By Joan Lane
A social background of the altering fortunes of apprentices and the process of apprenticeship over 3 centuries of English historical past.
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Additional info for Apprenticeship In England, 1600-1914
Indenturing children was committing them in an inescapable way to an adult working life perhaps of 30 years or more, in one particular occupation, in prosperous or hard times, when ill or well, even against their own inclinations. The parent’s choice was, however, less difficult than might now appear, at least until the later eighteenth century, for trades and crafts until the Industrial Revolution were surprisingly stable in England, even static, both in products and in profits or wages, so that a parent would expect an occupation that was prosperous at the time of indenturing to remain so.
In wholly rural parishes, the very young child was invariably bound to agriculture. ) 24 per cent of the apprentices were aged 10, 20 per cent were 11 and 18 per cent were 12, but 14 per cent were 9 and 10 per cent only 8 years old. 56 There is a clear county pattern, for other parishes (Felton, Kingsland, Burrington and Leintwardine, for example) apprenticed in the same manner for many decades. The factory child’s term, on the other hand, was governed by different considerations, although also recorded as “until 21”.
Thus, as Birmingham’s leather crafts declined, to be replaced by the metal trades, so public office was held by a japanner or bucklemaker, while in Coventry the importance of watchmaking was reflected in the numbers of the trade who became mayors of the city during the industry’s prosperous years. At a lower level of public service, trustees of small local charities were usually from the lesser professions (the apothecary) or the superior crafts (the upholsterer or saddler). Parish officials were largely chosen from local tradesmen, the carpenter, tailor or wheelwright.
Apprenticeship In England, 1600-1914 by Joan Lane