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Revealed: Industrial Revolution Was Powered by Child Slaves

Tuesday 03 August 2010

‘Child labour was the crucial ingredient which allowed Britain’s Industrial Revolution to succeed, new research by a leading economic historian has concluded.

After carrying out one of the most detailed statistical analyses of the period, Oxford’s Professor Jane Humphries found that child labour was much more common and economically important than previously realised. Her estimates suggest that, by the early 19th century, England had more than a million child workers (including around 350,000 seven- to 10-year-olds) – accounting for 15 per cent of the total labour force. The work is likely to transform the academic world’s understanding of that crucial period of British history which was the launch-pad of the nation’s economic and imperial power.’

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