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
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.