1850 Factory Act

R. W. Cooke-Taylor, the author of The Factory System was also an Inspector of Factories. In his book he explained the 1850 Factory Act.

The 1844 Act contained a fatal defect. It did not provide exactly when the hardly-won ten hours were to be worked; between 5.30 a.m. and 8.30 p.m.; so that apparently they might be taken any time between those limits. The result was the immediate reintroduction of the discredited Relay System, with all its opportunities for trickery and evasion, and renewed discontent among the operatives. Early in the session of 1850 Lord Ashley brought this matter forward for debate. He was met in a conciliatory spirit by Sir George Grey, then Home Secretary, who proposed as a compromise to fix the period of employment for protected persons from six in the morning till six in the evening in summer, and from seven in the morning till seven in the evening in winter (with one and a half hours out for meals) and that all work should cease at two o'clock on Saturday: the effect of which would be to slightly increase the weekly working hours from fifty-eight to sixty, while rendering the enforcement of the definite working day practically secure.