Child training or child labour? 1850–98
in The Protestant Orphan Society and its social significance in Ireland, 1828–1940
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The Dublin Protestant Orphan Society (DPOS) laid the foundations of an apprenticeship system in the first half of the nineteenth century. This chapter focuses on employers' treatment of apprentices and the increasing role assumed by the surviving parents and elder siblings in shaping the children's futures. The POS apprenticeship scheme was viewed as a means of reducing juvenile delinquency. 'They [subscribers] should support an institution such as the Protestant Orphan Society, which takes under its care those children who are otherwise likely to become vagrants and criminals'. While industrialisation in the north placed new demands on child workers, in other parts of the country employment was agriculturally based. Despite the introduction of a comparable public measure such as the Industrial Schools Act, the charity's subscribers argued in favour of maintaining PO Societies as they had done after the Poor Law was extended to Ireland.

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