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MR. E. LEPPER’S, BUTTON MANUFACTURER, ASTON ROAD.
373. Bone and vegetable ivory buttons are made here in a shop in which steam power is hired for the purpose. It is very dirty with rubbish &c., shakes from the vibration of the machinery, and smells strongly of the bone, and the bone and other dust hangs on cobwebs from the roof. Three boys squat on the floor cracking ivory nuts, men and women working round at the machinery, the men sawing and turning, the women drilling and polishing. In a separate room women and girls card the buttons.
374. Mr. Edmund Lapper.—Cannot go beyond 7 in the mill, because the engine stops and we cannot hire the power longer. In the carding shop they may go on perhaps one night a week till 8½ some weeks.
375. Thomas Hughes, age 11.—Crack nuts. Have all I get, i.e. 6d. A thousand, and do three or four or five thousand a week. Was at tin buttons before. From 9 till 9 were the regular hours with an hour for my dinner and nothing for my tea-time. There were three boys and four girls.
Go to school on Sunday and three nights a week, for which I pay 2d. Myself. Have a father and mother. Was at a day-school five or six weeks. Don’t know the letters. D is J. Have not heard of king. The Queen belongs to us all. The Bible is a book about Jesus making the world. God maked us all. He maked Jesus first.
376. William Billingley, age 8.—At day-school a short time. Know the letters. People pray to Jesus and the Saviour. Do not know whether those two are the same person. They are not the same person as God. They have got a Testament of mine in the house. They give it me at school and I couldn’t read it. The Bible is a big book. Mother reads it out sometimes, but I don’t know anything that it is about.
377. Emma Brooks, age 13.—Card buttons. Can tell the letters [can most, but says] “E” is “V.” School on Sunday and went on days till at work.
378. Mary Ann Francis, age 14.—At Sunday school 4 years and at day-school a little. Read in the Testament [spells monosyllables]. Try to spell the words, and if I can’t, teacher tells me. 5 times 5 is ten. Have not heard of an apostle, a whale, or the sea. [Other girls tell her she has.] Whales go in the sea. Could have told you that before if I had thought of it.
379. Henry Hands, age 9.—Crack nuts. The engine stops and hour at dinner. Have dinner in here sometimes.
Don’t know A. God is Jesus. Don’t know whether people killed him, or who made the world. Am a Christian; it is a good thing.