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History Head Start - Option 8

Women Chainmakers

During the 19th century, the Black Country - in particular the Cradley Heath area - became the centre for chain making in Britain. Heavy to medium chains were produced by men in factories, however the smaller chains (often known as 'hand-hammered' or 'country-work' chains) were often hand-worked by women or children in small cramped forges in outbuildings next to the home.

Look at the exhibition at and use the following sources to answer the questions: 


  1. What was the purpose of the Trades Board Act 1909? 
  2. Describe the working conditions of the chainmakers.
  3. What reasons does Source D give for increasing wages? 
  4. According to Source D what should you be able to afford with a living wage? 
  5. Why does Arthur Powell object to the increase in wages? 
  6. Using Sources A and E as evidence, why do you think the strike was successful?  

General Information:

To help you think about these sources in a historical way, use the list of questions to guide your thinking.

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