Download A Hidden Workforce: Homeworkers in England, 1850–1985 by Shelley Pennington PDF

By Shelley Pennington

ISBN-10: 0333432975

ISBN-13: 9780333432976

ISBN-10: 1349198544

ISBN-13: 9781349198542

Homeworkers tend to be ladies who paintings of their personal houses for an outdoor organisation and are paid on a one-piece foundation. The paintings is generally unskilled and of an uneventful and repetitive nature. the industrial prestige of the homeworker has little or not anything in universal with the autonomous craftsman operating in his own residence ahead of the onset of industrialization; homeworkers paintings with no supervision and feature no genuine touch with their employers or sub-contractors other than whilst amassing or returning paintings. This quantity is an research of the commercial and social place of the predominantly woman labour strength of the homework industries from 1850 to 1985. The textual content examines adjustments that experience happened within the composition of the labour strength, the choices open to girls and the categories and geographical situation of homework. The authors significantly overview makes an attempt to enhance the placement of homeworkers and touch upon the customers for homeworking sooner or later.

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Extra info for A Hidden Workforce: Homeworkers in England, 1850–1985

Example text

6 The bulk of the homework in clothing was machining and finishing. In whatever section of the clothing trade, whether in shirts, vests, trousers or blouses, women homeworkers were found in the worst paid jobs. For example, shirtmaking was low status work. It employed two classes of homeworker, the machinist and the finisher, and both were considered unskilled. Numbers of London's East End seamstresses made working men's shirts of harvard or flannelette (harvard is a stiff material and therefore unpleasant to sew).

A great deal of the increasing demand for consumer goods involved the clothing industries and those industries allied to it. This meant that there were great fluctuations in demand according to season and changes in fashion (for example, in tailoring, boots and shoes, hosiery and lacemaking). This was a period which witnessed the extension of fashion into a new and cheaper mass-produced range of commodities. The market uncertainties, the trade cycles and seasonal demand meant that in many industries caution prevailed and products were made only in relatively small quantities at a time.

Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century there was scarcely any device to which inventors gave more attention than the sewing machine. No satisfactory machine was designed until the late 1840s, however, and production in large numbers did not come about until nearly 1860. 7 In the case of the sewing machine it is difficult to say how much the slow development of technological change in the clothing industry was due to the failure to solve the technical problems associated with the development of the sewing machine, how far it was due to the hostility of the craftsmen-tailors to the development of machinery, and how far it was due to the fact that machinery is slow to develop in an industry where there is a readily available supply of cheap labour.

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A Hidden Workforce: Homeworkers in England, 1850–1985 by Shelley Pennington


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