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Employment Of Crippled Girls

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his attention has been directed to the fact that a concern called Platinum Substitutes, Limited, has started a factory at East Road, Hoxton, in which 30 crippled girls supplied by the Ragged School Union and paid at the rate of 3s. to 5s. a week, plus an allowance for meals, are employed in a process of enamelling copper strips with a coating of glass; whether he can state if those cripples are employed for normal factory hours, whether the certifying surgeon has certified the girls to be fit for such employment; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent the exploitation of cripples in the interests of a joint stock company.

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The Medical Inspector of Factories has furnished me with a report upon the place mentioned in the question. 31 crippled girls and young women are employed in fusing thin pieces of glass on copper strips by means of a blow-pipe flame. The rate of wages paid is, I understand, as stated in the question, except that no allowances are made for meals. Some irregularities in the hours worked occurred when the place was first opened, but the hours, prescribed by the Act are now being observed, and all the girls have been certified by the certifying surgeon. Further inquiries are being made by the Lady Inspectors.