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Government Commissions and Reports
Children's Employment Commission 1843, RH Horne

During the nineteenth century central government began to commission reports on topics such as health and employment prior to passing legislation. These were often locally based and very detailed and were published in volumes of British Parliamentary Papers.

The employment commissions covered various industries and generally featured evidence from working people, including children, and a description of the local area. You should be able to find reports relating to your area locally.

Health reports were published as a result of events such as cholera outbreaks and included descriptions of living conditions and plans of housing. They date back to the nineteenth century and annual reports were published by Medical Officers attached to City, Town or Rural District Councils from then.


Employment Commission reports may be found in large reference libraries, university libraries, local studies libraries, local archive repositiories and the National Archives. Click here for a new website where you can search for relevant government publications [go to advanced search and search on employment 1833-1899].

Health reports will be found locally in either local studies libraries or archives.

Ideas for use
  • To investigate child employment in the Victorian period. Click here for suggested classroom activities.
  • To study social issues such as housing, health and employment in the Victorian period, 1930s or over time.

See also the section on Find Sources

Follow any of the links below for more information on basic sources and ideas on how to use them

Studying Your Locality : Historic Maps : Trade Directories : Newspapers and Magazines : Photographs : Census : Official Guides : Estate Agent Records : Plans : Taxes and Rating Records : Probate Inventories : Church Registers

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