§ SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to an inquest held at Grendon, near Tamworth, on a pit-boy named George Read, aged 17 years, who at the time of his death was a driver at the Hall End Colliery, Polesworth; whether he has observed that it was proved at the inquest that the boy had been at work for over 12 hours when he met his death after 7 p.m.; that he had been without food since mid-day; and that he had been engaged at work on the previous day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; whether he is aware that these long hours are in contravention of an undertaking given by the same employers at an inquest on a previous fatal accident; and, whether he will take steps to prevent a continuance of these prolonged hours of labour for young persons in coal mines?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (SIR MATTHEW WIHTE RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
My attention has been called to the death of this boy. The hours of his employment as stated in the Question are substantially accurate, and I also understand it is the case that the manager, on a previous occasion, when a lad was killed after working more than 15 hours, had promised not to allow young persons to work so long in future. There is no power under the existing Acts to limit the hours of labour of young persons above the age of 16, but in this case I trust that the censure of 1256 the coroner's jury, and the remonstrances of the Inspector will be sufficient to prevent a continuance of the practice.