Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bannockburn, the Forfars and House of Commons Parliamentary Papers

Houses of Parliament by Alex Loach found on Flickr here - some rights reserved.  Here's a link to the licence

Those of you who have been reading my blog of late will know that I have been researching the Forfars in Scotland - Bannockburn to be precise, which is near Stirling.

I've been slowly building up a picture of their life using many different resources.  I've been going through old correspondence from fellow family history researchers (pre-internet days), I've been Googling, I've been going to the QFHS library and looking at Directories for Stirling (Duncan & Jamiesons and the Threepenny Guide to name a few), Monumental Inscriptions for East Stirling, Stirling Parish Burials,  Stirling Burgess Lists, Scotland's People, Ancestry, Family Search - you name it, I've scoured it.  I've downloaded wills.  I've ordered wills.  I've emailed Archives.  I've ordered inter-library loans.  

In short, I am possibly possessed (see earlier post about Insane Asylum).  

I've read extracts from TC Smout's A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830 to my poor unsuspecting husband in bed on a Sunday morning.  He was possibly hoping for something else but in the end, defeated, became quite interested and possibly identified with the Distress of the Weavers.  I borrowed two books from the lending library collection of QFHS - Scottish Genealogy Conference Papers from the First Australasian Scottish Genealogy Conference in September 1996 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry by Kathleen B. Cory. Hmmmm.

Today I thought I would tackle the National Library of Australia's eResources again.  I spent a lot of time searching the British Newspapers section but without much satisfaction.  Then I hit on the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers via another website called Connected Histories which came up in a list of Google results.  I figured out that I had access to the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (hereafter called HCPP) through my National Library of Australia card and away I went.

Well - perhaps that is an exaggeration.  I blundered my way around and consequently hope that I might provide you with some guidance in using the HCPP for your own research.

I must have spent at least an hour ineffectually searching the database.  I am by no means an expert at the end of just one day but here are a few tips to help you find what you are looking for....

First of all - when on the family history trail I acknowledge that the hunt can be quite exciting.  Do take a moment to breathe and look around at where you are...which in plain English means "When all else fails, read the instructions". 

How often have we punched in something to the Search box, then, if we're lucky get some results, and then don't know how to "look" at what we're looking at, as it were, at or obtain a better result.  

Let's really look at the HCPP collection.

This is what the Home page of HCPP looks like...you can see the enticing Search button in the top left hand corner.



Press the Search button and you are presented with a multi-faceted search function.  


You can narrow down your search by Subject - either an alphabetical subject list...I'm interested in carpet weavers/manufacturers in Bannockburn, so I chose carpet as a subject..check out the list here...


Who knew there could be 50 subject headings about carpets for goodness sake???

You can search by a hierarchical subject list.  I chose Industry, then Manufacturing and then Textiles. Look at all the yummy subjects that produces...


Of course, I didn't do this at the beginning, I just blundered on in and did a fairly ineffectual Boolean search - something like Bannockburn NEAR carpet - for goodness sake.  Do learn from my mistakes won't you?  I'm going back to do my searching again.

You can limit your search by Years e.g. the lifetime of your ancestor/s.

You can limit your search by type of publication e.g. just reports or just Hansard.  

You can Sort your results by earliest or latest date or Alphabetical Title.

You can choose to Display 20 or 50 results at a time.

Then when you get the Results, if you're like me, you'll want to leap straight into the Full Text of the document and start reading and then you waste a lot of time wondering where on earth there is any reference to Bannockburn or carpet manufacture.  

Stop.  Read the Screen.  Breathe..





Can you see these very important words just above the original text?  Pages containing highlighted words are indicated with an orange box.  You don't have to plough through all 1802 pages...you can just click on the pages that have a little orange box around them.  Fabulous!!!  Joy !  Rapture!  Bliss!


Oh and now I hear you say, why on earth would I want to look at HCPP. Boring! Actually they're not.  You get marvelous analysis and reportage on HCPP....history from the horses's mouth as it were.  For example, I have discovered that the Carpet Weavers Friendly Society of Bannockburn was founded in 1831 with, I think, 80 members (it's a bit difficult to read the print). (i)  By 1887 they had 17 members. (ii)  That's one way of measuring the decline of an industry.  

Or, if statistics don’t appeal, and you want to hear what it was like to work in thecarpet-weaving industry, this is what Thomas Ellis, aged forty from the Milton Old Mill (Woollen) had to say in 1833.
“He has been foreman ever since Mr Kerr has had the mill.  It employs twelve children; the youngest ten years old.  Working hours from six to eight, with two intervals of one hour each.  There has been no accident since he has been here.  Has never given a child more than just a “skelp on the head”.  All the children here have got parents, with whom they reside in the neighbourhood.  They have no school to go to.  The work is fully long.  There is no time for anything else."
Jane Read, aged 11 had this to say:

“Likes being at the mill “fine”.  Can’t say she is very tired.  It “licked by some whiles” but not much, “just a skelp or so on the lug” to keep her at work.  Can’t write.  Was at school before she came to the mill.  Has not been since.  Earns 2s. 9d per week.  Likes best the way she is now than to have less work and wages.”  
Mr Mackintosh gathered evidence for the Chair of the Factories Inquiry Commission Thomas Tooke and wrote:

“A very small mill, standing alone.  There is no bothy, however.  The children live with their parents in the neighbouring village of Bannockburn.  The machinery is not boxed, and there is very little room to pass between some of it.  No “stour” or dust proceeds from wool, as from flax, nor is there the heat of the cotton mill; but the quantity of oil used (commonly in small mills whale oil) produces a very offensive smell.  The workers are of necessity very dirty.Out of nine girls employed here, not one could write.” (iii)

How to make a librarian/blogger cry.


Image from page 277 of "A dictionary of arts, manufactures and mines : containing a clear exposition of their principles and practice" (1845) - from here.  I'm not sure whether this is a three-plyimperial Scotch and two-ply Kidderminster carpet-loom or a  Brussels carpet-loom, Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Then there is this from D. Barry to the Chairman of the Central Board of Factory Commission: 

Each weaver is attended by a draw-boy, from eleven to fourteen years of age, who has generally been a piecer to a slubber or rove-spinner.  These boys stand as long as the weavers work, from whom they draw up, over pullies, certain portions of the warp to form the pattern, at every traverse of the shuttle.  They work from six to eight; never sit, except at meals; and earn 3s 3d per week.  They are hired and paid by the weavers, who themselvers work by the piece, and earn from 11s to 12s per week each.  All the people employed appear to be in health.  The draw-boys generally become carpet-weeavers themselves, having first learned some lighter kind of weving.  (iv)

You can see some photos of the Mill today on Flickr here.

You can see a picture of carpet close here which apparently is near where the Forfars had their carpet factory according to this paper written by Jim Mackison of Newcastle upon Tyne here.

I hope this helps you use the Search function of the HCPP collection effectively and produces great results.  

Have you used the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers for your research before? Do you have a National Library of Australia card to access eResources?

Endnotes
 i Title: Friendly societies (Scotland). Report and abstracts by the Registrar of Friendly Societies in Scotland.
Document type: HOUSE OF COMMONS PAPERS; ACCOUNTS AND PAPERS
Collection name:
Session: 1852-53
Paper number: (907)
Volume/page:
CH Microfiche number: 57.736
Subject: Poverty and social administration -- Social welfare -- Friendly societies -- Friendly societies (Scotland)
Source: House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
Record URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:hcpp&rft_dat=xri:hcpp:rec:1852-029923
Full Text URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:hcpp&rft_dat=xri:hcpp:fulltext:1852-029923


 ii. Title: Friendly societies, industrial and provident societies, and trade unions. Reports of the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies, for the year ending 31st December 1886. Part C. Appendix (K.)--Trade Unions.
Document type: HOUSE OF COMMONS PAPERS; ACCOUNTS AND PAPERS
Collection name:
Session: 1887
Paper number: (310) (310-I) (310-II)
Volume/page:
CH Microfiche number: 93.606-610
Subject: Poverty and social administration -- Social welfare -- Friendly societies -- Friendly societies
Source: House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
Record URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:hcpp&rft_dat=xri:hcpp:rec:1887-063915
Full Text URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:hcpp&rft_dat=xri:hcpp:fulltext:1887-063915

 iii. Title: Factories Inquiry Commission. First report of the Central Board of His Majesty's commissioners appointed to collect information in the manufacturing districts, as to the employment of children in factories, and as to the propriety and means of curtailing the hours of their labour: with minutes of evidence, and reports by the district commissioners.
Document type: HOUSE OF COMMONS PAPERS; REPORTS OF COMMISSIONERS
Collection name:
Chair/author: TOOKE, Thomas
Session: 1833
Paper number: (450)
Volume/page:
CH Microfiche number: 36.146-157
Subject: Industry and industrial society -- Labour and employment -- The employment of women and young children -- Employment of children -- Factories
Subject: Industry and industrial society -- Manufacturing industries -- Factories and workshops -- Factory legislation -- Factories
Source: House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
Record URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:hcpp&rft_dat=xri:hcpp:rec:1833-014207
Full Text URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:hcpp&rft_dat=xri:hcpp:fulltext:1

iv. Title: Factories Inquiry Commission. Second report of the Central Board of His Majesty's commissioners appointed to collect information in the manufacturing districts, as to the employment of children in factories, and as to the propriety and means of curtailing the hours of their labour: with minutes of evidence, and reports by the Medical Commissioners.
Document type: HOUSE OF COMMONS PAPERS; REPORTS OF COMMISSIONERS
Collection name:
Chair/author: TOOKE, Thomas
Session: 1833
Paper number: (519)
Volume/page:
CH Microfiche number: 36.158-160
Subject: Industry and industrial society -- Labour and employment -- The employment of women and young children -- Employment of children -- Factories
Subject: Industry and industrial society -- Manufacturing industries -- Factories and workshops -- Factory legislation -- Factories
Source: House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
Record URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:hcpp&rft_dat=xri:hcpp:rec:1833-014208

Full Text URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:hcpp&rft_dat=xri:hcpp:fulltext:1833-014208


2 comments:

Sharon said...

I have learnt something new so thank you :)

Alex Daw said...

Ooh I am pleased to have been of some help.