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North Mymms children at work

Welham Green Boys School 1880 Photographer unknown, image from the Peter Miller collection
Welham Green Boys School 1880
Photographer unknown, image from the Peter Miller collection

In 1851 nine year old George Redington was working as a farm labourer at Pancake Hall, Welham Green. Another nine year old, Richard Marshall, was working as an agricultural labourer in Little Heath. And Laura and Susannah Pratchett aged seven and nine from Welham Green were working as straw plaiters

They were just a few of the 30 North Mymms children aged between seven and 14 working to help support their families.

Ten years later the Rev James Fraser, an educationalist who was giving evidence to the Royal Commission on Popular Education, wrote about the educational needs of England’s “peasant” children claiming that it  wouldn’t be in the peasant child’s interest to stay at school until they were 14 or 15 and that it should be possible to teach them all they needed to know by the time they were 10.  

Peter Kingsford wrote about North Mymms children at work in the September 1986 issue of the Chancellor’s Community Newsletter. The article has been reproduced here with permission of the publisher.
 

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