HC Deb 21 September 1915 vol 74 c320
72. Mr. ALDEN

asked the Minister of Munitions whether he is aware that boys, numbering some thousands, of the ages of fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen, are working in the Woolwich Arsenal for twelve hours a day; that every other week they work twelve hours on night shift from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.; that many of these boys live a long distance from Woolwich and therefore spend nearly two hours in coming and going; and whether, under these circumstances, he will have a medical inquiry made with a view to mitigating the evil effects that have already been observed?


There are about 2,600 boys under sixteen who are employed alternate weeks on day and night shifts in the ordnance factories at Woolwich. Their hours of work amount to ten and a half in each shift. The unoccupied interval for changing over from day shift to night shift and vice versâ is not less than twenty-four hours, and in many cases extends to forty-eight hours. It is a fact that many of the boys live a long distance from Woolwich because their parents dwell a long way off. Some hostels for boys have been erected close to the Arsenal; another is in course of erection; and if these prove to be a success further similar accommodation will be provided. The hon. Member is no doubt aware that my right hon. Friend has appointed a Committee to look into questions affecting the physical efficiency of munition workers.