the various refining processes, every mine required a large amount of this kind of poorly-paid, unskilled labour; and the general poverty prevailing at the time compelled parents to send children into this kind of employment to raise the family income.
Many of the resulting accidents to children were caused by their disobedience or playfulness. A grim example of this occurred at Dolcoath in Wales, in April 1869. During the previous summer, the boys had begun the practice of climbing on to the wooden roofs of the houses in the mine to eat their dinner. They preferred this airy and elevated place to the room provided for them; but as this open-air dining injured the roofs and put the kids in danger, they were scolded and fined for this offence by the owners.
One day a little boy of eight was released at twelve for his dinner. Half an hour later he was found crying for help from the top of a cottage: the roof was so damaged that it could not stand the weight of his body.