By Joan Lane
A social heritage of the altering fortunes of apprentices and the method of apprenticeship over 3 centuries of English historical past.
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Extra resources for Apprenticeship In England, 1600-1914
At the lowest level of public esteem there was a further category of employment recognized by all as humble, even demeaning, impoverished and unappealing, with poor or non-existent career prospects for the apprentice. Such dead-end occupations were recognized as suitable for only the poorest, the orphan, the parish apprentice or the child from a very large family, for whom the chief consideration was securing a place where they would no longer be an expense for the parish officials or parents, providing an essential, cheap labour force for factories and small masters.
127 Coats and cloaks were hardly ever bought for female pauper apprentices; as girls did not travel to work and were generally employed indoors (except in husbandry and brickmaking) outerwear was not thought necessary. 128 The fashionable whisk was a broad, cape-like collar. ) At this period many parishes bought quantities of fabric for local women and tailors to make the apprentices’ clothes, woollen material for gowns or waistcoats, finer tammy for underskirts (petticoats). Paupers were better clad if their masters could bargain with the parish.
Thus of the 1,072 poor children bound at Southampton (1609–1708), the majority had premiums, in a range from 3s 4d to £8, but with £1 or £1 10s most often paid, irrespective of trade or decade. 108 A number of the paupers’ premiums at Southampton were paid in instalments, in some cases to be reimbursed if the master or child should die. In spite of widespread economic disruption in the Civil War and the erratic keeping of records, in Southampton the indenturing of children continued at a steady rate.