Joseph Hebergam

Joseph Hebergam was born in Huddersfield in 1815. Joseph was interviewed by Michael Sadler and his House of Commons Committee on 1st June, 1832.

Primary Sources

(1) Joseph Hebergam was interviewed by Michael Sadler and his House of Commons Committee on 7th July, 1832.

Question: At what age did you start work?

Answer: Seven years of age.

Question: At whose mill?

Answer: George Addison's Bradley Mill, near Huddersfield.

Question: What were your hours of labour?

Answer: From five in the morning till eight at night.

Question: What intervals had you for refreshment?

Answer: Thirty minutes at noon.

Question: Had you no time for breakfast or refreshment in the afternoon?

Answer: No, not one minute; we had to eat our meals as we could, standing or otherwise.

Question: You had fourteen and a half hours of actual labour, at seven years of age?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Did you become very drowsy and sleepy towards the end of the day?

Answer: Yes; that began about three o'clock; and grew worse and worse, and it came to be very bad towards six and seven.

Question: How long was it before the labour took effect on your health?

Answer: Half a year.

Question: How did it affect your limbs?

Answer: When I worked about half a year a weakness fell into my knees and ankles: it continued, and it got worse and worse.

Question: How far did you live from the mill?

Answer: A good mile.

Question: Was it painful for you to move?

Answer: Yes, in the morning I could scarcely walk, and my brother and sister used, out of kindness, to take me under each arm, and run with me to the mill, and my legs dragged on the ground; in consequence of the pain I could not walk.

Question: Were you sometimes late?

Answer: Yes, and if we were five minutes too late, the overlooker would take a strap, and beat us till we were black and blue.

Question: When did your brother start working in the mill?

Answer: John was seven.

Question: Where is your brother John Working now?

Answer: He died three years ago.

Question: What age was he when he died?

Answer: Sixteen years and eight months.

Question: What was his death attributed to?

Answer: He died from a spinal affection after working long hours in the factory?

Question: Did his medical attendants state that the spinal affection was owing to his having been so over-laboured at the mill?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Have you found that, on the whole, you have been rendered ill, deformed and miserable, by the factory system?

Answer: Yes. If I had a thousand pounds, I would give them to have the use of my limbs again.