Pit Inspection Team

Author: Tim Taylor
Theme: Child Labour in Victorian Mines
Age Range: KS2 – KS3
Main curriculum focus: History
Inquiry Questions: What were working conditions like for children working in Victorian mines? How did the situation change?
Expert Team: Pit Inspection
Client: Earl of Shaftesbury
Commission: To carry out a full inspection of the mines, discover the working conditions of the children working there, and to report back to Parliament with their findings.

In this context the students take on the mantle of a team of pit inspectors commissioned by the government to investigate conditions for children working in the mining industry in 1840. It draws parallels to the real-life inquiry that followed the Huskar Mining Disaster of 1838 where twenty-six children were drowned after an explosion. Up until that time much of what was happening to children in the mines (where some were as young as seven, worked twelve hour shifts, often in complete darkness) was almost entirely unknown except to those who were directly involved.

Although children died regularly in mining accidents, the number of very young children killed in the Huskar disaster was particularly shocking. When it was subsequently reported in The Times, the story was greeted by a mixture of public disbelief and anger. The cause of pit-children was taken up by the politician Earl of Shaftesbury who called for a Royal Commission. The subsequent report, published in 1842, became a bestseller and eventually forced a change in the law.

There is a great deal of online information and a number of good topic books available for this subject, you can find a list at the end of the planning.

This unit can be downloaded either:
1. As word document.
2. As a Pdf.

Further Resources:

File size: doc(1MB); Pdf (1.5MB)
Pages: 21
Word count: 5,400

Leave a Reply


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: