Children Of History
In early 1900 children were expected by their parents to entertain themselves. Streets were play grounds as there was no heavy traffic and no one needed to ask permission when using the front gardens. During their leisure time children’s main activity was games. According to Florence, “boys would gently flip their marbles against their thumb with their first fingers and score it if it enters into the gully while girls played hopscotch”. The hopscotch was only applicable on concrete floors with pavements, which could enable them to draw with chalks. But it was always rubbed off or washed by the rain. Thus, boys enjoyed their marbles as some were twisted marking the inner part colorful. The only big challenge was the condition of their nails, but hygiene was not important by then. However, in 1815 young children at the age of four, five and seven were employed in iron and coal mines. As the children in 1915 were enjoying themselves, those in 1815 were subjected to child labor. Their work was to transport the loosened core mines to the main shaft or the horse path. Transport of iron and coal was a hard job as the stuff was being shoved into larger tubs, which had no wheels. Florence argues that, “Imagine that you were the child pushing a tub with no wheels, on uneven floor, on moist clay, frequently up and down incline, or through water, how would you feel?.” In other words pulling material without wheels over a muddy surface was one of the hardest activities the young boys and girls were subjected to.
“Many sports were invented in the 19th century fully implemented from the 1900”, according to Graham as he argued that school time was less and children were exposed to more leisure time than learning activities. Thus, The London Football Association came to tap the talents of the young children through leisure activities. As young children naively participated in games, the talented ones were assimilated in football and volleyball related school games to nurture their talents. This was gender balanced since girls were also helped in discovering their talents in football and volleyball apart from skipping. Boys also played skipping and thus, girls knew that all the games boys participated they had the ability to take part and improve or discover their talents. However, during 18th century especially in 1815 girls suffered a lot of inhumane activities. Young girls and boys were involved in shutting and opening of the mining doors to regulate ventilation and dividing of the mines. Opening and shutting the doors ensured that the materials together with people would pass with ease. Herman questioned, “Where were these tender aged boys and girls getting their energy from?"To show the degree of complexity of the task, definitely they were misused since during the period they were not given adequate food. After the brutalizing and tedium work during the day, some could actually fall asleep before getting to their homes. Others threw themselves on the floor due to tiredness without washing themselves. They really suffered as compared to the generations of the 20th century.
According to Penny Tinkler “Young girls and boys need to be taught contexts regarding their social stability during adolescence as more time was consumed on leisure”. Often relaxation time is supposed to be accompanied with responsibility. Children were taught on social stability, inter-period war construction and other leisure time shaped discussions. This was carried after they seemed tired in playing football, bicycle riding, knocking the gingers, playing hoops and tops, cricket, conkers, hide and seek games, swinging on lampposts and skipping. They also played a game called ‘learning trade’ where when one asked what trade was, others said any trade and those who guessed the right or wrong thing would proceed to the next turn. However, as the 1915 generation was limited from the excessive fun, the 1815 generation was being subjected to reckless industrial investments in the exaggerated mining. They were grouped into three, as one pushed the cart the other two pulled it. This was not taking less than seven to twelve hours. Therefore, many could opt going to church on Sunday to recover from blisters.
In conclusion the 1915, most of the activities carried out by the children were playing. Their games ranged from playing marble, hopscotch, football, bicycle riding, knocking the gingers, playing hoops and tops, cricket, conkers, swinging on lampposts and skipping games to social stability and adolescence discussions. However, life was hard for those children in 1815. Their activities included puling and pushing of heavy carts, opening and shuttering of mine’s doors and transporting of iron and coal to main shafts and horse paths.
Florence and Gordon. "Hopscotch and Marble Games." In Games for Children. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Graham, Linkon. "Football and Volleyball Schools for Both Gender." In The Laws of Association Football: The Football Association's Illustrated Handbook. [9th ed. London: [Published by E.P. Pub. for Educational Productions], 1960.
Herman and Frederick "Iron and Coal Mining." In Child Labor in the United Kingdom a Study of the Development and Administration of the Law Relating to the Employment of Children. London: P.S. King & Son, 1914.
Penny, Tinkler. "Social Responsibility and Adolescence." In Leisure Time. Clayton South, Vic.: Blake Education, 2013.