chapter  2
31 Pages

The ‘Dangerous Trades’

The 1880s and more especially the 1890s witnessed a new development in the agitation around the possible threats to health posed by working conditions in factories and workshops. Although there was factory legislation from the 1830s, its scope was still minimal. Opinion was generally against such State interference in this as in other areas of social and economic life.2 In marked contrast to the earlier period, there was now a call for the State to take a more proactive role, intervening in and regulating industry in order to protect workers from the worst excesses of conditions found in most industrial workplaces.