Winnie-the-Kodiak (madam_silvertip) wrote in little_details,

Child labor in the north of England, 1930s

Turning again to this wonderful community.

My newest question has to do with the kind of labor that would have been done by underage workers in northern English cities like Manchester and Birmingham at the beginning of the Depression. I'm aware that this can be researched more formally, but I'm really interested in stories and details people might remember from their grandparents, the sort of thing that gets passed on as a story rather than ending up in the history books ("My Aunt Esther worked as a fish gutter when she was sixteen" as opposed to "There were X number of underage workers in Leeds in 1932"). That's always so rich.

I'm especially interested in knowing if there were kinds of work that were considered respectable, relatively speaking, in the sense that an adolescent could do them and not be seen as being headed down the wrong path (it might be hard, manual labor, but it was honest work), and others that carried the implication that a child or adolescent was not going to be able to enter a respectable trade. Were there some kinds of manual labor, for instance, in which it was likelier that a child or adolescent would be at risk for sexual abuse? Did the threat of this carry the same stigma for boys as for girls, or was it more disgraceful for a boy to be coming into contact with the criminal element in general--if he wasn't likely to turn out a thief, did it matter if there was a possibility he'd be propositioned or worse, etc.? In any sense other than that of being criminal, what were the really stigmatized jobs, for girls and boys? And was stigma determined by unpleasantness of work, or by other things?

Thanks in advance.
Tags: 1930-1939, uk: history (misc), ~childrearing, ~human culture (misc)
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