1) EVIDENCE TAKEN BY
Children's Employment Commission
"Miss --- has been for several years in the dress-making business...The common hours of business are from 8 a.m. til 11 P.M in the winters; in the summer from 6 or half-past 6 A.M. til 12 at night. During the fashionable season, that is from April til the latter end of July, it frequently happens that the ordinary hours are greatly exceeded; if there is a drawing-room or grand fete, or mourning to be made, it often happens that the work goes on for 20 hours out of the 24, occasionally all night....The general result of the long hours and sedentary occupation is to impair seriously and very frequently to destroy the health of the young women. The digestion especially suffers, and also the lungs: pain to the side is very common, and the hands and feet die away from want of circulation and exercise, "never seeing the outside of the door from Sunday to Sunday." [One cause] is the short time which is allowed by ladies to have their dresses made.
Miss is sure that there are some thousands of young women employed in the business in London and in the country. If one vacancy were to occur now there would be 20 applicants for it. The wages generally are very low...Thinks that no men could endure the work enforced from the dress-makers."
[Source: Hellerstein, Hume & Offen, Victorian Women: A Documentary Accounts of Women's Lives in Nineteenth-Century England, France and the United States, Stanford University Press.]
2) SONG: THE DISTRESSED SEAMSTRESS
(Sung to the air "Jenny Jones")
You gentles of England, I pray give attention,
Come forward you nobles, and grant them assistance,
To shew them compassion pray quickly be stirring,
[Source: Roy Palmer, A Ballad History of England: