September 12th, 2018 7:28 PM

—“The idea of apprenticeships was admirable: for a fixed term, usually seven years, a master or mistress of a trade would train a young person so that he could earn his living at that trade. The master kept the apprentice in board, lodging and clothes, but had no duty to pay him, although many did in the final years of the term, when the apprentice had learned enough to be helpful. The system applied throughout society. Prosperous merchants, goldsmiths and bankers made tidy sums from the premiums paid by the parents of hopeful apprentices. The members of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames, who had a monopoly of river traffic, had 2,140 apprentices in 1858. Poor masters could profit from the unpaid labour of children taken from the parish workhouse”—-

Leave a Reply