Child labor in the North in 1901

Child labor in the North in 1901

  • Report of fines drawn up by departmental inspector Emile Caron

  • Report of fines drawn up by departmental inspector Emile Caron

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Title: Report of fines drawn up by departmental inspector Emile Caron

Author :

Creation date : 1901

Date shown: 1901

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Escaupont (North).

Storage location: North Departmental Archives website

Contact copyright: © Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

Picture reference: M 594/7

Report of fines drawn up by departmental inspector Emile Caron

© Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

To close

Title: Report of fines drawn up by departmental inspector Emile Caron

Author :

Creation date : 1901

Date shown: 1901

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Escaupont (North).

Storage location: North Departmental Archives website

Contact copyright: © Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

Picture reference: M 594/7

Report of fines drawn up by departmental inspector Emile Caron

© Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

A stammering legislative framework

Child labor is nothing new in the 19th centurye century, but the industrial revolution, with the development of the exploitation of coal, iron, the use of steam and the fever of production, developed this practice in a more abusive way and gradually made people aware of the need for limit. However, this legislation is hardly enforced.

The law of November 2, 1892 brought work regulations into line with compulsory education (1882). But, if the workers of the North are earlier and better protected than in many other regions, then France lags behind its English and German neighbors in the social field.

Image Analysis

Thorough inspections

Drawn up by the departmental inspector during his visit to the Escaupont glassworks in 1901, this contravention report notes violations of the law of 2 November 1892. Many other reports reveal the frequency of inspections (sometimes two successive visits to the same company) and their validity since each time new fines are issued.

The circumstances are carefully noted to prove the flagrante delicto: the date and time of the inspection, the depositor, the establishment visited and its owner or manager present at the scene. The inspector scrupulously details the offenses committed, mentioning the articles of law that the manufacturers contravene.
Is the child found at work less than 12 years old (last name, first name, age or date of birth)? The youngest is 9 years old. If he is between 12 and 13 years old, does he have his primary school certificate? Does he have a booklet? Is it registered in the regulatory register?

A ticket is issued by fault and per child, which, in one case, rises to 124 the number of tickets for a single glassware. Entrepreneurs who break the law are prosecuted in the police court and liable to a fine of 5 to 15 francs. In the event of a repeat offense, like the glassmaker of Escaupont, the offender is prosecuted in the criminal court and punished with a fine of 16 to 100 francs. Is it dissuasive? We see the same glassmaker, again a repeat offender in October 1901. In addition, anyone who hinders the performance of the inspector’s work is liable to a fine of 100 to 500 francs.

Interpretation

Enforce social laws

In glassworks, in the XIXe century, children often function as carriers. The young girls are, for example, occupied in the stalls, tunnel ovens for cooling the flat glass ribbon coming out of the forming tool. Glass is carried by children in small wagons. The working conditions are harsh: the fatigue caused by the incessant back and forth movements, the heavy smoke that emanates from the constantly working ovens. Some children are even employed as blowers, a task normally reserved for men who have completed their military service.

The boss pays the children little while aligning their schedules with those of adults (in the Lille flax mills, 3f for a worker, 1f 50 for a worker, 0.75f ​​for a child). But parents need the pennies they bring, and manufacturers need inexpensive labor. Fighting against this state of affairs has taken many years. Thus, the proverb “Idleness is the mother of all vices” has been misused to legitimize child labor considered as a derivative of laziness, dissipation and vagrancy and an antidote to temptations and “bad habits” .

In the North, inspections concerning child labor [1] had existed since 1852. We notice here, at the beginning of XXe century how much, after the law of 1892, surveillance remains necessary. Only a carefully controlled general obligation can also prevent competition from penalizing precisely those who have refused to employ children to enable them to be educated.

Even if almost all children go to school for a time, these reports, drawn up almost twenty years after Jules Ferry's compulsory school law, show that the duration of schooling is still very variable depending on the conditions. social or geographic. Long after 1882, school attendance remained irregular or too short.

  • childhood
  • industrial Revolution
  • Third Republic
  • factory
  • Ferry (Jules)

Bibliography

Pierre PIERRARD Children and young workers in France, XIXth-XXth centuries Paris, Editions Ouvrières, 1987.Philippe MARCHAND Child labor in the 19th century in the Nord department C.R.D.P. from Lille, 1981.Philippe MARCHAND Child labor in factories, in Le Florilège of the Departmental Archives of the North 2000.

Notes

1. The first inspector of the North, Frédéric Dupont, appointed on July 8, 1852, tirelessly traveled the department and multiplied the reports and contraventions for seventeen years.

To cite this article

Marine VASSEUR, "Child labor in the North in 1901"


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