Wednesday, 16 May 2012

16th May 1812: More evidence given at the Select Committee into the Framework-knitters Petitions

On Saturday 16th May 1812, more witnesses gave evidence at the Parliamentary Select Committee into the Framework-knitters Petitions.

Edward Allen, who had given evidence the previous day, was the first to appear, again speaking about payment of wages in goods. He stated that it was particularly common in Sutton-in-Ashfield, where the effective value of the goods was inflated, and that this was particularly common, and was not related to any supposed scarcity of coins.

Allen also spoke of 'Colts' (i.e. unapprenticed workers) and said that in the Midlands they now accounted for two-thirds of those at work in the trade.

Next up was John Collumbell, a framework-knitter from Derby, who gave evidence about the Plain Silk branch of the Trade. He made a strong plea for the introduction of regulation. Collumbell showed that many of the practices that the other branches of the trade complained of were widespread in the plain silk branch.

John Green was next, a Nottingham Framework-knitter of fifty years. Green spoke about the damage done to the trade by the adoption of single-press cotton lace, as had Thomas Large 3 days before: shoddy goods destroying the reputation of the trade.

The final witness on the 16th was Thomas Allsop, a member of the United Committee of Framework-knitters from Leicester, who had worked in the trade for 16 years in the plain cotton branch. He talked about Colting, and how the widespread adoption of it in Leicester had led many to flock to the trade, leading to shortages of labour in other occupations, but also to Colts training Colts.

This has been summarised from the Report from the Committee on the Framework-Knitters Petitions, 1812 (247) 2, pp.32-38.

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