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Working Hours and Conditions during the Industrial Revolution: A Re-Appraisal

Eric Hopkins
The Economic History Review
New Series, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Feb., 1982), pp. 52-66
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Economic History Society
DOI: 10.2307/2595103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2595103
Page Count: 15
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Working Hours and Conditions during the Industrial Revolution: A Re-Appraisal
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Abstract

It is argued that the general assumption that work discipline intensified in all sectors of industry during the Industrial Revolution requires re-examination. The majority of workers in Birmingham and the Black Country were still employed in small work-units in the mid-nineteenth century, working irregular hours and often not working at all on Mondays. Given the limited extent of mechanized industry in England at this time, it appears unlikely that workers elsewhere were subject to a different and more intense work discipline. Hence the belief that everywhere the majority of workers became the slaves of a new work discipline during the Industrial Revolution is of doubtful validity.

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