Aireborough Historical Society

1844 Factory Bill Guiseley

Factory Bill
Date March 1844
Location Guiseley
Photo ID

The Factory Bill

    On Wed. the 28th of Feb.a meeting of the master manufacturers and mill owners of the parish of Guiseley (this would include Yeadon) was held at the house of Mr Matthew Walker, Commercial Inn, Yeadon, for the purpose of opposing Sir James Graham's Factory Bill.

The meeting came to a determination to petition against the bill and appointed Mr Joseph Dawson, woolstapler, to go along with other delegates to London to wait upon the Home Secretary to endeavour to obtain some modifications of its provisions.

      A meeting of the mill operatives of the parish of Guiseley has also  been held at the house of Mr Richard Atkinson, the Wool Pack Inn, Yeadon, upon the same subject.

A resolution was passed to the effect that a petition be drawn up and handed round the parish for signatures and presented to the House of Commons against the bill.

James Lupton was appointed as the operative delegate.


Image courtesy of the British Newspaper Archives, research by Edwy Harling


Further text by Christine Lovedale

     In 1841 Sir James Graham was appointed Home Secretary in a Conservative Government, he supported the need for the better education of children in the industrial areas.

To succeed he needed the backing of the Anglican Church for a State initiated State education system, it was put before Parliament as part of a wider factory reform bill in 1843.    

      There was widespread opposition  to the bill, particularly in areas with a strong Dissenting or Methodist population who were apprehensive about control of education being placed entirely in the remit of the Church of England.

Such was the outcry that Graham withdrew the bill, it was later introduced and passed in 1844 without the educational content but limiting the number of hours a child could work in a factory.

      This was one of many bills which were introduced to improve the hours, conditions and education of children during the 1800s.  James Graham's bill seems to, for once, united the factory workers and their masters.


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