FAMILY HISTORY

FAMILY TREES

FAMILY HISTORY INDEX



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Our South Australian Pioneer Families



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HOBAN BMDs
Birmingham, Aston, Kings Norton, Walsall & West Bromwich UK

BIRTHS:
1901-1940
1837-1900

MARRIAGES:
1837-1940

DEATHS:
1837-1940



HISTORICAL
Bromsgrove History
Women Nailers

FAMILY PHOTOS

LINKS



WOMEN IN THE NAIL TRADE




Women had always worked in the nail trade but from about 1850 it was dominated by them. Boys and girls had to start making nails very young and it was common to see a child seven or eight years old making nails in order to get every penny they could into the household. It was left to women to earn enough to feed and clothe the family and pay the rent. In many cases what the husband earned was spent upon his own pleasure or he was forced by the Fogger to spend it on drink at his pub or alehouse.
It was common practise in the Black Country for colliers and ironworkers to marry a nailing wench who was also expected to bring up the children while they followed more manly pursuits. A medical officer reported in 1883 that the high death rate, chiefly infants under five years of age, "was due in great measure to the habit of mothers leaving their children unattended while they were engaged in the nail shop".

Not all nailers were like this however, many turned to religion and became strong Methodists. The union tried to introduce restrictions on female labour but this was opposed by the nail masters who looked upon them as cheap labour. Male chain and nailmakers objected to women making the heavier types of chain and nails but the main motive of the agitation was to prevent the lowering of the man's wages as a result of competition from the women.




Last Updated January 2006

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