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Victorian Child Labour

Many Victorian children were poor and worked to help their families survive. 

The Industrial Revolution created new jobs and lots of these were done by children because they were much cheaper than adults. This was called child labour.

From the age of around five, boys and girls were sent out to work. They often did jobs that required small size and nimble fingers.
  • Chimney sweeps used young boys to climb chimneys and clean away the soot. They were often burned or hurt.
  • Girls sometimes went 'into service' to work as housemaids.
  • Deliverers or street sellers sold things like: flowers, matches and ribbons.
  • Crossing boys swept the roads clean of horse-dung and rubbish left by the horses that pulled carts and carriages.

The working conditions were usually very bad, with children working long hours for very little pay.