Child Employment Commission, 1841:: David Hamer


No. 32.- David Hamer, Collier (Low Moor), 68 years old :-

Wages 12s. a week at pit top.
How old were you when you first went into a pit? - I can't tell exactly; I mud be about 8 years old.
What do you recollect about it when you first went? - I liked very well. It does some children a deal of good going into t' pit, if they nobbud get plenty of meat.
You have worked 60 years, then? - Yes.
Have you had good health all your life? - I were down (sick) about 3 years since for a quarter of a year. I have been very hearty, God be thanked! There isn't many at my age can do such a day's work as I can.
From 8 years old how long did you work at the bottom? - Till I was 43 or 44 years old.
You have never had any particular disease? - No, no.
Is your sight good? - It is not so good as it used to be. I can see to thread a needle yet.
Did you ever go to school? - Nay, I never went much to school; I went a little bit before I began going into t' pit.
Can you read and write? - Nay, I can't; I wish I could.
Do you wish you had been taught to read and write when you were young? - Ay, I do that; if I had been a bit of a scholar, I should not have been doing such a job as I am now. It is a very good thing is scholarship.
Your work has never done you any harm? - No, no, no.
Does it ever do harm to boys when they go in young that you know of? - Nay, my sons went in before they were 6 years old.
Did it ever do them any harm? - Nay, it never did none of my children any harm; and I have brought six lads up in pits, and they are all married.
Have you been steady all your life? - Nay, not always; when I were young, I were wild chap like other folk. For this last 30 year I have been as steady as any body.
Have you sent your boys to school? - Ay, I have two or three that is very good scholars; they can all read a bit, but three of them can write vary well.
Do you think it does girls any harm to work at the top? - It is very hearty for girls to be at t' top. I don't admit of them going to t' bottom.