at work: The money earned by children was vital
to most working class families during the early 20th century and before.
The work undertaken was wide ranging, including agriculture and horticulture,
cottage industries, domestic service and crafts. Children began their
working life at a very early age, perhaps five or six. Working hours were
long. For agricultural jobs such as weeding or stone picking, the working
day could run from 8 in the morning until 6 in the evening, the children
often having to walk long distances to and from their place of work. During
the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the issue of child labour gradually
became more prominent and the numbers employed began to fall as changes
occurred in farming methods, attitudes towards child labour and increased
education legislation. The school boys pictured are working at Windmill
Farm, Montacute, Dorset, in the early 1950s. They were temporarily employed
to help gather in the potato harvest.