George Bentley - 8-Year-Old Miner

George Bentley - 8-Year-Old Miner (Illustration) Fiction Film Social Studies Victorian Age

George Bentley was an 8-year-old child who worked long, hard hours in a British coal mine. In addition to his workday, George walked 1.5 miles, each way, to the pit.

Before starting work, George would eat breakfast which usually consisted of "bread and fat."  His lunches (referred to as "dinner") included "bread, potatoes, and sometimes bacon."  For supper, he'd get bread and milk.

The child was "half-starved," according to the child-labor investigator.  In addition, George (and his home) were among "the most wretched I witnessed."

This text, from the UK National Archives, is an excerpt from an 1842 investigation into the plight of child miners.  Anthony Ashley-Cooper (then known as Lord Ashley, later known as the Earl of Shaftesbury) was aleader of this investigation.

Investigation reports, such as this, helped Britain's Parliament to determine that changes had to be made.  Among other things:

  • No women and girls were thereafter allowed to work in mines.  
  • No boys under the age of ten were allowed to work in mines.
  • No male child miners were allowed to keep working 14-16 hours a day. Their hours were reduced to ... 10 hours ... per day.

Visit the UK National Archives for more information on these, and related, topics.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 31, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Apr 15, 2015

Media Credits

Excerpt from 1842 investigation into the conditions of child labor headed by Anthony Ashley-Cooper.



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"George Bentley - 8-Year-Old Miner" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 31, 2014. Jul 16, 2018.
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