Nellie & Albert Wright – poor children

character-nellie1Nellie Wright – factory worker
Nellie Wright, born 1852, is the granddaughter of Mary Wright, Lady Elizabeth Havinton’s maid, and lives with her family in Bolton, Lancashire. Unlike her cousins, Nellie lives in poverty, with not enough food, poor living conditions, second hand clothes, little or no schooling and with the constant dread that she might end up in the Workhouse. She starts work at 5am at the cotton mill, working in appalling conditions in addition to walking two miles there and back every day. In the evenings she helps the family to make a little more money by stringing wooden dolls together and making brushes.Through Nellie your students will begin to understand the wretched lives of the Victorian poor, their constant battle to survive and the sheer drudgery of their days. They will listen to the thundering noise of a cotton mill, from the first blast of the factory horn calling the workers to start their shift, to the gradual escalation of a deafening wall of noise as all the machines come to life.

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The poor children’s information board

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Nellie working at home with her mother and siblings

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What jobs did poor children do

Albert Wright – factory worker
Albert Wright, born 1856, is the grandson of Mary Wright, Lady Elizabeth Havington’s maid. Like his older sister Nellie, he works in the cotton mill, but unlike Nellie, who is often called upon to look after her younger siblings, Albert does have some spare time. Unfortunately this often means that he gets into trouble.Having followed Albert’s life your students will discover the extremely harsh punishments handed down to the poor for even minor misdemeanours. They will also learn about the poor enforcement of Acts of Parliament relating to education and child employment, and the stark work or starve reality that governed the lives of the Victorian poor.

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Albert playing with a bag of marbles

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Albert & Nellie inspecting a loom shuttle from the cotton factory

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Close up of artefacts and information board[