child at the age of fourteen is not
fitted to enjoy the independence of an adult. This statement is a truism,
but there is tragedy in the fact that society of to-day confers, as we
have seen, this irresponsible freedom, in a more or less unqualified form,
on the majority of boys when they leave the elementary schools. In the
hooligan of the streets or in the youthful criminal we have the most
striking example of the fruits of an undisciplined boy. The report of the
Commissioners of Prisons for the year ending March 31, 1908, makes this
clear. Writing of the Borstal Association, they say: "In this admirable
report" (the report, that is, of the Borstal Association), "which should
be studied by all who are interested in the causes of crime, after
specifying many circumstances which induce the criminal habit, they refer
in particular to the absence of any system of control or organization for
the employment of the young, as one of the principal causes of
wrong-doing. 'When a boy leaves school the hands of organization and
compulsion are lifted from his shoulders. If he is the son of very poor
parents, his father has no influence, nor, indeed, a spare hour, to find
work for him; he must find it for himself; generally he does find a job,
and if it does not land him into a dead alley at eighteen he is fortunate,
or he drifts, and the tidy scholar becomes a ragged and defiant corner
loafer. Over 80 per cent. of our charges admit that they were not at work
when they got into trouble,'" [166] The Poor Law Commission calls attention
to the evil effects of certain forms of employment which the boys choose
because of the freedom they give."'Street-selling, for example,' says the
Chief Constable of Sheffield, 'makes the boys thieves.' 'News-boys and
street-sellers,' says Mr. Cyril Jackson, 'are practically all gamblers.'
'Of 1,454 youths between fourteen and twenty-one charged in Glasgow during
1906 with theft and other offences inferring dishonesty, 1,208, or 83·7
per cent., came from the class of messengers, street-traders, etc.,' says
Mr. Tawney." [167] And it would be easy to multiply indefinitely examples
of this kind. It must not, of course, be assumed that all boys become
hooligans or criminals, but all do suffer from the want of control and the
need of a more disciplined life. Hooliganism is merely an extreme type of
a disease which in a milder form fastens upon the boys who are allowed
unrestrained liberty. The disease is the disease of restlessness--the
restlessness of the town, the dislike of regularity, the joy in change for
change's sake, and the habit of roving from place to place.

This disease, with the lack of proper technical training, leads on to
unemployment when the age of manhood is reached. Unemployment is not the
fate of the old only; it is becoming common among the young. "The
percentage of men under thirty years of age qualified for assistance
under the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905, was:[168]

  |                 |Up to March 31, 1906.|Twelve Months ending|
  |                 |                     |  March 31, 1907.   |
  | London          |       23·9          |       27·4         |
  | Whole of England|       27·3          |       30·2"        |

"It has become clear," says a manager of boys' clubs with a very wide
experience, "to all students of the labour problem that a wrong choice of
their first work--or, rather, no choice at all, but a drift into it--is
responsible for the presence of considerable numbers of young men amongst
the unemployed." [169] The Reports of the Poor Law Commission, Majority and
Minority alike, repeatedly voice the same opinion. "The great prominence
given to boy labour, not only in our evidence, but in the various reports
of our special investigators, leads us to the opinion that this is perhaps
the most serious of the phenomena which we have encountered in our study
of unemployment. The difficulty of getting boys absorbed, through gradual
and systematic training, in the skilled trades is great enough; but when
to this are added the temptations, outside the organized industries, to
enter at an early age into occupations which are not themselves skilled
and give no opportunity for acquiring skill, it seems clear that we are
faced by a far greater problem than that of finding employment for adults
who have fallen behind in the race for efficiency--namely, that the growth
of large cities has brought with it an enormous increase in occupations
that are making directly for unemployment in the future." [170] The
Minority Report is equally emphatic. "There is no subject," it says, "as
to which we have received so much and such conclusive evidence as upon the
extent to which thousands of boys, from lack of any sort of training for
industrial occupations, grow up, almost inevitably, so as to become
chronically unemployed or under-employed, and presently to recruit the
ranks of the unemployable. In Glasgow nearly 20 per cent. of the labourers
in distress are under twenty-five, and one-half of them are under
thirty-five." [171] Or again: "It has been demonstrated beyond dispute that
one of the features of the manner in which we have chosen to let the
nation's industry be organized is that an increasing number of boys are
employed in occupations which are either uneducative (in the sense of
producing no increase of efficiency and intelligence) or unpromising (in
the sense of leading to no permanent occupation during adult life);
secondly, that there is a constant tendency for certain industrial
functions to be transferred from men to boys, especially when changes in
the processes of manufacture or in the organization of industry are taking
place rapidly. The resulting difficulty is the double one of the
over-employment of boys and the under-employment of men." [172]

It is hoped that the present chapter may have made clear the various steps
in this unfortunate process of industrial development. First, we have the
qualities which are the result of the school training--qualities of
regularity, obedience, and intelligence--qualities required, indeed, in
all forms of work, but supplying a complete technical outfit alone for the
"blind-alley" occupations. The boys leave school, having had expended on
them in each case a capital sum of public money of about one hundred
pounds. They are valuable assets, and employers have discovered the fact,
and adjusted their methods of production or distribution to make full use
of this new and valuable supply. High wages attract the boy, who makes his
own choice, and earning is regarded as more attractive than the laborious
and less remunerative learning.

This leads on to the second stage, the "blind-alley" occupation or the
skilled trade where there is no real training. Four years of this kind of
work dissipate the effects of elementary education. Too often weakened
physically by long hours of employment, demoralized by the life of freedom
and the fatal facility in obtaining a second job when fancy has made him
throw up the first, robbed by disuse of the power to learn even if the
inclination were present, he is, at the age of eighteen, a distinctly less
valuable asset in the labour market than he was four years before. The
hundred pounds investment of public money intended for life has been
squandered in youth; the employer has possessed himself of it; and when
the boy asks the wages of a man, he is informed that his services are no
longer wanted, and told to transfer them elsewhere.

Then comes the final stage of degeneration--unemployment or
under-employment. The habit, acquired through four years of constant
practice, of throwing up a job on the smallest pretext, remains with the
lad of eighteen, but the facility of finding another is no longer his. The
intensity of the demand for men varies almost inversely with the intensity
of the demand for boys; the two are competitors in the same labour market,
and of the two the boy is the cheaper and the more efficient instrument of
production. Further, habits of boyhood have too often bred a liking for
casual employment, with its frequent holidays. Here, also, the employers
are willing to oblige him; they find it convenient to have at their beck
and call a reserve of labour which can be drawn upon when business is
brisk, and discharged in times of slackness. Finally, if he desires
regular employment, it is none too easy to discover a suitable opening.
The sphere of his usefulness is small; he has for sale a certain amount of
animal strength, none too well developed, but has little else to offer. He
can push and he can pull indifferently well, but in the world of industry
there is not, as is supposed sometimes, an unlimited demand for pulling
and pushing. And all the time he is faced with the fact that recruits to
the army of pushing and pulling are coming from all sides. Men skilled in
the performance of a single operation, and robbed of their well-paid
employment by a new invention; men from decaying trades and incapable
through lack of training of adapting themselves to fresh conditions; men a
little past the vigour of manhood; men discharged for misconduct; men who
have lost their work through the bankruptcy of a company or the death of a
master--all alike, when everything fails them, turn in desperation to
pulling and pushing; and meanwhile machines of novel design decrease year
by year the demand for pulling and pushing.

All these effects, with innumerable variations, are the result of a wrong
start, and of the neglect during the years that lie between the ages of
fourteen and eighteen. Want of supervision, want of technical training,
want of an opening for which special preparation has been given--these are
the three great and characteristic evils of the present industrial
situation. Taken together, they are a negation of all apprenticeship in
the true sense of the word. During the course of the last few years we
have at least learned to know the cause of our suffering, and to know the
cause is at least the first step in the path of prevention. And, further,
we have begun to see rising from the ruins of the old stabilities of life
and the ancient order of industrial organization an edifice--small,
indeed, at the moment, but bearing the mark of constructive thought,
because reared by the growing power of collective enterprise; and, knowing
this, we can turn in a spirit of hope to the task of creating a new
apprenticeship system.



In the present chapter we must endeavour to find some remedy for the evils
disclosed in the preceding pages. The old apprenticeship system has broken
up, and there is nothing come to take its place. In consequence, the youth
of the country is to a large and growing extent passing through the years
of adolescence without supervision, without technical training, without
prospects of an opening when manhood is reached. These are defects in the
industrial organization so obvious that they are now attracting general
attention, so grave that there is need of immediate and comprehensive
measures of reform.

In what direction is the remedy to be looked for? From what quarter may we
expect the new apprenticeship to come? The survey of the conditions of boy
labour, contained in an earlier portion of this volume, has disclosed two
forces at work in the training of the youth of the country. The one force
is destructive in its action; the other constructive. Reform obviously
lies in the repression of the former and in the encouragement of the
latter; there is no other alternative.

The force of destruction has been found throughout associated with the
characteristic phenomena of the industrial revolution. The accentuated
spirit of competition, the increasing use of capital and machinery, with
the consequential development of large undertakings, and the rapid changes
in methods of production to meet new demands or to make use of new
inventions, have all alike been hostile to the well-being of the boy. The
system, created by what may be called the natural growth of modern
business organization, has been a system which has, in one form or
another, continually attempted to exploit child labour. Under this system
children, in days gone by, were driven to the mine and to the factory, or
herded in gangs in the fields and barns of the farm, and even at the
present time are allowed to perform tasks far beyond their strength. Under
this system we have watched the slow and continuous decay of indentured
apprenticeship, the steady decrease of facilities for obtaining an
all-round training in the workshop, and the ever-broadening gulf
separating youth from manhood in the sphere of industry. As a result of
this system we have seen the hand of control lifted from the shoulder of
youth, and have noted lads, under the wayward guidance of an irresponsible
freedom, drifting into the path of crime and disorder. We are driven to
believe that it is the young who swell the armies of unemployment, and
have realized with sudden dismay that, young though they are, they are yet
too old to break the set habits of an unfortunate past. And we are
beginning to perceive clearly that these phenomena, of ill omen, are not a
mere accident, but an integral part of the industrial organization; and
to understand that, in spite of numerous superficial changes, the system,
born of the revolution of a hundred years ago, has not altered in
essentials, and now, as then, threatens with destruction the youth of the

That system has never enjoyed full freedom of development, but the limits
set on its power for evil have not come from within; they have come from
without, and been imposed on the employers by the legislative action of
the State. It is the State which has throughout the period supplied the
second or regulative and constructive force in the training of the youth
of the country. It has forbidden the employment of boys in some
occupations, and in others limited the hours of employment. Acting without
any clearly defined plan, but striking at the evils, which gusts of
popular opinion denounced and refused to tolerate, it has yet made
impossible the worst abuses of child labour. It has, however, long since
passed beyond the realm of mere veto, and has these many years entered the
sphere of constructive reform. The scheme of compulsory education, the
provision of opportunities for technical instruction, and the powers,
recently conferred on local education authorities, to attend to the
physical condition of school-children, are all signal examples of the
beneficent influence of the second force.

We are left, then, with these two forces--the force of destruction and the
force of construction; and the fate of the youth turns on the issue of the
struggle between the two. They are not, indeed, the only forces concerned
in the problem of boy labour, but, compared with their influence, all
others sink into insignificance. The State and the industrial system both
possess the characteristic of universality, and no other organization can
make the same claim. Philanthropic and religious associations have always
been found to protest against the abuses of child labour, but their
protest only became generally effective when the State gave to it the
force of law. Philanthropic and religious associations have been pioneers
in the field of education, but the advantages were offered to all only
when the State stepped in and assumed the responsibility. Individual
employers have always been found to offer to their lads humane conditions
of work and full opportunities of training, but these remained the
privileges of a few, and it was only through State interference that the
many obtained their share. As pointing the way to reform, these other
agencies have been, and are, of priceless value to the community, but as
themselves the instrument they have invariably proved a failure. We are
left, then, with two forces which alone need to be taken into account--the
industrial organization and the State. For the creation of the new
apprenticeship system either the industrial organization must reform
itself, or the State must reform the industrial organization: there is no
third alternative.

Let us begin with the first alternative, and ask ourselves whether there
is any reasonable hope of reform from within the industrial organization.
The experience of the past is uniformly hostile to any such expectation.
In the history of the last hundred years there is no single exception to
the rule that all general improvements in the conditions of boy labour
have come from without, and not been carried out from within. The
experience of the present repeats in an even more emphatic way the
experience of the past. It is impossible to point to one single example of
an industrial reform now in course of development, and affecting on a
large and beneficent scale the prospects or the training of the boy. It
would be easy to cite a hundred instances of the contrary process. The
whole of the last chapter is nothing but a detailed summary of the
progressive defects of the industrial system, and its attempts to exploit
in its own interests the value of boy labour. We saw how, by the
multiplication of "blind-alley" occupations, the industrial system
contrived to lay hold on and use up most of the products of an improved
elementary education initiated by the State. Past and present experience
are in accord; we cannot look for reform from within.

It is necessary to guard against a possible misinterpretation. There is no
thought here of blaming the employer. The fight lies not between boy and
employer, but between the force of the State and the force of competition,
using the last word to denote the most marked characteristic of the
industrial revolution. The employer is in general as much a victim of the
process as the boy. He cannot be justly blamed for what he cannot be
fairly expected to prevent. The exigencies of competition drive him to
select the cheapest methods of production at the moment. If these methods
involve the exploitation of the boy, it is unfortunate for the boy, but
the employer has no other alternative. To produce as cheaply as his
neighbours is the one condition of success; more remote considerations
cannot enter into a business undertaking. Those well-intentioned persons,
with a smattering of ill-digested science and a system of economics far
removed from all practical realities, who talk amiably of the interests of
employers and their boys, as future workmen, being identical, confuse the
good of the present generation with the good of the generation that comes
after. It is undoubtedly a fact that any system which injures the workers
will in the long-run injure the trade of the country, but this is true
only in the long-run, and the run is often very long. Now, survival in
business is determined in the immediate future. The heavy charges on fixed
capital, the interest on outstanding loans, the weekly wages bill, and the
long tale of daily outgoings, make it impossible for the employer to
follow proper methods of training in the hope that the new generation of
workers will, by their added efficiency, recoup him for his expenditure.
To last till that time he must live through the interval, must obtain that
contract to-day, this order to-morrow, and must get it at a profit--in
other words, he must choose the cheapest method of production here and
now; there and next year will be too late. It will be no inducement to him
to reflect that his methods would in the long-run prove the best, if he
knows that he cannot stay the course. Competition is of to-day; it takes
no account of the happenings of to-morrow. Those who in the struggle
cannot survive this year will not live to reap the harvest of future
years. Agreement among employers on such questions has been found
impossible; the temptation to win by evasion an illicit success proves too
strong for the majority. Those who pursue the better methods disappear;
those who pursue the worse survive to propagate their kind. There is valid
in the world of business a law somewhat analogous to Gresham's law in
matters of currency; the bad pushes out and replaces the good. There is a
real struggle between the interests of one generation and the next. The
employer must concern himself with the things of his own day; it is for
the State, whose life is ageless, to guard the welfare of those who are to
come. By insisting on the methods that are good in the long-run, by
forbidding those which are good only in the immediate present, it places
all employers on the same level, and enables the best of them to do what
was before impossible. It does not thereby interfere with competition; it
merely changes the direction of competition by guiding it into less
injurious channels. But the secret of success, as demonstrated by the
experience of more than a century, must be sought in the enactment of
general regulations, which will apply to all employers, and not be looked
for in what is sometimes termed the spirit of growing enlightenment.
Unless it can be shown that the immediate interest of the employer is one
with the proposed reform, nothing really effective can be done by moral
suasion; while, if the two are in accord, moral suasion is superfluous.
It can hardly be supposed that the contemplative outsider should know the
business of the employers better than they do themselves. The mere fact of
calling to our aid the power of moral suasion should be enough to show
that enlightened self-interest will not suffice; we do not appeal to a
man's conscience when we can appeal to his pocket. If, then, reform and
the immediate interest are not in accord, consent on the part of one
employer means risk of failure in a world where salvation depends on very
small margins of profit.

It is, therefore, for the most part labour lost to devote time to the
consideration of reforms which do not rest on the basis of legal
obligation, and we might at once turn to considerations of State control
and State enterprise if it were not for the fact that in the minds of many
there still remains a hope of the coming of salvation from another
direction. They advocate the revival of the old indentured apprenticeship
system, and believe that they have only to explain the situation
adequately to the employer for him to realize that his interests lie in
its revival. This belief assumes, as already mentioned, that the outsider
knows the business of the employer better than he does himself--a
tolerably large assumption. We might drop the matter with this criticism,
but a re-examination of the old apprenticeship system, in the light of the
industrial revolution and of the proposals for its revival, will help us
on our journey towards the goal of the new apprenticeship. Such
examination will show, first, the conditions which a true apprenticeship
must fulfil; and, secondly, that those who hark back upon the past for
their ideals of reform are conscious that the past must change its dress
before it can hope to commend itself to the critical taste of the present.

Now, in its best form, as was shown in the second chapter of this book,
the old apprenticeship system was a success. It did afford means of
adequate supervision over the youth of the country; it did supply them
with technical training; and it did provide an opening in an occupation
for which special preparation had been made. But a closer examination of
the problem showed that success depended on the satisfaction of three
conditions: First, it was essential for the apprentice to live with his
master, or at any rate that the relations between the two should be of a
paternal character; the second essential was the universality of the small
workshop, with the facilities it gave for an all-round training; and,
thirdly, an essential part of the system was the existence of the gild,
which represented masters and men alike, and in the interests of all
inspected and controlled the methods of the workshop. With the dissolution
of the gilds we saw the first weakening of the apprenticeship system.
There was now no authority guarding the interests of the trade as a whole;
compulsory apprenticeship was often used as a means of supplying the
employer with cheap and enforced labour, for whose future he had no
responsibility. With the advent of the industrial revolution we watched
the steady disappearance of the small workshop. Training became difficult,
and often impossible. With both masters and men formal apprenticeship lost
favour, and the system entered on its second stage of decay. With the
multiplication of "blind-alley" occupations, with the growing cleavage
between man's work and boy's work, and with division of labour pushed to
its utmost extreme, came, as has been proved, the break-up of the
apprenticeship system.

Now, there is nothing in the signs of the times to herald the approach of
a new industrial revolution and a return to the old order of the Middle
Ages. Machines and machine methods have come to stay, and must stay if the
varied needs of the huge populations of to-day are to be satisfied. The
more serious advocates of the revival of indentured apprenticeship admit
this fact, and fully realize that modifications of the system are
necessary. They suggest that committees of volunteers should assume
certain of the functions of the gild; they should exercise a kindly
supervision over the boy in his home, and take steps to insure that the
conditions of the indenture are observed by the employer. Secondly, they
propose that the one-sided training of the workshop should be supplemented
by technical classes provided by the education authority and supervised by
an advisory committee of representatives of the trade. Finally, they urge
that these proposals, so far from being visionary, have actually been
realized in practice with complete success. Why may not we look for a
general extension of these methods?

The answer is tolerably obvious. The experiments have undoubtedly been
successful. They have shown the steadying influence exerted over the boy
by an indenture; they have shown the advantages that come from friendly
visiting at the home or the workshop; they have shown the value of
technical classes and trade schools supervised by representatives of the
trade. But what they have not shown is that the experiment, while resting
on a purely voluntary basis, admits of indefinite expansion. Indeed, the
fact that the co-operation of the education authority is invoked, in order
to provide technical instruction that shall supplement the training of the
workshop, is sufficient evidence that we cannot dispense altogether with
the assistance of the State. But much more remains to be said against the
possibility of indefinite extension. Take the case of indentures. It is
true that some employers can be found willing to receive indentured
apprentices, and some boys willing to be indentured. But this does not
affect the general rule that the conditions of the modern workshop do not
allow of the use of apprentices, whose training is enforceable at law, or
discount what is a matter of common observation--that neither employers
nor boys like to bind themselves together for a period of years.
Indentures may be an excellent plan for curbing the independence of the
boy, but it does not, unfortunately, follow that the boys who most want
curbing will be the boys who will accept this fretting restraint. What
happens in practice is that a select number of boys willing to submit to
control are brought into relations with a select number of employers
willing to be troubled with boys. This is good as far as it goes, but it
goes no way in the direction of providing supervision for the boys who
most need it. Or take again the question of supplementing in the technical
institute the training of the workshop. Experience here and in other
countries shows conclusively that technical instruction, to be really
effective, must be given during the daytime, when the lad is fresh, and
not during the evening, when he is wearied out by the day's work. But,
ignoring the necessarily limited number of cases in which boys are able to
forgo earning altogether, instruction during the day is possible only
where employers allow their apprentices time off during the day to attend
classes. It is true that some few employers have given this permission,
but their number is strictly limited. In the hope of extending the
principle, the London County Council recently carried out an elaborate
inquiry among employers, but with very small results. "If we compare,"
says the report, "the magnitude of the elaborate inquiry carried out by
the principals of polytechnics and technical institutes, by the skilled
employment committees, and by the Council itself, with the extent of the
success attained, we are bound to admit that the results are of the most
meagre dimensions. There appears no prospect of inducing employers on any
large scale to co-operate with us in the establishment of a satisfactory
system of 'part-time' classes." [173] Extension on a large scale and on a
voluntary basis is impossible.

But, neglecting the question of possibilities, is the revival of an
indentured apprenticeship, as a method of learning certain trades, in
itself a thing to be desired? There remains one difficulty that has never
satisfactorily been surmounted. If indentured apprenticeship is the door
leading to a skilled trade, there will be a movement in the trade to close
all other doors. Those who have paid a premium, or at any rate served
their time for low wages, cannot be expected to allow without complaint
vacancies in the trade to be filled by men who have not passed through a
similar period of servitude. If the door is closed, there is no way of
recruiting the trade in times of expanding business. But, in general,
prohibition has not proved practical, and other ways of entry are
discovered, and as these ways are easier, it is only natural that people
should tend to choose the easier path. Indentured apprenticeship has never
escaped from this dilemma; either the trade is closed to strangers when
there is no means of expansion, or the trade is open when there is no
inducement to be apprenticed. The change in modern industry, with its
tendency to break down the barriers between trade and trade, only
accentuates the acuteness of the dilemma.

Finally, assuming indentured apprenticeship to be both practical and
desirable, would it provide a solution for the problem of boy labour? It
is obvious that it would only touch a fringe of the question. We have
already seen that some two-thirds of the children, as they leave the
elementary school, enter a form of occupation which leads only to
unskilled labour, and even for that provides no adequate training. An
apprenticeship system would not affect these two-thirds. A boy cannot be
apprenticed as an errand-boy, or in one of those workshops where
practically only boys are engaged. Not only is this class the most
important in respect of numbers; it is also the class most urgently in
need of control. It is here that degeneration and demoralization are most
marked, while it is here that indentured apprenticeship offers not even a
shadow of a remedy. A system which ignores the majority, even if it
provided for the favoured few, cannot be regarded as affording a possible
solution of the problem of boy labour.

We cannot, therefore, look to the revival of apprenticeship, even when
supplemented by technical training, to carry us far on the road of reform.
It would, however, be a mistake to under-rate the lessons of the
experiments. They have shown the value of indentures as a means of
controlling the boy; they have shown the value of sympathetic supervision;
and they have shown the value of the technical school in widening the
inadequate training of the workshop. The defects of the experiment lay in
the necessary limitations of the case. Remove the limitations, and you
remove the defects. We want universal indentures, universal supervision,
universal training. To guard against the dangers of creating a privileged
class through the establishment of an apprenticeship system we must see to
it that all alike serve a period of apprenticeship. Obviously, we cannot
apprentice all boys to employers; we must, therefore, apprentice all boys
to the State. There is nothing new in this proposal. Already, through the
law of compulsory attendance at school, all boys are so apprenticed
between the ages of five and fourteen. What is necessary is an extension
of the period of an already existing apprenticeship system.

In the search of a means of preventing an evil, the most difficult task is
always to exclude the inadequate and the irrelevant. When all paths of
advance, with one exception, have been blocked, there is no longer any
choice or risk of losing one's way. We have now seen that all ways, except
the way of collective control and collective enterprise, fail to reach the
desired goal, and, having exhausted all other alternatives, must fall back
upon the State. Some do this willingly, some reluctantly, but all, with a
few exceptions that may be disregarded, appeal to the State when they are
convinced that help can be looked for from no other source. We are now in
that position, and must frankly face the situation.

Failing assistance in any other direction, we must call on the State to
organize a new apprenticeship system. Such a system must make due
provision for supervision, training, and an opening. It remains to be
considered how these three essentials can be secured.



A boy must be under some sort of supervision until he reaches at least the
age of eighteen. Such supervision must have respect to his physical
well-being as well as to his conduct. Neither the home, nor philanthropy,
nor the workshop can be looked for to provide this supervision. They have
all failed, and that failure is progressive. The State remains as our only
hope. The State has not failed; it has made impossible the worst abuses of
child labour, and through its educational system has been an influence for
good in the moral and physical development of the children. Its success
has been great, and that success has been progressive. Where it has
failed, it has failed because its supervision has been withdrawn too soon.
The remedy is obvious: we must extend the sphere of State supervision.
Three reforms are urgently necessary: (1) The raising of the age of
compulsory attendance to fifteen; (2) the complete prohibition of the
employment of school-children for wages; and (3) the compulsory attendance
of lads between the ages of fifteen and eighteen at some place of
education for at least half the working day. With regard to these
proposals, it may be said that all three are supported by the Minority
Report of the Poor Law Commission and by the labour organizations which
have in general expressed their approval of that Report. (1) and (3) are
the recommendations of the Report of the Education Committee of the London
County Council, adopted unanimously by that body in February, 1909; while
(1) and (3) also received a qualified approval from the Majority Report of
the Poor Law Commission, and from the Report of the Consultative Committee
of the Board of Education on Continuation Schools. They have, therefore,
behind them a strong backing of expert opinion.

_(a) The Raising of the School Age._

More than ten years have elapsed since Parliament last raised the age of
compulsory attendance. There is almost universal agreement that the time
has come for adding another year. The discipline of the school is
successful while it lasts, but fails in permanent effect because it is
withdrawn too soon. In the last chapter we saw from the study of the
census tables that for at least the first year after school the boys have
settled down to no very fixed employment. Many of the skilled trades do
not take learners and apprentices before the age of fifteen. "It is
clear," say the Education Committee of the London County Council, "that
the year after leaving school--the year, that is, between the ages of
fourteen and fifteen--is for the children concerned a year of uncertainty.
Nearly half are returned as without specified occupation. No doubt a large
proportion of the number are attending some place of education, but it is
no less true that a considerable number are not classified, because for
the time being they are doing nothing. They have thrown up one situation
and are looking out for another. In this respect we must remember that it
is a common practice--at any rate, so far as the poorer section of the
community is concerned--for the children, and not their parents, to select
for themselves the form of occupation and find for themselves situations.
The children are too young to choose wisely, and, as a natural
consequence, shift from place to place until they discover something that
suits their taste or ability. It would be difficult to imagine a more
unsatisfactory method of training. Till the age of fourteen they are
carefully looked after in school; at the age of fourteen they are set free
from all forms of discipline, and become practically their own masters. We
must not, therefore, be surprised that under such conditions the effect of
the school training is transient, and the large amount of money spent on
their education to a great extent wasted." [174] And, summing up the whole
case for the raising of the school age, the Education Committee say: "The
advantages of keeping children at school until the age of fifteen are many
and obvious. They receive an extra year's instruction at a time when they
are most apt to learn; they are kept for another year under discipline
just at the period when it is easiest to influence permanently the
development of character. With the extension they escape the year of
aimless drifting from occupation to occupation, and, when called on to
choose a profession, they will have a year's extra experience to help
them in the choice. We may hope that under these new conditions the
tendency to follow the line of greatest initial wages will decrease, and
be replaced by a tendency to consider as of paramount importance prospects
of training and hope of future advancement." [175]

In raising the school age we should take the opportunity of getting rid of
certain anomalies which now exist. While for the vast majority of children
in London and many other places attendance is compulsory up to the age of
fourteen, exemption is possible at the age of twelve and thirteen for a
small minority. In certain parts of the country large numbers of children
are allowed to leave before the age of fourteen. It is unfortunate that it
is the cleverest children who are entitled to this earlier exemption. We
are here looking at the problem of apprenticeship from the standpoint of
supervision, and in the case of supervision age and not mental attainment
must be the determining principle. The bright precocious boy of twelve or
thirteen is precisely the boy who stands most in need of control. Morally
and physically he is likely to suffer from the effects of premature
freedom. The sleepy dullard, who is kept at school until fourteen, could
be freed from discipline at an earlier age, with less risk of serious
harm. In raising, then, the age of compulsory attendance to fifteen, we
must abolish the privileges of exemption and the powers of local option,
and enact that all children shall attend school full time until they reach
the age of fifteen.

_(b) The Prohibition of Child Labour._

Much space has in this volume been devoted to the task of demonstrating
the extent and the evils of child labour. It has been shown that anything
except the very lightest employment is physically injurious. It has been
made clear that the work in which children are engaged is frequently
demoralizing, while it never paves the way to entering a skilled trade
when school is left. They are essentially "blind-alley" occupations.
Further, we have seen good reason to believe that the habit of earning
money and the precocious sense of independence so encouraged are not in
the best interests of order and discipline. We note the evil in its worst
form under the "half-time" system. "The half-timers," we are told, "become
clever at repartee and in the use of 'mannish' phrases, which sound clever
when they dare use them. They lose their childish habits ... some of the
boys commence to smoke and to use bad language." [176] Finally, it has been
proved that limitation of the hours of employment in the case of
school-children is in practice impossible; there is no ready way of
detecting breaches of the law. We are, therefore, driven to the conclusion
that, unless the evils are to remain--and this is not tolerable--we must
prohibit altogether the employment for wages of children liable to attend
school full time.

Various objections are made to the proposal. We are told by many of the
witnesses who appeared before the Interdepartmental Committee on
Wage-earning Children that a little light work was good for boys; it kept
them out of mischief. Ignoring the difficulties of insuring that the work
shall be little and light, they do not seem to make out their case. In
London, as has been shown, not more than a quarter of the boys during the
course of their school time are ever engaged seriously in paid employment.
If, therefore, the work was beneficial, we should expect to find in the
after-career of the 25 per cent. evidence of the advantages they have
enjoyed, and in the case of the 75 per cent. signs of failure due to their
less fortunate training. But all experience points in the opposite
direction. It is the 25 per cent. who drift most generally into the
"blind-alley" occupations; it is from this 25 per cent. that the majority
of hooligans and youthful criminals are recruited.

It is also argued that there are certain tasks which only children can
perform, because they occupy only a small portion of the day. Papers must
be delivered and milk left at people's houses. But in Germany much of this
work is done by old men,[177] and even in this country the "knocker-up" in
the morning is not a child, but an old man. Employers in the textile
trades declared that it is only by beginning young that children can
acquire the necessary quickness and deftness of touch. But as these trades
absorb in the adult service only a small proportion of the children
engaged, and seeing that in many instances the half-time system has been
dropped as uneconomic, there does not seem much force in this objection.
Moreover, it cannot be beyond the power of manual training in the schools
to provide a fitting and less injurious substitute.

The arguments in favour of the continued employment of school-children are
the arguments of the old world, and the new world is becoming a little
tired of the arguments of these old-world people. The time has come to
make a stand, and insist that for all children there shall be insured the
blessings of childhood. The first step in this direction lies in making it
impossible for them to enter the ranks of the wage-earners as long as
their names remain on the roll of the elementary school.

_(c) The New Half-Time System._

The proposals for raising the school age and for prohibiting child labour
during that period will do much to strengthen the system of supervision.
Another year of school discipline; another year of medical inspection and
medical treatment; protection during another year from the evil effects of
overwork and from the demoralization due to "blind-alley" occupations and
premature earning--these reforms will bring us some way on our journey
towards the new apprenticeship, but they will not bring us the whole way.
There remain the three years which lie between the ages of fifteen and
eighteen, and include the greater part of the period of adolescence--in
some respects the most important period in the development of a human
being. It is during these years that character begins to take its
permanent set; it is during these years that, with the coming of puberty,
there is most risk of ugly and dangerous outbreaks; it is during these
years that physical health demands the most careful attention; and it is
during these years that, with the exception of the failures of
civilization--the physically, the mentally, and the morally
defective--there is no real supervision or, under existing conditions, any
hope of securing it.

To allow irresponsible freedom during these years is to court disaster; to
give it suddenly and in an unqualified degree, as it is given now when the
school career is brought to an abrupt end, is to follow a course condemned
by all educationalists. No parent, even the most thoughtless, among the
well-to-do classes would think of treating his son in this fashion. His
whole scheme of education is founded on the principle of a slow and
gradual loosening of the bonds of discipline. The close supervision of the
private school is replaced by the larger liberty of the public school,
which in turn opens into the greater but still restricted freedom of the

Freedom must come slowly. We want a bridge between the elementary school
of the boy and the full-time workshop of the man. Such a bridge would be
created by the establishment of the proposed half-time system. For half
the day--or at any rate, for half his time--the lad between the ages of
fifteen and eighteen would be compelled to attend a place of education,
and only during the remaining half be permitted to undertake employment
for wages. The advantages of this proposal are many. First, the influence
of the school would be retained for an additional three years, and under
the half-time system the freedom of the youthful wage-earner would find a
suitable limitation in the half-time control of the school. Secondly, we
should have the opportunity of another three years' medical inspection and
medical treatment. With supervision over the health of the community
continued until the age of eighteen we might fairly anticipate a rapid
improvement in the physical efficiency of the worker. In particular, we
should be able to detect, in a way now impossible, the effects of various
forms of employment on those engaged in them. Inspection under the
provisions of the Factory and Workshops Act, as has been shown, is too
limited in character to do more than pick out a few young persons
obviously unfit for the occupation they have selected; but, with the
education authority responsible for the health of juveniles, and using to
the full extent its powers to provide preventive measures or to veto in
the case of certain individuals certain forms of work, we should have gone
far to secure that no one should enter on or remain in a trade for which
he was physically unfit. Thirdly, as already shown, a half-time system is
the only really effective way of limiting the hours of juvenile
employment. If the lad is compelled to be elsewhere than in the workshop
for half his time, we have an automatic check on excessive work. Other
advantages of this system will appear when we come to deal with questions
of training and the provision of an opening.

The half-time system should be made compulsory throughout the country; it
ought not to be left to local option to decide. The local rating authority
naturally wishes to encourage the establishment of workshops and factories
within its area, and would be unwilling to adopt Acts which might prove a
deterrent. It would be a most unsatisfactory state of affairs for
employers to evade the spirit of the law by moving into districts where
the law was not enforced. It is a little unfortunate that the Education
(Scotland) Act, 1908, which allows a limited amount of compulsion in
connection with continuation schools, is founded on the principle of local
option. The recommendations of the Consultative Committee of the Board of
Education are vitiated in a similar way. Local option can never be really
successful. It will elect to act only where there is least opposition from
employers--in other words, where action is least necessary; and it will do
nothing where boy labour is most exploited and regulation most urgently
required. In one direction alone can local option be allowed with
advantage. It may be permitted to decide on the precise kind or kinds of
half-time to be enforced within their area. Boys might attend school on
the half-day system or on the alternate day system. Or, again, they might
spend three days in the workshop and three days in the school, or under
certain circumstances devote six months of the year to the workshop and
the remaining six months to the school. It would be desirable to allow the
local authority considerable liberty in their methods of adapting the
half-time system to the special needs of the trades of the district,
provided always that a true half-time system was established.

There is no serious difficulty in the way of compelling attendance at the
half-time school. It would be enforced just as attendance at the
elementary school is enforced, and by the same officers. Further, no
employer would be permitted to employ a boy between the ages of fifteen
and eighteen who could not show satisfactory evidence of attendance at
school. Or if, as may be the case, it is found desirable to permit boys to
be engaged only by means of the Labour Exchange, the Labour Exchange
itself would prove a most effective way of enforcing attendance.

There is nothing new or impracticable in the principle of the proposal.
Compulsory attendance at continuation schools can be required in Scotland.
Such attendance is compulsory in parts of Germany and Switzerland.[178] It
is exacted by certain employers in this country from their apprentices.
Further, the fact that for many years the half-time system has been in use
in the case of many important industries, and tens of thousands of
children so employed, demonstrates clearly enough that there is nothing
impossible in the application of a half-time system to juveniles. It
would, no doubt, cause some inconvenience, and some employers might
dispense with the services of juveniles; but no more difficulty would
arise than has arisen when any fresh regulations have been imposed; and we
should see, as we have always done in the past, the employers who
predicted inevitable ruin before the event, as soon as the proposal became
law adapt themselves, with that placid content and admirable success which
they have always displayed after the event, to the new condition of

_(d) The Parents' Point of View._

The three proposals just made have one characteristic in common-they all
directly set a limit to the employment of children and young persons. It
is possible that some readers may regard them from another point of view,
and say that in limiting employment they seriously diminish the income of
the family. Will the poor parent, whose lot is pitiable enough as things
are, be able to stand the loss?

In considering this, the parents' point of view, we must guard against
being caught in the noose of a vicious circle. We must not perpetuate an
evil in order to mitigate its present effects. Many, probably most, of
those parents whose income hovers about the margin of possible existence
are in this pitiful position because their own childhood has been
neglected. As children, they have been overworked, and they are now
physically unfit for regular employment; as children, they have been
allowed to go uncontrolled and untrained, and now, as men, they are paying
a heavy tax for the earnings of their boyhood. They receive little because
they are worth little; their work is precarious because the sphere of
their usefulness is small. We must not allow their children to live as
_they_ lived when children, and so pass on to the next generation the
taint of inefficiency and its consequent wages of starvation merely
because to-day wages of starvation need to be supplemented. We can never
hope to overtake and pass an evil if we always cast it in front of us. The
one clear message to the reformer of to-day is that he should look to
prevention, and not merely to cure; and the one clear hope of a nation's
future lies in insuring to every youth, as he crosses the threshold of
manhood, the fullest realization of that development whose promise was his
at birth. It might be well worth while for a country lavishly to endow
poverty for a generation in order to free itself once for all from its
fatal infection. But there is no reason to believe that we must resort to
this drastic measure because there is no reason to believe that the
proposed restrictions of child labour will in any way injure the parents.

Take first the earnings of school-children. There is very little reason to
believe that they often make any effective contribution to the income of
the home. They are irregular, they are small, and very frequently the
boys retain them as pocket-money. Where they are large, as in the case of
children employed during the pantomime season, they often form a
convenient excuse for the parent to go idle for a time. The only large
exception to this rule is the case of the widow. Here, indeed, the
earnings do usually find their way home, materially increase the miserable
pittance allowed by the guardians, and must be regarded as a tax levied on
children in aid of the ratepayer. Humanity and a reformed Poor Law may be
trusted to remove the tax.

Take next the raising of the school age to fifteen. The age has not been
raised for more than ten years, and when it was last raised it was raised
without friction and without complaint on the part of the parent. We
might, perhaps, have expected that the percentage of attendance would have
decreased because of the difficulty of enforcing it on the children of
poverty-stricken parents. This has not been the experience; indeed, the
last decade has been remarkable for the rapid rise in that percentage.
There is not a scrap of evidence to show that the last raising of the
school age caused even temporary suffering on a large scale. Never was a
large reform carried out with greater ease. There is no reason to believe
that, if we raised the age again, that favourable experience would not be

We come now to the new half-time system. The earnings of boys between
fifteen and eighteen years are considerable. To diminish them by one-half,
it is urged, would be to adopt a course which would prove intolerable to
the poor parent. Now, in the first place, though it is true that the lads
could be employed for only half the time they were before, it by no means
follows that they would only receive half the present money. We have
already seen that the demand for boys far outruns the supply. The
half-time system would halve the supply, and, though some employers might
cease to use boys, the demand would certainly not be halved. The demand
for boys would then considerably exceed the demand of to-day. The rate of
wages would, in consequence, rise. The boys would no doubt earn less, but
certainly more than half of what they now earn. In the next place, it must
be remembered that the parent rarely receives the whole of the boy's
earnings even during the first year, and each year the proportion of wages
that comes to the home grows less. At the age of seventeen it is seldom
that more than half finds its way into the family exchequer. The boy keeps
the rest, and, as we have already seen, the large amount of money he has
to spend on himself is by no means an unmixed benefit. The parent cannot
usually get from the boy much more than is required to keep him; indeed,
he is afraid to enlarge his demand lest the boy, who is economically
independent, should leave home. But under the half-time system, though he
may earn his keep, he will rarely earn enough to support himself outside
the family. In addition, the fact of being compelled to attend school will
be a healthy reminder that he is not yet a man, and so check the growing
spirit of independence. Home influence and parental authority will thus
be strengthened, and the father will be able to exact a much larger share
than before of the boy's earnings. Now, if the earnings are not diminished
by so much as half, and if at the same time the parent obtain an increased
proportion, it is by no means clear that the home affairs will suffer.
Among the poorest families, where home discipline ceases altogether when
the boy leaves school, it is quite possible that the financial position of
the parent will be improved rather than worsened.

But we have not yet taken into account what is, perhaps, the most
important consideration. The three proposals under discussion will
undoubtedly largely diminish the amount of work performed by boys, but
will not diminish the amount of work that requires to be done. Somebody
must take up the tasks formerly allotted to boys, and, if boys fail, men
must fill their place. Now, the work was given to boys because, to give it
to men would cost more. In future, the work will be given to men, and more
money will be paid for it than before. In other words, the increased
earnings of men will more than make up for the diminished earnings of
boys, and much more than compensate for the loss, because, as we have
seen, only a portion of the boys' earnings ever reach the home. Or we may
look at the question from another point of view, and say that the
decreased use of boys will mean an increase in the demand for men, and,
consequently, an increase in the wages of men. The Minority Report of the
Poor Law Commission arrives at these three proposals by starting from the
opposite point of view, and advocates their adoption not primarily for
the good of the boys, but for the good of their parents. In the task of
decasualizing labour, they are met with the difficulty that a considerable
number of men will in the process be thrown out of employment altogether.
Work must be found for them, and the easiest and the best way to find it
is shown to be the withdrawal from the labour market of persons, like
children, who ought not either to be employed at all or to be employed for
such long hours as at present. Hence arises the suggestion of a rigid
limitation of boy labour. It is much in favour of these proposals that
they are the outcome of an elaborate analysis which in the one case begins
with the man, and in the other with the child. We may take it, then, as
clear that, from the parents' point of view, there is nothing to hinder us
in raising the school age to fifteen, prohibiting the employment of
school-children, and instituting a new half-time system.



The second essential in an apprenticeship system worthy the name is the
provision of adequate training. The word "training" is used in its
broadest sense to include preparation, not only for the life of the
workman, but for the life of the citizen as well. In the preceding chapter
we have seen that the scholarship schemes, connecting the elementary
school with the University, and rapidly increasing throughout the country,
are offering opportunities of training for those likely to rise high in
the professional, the commercial, and the industrial world. It is probable
that sufficient attention has not as yet been given to the supply of the
most advanced kind of technological instruction, but the fault is being
remedied, and the defect is due rather to lack of knowledge than to lack
of will; and it is the instruction, and not the facilities of access to
it, that is wanting.

What we are concerned with in this chapter is the training of those
destined to fill the posts of foremen and managers of small undertakings,
of the skilled workmen of the future, and of those never likely to rise
above the ranks of unskilled labour. We are also concerned with those who
will occupy corresponding positions in the commercial world. It has
already been shown that the training of these persons is one-sided and
inadequate, and, in the case of the majority, can hardly be said to exist
at all. On the other hand, we have seen good reason to believe that the
technical school can be, if not a complete substitute for the workshop, at
any rate a necessary and fitting supplement. The day has gone by when it
was necessary to argue at length the uses of technical instruction.
Employers in this country, as they have long since done on the Continent
and in America, recognize the advantages. Yearly, whether by compelling
the lads in their service to attend the technical school, or forming
themselves into committees to advise as to the most desirable methods of
teaching, they are displaying a keener interest in the question, and a
fuller faith in the possibilities of practical training given outside the
walls of the workshop.

The defect of existing arrangements has been shown to lie in their
limitation. For the majority technical instruction has been unsatisfactory
or impossible of access. We must show in the present chapter how all may
enjoy the advantages of training; but before doing so we must consider, a
little more closely than has been done before, the kind of training
required by the petty officers and the rank and file of the industrial

In much of the preceding discussion it has been assumed that what the man
wants is an all-round training. This is undoubtedly a fact, but by an
all-round training is not necessarily meant a training that will produce a
craftsman of the old school, equally capable of turning his hand
successfully to any of the operations with which his trade is concerned.
Except in rural districts, in a few of the artistic crafts, and in certain
branches of repairing work, a man of this kind is not generally required.
It seems probable that the industrial tendencies of to-day are making
decreasing demands for purely manual skill. The Report of the Poor Law
Commission contains a valuable discussion of the question, and sums up the
conclusions in the following passage: "The general trend of our answers
was that the 'skill' of modern industry is scarcely comparable with the
skill of labour in the past. One might say that, within twenty years, with
the universal employment of machinery and the excessive subdivision and
specialization of its use, the character of the productive process has
quite changed. There is a growing demand for higher intelligence on the
part of the few; a large and probably growing demand for specialized
machine-minders; and, unhappily, a relegation of those who cannot adapt
themselves to a quite inferior, if not worse paid, position. If, then, the
'skill' which we might have looked for and desired is what might be called
'craftsmanship,' we must conclude that the demand for skill is, on the
whole, declining. The all-round ability which used honourably to mark out
the mechanic is no longer in demand, so much as the work of the highly
specialized machine-minder." [179] But if there seems a less demand for
all-round skill, there appears to be an increasing demand for trained
intelligence. "In the greater industries employing adult male labour,
'machinery' does not in the least resemble the long lines of revolving
spindles one sees in a cotton mill. In the machine tools of an engineering
shop there is comparatively little of such automatism, and, even where the
machines are automatic, single men are put in charge of a number of
machines, and the setting and supervising of these is work probably
demanding a higher level of intelligence than ever before. 'I should say
the skilled men require even more skill than they did,' says Mr. Barnes,
'because of the finer work and more intricate machinery.... Side by side
with automatic machines there has come about more intricate and highly
complicated machinery.' 'The semi-skilled of to-day,' says Sir Benjamin C.
Brown, 'is in many cases as good as the skilled was a quarter of a
century ago.'" [180] Or, as another witness puts it: "The tendency of
machinery is always to cause a substitution of intelligence for dexterity,
the person who was in effect a machine by reason of his dexterity giving
place to one who could understand a direct and mechanical process." [181]
There seems also good reason to believe that the demand for intelligence
outruns the supply.

In the workmen, usually classed as skilled, the employer requires
intelligence, but he wants something more; he wants trustworthiness, and
frequently a certain highly specialized manual dexterity. The training of
the workshop can supply the third of these qualifications; it cannot,
however, supply the other two, which are in the main the products of
education. But between the second and the third there is a certain
antagonism. Monotony in the workshop does not cultivate intelligence; it
is actively hostile to such growth. Unless there is a well-trained
intelligence to begin with, the continual performance of a single task
will reduce the man to the level of a mere machine. Now, the employer does
not want a mere machine; if he did, in these days of inventive genius, he
would soon discover something more reliable in the way of machines than
flesh and blood. He wants a machine with intelligence; he must therefore
have a man. But the intelligence must rest on a broad basis of education,
or the machine element will prove too much for it. This is the reason of
the statement, found so often in evidence on technical training given by
enlightened employers, that what is mostly required is a good general

Now we are coming to see that a general education does not imply a certain
specific syllabus of instruction; it may be the result of the most varied
kinds of instruction. We have ceased to take the narrow view that it
consists only in book-learning and aptness with the pen. We have
recognized that manual training may rightly play a large part in any
system of education, and for the full development of certain types of mind
is absolutely indispensable. Consequently, though the employer does not
need the man of all-round skill, there is no reason why the workman should
not acquire a general use of the tools employed in his trade. Whatever it
may be to the employer, the possession of a certain amount of all-round
skill is not a matter of indifference to the workman. If he can boast
skill in a single operation alone, the bridge that lifts him above the
gulf of unskilled labour is very fragile. A change in demand or a new
invention may any day render his specialized skill useless, and
precipitate him into that gulf whence is no escape. But this is not the
case with the man who has received an all-round training. Thrust out of
one branch of the trade, he can, if intelligent, comparatively easily find
an opening in another. The all-round skill, though not required in the
workshop, is necessary to the man if his position in the skilled labour
market is to be secure. In a sense, the measure of his all-round skill is
the measure of the stability of his industrial status. Further, the
possession of all-round skill is a necessary condition of the possession
of intelligence. It gives a man a clearer insight into the significance of
his trade, and robs monotony of some part of its soul-killing power. Pure
specialization is hostile to intelligence; the man who can only do one
thing cannot do that one thing well. Finally, from these skilled workmen
must be chosen the foremen and small managers, and these people must
possess the wider knowledge and a more varied skill. To a large extent at
the present time they are not recruited from the large workshop; they come
from the country district, where this all-round skill can still be
acquired. But, as we have seen, this supply is not inexhaustible, and
there are signs that the methods of the industrial revolution are invading
the village. Unless, therefore, we are prepared to see a scarcity of
trained foremen in the future, we must to-day aim at producing the skilled
workman, who is at once intelligent and possesses a general knowledge of
the tools of his trade.

"We do not to-day," says Sir Christopher Furness, "want men who are
all-round at building marine engines; we do need men who are all-round
mechanical engineers--men who can apply the principles of their craft to
any form of machinery that may be called for. That is a class of training
which cannot be achieved by any system of apprenticeship, and is
essentially a matter which the governing authority must handle if this
country is to maintain its position in the industrial world." [182] "The
characteristics," says the Consultative Committee, "that employers most
value and most deplore the lack of would appear to be general handiness
(which is really to a large extent a mental quality), adaptability and
alertness, habits of observation--and the power to express the thing
observed--accuracy, resourcefulness, the ability to grapple with new
unfamiliar conditions, the habit of applying one's mind and one's
knowledge to what one has to do." [183] It is clear that within the narrow
sphere of the workshop an all-round training of this kind can never be

We must look, then, to the elementary schools supplemented by the
technical institute, to insure to the workmen an all-round intelligence
and a general knowledge of the use of tools employed in his trade. For
commerce, intelligence and an all-round training are no less necessary.
"You produce a better clerk," it has been said, "if the boy takes an
industrial rather than a commercial course." There is therefore no
conflict of interest between what the employer wants and what the workman
wants. The employer wants intelligence, and cannot get it from a workman
who does not possess a general knowledge of his trade. The workman wants
an all-round knowledge of his trade because without it his position as a
skilled artisan is precarious and at the mercy of every new invention or
change in fashion.

We have hitherto spoken as if all were skilled workmen, and as though the
unskilled labourer did not exist. Now, there are at the present time huge
armies of men that can by no stretch of imagination be regarded as skilled
at anything; but it is by no means clear that it is desirable for this
huge army to continue as such. It is generally assumed that the
performance of so-called unskilled work requires no training and makes no
demand on skill. This is a grave mistake; let anyone, without previous
experience, try a day's digging in his garden, and he will realize the
fact. But it is not merely a question of manual training and practice; the
unskilled labourer, to be efficient, needs intelligence. Skilled and
unskilled work call for, in this age of machines, more intelligence than
was wanted in the past. Almost everyone nowadays uses a machine of some
sort; and there can be no question that in such use there is a serious
lack of intelligence. The unskilled labour engaged with machinery is
almost always inadequate and unsatisfactory. The agricultural labourer,
for example, has to manage machines whose complex mechanism is far beyond
his ill-trained intelligence to comprehend. The same may be said of the
general run of machine-minders. Breakdowns, stoppages, and accidents are
the costly consequences of their defect. Of all forms of labour, the
unskilled labour of to-day is probably the most expensive to the employer.
The labourer is worth, as a rule, little more than he receives, and, not
infrequently, a good deal less. The preservation of stupidity is among the
most foolish and most expensive of modern luxuries. What the employer
wants is the intelligent unskilled labourer, and such a class must be the
product, not of the workshop, but of the schools. The training to be
provided would be very similar to that required by the skilled workman.

From the point of view of the employer, we require more intelligence in
the unskilled labourer; from the point of view of the community and the
man himself, the need is even more urgent. We must not forget the man in
the labourer. He is not for all his time an unskilled labourer; he is the
autocrat of the home, the father of a family, and, as a voter, one of the
rulers of the Empire. These last functions belong essentially to the
highly skilled class of work. Uneducated parents are a danger to their
children, and so to the future prosperity of the nation; the illiterate
voters a peril to the safety of the State. Finally, the man himself, with
a wider outlook on the world, and with a life richer in interests, and so
with more opportunities of healthy enjoyment, would be a happier and a
better citizen. The shame of modern civilization and the abiding menace to
its security lie in the miserable horde of stupid, unintelligent, and
uninterested labourers who are good for nothing except the exercise of
mere brute strength and indulgence in mere animal pleasures, and not very
much good even for this.

Looking, then, at the problem of the training of skilled and unskilled
workmen alike, whether from the point of view of man or master, we see
that the great essential is the possession of a large measure of
intelligence. With the continual changes in the methods of industry, men
must be capable of changing too; they must be capable of readily adapting
themselves to new conditions, and not become petrified in a rigid and
inflexible mould. Intelligence, properly developed, means adaptability. If
we could secure this, the problem of dealing with the unemployed would be
comparatively easy of solution. The inextricable tangle of to-day lies in
the hopeless task of securing employment at a living wage for men who are
not worth it. Let each man be made good for something, and it will not be
beyond the range of wise statesmanship to find that good thing for him to

How is the necessary training to be provided? The answer to this question
need not detain us long. We have already seen that elementary and
technical education can solve the problem in the case of those who have
been able to avail themselves of the opportunities offered. The only
outstanding difficulty was the difficulty of insuring ready access to all;
and this has been surmounted in the proposals of the last section. The
raising of the school age to fifteen, the prohibition of the employment of
school-children, and the new half-time system, give facilities for
education never before enjoyed.

The boy will remain at the elementary school till the age of fifteen, and
there will be no employment outside school hours to undermine his health
and render him unfit to profit by the instruction given. We have already
noticed the transformation of the elementary school now going on, and the
multiplication of various types of school. The process will continue, and
the results following the raising of the school age will be increased in
value. The school will, in the first place, be regarded as a
sorting-house, in which the different kinds of ability are discovered and
classified. It will next be an institution where proper provision is made
to insure that each kind of ability shall have the fullest opportunity of
development. The only meaning of a general education is the discovery and
the cultivation of the special interests of the individual.

When the boy leaves the elementary school his interests and ability will
guide him to search for employment where they will have most scope. How
this opening is to be found is a question that will be discussed in the
next section. Let us take the boy who enters a skilled trade--say a branch
of the woodwork industry--and follow his fortunes. He can be employed in
the workshop for only half the day; during the remainder he must attend
the half-time school. We have hitherto looked at this half-time school as
a means of exercising supervision over conduct and physical development;
we must now regard it as a place of technical instruction. There must,
therefore, be various types of schools corresponding to the different
groups of trades. The boy who enters a woodwork trade will attend a school
designed to meet the needs of that industry. At his place of employment he
will no doubt be kept to a narrow range of operations, and in their
performance will acquire that dexterity which only workshop experience can
give. In the half-time school he will receive the training necessary to
make of him an intelligent and all-round workman. Here his ordinary
education will be continued; instruction in drawing, in mensuration, and
in science--all specially adapted to the requirements of his trade--will
be provided; and, lastly, in the school workshop he will acquire skill in
the general use of the woodwork tools. If it is urged that it will be
difficult to find room in the curriculum for such varied training, it must
be remembered that the subjects of instruction will all have formed part
of the curriculum of the elementary school, with a bias in the direction
of the woodwork industry. The boy will remain at the school for three
years, and at the age of eighteen we shall have at least laid the
foundation of those qualities required by the employer for success in the
workshop and by the workman for success in life.

Let us take now the case of a boy who, on leaving school, finds employment
in some occupation which does not lead to a skilled trade, and provides no
educational training. Let us suppose he becomes an errand-boy. We cannot
prevent lads of fifteen and upwards from being employed in such
occupations, however undesirable, but we can at least guard against the
more serious evils which are now the result. The boy will only be employed
for half the day; he also must attend a half-time school. At this school
he will continue his ordinary education; manual training will be provided
to make him clever with his hands, while special attention will be devoted
to his physical development. He will not, of course, be taught a definite
trade, but will learn the general use of tools. How far, then, schools
may be specialized, into different types it must be left for the future to
decide. We have hitherto never seriously considered the training of the
unskilled labourer, and much pioneer work of an experimental character
remains to be done. At the age of eighteen the lad, like his brother in
the skilled trade, will be a valuable asset in the labour market. We shall
have created what we have not got now, and what we much need--a race of
intelligent and adaptable unskilled labourers.

There are certain other advantages which the half-time system can claim.
First, the training of the workshop and the training of the school are
carried on at the same time; instruction and practice go hand in hand.
Secondly, only those boys will in general be taught a skilled trade in the
schools who have already entered a skilled trade. This removes an
objection often felt by Trade Unionists to what they term a multiplication
through the schools of half-skilled workmen. Thirdly, we have in it a
system of universal apprenticeship. All boys will have been learners, and
worked for the same period at low wages. There will, therefore, be no
obstacle of a privileged class to make difficulties in the way of those
entering a trade who have not passed through the normal course of
preparation for it. Fitness for the work will be, as it should be, the
sole qualification.

Looked at in a general way, the half-time schools will be called on to
play a double part. They must train the man in the interests of the
community and in the interests of the trade. From the employer's
standpoint these schools must be essentially places of practical
instruction in close touch with the workshop. Already, under existing
conditions, employers and representatives of the trade have been found
willing to form advisory committees to visit the schools, criticize the
teaching, and make suggestions for increasing its value. The principle
must be extended; only in this way shall we get the expert inspection
necessary to secure real efficiency. On the other hand, the education
authority, the representative of the community, will manage the schools,
and make them training-grounds of true citizenship. Under this double
system of control, wisely administered, we shall not lose the man in the
worker or the worker in the man; the interests of the individual and the
interests of the employer will alike be safeguarded. In a real sense, and
in fashion adapted to modern requirements, we shall have brought back the
best traditions of the old apprenticeship system in which the gild,
standing at once for the community and for the trade, watched over the
training of the youth of the nation.



The third and last essential of an apprenticeship system is the provision
of an opening. In the last chapter we have seen the aimless drift of boys
as they leave school into "blind-alley" occupations; we have watched them
rapidly slough off the effects of the school training; and we have found
them a few years later left stranded without prospects; and we have been
driven to confess that this process of waste and demoralization is not a
passing phase, but an integral part of the industrial development in its
present unregulated condition. Boys, parents, employers are alike impotent
to cure the evil; once again we are compelled to look to the State for
help. The State must guide the choice of boys as they leave school. It
must assist them during the period of adolescence to find better forms of
employment, or at any rate to retain and increase the value of the school
training, and it must bridge the gulf that now separates the work of the
lad from the work of the man.

Already the necessary organization is in process of formation. We have
seen how the establishment of Labour Exchanges for adults has, quite
unexpectedly, led to the creation of special departments for juveniles. It
is singularly fortunate that this accident has led naturally to the Board
of Trade being regarded as the proper authority to carry out the work. It
is, however, a fact that Parliament has recently passed an Act which gives
power to education authorities to spend money for this purpose. It may do
no harm for education authorities to be able, without fear of surcharge,
to spend money in co-operating with the Board of Trade, but it would be
disastrous if they came to think themselves the responsible authority for
the undertaking. One of the chief objects of the machinery is the bridging
of the gulf between youth and manhood. We should not enter on this
difficult task with much hope of success if we perpetuated the distinction
by making the Board of Trade responsible for the work of adults, and the
education authorities responsible for the work of juveniles. Further, we
are coming to see that questions of employment are questions which must be
dealt with by a national, and not a local, body. Only a national
authority, with its knowledge of the conditions over the whole country,
could be in a position to estimate the prospects in any trade, or to
decide as to the right proportions of boys to men. Next, the unit of area
for employment bears no relation to the unit of area for educational
purposes. Towns are separated from the adjoining districts. The unit of
area for London employment, for example, is not the administrative county,
but Greater London, and in Greater London there are more than thirty
education authorities. If these are not in agreement--and when are thirty
local authorities in agreement?--no system of regulation would be
effective. If, let us say, the London County Council, in order to
discourage the employment of van-boys, declined to supply them through
their Exchange, their action would be without result if the adjoining
districts did not follow suit, while it is impossible to conceive a more
chaotic organization than one which would allow employers in the City to
be canvassed for openings by thirty independent bodies.

For these and many other reasons the Board of Trade must be regarded as
the dominant authority for the organization of the Juvenile Labour
Exchange. On the other hand, there must be close co-operation between the
Labour Exchange and the education authority. The Board of Trade has
recognized the importance of this co-operation, and is making full
provision for it in the machinery it is setting up. It is forming local
advisory committees in connection with each Labour Exchange, and is making
them practically responsible for the control of the juvenile department.
On this committee are appointed persons nominated by the Board of Trade on
the one hand, and on the other by the education authority. The committee
thus represents the two branches of the organization. These committees are
only just coming into existence, and it is too early to judge of their
success. The problem is one of immediate practical importance; it is,
therefore, desirable to consider a little in detail the principles that
should guide them in their work. For the same reason it is desirable to
ignore for the moment the proposals made in the preceding sections, to
take things as they are, and to show what can be achieved under existing

The work of the Juvenile Labour Exchange divides itself naturally into a
number of different parts or stages. The first stage is concerned with the
boy while still at school. Some months before he is likely to leave he
must be seen with the view of inducing him to make use of the Labour
Exchange to obtain employment. A form will be filled up showing his
position in the school, and any particular ability he may have displayed,
recording the state of his health as revealed by medical inspection, and
indicating any particular desire as to occupation expressed by himself or
his parents. The interview and the filling up of the form will be
undertaken by someone connected with the school organization--a teacher,
or probably a volunteer. The institution of care committees for each
school in connection with medical treatment, and the supply of meals to
necessitous children, has enlisted the services of a large number of
volunteers who would probably be found willing to make themselves
responsible for this part of the work. The form, when filled up, will be
sent to the Labour Exchange, where, if thought desirable, arrangements
will be made by certain members of the advisory committee, in company with
the secretary, to interview the boy and his parents.

The next part of the work is connected with the finding of vacancies.
Either the employer will notify the Exchange of forthcoming vacancies or
vacancies be obtained by canvassing employers. In either case it will be
necessary to ascertain exactly the nature and the prospects of the
employment. For this work expert knowledge is essential, and it will
devolve almost entirely on the secretary or other paid officers of the
Exchange. Having found boys wanting employers and employers wanting boys,
it will be the duty of the advisory committee to bring the two parties

The second stage in the work begins as soon as the boy has obtained
employment. It will be desirable, if possible, to secure periodic
reports, either by interview or by letter, from the employer, who in the
majority of cases would no doubt be willing to give the information asked
for. We should then know how the boy is getting on at his work from the
employer's point of view. We must also know how he is getting on from his
own point of view. For this and other reasons it is absolutely essential
to keep in touch with the boy in his home. A tactful person, paying
periodic visits to the home and seeing the boy, would soon learn what
prospects the employment offered, what progress he was making, and would
be able to advise him as to what evening classes he should attend, and to
help him in those many ways in which a boy can be helped when first he
goes out to work. In this way a large amount of valuable though
unostentatious supervision would be kept over the boy. The persons most
capable of doing this home-visiting are volunteers. In many cases the
member of the school case committee who originally interviewed the boy
would undertake the duty of supervision; in other cases we might get the
assistance of the manager of a boys' club or other similar institution of
which the boy was a member; but in all cases the advisory committee must
make provision for supervision in the home. The reports from the home and
the reports from the employer would be filed at the Exchange. They will
enable the advisory committee to follow the career of every boy placed
out, and at the same time gradually furnish a mass of detailed information
respecting the employers of the district.

To what kind of employers or to what classes of employment shall we send
boys? To all who ask, or to only selected number? Experience will no doubt
show that there are certain employers of such a kind that under no
circumstances ought we to trust them with boys. The number of such will be
very small, and presents no serious difficulty. We should not supply boys
until we had a guarantee that the conditions offered were improved. The
question of the class of employment requires more careful consideration.
There is a danger into which the advisory committee may easily fall.
Recognizing the evils of "blind-alley" occupations, they may be inclined
to refuse to send boys to such forms of employment, and only recommend
boys to places where there is a prospect of learning a trade. Such a
policy would be a fatal one. We should not thereby discourage
"blind-alley" occupations, employers would get their boys as they have got
them in the past, and the only result would be that we should lose all
control over the boys, be unable to move them later to better situations,
and so leave the problem not only unsolved, but, for want of knowledge,
without possibility of solution. We ought not in the Labour Exchange to
bar out any form of employment unless we are prepared to make that
employment illegal by Act of Parliament. Street-selling might fairly come
within that category, and no doubt other forms of employment will later be
brought within the same class. But to bring them within that class,
accurate information as to evil effects must be collected in order to
stiffen public opinion, and if we wash our hands from the outset of all
responsibility for such trades, we shall never have that accurate
information. The first step in the way of regulation is that accurate
knowledge which a detailed supervision of the boys placed out alone can
give. There will, however, always be a temptation for the Exchange to
confine its activities to the skilled trades, and let the others go. In
Munich, for example, we find the education authority devoting much
attention to the apprenticeship section of the work, while "unskilled
labourers appear to be left to the Labour Exchange, and they receive,
therefore, no advice in selecting their work." [184] The same tendency is
seen in this country among the various voluntary associations for
obtaining employment for boys. They have concentrated almost exclusively
on the skilled trades. The results, expressed in figures or percentages,
are pleasing, but altogether misleading. They ignore the large residuum
which drifts without advice and without supervision into the less
favourable openings, and in matters of social reform it is the large
residuums that count. It is always nice to get a nice place for a nice boy
that we know; but if we do no more, there is no reason to believe that our
action is of any advantage to the community at large. The nice places
always are filled, and not infrequently the only effect of interference is
that A., who is known, gets the job instead of the unknown B. The Labour
Exchange must resist this temptation. It should aim at inducing all
employers to obtain their supply of boy labour from the Exchange; its
influence will then be at a maximum.

The mere establishment of a Juvenile Labour Exchange cannot create
favourable openings; it cannot in itself alter the direction of the demand
for labour. It might, therefore, be asked what is the use of an exchange
for boys who can already find employment of a sort more easily than is
good for them? First, there are the advantages of supervision and the
opportunities for friendly advice and sympathy; secondly, there is the
task of collecting accurate information which will lead up to legislative
action, and the system of regulation which is ultimately inevitable;
thirdly, while not closing the door to the "blind-alley" occupations,
there is no need for the advisory committees to press them on the parent.
They would, on the contrary, point out the evils, and suggest either that
the opening should be refused or accepted only as a temporary expedient.
The object should be to induce the parent to refuse situations which did
not afford any prospects of learning or allow time off to attend a
continuation school. The "blind-alley" occupations would disappear
to-morrow if parents stubbornly refused to permit their boys to fill them.
For the moment, moreover, the advantage is all on the side of the parent,
as the demand for boys outruns the supply. But neither individual parent
nor individual boy can take advantage of this fact; they have not the
knowledge or the opportunity to make their voices effectively heard. There
is no trade union of parents or trade union of boys, or, indeed, can be,
in the "blind-alley" occupations. Collective bargaining must be done for
them, and the advisory committee must be its instrument. They must first
create the opinion among the parents, and then give effect to it through
the Exchange. If employers found that, so long as they refused to offer
better conditions, they were either unable to get boys or only got the
least satisfactory boys, there would be a strong inducement for them to
change their ways. Finally, there is the reverse of this system of
educating the parents--the educating of the employers. There is already
growing up a feeling among employers that if they cannot give the boys
employment as men they might at least offer them opportunities of
continuing their education. At a conference held in 1910 between agencies
interested in the welfare of boys and employers of labour, under the
presidency of the Chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce, the
following resolutions were unanimously adopted: "That the London Chamber
of Commerce be asked to consider the advisability of establishing a
register of its members who would be willing to engage or apprentice boys
with a view to the co-operation of the Chamber with the various
institutions interested in the welfare of boys." "That employers of labour
be recommended, by reducing the present hours of labour or otherwise, to
give such facilities as may be possible consistently with the requirements
of their business to enable boys and youths to obtain technical
instruction." Judicious canvassing among a certain class of employers
may, therefore, lead to most beneficent results. It should also be borne
in mind that in London and other towns into which there is a large
immigration of adult labour, there is room for new openings leading on to
skilled trades.

While much can unquestionably be done under existing conditions to improve
and supervise the conditions of boy labour by means of the Juvenile Labour
Exchange, it is certain that sooner or later there will be need of
regulation by Act of Parliament. Probably the best course would be to give
the Board of Trade power in the case of certain occupations to limit at
their discretion the employment of boys to boys engaged at the Exchange.
If in addition the proposals made in the previous sections were to become
law, we should be in a very strong position to launch the youth on the
ocean of manhood with all the prospects of a successful voyage.



At the end of a long and rather complex discussion it is desirable to
attempt some general summary of what has already been achieved and of the
proposals necessary for the creation of a true apprenticeship system. It
will make for clearness if we take a boy and follow his career through its
various stages.

At the age of five or thereabouts he will enter the elementary school. It
is to be hoped that the reorganization of the public health services and
the more careful attention devoted to the period of infancy may send him
to the school free from those physical defects so common now, and healthy
within the limits of nature. Here he will begin his education. Improved
methods of teaching will make for increased intelligence and the growth of
numerous interests, while physical exercises, medical inspection and
treatment, added to the supply of wholesome food to the necessitous, will
promote the healthy development of his body.

At the age of eleven comes an important epoch in his career. It is then
that, if found suitable, he will, with the help of a scholarship, be sent
to the secondary school, and thence be led along a broad road to the
University. Failing the winning of a scholarship, he will, if he display
any special aptitude, be drafted off to a central school with a commercial
or industrial bias. Failing, again, the proof of any exceptional ability,
he will remain in the ordinary school. In either case he will continue at
school till the age of fifteen, will be forbidden to work for wages
outside school hours, and will throughout be periodically examined by the
school doctor.

With the approach to the age of fifteen begins the second important epoch
in his career. Some time before the day of leaving school arrives he will
have been interviewed by a friendly volunteer, who, with the help of the
school record and medical register, will be able to decide for what form
of employment he is best suited. In the meanwhile the Labour Exchange will
have found for him a suitable opening, or, failing this, a temporary
situation pending a more satisfactory and permanent position. If he gain a
place in a skilled trade, the half-time school, which he must attend for
the next three years, will add to the training of the workshop that
all-round training, whose result is intelligence and adaptability,
required to make of him an efficient artisan. If he is destined to fill
the ranks of unskilled labour, he will likewise attend a half-time school
carefully designed to enable him to play a useful part in the world of
life. In both cases he will remain for half-time under the supervision of
the education authority; in both cases periodic medical inspection will
watch over his physical development, and if it show him physically unfit
for the work he has undertaken, he will be found employment more suitable
to his strength; in both cases the advisory committee of the Labour
Exchange will receive reports from the home, the school, and the employer,
and these reports will enable them to discover whether the occupation and
the training are well adapted to foster his natural abilities. For three
years, while at work, he will also remain at school; for three years his
training will be guided by employers who will see to it that it turns out
the efficient workman, and by the education authority, which, acting in
the interests of the community, will see that it makes for the efficient

In process of time, with the gradual accumulation of experience, and with
the knowledge of the Board of Trade behind it, the advisory committee will
be able to adjust the supply of boys in course of special training to
meet the demands of special trades, and even if some unforeseen
transformation of industry upsets the calculations, there should be no
insurmountable difficulty of disposing of lads at the age of eighteen who
are at once well conducted, physically fit, and intelligent.

We come back to the position from which we started in the
introduction--the need of securing for the youth of the country adequate
supervision up to the age of at least eighteen, appropriate training
during that period, and at its conclusion the provision of an opening in
some occupation for which special preparation has been given. We have seen
that for at any rate a large section of the people these conditions were
satisfied during the best days of the gilds, and that they were satisfied
in direct proportion to the extent to which the gilds stood for the common
interests. With the decay and disappearance of the gilds the training of
the youth became a matter of individual bargaining between parent and
employer. No authority, standing for the common good, superintended the
process. Apprenticeship might be enforced; its efficiency could not be
guaranteed. Further, the existence of apprenticeship tended to create a
privileged class who resented the intrusion of those who entered a trade
by other means. With the coming of the industrial revolution, training
itself became more difficult. The large workshop and the division of
labour were unfavourable to apprenticeship. Employers wanted to use boys,
and not to train them. Rapid progress of invention continually discounted
the value of acquired manual skill, and parents could not see at the
conclusion of the apprenticeship any prospect of a favourable opening in a
skilled trade; while the gradual break-up of the system of supervision
bred a spirit of independence among boys which rendered them disinclined
to bind themselves for a period of years. Finally, competition, with the
urgent need of surviving the struggle of to-day, made it hard for
employers to prepare for the future by providing for the training of the
future workmen. The industrial system gave no guarantee for the efficiency
of the next generation of workers. The old apprenticeship system had
broken down.

But in the period of general disintegration there was slowly
developing--at first unconsciously, and later with more clearly directed
effort--an organization which made for constructive reform. It was called
into being as a last resort, and to save the country from the ruin which
was threatened by the exploitation of children. Competition demanded the
sacrifice of to-morrow to-day; the State, whose interests belong to all
time, was driven to forbid the sacrifice. Competition demanded that
children of tender years should labour in the mines and the factories, and
under conditions that made all health a mockery; the State insisted on a
minimum standard of health and safety for its children. The standard, low
at first, has steadily been raised. Thus has grown up the regulation of
child labour and the Acts relating to factories and workshops. Competition
cared nothing for the education of the children; it wanted to use them up
and cast them on the waste-heap. The State, recognizing the dangers of an
uneducated people, established by slow degrees a system of universal
education. So the struggle between the two has gone on, the State only
interfering as a last resort and in despair of other means to stop the
evil. Throughout its action has been generally beneficial, but the
benefits have been limited because that action has been partial and
patchy. Much of the expenditure, for example, on education has been wasted
just because the education came to an end too soon. The time had come for
a more comprehensive study of the situation that should indicate the
faults of the existing system.

Such a study has been attempted in the present volume. The task has been
comparatively easy, because the evils are generally admitted. What has not
hitherto been recognized sufficiently is the fact that these evils are
growing, and not in course of removal. The various factors in the process
have been examined, and, ignoring the State, they are clearly inadequate,
and progressively inadequate, to the task of solving the problem. As a
last resort the State remains. If the principles underlying the training
of youth are admitted, if out of the various possible forces concerned all
with one exception have been proved defective, then we must put our hopes
in the one exception. We must enlarge the sphere of influence of the
State. How this should be done has been shown in the present chapter.

The principles underlying the proposals have all been drawn from
experience, and are founded on the apprenticeship system, but applied with
modifications suitable to changed conditions. Under the gild system there
were three interests concerned and conjoined--the interests of the master,
the interest of journeyman and apprentice, and the interest of the
community. Since the gilds have gone these interests have become separate
and increasingly antagonistic. For the successful training of the youth of
the country the claims of these clashing interests must again be brought
together and reconciled. Ultimately and in the long-run they are
identical; it is only competition, with its dimmed and narrow vision, that
made the cleavage. It is hoped that the proposals outlined in this chapter
will point the road towards a final peace. Let us, in conclusion, bring
them to the test of the three essentials for which a true apprenticeship
system must make adequate provision.

There must be supervision--supervision of conduct, supervision of health.
Under the new apprenticeship system the State will be the ultimate
authority for the supervision of conduct. Till the age of fifteen the boy
will remain subject to the control of the schools. Long experience has
demonstrated the beneficent influence exercised by the teachers over the
children even under present conditions, when the school career is brought
to an end at the age of thirteen or fourteen. There is, therefore, nothing
wild in the expectation that, with compulsory attendance extended to the
age of fifteen, we shall receive richer and more lasting fruits. For the
next three years, the critical period of a boy's life, with its first
experience of the workshop and the sense of independence which comes with
earning wages, the supervision of the State will only in part be
withdrawn. During these years he will be compelled to attend the half-time
school, and so continue under the control of the education authority. Nor
is this all. The advisory committee of the Labour Exchange will advise him
in the choice of employment, assist him to obtain it, and generally watch
over his career. Thus, helped on his journey and surrounded with wise and
friendly influences, he will approach the threshold of manhood with such
promise of success as good habits and an ordered life may bring.

The State, likewise, will be responsible for the supervision of the boy's
health. Periodic medical inspection will watch and aid his physical
development. We have not yet learned to appreciate the full value of this
periodic inspection; it is, however, destined to become the most powerful
instrument of reform. The ill-nourished child, the delicate child, the
child in the early stages of phthisis, the child of negligent parents, the
child from the overcrowded or insanitary home--all these, the future
weaklings of the nation, we know them now only when the evil has too often
outrun the possibility of a cure and it is too late. Under the new
conditions we shall detect the evil in its first beginning, while there is
yet hope. Medical inspection is also the key to the situation after the
boy goes out to work, and for three years he will remain under its
control. At the present time we only dimly realize the disastrous effects
that come to a boy from the choice of an occupation ill-suited to his
strength. We forbid a few forms of work, attempt for the most part
ineffectively to limit the hours of employment in a few others, but in our
clumsy fashion legislate as a rule for the normal child, and it is the
abnormal child that suffers most. Under the new conditions there will be
no work for children under the age of fifteen, while for the three
following years medical inspection will enable us to legislate for the
individual boy, taking into account his physical characteristics. Not only
shall we be able to help a boy to avoid making a wrong choice, but we
shall be able to remove him as soon as medical inspection shows him unfit
for the work. Thus, to the age of eighteen the State has its finger on the
pulse of the youth.

Secondly, there must be an adequate provision of training, special and
general, accessible to all. Here, again, we are building on the firm rock
of solid experience. The elementary schools have proved themselves to be
schools for the cultivation of intelligence. With a year or two added to
the school life; with the relief from that distracting influence which
comes from wage-earning while at school; with the improved methods of
teaching and a clearer differentiation of types of school to suit varying
types of mind--reforms already under way--we may fairly hope for a general
rise in the intelligence of the boys. The half-time school, with its three
years' course, will supply the more specialized training required in the
different trades and occupations, while committees of employers will
provide the expert criticism essential to success.

Finally, there must be the provision of an opening in some form of
employment for which special preparation has been given. The Labour
Exchange, the juvenile branch worked in close co-operation with the adult
section, will supply the opening, while the technical training will give
good guarantee for the adequacy of the preparation. The Elementary School,
the Half-time School, the Education Authority, and the Advisory Committee,
all acting together, will insure a safe passage from youth to manhood.

The new apprenticeship system is more complex than the old--it lacks
something of the picturesqueness of the Middle Ages--but it finds its
compensation in an organization at once more flexible and more
comprehensive, and therefore better suited to stand the shock of those
huge changes in methods of production and methods of living which have
been the ungainly offspring of the industrial revolution.




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  Abraham and Davies, 45, 49, 53

  Abram, A., 9

  Adler, Miss, 106

  Adolescence, vi, 176, 198

  Agricultural Gangs Act, 42

  Apprentices, statute of, 13-15;
    effect, 16, 17;
    pauper, 15, 17-19;
    repeal, 22

  Apprenticeship, break-up of, 165-175

    charities, 19;
      decay, 25, 135, 164, 165-175, 177;
      difficulties of, 12, 188;
      essentials, 43, 237;
      indentured, 5, 135, 187-189;
      meaning, 1;
      under gilds, 4-11, 234, 237;
      under industrial revolution, 26-29;
      under statute, 11-19;
      universal, 3, 13, 189

    of to-day: contribution of home, 92-103;
      of philanthropy, 89-92;
      of State, 73-74, 76-89;
      of workshop, 103-165

    the new: Juvenile Labour Exchange, 231-231;
      new half-time, 191, 197-202;
      prohibition of employment, 191, 195-197;
      raising school age, 191-195, 217;
      summary, 231-240

  Ashby, W. J., 4

  Attendance at school, Acts relating to, 38, 46-48;
    percentage of, 83, 106, 105

  Blair, R., 86

  "Blind-alley" occupations, 87, 112, 123-130, 145, 157, 158, 163,
        169-172, 180, 227

  Board of Education, 61, 64

  Board of Trade, 71, 72, 223, 233

  Booth, C., 95, 104, 136, 139

  Borstal Association, 169

  Boy labour: difficulties of regulation, 79, 80;
    effects of regulation, 77-82, 88, 89

    half-time, 49-52, 78, 197-202, 204, 205

    health and safety, 52-58, 77, 197-202

    limitation of hours, 43-52, 197-202

    prohibition of, 41-43, 195-197, 203, 204

    regulation under gilds, 7-11, 234, 237;
      under industrial revolution, 20-25;
      under statute, 13, 14

  Boys: clubs, 90;
    errand, 82, 112, 119, 129, 145;
    lather, 43;
    office, 119, 126, 158;
    shop, 122, 126, 128, 145;
    telegraph, 126, 131, 145;
    van, 82, 119, 145

  Boys: employment of, at school, 103-113, 151-155;
    on leaving school, 114-119, 163;
    entering manhood, 143

    unemployed, 119;
      under London County Council, 132

  Bursaries, 65

  Chamber of Commerce, 230

  Chapman, Professor, 211

  Child, definition of, 40

  Children Act, 38, 59, 61, 80

  Children, employment of. _See_ Boys

  Chimney Sweepers Act, 42

  Cloete, J. G., 126, 129

  Coal Mines Regulation Act, 38, 42

  Competition, 177, 235

  Cuningham, W., 4, 6, 10, 16, 20, 22, 28

  Davies, Miss Maude, 161, 164

  Distribution of trades, 115-118, 142-149, 163;
    normal, 147-149

  Durham, Miss, 196, 228

  _Economic Journal_, 116, 159

  Education Acts, 1902-03, 62

    Administrative Provisions Act, 1907, 58, 60, 61

    Provision of Meals Act, 61

  Employment of children. _See_ Boys

  Employment of Children Act, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 46, 48, 57, 58, 77, 80,
        81, 111, 166

  Factory legislation, causes of, 30

  Factory and Workshops Act, 38, 168;
    authority for enforcement, 40, 51;
    definitions, 39-41;
    effects of, 77, 81, 82, 88;
    half-time, 49-51;
    health and safety, 52-56;
    limitation of hours, 43-52;
    prohibition of employment, 41, 42

  Furness, Sir Christopher, 213

  Gibb, Spencer J., 124, 158

  Gilds, 4-11, 234, 237

  Girls, vii

  Green, Mrs. J. R., 12

  Half-time system, 49-51, 78, 197-203, 204-205

  Hall, G. Stanley, vi

  Hasbach, W., 25

  Health and Morals of Apprentices Act, 17, 18, 23, 29

  Hutchins and Harrison, 23, 29

  Idealist, triumph of, 28

  Indenture, old, 6

  Individualist, triumph of, 32-34

  Industrial revolution, 20-26;
    effects of, 26-29, 173-175;
    characteristics, 177-185

    schools, 61

  Jackson, Cyril. _See_ Report on Boy Labour

  Labour Exchange, 70, 125;
    Juvenile, 71, 72, 83, 201, 221-231, 232-240

  Lather-boy. _See_ Boys

  London, employment of school-children, 105-113;
    entry to a trade, 113-142;
    passage to manhood, 142-151

  Medical certificate, 56, 57, 58

    inspection, 58, 60, 61, 85, 86, 94, 168, 197, 231, 232, 233, 238,

  Messenger-boy. _See_ Boys

  Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act, 38

  Mines (Prohibition of Child Labour Underground) Act, 38, 41

  Necessitous children, 94, 95

  Nicholls, Sir G., 18

  Occupations, clerical, 140-142;
    distribution of, 115-120, 143, 142-149, 163;
    skilled, 132-140;
    unskilled, 112, 121-133

  Office-boy. _See_ Boys

  Opening. _See_ Provision of

  Poor Law, Elizabethan, 15;
    Amendment Act, 23-26;
    Report of Royal Commission. _See_ Reports

  Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 38, 42

  Provision of opening, need for, 2;
    Labour Exchange, 70-72, 221-231, 240;
    under gilds, 8-11;
    under industrial revolution, 20-26

  Report of Board of Education, 64

    of Commissioners for Prisons, 169

    of Consultative Committee on Continuation School, 47, 81, 154, 192,

    of Consultative Committee on Higher Elementary Schools, 214

    of Departmental Committee on Employment of Children Act, 81, 125

    of Interdepartmental Committee on Employment of Children, 51, 110, 152

    of London County Council on Apprenticeship, 66, 115, 128, 135, 136,
        139, 140, 143, 187, 192, 194

    of Medical Officer, Board of Education, 152, 174

    of Medical Officer (Education) of London County Council, 96, 109, 110

  Report of Poor Law Commission, 31, 104, 155, 156, 172, 191, 192, 206,
        209, 210, 211, 213

  Report on Boy Labour, by Mr. Cyril Jackson, 104, 123, 124, 125, 128,
        129, 131, 144, 145, 146, 156, 157

    on Home Circumstances of Necessitous Children, 95

  Rogers, J. E. Thorold, 5

  Rural Districts, 161-165

  Sadler, M. E., 157, 171, 195

  Scholarships, 66-68, 86, 232

  School: age, 46-48, 192-195;
    central, 64, 65;
    elementary, 46, 47, 63-65, 83-86, 218, 224, 231;
    evening, 60, 67, 69, 86;
    industrial, 59, 61;
    part-time, 68, 132, 187, 218-221, 231;
    secondary, 60, 67, 86, 232;
    Sunday, 89;
    technical and trade, 60, 66, 68, 208

  Scott-Holland, Canon, 124

  Shop-boy. _See_ Boys

  Shop Hours Act, 38, 46, 79, 81

  Skilled Employment Committees, 91, 92, 185

  Supervision, need for, 2;
    under gilds, 8-11;
    under statute, 13-15;
    under industrial revolution, 20-26;
    by State regulation, 37-58;
    by State enterprise, 59-70;
    effects of State, 76-88;
    by philanthropy, 89-92;
    in home, 92-103;
    in workshop, 125;
    in London, summary, 149, 150;
    general summary, 165-168;
    under new apprenticeship, 191-202, 221-231, 237, 238

  Tawney, R. L., 159, 160

  Technical instruction. _See_ Schools

  Trades, distribution of, 115-120, 142-149, 163;
    picking up, 136-140;
    skilled, 133-142, 208-214, 218, 239;
    unskilled, 112, 121-133, 155-160, 165-175, 208, 215, 216, 219, 239

  Training, need for, 2;
    under gilds, 9-12;
    under statute, 13, 14;
    under industrial revolution, 20-27;
    in single operation, 21, 137-139;
    in elementary schools, 63-65;
    in continuation schools, 65-70;
    in workshops, 111-113, 121-142, 165-175;
    in new apprenticeships, 207-221, 233

  Van-boy. _See_ Boys

  Webb, Sidney and Beatrice, 8, 21, 22

  Young person, 40, 44-46, 81, 83




[1] G. Stanley Hall, "Adolescence," vol. ii., p. 83.

[2] See, for a general description of gilds, "Economic History," by W. J.
Ashby; "Growth of English History and Commerce: Early and Middle Ages." by
W. Cunningham.

[3] J. E. Thorold Rogers, "Six Centuries of Work and Wages," p. 566.

[4] Quoted, Cunningham, pp. 349-350.

[5] Sidney and Beatrice Webb, "A History of Trade Unionism," p. 17.

[6] Cunningham, p. 460.

[7] _Ibid._, p. 345.

[8] A. Abiam, "Social England in the Fifteenth Century," p. 118.

[9] Cunningham, p. 509.

[10] Mrs. J. R. Green, "Town Life in the Fifteenth Century," vol. ii., p.

[11] 5 Elizabeth, Cap. iv.

[12] Sect. 3.

[13] Sect. 25.

[14] Sect. 26.

[15] Sect. 31.

[16] 5 Elizabeth, Cap. iv., Sect. 35.

[17] 43 Elizabeth, Cap. ii., Sect. 5. Similar powers had been given to
Justices of the Peace in earlier Acts (see 27 Henry VIII., Cap. xxv.; Edw.
VI., Cap. iii.)

[18] W. Cunningham, "Growth of English Industry and Commerce in Modern
Times," pp. 29-30.

[19] _Ibid._, p. 33.

[20] See 3 Chas. I., Cap. v.

[21] Sir G. Nicholls, "History of the Poor Law," vol. ii., p. 223 _et
seq._ 1898.

[22] James I., Cap. iii.

[23] Cunningham, p. 615.

[24] _Ibid._, pp. 640-641.

[25] Sidney and Beatrice Webb, "History of Trade Unionism," p. 47.

[26] Sidney and Beatrice Webb, "History of Trade Unionism," p. 47.

[27] Cunningham, p. 660.

[28] _Ibid._

[29] 54 George III., Cap. xcvi.

[30] Hutchins and Harrison, "History of Factory Legislation," p. 16.

[31] Herr W. Hasbach, "A History of the English Agricultural Labourer,"
pp. 224, 225.

[32] Quoted by Cunningham, "Growth of Industry and Commerce in Modern
Times," p. 776.

[33] Quoted by B. L. Hutchins and A. Harrison, in "A History of Factory
Legislation," p. 15.

[34] In the Report of the Poor Law Commission we have an interesting
example side by side of the two forces that make for reform. The Majority
Report is altogether the work of sentiment. The proposed variation in the
terminology applicable to those in receipt of relief, the loosening of the
deterrent system, the advocacy of the more generous treatment of the young
and the sick, the general neglect to consider remote causes, and the total
absence of any consistent principle, can be explained in no other way. Its
cold reception by the British Constitutional Association--that body of
people who still hold aloft the tattered banners of the individualist--is
but another proof that sentiment, and not the _a priori_ assumptions of
the old school, is the guiding spirit. In the Minority Report we see
everywhere the mark of the imaginative reason--that reason which, starting
with facts and not with theories, strives to picture the long chain of
cause and effect which leads up to the sufferer, and finally, seeing the
whole process in its true proportions, strikes at the evil where it begins
and can be prevented, and not where it ends, when only a more or less
modified failure can be looked for.

[35] A striking instance of this is supplied by the Municipal Reform Party
on the London County Council. Opposed in principle to feeding or treating
medically children at the cost of the rates, they have yet been compelled
to do both these things. And they have been compelled to take action, not
by the pressure of public opinion--the public opinion of their own side
generally condemned them for forsaking their principles--but by the sheer
inability of members to learn, week after week, that hungry children were
unfed and sick children left without treatment.

[36] See Part X. of the Act. Needless to say, the decision as to what
kinds of industry come within these definitions has exercised the
ingenuity of the lawyer. In one case (Law _v._ Graham), for example, Lord
Alverstone, Chief Justice, expressed the opinion that bottling beer is not
within paragraph (i.) or paragraph (ii.) above; that by a somewhat
strained construction it might be said to be within paragraph (iii.), as
being an adapting of an article for sale, but that the powers used in
washing the bottles was not "in aid of the process of bottling."

[37] For complete list of such industries, see Sch. VI. of the Act.

[38] See Part VI. of the Act for details and exceptions.

[39] Sects. 103, 104, 105, 106.

[40] Sects. 71 and 156.

[41] Sect. 156.

[42] Sect. 13.

[43] Factory and Workshop Act, Sect. 77.

[44] Sect. 99.

[45] Mines Act, 1900, Sect. 1.

[46] Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887, Sect. 7.

[47] Factory and Workshops Act, Sect. 77.

[48] Employment of Children Act, Sects. 3 and 13.

[49] Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 1894, Sect. 3.

[50] Sect. 1.

[51] Sect. 2.

[52] Sect. 4.

[53] For definitions, see p. 39.

[54] Sect. 24.

[55] Sect. 26.

[56] Sect. 111.

[57] Sects. 51, 53.

[58] Sects. 31, 46.

[59] The best detailed account of the Act is found in "The Law Relating to
Factories and Workshops," by Abraham and Davies.

[60] Shop Hours Act, Sect. 3.

[61] Employment of Children Act, Sect. 2.

[62] Report of the Consultative Committee on Continuation Schools, vol.
i., p. 22.

[63] _Ibid._, vol. i., p. 21.

[64] Employment of Children Act, Sect. 3 (1).

[65] Sect. 1.

[66] Abraham and Davies, "The Law Relating to Factories and Workshops,"
fourth edition, p. 41.

[67] Factory and Workshop Act, 1901, Sect. 25.

[68] Sect. 25.

[69] Sects. 31 and 46.

[70] Sect. 69.

[71] Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on the Employment of
School-Children, p. 12.

[72] The summary of the provisions that follow is founded on "The Law
Relating to Factories and Workshops," by Abraham and Davies, chap. ii.

[73] Factory and Workshop Act, Sect. 63, (1) and (2).

[74] Sect. 64 (4).

[75] Sect. 64 (5).

[76] Sect. 64 (6).

[77] Sect. 67.

[78] Sect. 65.

[79] Sect. 66.

[80] Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907, Sect. 13.

[81] See pp. 46-48.

[82] Children Act, 1908, Sect. 58.

[83] Education (Administration Provisions) Act, 1907, Sect. 13.

[84] Board of Education Circular 576, Sect. 12.

[85] Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907, Sect. 13.

[86] Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906, Sect. 3.

[87] Children Act, Sect. 77.

[88] I am here speaking of England; in Scotland there are limited powers
of enforcing attendance.

[89] Report of Board of Education, 1908-09, p. 110.

[90] For a more detailed account of the machinery considered desirable,
see the Report of the London County Council on "The Apprenticeship

[91] See Report of the Consultative Committee on Continuation Schools, p.

[92] Report of the Departmental Committee on the Employment of Children
Act, pp. 6, 7.

[93] "The Organization of Education in London," by R. Blair, Education
Officer to the London County Council, p. 29.

[94] "Studies of Boy Life in Our Cities," edited by E. J. Urwick. Dent and

[95] "Home Circumstances of Necessitous Children in Twelve Selected
Schools." Report of the London County Council.

[96] See "Medical Treatment of Children attending Elementary Schools," in
Report of the Medical Officer (Education) of the London County Council for
the year 1909. See also Report of the Medical Officer of the Board of
Education for 1909.

[97] "Studies of Boy Life," pp. 22-25 _passim_.

[98] "Studies of Boy Life," pp. 26-28 _passim_.

[99] "Studies of Boy Life," p. 32.

[100] Elementary Schools (Children Working for Wages) Parliamentary Return,
1899, p. 32.

[101] Report on Employment of School-Children, p. 8.

[102] _Ibid._, p. 9.

[103] Report on the Employment of School-Children, p. 9.

[104] Quoted from "Studies of Boy Life," p. 24.

[105] Report on Employment of School-Children, p. 10.

[106] _Ibid._, p. 11.

[107] Report on Employment of School-Children, p. 11.

[108] Report of the Education Committee submitting the Report of the
Medical Officer (Education) for the year 1906. P. S. King and Son.

[109] Report of Medical Officer, p. 22.

[110] Report of the Medical Officer (Education) 1906, p. 23.

[111] _Ibid._, p. 23.

[112] _Ibid._, p. 24.

[113] See p. 43.

[114] Report on the Apprenticeship Question, Minutes of the Education
Committee of the London County Council for February 24, 1909, p. 414.

[115] The substance of what follows appeared in an article published in
the _Economic Journal_ for September, 1909, and is reproduced by the kind
permission of the Editor.

[116] L.C.C. Report of Medical Officer (Education), 1906, p. 23, showed
that this was the most injurious form of work in which school-children
were engaged.

[117] Report of Mr. Cyril Jackson on Boy Labour, prepared for the Poor Law

[118] Report on Boy Labour, p. 7.

[119] Report on Boy Labour, pp. 7 and 8.

[120] Canon Scott Holland, Introduction to "The Problem of Boy Work," by
the Rev. Spencer J. Gibb.

[121] Report on Boy Labour, p. 4.

[122] Report of the Departmental Committee on the Employment of Children
Act, 1903, 1910, p. 14.

[123] "Studies of Boy Life," p. 111.

[124] Cyril Jackson, Report on Boy Labour, p. 14.

[125] The Rev. Spencer J. Gibb, "The Problem of Boy Work," p. 33.

[126] Report on the Apprenticeship Question, Minutes of the Education
Committee of the London County Council, February 24, 1909, p. 424.

[127] Report on Boy Labour, p. 27.

[128] Mr. Cloete, in "Studies of Boy Life," p. 125.

[129] Report on Boy Labour, p. 20.

[130] _Ibid._, p. 20.

[131] _Ibid._, p. 26.

[132] Report on Boy Labour, p. 17.

[133] _Ibid._, p. 16.

[134] _Ibid._, p. 17.

[135] Report on the Apprenticeship Question, p. 1. London County Council
Publications. P. S. King and Son.

[136] Report on the Apprenticeship Question, p. 2.

[137] Charles Booth, "Life and Labour of the People," vol. ix., p. 222.

[138] This Advisory Committee contains representatives of the chief
woodwork industries of the district.

[139] Report on the Apprenticeship Question, p. 4.

[140] Report on the Apprenticeship Question, p. 4.

[141] Minutes of the Education Committee, February 24, 1909, p. 415.

[142] Report on Boy Labour, p. 47.

[143] Report on Boy Labour, p. 20.

[144] _Ibid._, p. 20.

[145] _Ibid._, p. 22.

[146] _Ibid._, p. 23.

[147] Report on Employment of School-Children, p. 5.

[148] Report of Chief Medical Officer of Board of Education for 1909, pp.
80-81, _note_.

[149] Report of Consultation Committee on Continuation Schools, p. 206.

[150] Majority Report of the Poor Law Commission, p. 325.

[151] _Ibid._, p. 325.

[152] Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission, p. 1166.

[153] _Ibid._, p. 1166.

[154] Minority Report on the Poor Law Commission, p. 1166.

[155] Report on Boy Labour, p. 5.

[156] _Ibid._, p. 27.

[157] M. E. Sadler, "Continuation Schools," Preface, p. xii.

[158] M. E. Sadler, "Continuation Schools," Preface, p. xiii.

[159] The Rev. Spencer J. Gibb, "The Problem of Boy Work," p. 33.

[160] _Economic Journal_, December, 1909, p. 522.

[161] _Ibid._, p. 522.

[162] _Economic Journal_, December, 1909, p. 532.

[163] Elementary Schools (Children Working for Wages) Act, Part (2),
Return for England and Wales, 1899, p. iv.

[164] Elementary Schools (Children Working for Wages) Act, Part (2),
Return for England and Wales, 1899., p. vii.

[165] M. F. Davies, "Life in an English Village," chap. x.

[166] Report of the Commissioners of Prisons for the year ending March 31,
1908, p. 14.

[167] Report of the Poor Law Commission, p. 325.

[168] _Morning Post_, January 3, 1909, letter from Professor M. E. Sadler.

[169] Russell and Rigby, "Working Lads' Club," p. 286.

[170] Majority Report of the Poor Law Commission, p. 326.

[171] Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission, p. 1165.

[172] _Ibid._, p. 1166.

[173] Minutes of the Education Committee, February 24, 1909, p. 422.

[174] Minutes of the Education Committee, February 24, 1909, p. 416.

[175] Minutes of the Education Committee, February 24, 1909, p. 416.

[176] M. E. Sadler, "Continuation Schools," p. 334.

[177] "Berlin, though growing luxurious, is not yet as spendthrift of
young life as is London. The newspaper-boy and the street-trader are
unknown" (Report to the London County Council, by Miss Durham, p. 3).

[178] See Report of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education
on Continuation Schools, chap. x.

[179] Report of the Poor Law Commission, p. 346.

[180] Report of the Poor Law Commission, pp. 346-347.

[181] _Ibid._, Professor Chapman, footnote, p. 346.

[182] Report of the Poor Law Commission, p. 351.

[183] Report of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education in
Higher Elementary Schools, p. 7.

[184] Report by Miss Durham to the London County Council on Juvenile
Labour in Germany, p. 7.

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