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Report of PHILIP GELL, Esq. as to the Hundred of Wirksworth.
By virtue of an act passed in the 42d year of George the Third, Cap. 73, I have visited the following cotton mills and factories, in the Hundred of Wirksworth, in the County of Derby, and I have the satisfaction to report, that I believe them to be in such state and condition, and conducted in such manner, as is intended by the said act.-No parish apprentices are employed in any of them.
In addition to these Reports, we have great satisfaction in being able to add, that the following respectable Visitors were at the same Quarter Sessions appointed for the county of Derby for the ensuing year.
For the Hundred or District of APPLETREE. Francis Noel Clarke Mundy, Esq. Markeaton. The Rev. Nicholas Bayley, Derby.
For that of HIGH PEAKE.
Joseph Denman, M.D. Stoney Middleton. The Rev. James Grundy, Chapel en le Frith.
For that of MORLESTOM and LITCHURCH. Smalley,
John Radford, Esq.
The Rev. Charles Hope, Derby.
For that of REPTON and GRESLEY.
For that of SCARSDALE.
William Allwood Lord, Esq. Jupton Hall. The Rev. Thomas Webster, Alfreton.
For that of WIRKSWORTH.
Philip Gell, Esq.
The Rev. John Chaloner, Ditto.
We have the greatest pleasure in acknowledging our obligations to Mr. MUNDY, the Chairman of the Quarter-sessions for the county of Derby, for his attention to the inquiries of the Society respecting the Cotton Mills in that county. Upon a subject like this, in which the health, happiness, and morals of the labouring class are so much implicated, the exertions of a gentleman in Mr. MUNDY's situation, have a claim to the gratitude of the country at large. His observations on the impropriety of apprenticeing poor children to Cotton-spinning, as not being a TRADE which will secure a maintenance for life, are earnestly recommended to the consideration of magistrates and parish officers in every part of the kingdom.
Report of FRANCIS NOEL CLARKE MUNDY, Esq. as to the Cotton Mills at Belper and Darly, near Derby.
THE Cotton-mills which I visit are at Belper, between Derby and Matlock; they are very large, the property of Messrs. Stubbs. No night-work has been used there within the last 15 or 20 years, during all which time;
I have been acquainted with them, excepting when, four or five years ago, one of the mills was accidentally destroyed by fire, and the work people were employed at the remaining mill for their support during the rebuilding of that which had been destroyed, and which was soon re-established. Every day when the people leave off their work to go to dinner, some few of them by turns stay behind as long as is necessary to sprinkle and sweep the floors of the work-rooms. There are casements or ventilators, often both, to all the windows. The children in general seem healthy. There is a well regulated Sunday school. I know that very great attention is paid to the health, morals, and good order of the people he employs, by Mr. George Strutt, who resides near the mills. Another great cotton mill is near my residence, viz. at Darly, one mile from Derby. Mr. Evans is the Proprietor; and though I am not one of its visitors, I am well acquainted with all circumstances attend-` ing it, and can apply confidently to that mill, all that I have said of the Belper mills.
I wish to add, that the Justices hereabouts
make it a rule never to authorize the binding of poor children as apprentices to cotton milis. We cannot consider cotton spinning as a trade; at best, not such a trade, the learning of which can secure an independent provision when the apprentice is out of his time. We bind to blacksmiths, carpenters, and other such artificers as are in the service of these cotton mills; but not to the cotton
spinning business. The cotton spinning children are, generally speaking, under written contracts between the cotton mill master and their parents, to work at so much a week, for one, two, three, or more years; by which means, there being an exception in the time of working, Sundays for instance, and the working hours in each day being limited, no settlements are gained. On all these accounts there are no apprentices at these mills hereabouts, except as above mentioned to particular trades distinct from cotton spinning.
22d July, 1807.