No.207. Mr. Samuel Jones, cashier and clerk.
The work in this neighbourhood is very uncertain which uncertainty often proves injurious to the men. In winter they suffer much as few vessels arrive for coal at Newport. The want of regular employment causes total neglect of education to the children and I should certainly be within bounds by saying, that no one grown male or female in 50 can read and the farm servants in this part are as ignorant as the miners. Masons and carpenters who get regular employment, send their children to day school but the younger classes are in a lamentable state of ignorance. The miners suffer sometimes from a shortness of breath and they are certainly not so strong or as hale as other workmen but they generally cloth well with flannel and are very cleanly, always washing themselves all over their bodies after work and even when off work the habit is continued of washing every day. The work is fatiguing for young boys but the masters have no control over the colliers as to whom they shall take to assist them and when work is dull the fathers carry the boys below when four or five years old. Coal was last years reduced 2d. per ton in the working. We now pay 2s. the ton, taking 21 cwt. to the ton. The men stood out 11 weeks and reduced themselves to a state of beggery. Many merely had potatoes and the children were literally starved. I took the census of this [the northern] district of the parish comprehending about 60 houses and we numbered 379 females, 372 males. Out whole parish is said to contain 17,984 acres.
No.229. Thomas Jenkins, 10 years old, collier.
Father took me down to claim a dram when I was six years old and I have worked ever since. I work with John Jones now who pays father 2s. 6d a week for my labour. When I fall asleep they shake me up. I work as long as John Jones works, from six in the morning to six in the evening or three in the morning until five in the evening. I never was at any school and never go to Church. I play about as all the boys do on the Sunday.