+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Starting to feel at home.
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    56
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Wage for an Ag Lab in early to mid 1850's?

    All of my ancestors (bar one) appear to have been Ag Labs of one sort or another. Im positively dying to find a cobbler or cordwainer among some as yet unfound ancestors!

    At the moment Im interested in getting some sort of confirmation of the average wage of an ag lab in England since I havent found the aforementioned cobbler. After doing some trawling around the net it appears that it might have been around 20 pounds a year. Does this sound right?

    Cut to Australia in the same time period and people were making between 10-16 shillings a week ( according to one source) which is between 26 pounds and 41 pounds and at one point up to 25-30 shillings a week,(an astonishing 65-78 pounds!!!) because everyone was rushing off to find gold and good skilled ag labourers were in short supply.

    It certainly gave me a different perspective about why families moved half way across the world to start a new life. It must have seemed worth the risk.

    Shay

  2. #2
    Brick wall demolition expert!
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    NSW Australia
    Posts
    2,216
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 92 Times in 92 Posts

    Default

    Yes, with those wages, they could actually aspire to OWN land eventually, which would have been unthinkable in England.

  3. #3
    Reputation beyond repute
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    13,416
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 1,182 Times in 1,086 Posts

    Default

    About 10 shillings a week

    "Average Weekly Cash Wages paid to Ordinary Agricultural Labourers"

    http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~alan/...oney.html#1850

  4. #4
    Famous for offering help & advice.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Romsey, Hants
    Posts
    1,138
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 29 Times in 25 Posts

    Default

    Don't forget that most ag labs are likely to have had at least some sort of perk from their employer, perhaps free accommodation, for example
    On Sunday Morning, Sepr 19th 1802
    I Hiered Jno Browning of Kingsomborn – son of Farmer Ricd Browning to my head Carter next year at Horsebridge from old Michas 1802 to old Michas 1803 at 6s per week all year out of house to board himself - & all his Garden Stuff & all his small beer & lodging &c in the Chamber over the Horses – all for nothing into the bargain& waiges to be at old Michas 1803 £10-0-0
    or £10-10-0
    & I be to give a woman £0-10-6 to Dress his victualls &c for him per year. He is to look after all the 8 Horses with his brother Thos.
    It's a little earlier that the dates you're interested in but the Speenhamland system, named after the Berkshire parish of that name. was introduced in 1795, local magistrates decided to supplement wages on a scale that varied with the price of bread and number of children:
    When the gallon loaf of second flour weighing 8lb. 11oz. shall cost 1s., then every poor and industrious man shall have for his own support 3s. weekly, either produced by his own or his family’s labour or an allowance from the poor rates, and for the support of his wife and every other of his family 1s. 6d.
    When the gallon loaf shall cost 1s.4d., then every poor and industrious man shall have 3s. weekly for his own, and 1s.10d. for the support of every other of his family.
    And so in proportion as the price of bread rises or falls (that is to say) 3d. to the man and 1d. to every other of the family on every penny which the loaf rises above a shilling.
    Thus, if the price of bread rose to 1s.3d., a married man with two children would be guaranteed a wage of 3s.9d for himself plus three times 1s.9d., giving a total of 9 shillings a week.
    Although never sanctioned by formal legislation, this practice, in various forms, became widespread. Employers exploited the system, deliberately depressing wages below the cost of living knowing that the parish would supplement them.

    Later on the system fell into disrepute, prices rose and wages started to fall; I have other information on the subject but not to hand at the moment. I'll try to post more later today.

    Colin

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Lesley Robertson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,523
    Thanks
    73
    Thanked 146 Times in 123 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aussieshay View Post
    All of my ancestors (bar one) appear to have been Ag Labs of one sort or another. Im positively dying to find a cobbler or cordwainer among some as yet unfound ancestors!

    At the moment Im interested in getting some sort of confirmation of the average wage of an ag lab in England since I havent found the aforementioned cobbler. After doing some trawling around the net it appears that it might have been around 20 pounds a year. Does this sound right?
    The income of an ag lab was not a simple thing as it wasn't calculated simply in money - they got a house as well, plus food allowances. There were also regional variations across the country. I have a section about the lifestyle of an ag lab in the 19th century Borders on my website, hee http://homepages.ipact.nl/~robertson...ple/index.html which may give you ideas to add to those from Colin.

    Don't forget that the value of a pound was very different then, you have to look at equivalent buying power. I've found this website interesting http://www.measuringworth.com/.

    The Internet Archive has a LOT of material on 19th century agriculture - (if you haven't found it, there's a sticky about it at the top of the general Scottish forum).
    Lesley

  6. #6
    Starting to feel at home.
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    56
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Wow!

    birdlip,
    That's exactly what my great x 3 grandftaher did. Took to farming his own piece of land 10 years after he emigrated to Australia.

    Peter,
    Thank you so much. That site is amazing. Why cant I ever find anything that great when I spend all day on google!

    Colin,
    What a complicated system. However given the divide between rich and poor at the time I suspect very neccesary to ensure people had basic sustenance on which to live. In my travels today I have found so much information about the poverty my ancestors must have lived under. I also hadnt considered the free accomodation possibility as part of employment either.

    Lesley,
    Those links have been incredibly helpful. Being an aussie born and bred I often cant get my head around how much a pound really is in "our" money, and when your attempting to work it out from a time period 150 years ago it makes it even harder! Your website actually gave me a lot of insight into how my ancestors must have lived and managed.

    The bit on relative worth was good too. I often think about that in relation to how much prices have gone up for groceries in the last 20 years or so. I remember when a loaf of bread cost 54 cents, now it's three dollars!


    Thank you all !

    Im off to check out the sticky in the Scottish forum....

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Lesley Robertson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,523
    Thanks
    73
    Thanked 146 Times in 123 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aussieshay View Post
    Im off to check out the sticky in the Scottish forum....

    Careful! The Internet Archive is almost as addictive as genealogy. Every time I visit, I find something else.
    Lesley

  8. #8
    Settling in.
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    25
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Colin,

    Where did you find that gem giving the labour agreement between John Browning and his labourer? Since the majority of my lot were ag labs it would be so cool to find something of the sort relating to any one of them.

    Fran

  9. #9
    Famous for offering help & advice.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Romsey, Hants
    Posts
    1,138
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 29 Times in 25 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GizmoMischief View Post
    Hi Colin,

    Where did you find that gem giving the labour agreement between John Browning and his labourer? Since the majority of my lot were ag labs it would be so cool to find something of the sort relating to any one of them.

    Fran
    Hello Fran

    It's not usually the sort of thing that even appears in catalogues, let alone online, unfortunately. I found it in my local county archive in the estate records of a farm when I was looking for material to illustrate a talk on employment records; this catalogue search shows the sorts of records available.

    You might find it worthwhile to get a copy of My Ancestor was an Agricultural Labourer, by Ian Waller (SoG); it makes all sorts of suggestions for research into Ag Labs as well as discussing their lifestyle.

    A more academic book that might be of general interest and which gives an insight into rural life in the 18th & 19th centuries is The Village Labourer, by JL & Barbara Hammond.

    Colin

  10. #10
    Starting to feel at home. cobbybrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Damp and dreary West Yorkshire
    Posts
    38
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Another good book - I'm just reading a copy at the moment - is 'Rural Life in Victorian Britain' by G. E. Mingay, Sutton Publishing, ISBN 0 7509 1612 5. It begins with landowners and then moves through land agents, farmers, farmworkers, industrial workers, tradespeople and professionals, giving an insight into conditions, money, food, etc.

    Ask for your local library to reserve a copy for you

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Select a file: