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Jobs in the Mills
As well as the terrible accidents that could occur, mill work was bad for your health in other ways. Working in heat, dust and noise for long hours took their toll and many workers suffered illnesses as a result. Living in poor conditions with a bad diet also affected the health of the working classes.
“Permanent deterioration of the physical constitution”
"Us at the mules could easily walk 12 miles a day moving backwards and forwards with the carriages. My poor bones ached all day every day."
Amongst mill workers, terrible diseases like Tuberculosis and Byssinosis (Brown Lung Disease) were common. The chemicals used in bleaching and dyeing of fabrics were highly toxic, and often used in rooms with little or no ventilation. Mill workers were also prone to Mule Spinners' Cancer (cancer of the groin) or cancer of the mouth from "kissing the shuttle" caused from exposure to the oil on the mule spindles or the shuttles.
To communicate when they couldn't be heard, they used a kind of sign language.
Life expectancy in the 1800s was alot lower than it is today. Due to the hard life they experienced, mill workers didn't live as long as other people who were richer or worked in better environments. Although living and working in rural mill villages like New Lanark and Quarry Bank Mill in Styal in England were thought to be better for workers' health than in the cities.
Some mills were considered bad for children's behaviour and manners. People thought the mills were an environment in which child workers would pick up bad habits from adult workers.
|New Lanark World Heritage Site
South Lanarkshire, Scotland, ML11 9DB
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