Men grinding scythes in Sheffield. Wood engraving by M. Jackson, 1866, after J. Palmer, 1865.
- Palmer, John, active 1856-1887.
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"The trades of Sheffield. 'The trades of Sheffield as influencing life and health, more particularly file-cutters and grinders' was the title of a paper read by Dr. John Charles Hall, the senior physician to the Sheffield Public Hospital, before the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science during its recent visit to Sheffield. The important facts set forth by the writer have greatly interested all classes, and it is to be hoped that the result of Dr. Hall's labours will be the early interference by the Legislature to prevent a state of things which at present undoubtedly hurry many of the industrious artisans in those trades to a premature grave. We have sent our artist specially to Sheffield to illustrate some of the more important processes of the Sheffield trades described in Dr. Hall's paper, and we are happy to have the Doctor's authority for saying that "they most accurarately exhibit the several processes of wet and dry grinding and file-cutting." Two only of the Illustrations are given in the present number, and they refer to the comparatively healthy employments of saw-grinding and scythe-grinding, as practised in the neighbourhood of Sheffield. Upon this subject we will quote Dr. Hall. He observes that "men who work in the country, as a rule, are more healthy than those who grind at the wheels in the town, and as a body they are more temperate. One of the most healthy branches is saw-grinding. Many saws are ground at the water-wheels on the picturesque streams around Sheffield; and, as a rule, the men have not to work so many hours a day as at some of the other branches. Again, the trade is too heavy to admit of boys coming into it at a very early age. No boy is recognised by the Saw Grinders' Union under the age of fourteen. The men stand at their work, and consequently the lungs are not so compressed as when the grinder, sitting on his horsing, bends forward for many hours each day in other branches of the trade about to be described. Scythe-grinding is also a healthy branch of the trade."In contrast with these examples, we shall present hereafter a few instances of the less favourable kinds of work in the Sheffield steel manufactures, with the accompanying extracts from Dr. Hall's descriptive commentary on their peculiar sanitary evils."—Illustrated London news, loc. cit.