This evidence is taken from the Parliamentary Commission of 1842 which sought to understand the working conditions of children employed in British mines. What is most striking about the evidence of William Newbould, a colliery owner, is that is not corroborated by any of his employees.
According to Newbould, for instance, the children employed in his mine work 12 hours per day. But we learn in the testimony of Hannah Richardson that her nine-year-old son works for 14 hours, from 6 in the morning until 8 at night. Similarly, Newbould maintains that his child employees are not beaten but William Drury, a nine-year-old worker, paints a very different picture: "Sometimes the fillers clout us and hurt us a good deal; sometimes they put candles in our mouths."
What is also interesting from Newbould's testimony is how he seeks to justify the employment of children. He claims, for example, that children would rather be in the mine than at school and that they generally enjoy the work and are in good health. In reality, life in the mines was very different than Newbould portrayed, and this is why the Parliamentary Commission was brought into existence. Despite the claims of William Newbould and other colliery owners, the evidence taken from the child employees shocked the nation and led directly to the 1842 Mines and Collieries Act. This Act forbade the employment of girls in the mines and boys under the age of 10. This was a crucial first step in establishing standards for child employment and set the standard for how employers, like William Newbould, conducted their business.