Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

From story
A Day in the Life of a Young Sheffield Steel Worker

Viewpoint: What I think about my work

Viewpoint: What I think about my work

And some off things that we saw at first, like, being in melt shop obviously there’s massive ladles of steel being moved around, steel pouring outta furnaces, almighty noises that make you jump out your skin at first, don’t they, and, you get used to it after a while but I still look around and find everything absolutely amazing. It’s absolutely brilliant.

It’s like a family and everybody looks after everyone else.

When I first went into the wheel and saw this man turn a lump of steel into end product in no time with his hands. I were hooked, I were I couldn’t believe it! To see something being turned into something that you would see in the shops, brand spanking new.

The words of one young boy working at the John Brown steel works tells us a lot about the life of young working people in Sheffield in 1865. William Henry Ray aged ten said ‘ ‘I shove on at the rollers, I don’t know how old I am or how long I’ve worked here, stay at work till eight at night and sometimes till ten, have a half an hour off for breakfast and an hour for dinner.
No wonder the boys sometimes fall asleep at their work, stumble and fall when the metal flooring gets hot and slippy. Get burned or pierced with red-hot iron or steel or otherwise suffer for their supposed negligence. This shows an over amount of work for young boys which is truly fearful.