Working conditions were dreadful. The new mills were frequently dark, badly ventilated and crowded with unguarded machinery.
Working hours were long commonly between 12 and 18 hours a day. Young children were often employed, and there is a record of one Burnley seven-year-old child working 12 hours a day sometimes from 4 am.
Various Acts of Parliament were passed limiting the hours of work of women and children, but these were usually opposed by the manufacturers and sometimes even by the workers who feared the shorter hours would mean lower pay.