We now expect childhood to be a time of play and learning, but that is a relatively recent development. In the past, many children were expected to work for their keep, and their working lives could begin very early by modern standards. In the country children minded sheep, milked cows and looked after poultry. In the cities, quite young children worked long hours in factories, sold items on the street, or worked as servants in other people’s houses. Education was fitted in between hours of work.
Join Margaret Anderson in exploring the world of work for children in our past.