These cities drew in the population that was rapidly growing due to increased agricultural output.This process was replicated in other industrialising countries.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the late 18th century, there was a rapid increase in the industrial exploitation of labour, including child labour.
Industrial cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool rapidly grew from small villages into large cities and improving child mortality rates.
Some children undertook work as apprentices to respectable trades, such as building or as domestic servants (there were over 120,000 domestic servants in London in the mid-18th century).
Working hours were long: builders worked 64 hours a week in summer and 52 in winter, while domestic servants worked 80-hour weeks.
These children mainly worked in agriculture, home-based assembly operations, factories, mining, and services such as news boys—some worked night shifts lasting 12 hours.
With the rise of household income, availability of schools and passage of child labour laws, the incidence rates of child labour fell.
Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful.
although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work practiced by Amish children, as well as by Indigenous children in the Americas.
The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
It refers to work that: The worst forms of child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age.