HC Deb 12 May 1884 vol 288 c23

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, under the provisions of the Factory Acts, or any other statutes, the Home Office exercises any supervision over the employment of women and girls in laundries; and, if not, whether he will cause inquiries to be instituted as to the circumstances of such employment?


The Factory and Workshop Act of 1878 does not include laundries. The question of placing laundries under some restrictions was fully considered, and they were specially named in the Bill when it was brought into the House in 1878. The Irish Catholic Members strongly objected on the ground that laundry work, being extensively carried on in convents in Ireland, the admission of Inspectors, and especially of Protestant Inspectors, would be intolerable. It was therefore decided not to include laundries in the list of works to be defined as workshops. No complaints have reached the Homo Office as to any abuse in the employment of women and children in such places, so the Secretary of State cannot cause inquiries to be instituted.