Quarterly forfeits book

W G and J Strutt Ltd1807

Derbyshire Record Office

Derbyshire Record Office
Matlock, United Kingdom

The textile mills which developed along the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire are considered the birthplace of the factory system, manufacturing goods for the first time on a large scale using machinery in purpose built mills. Operating the new machinery involved a large workforce, including many women and children, who were often preferred as they were paid lower wages than men. The factory system introduced set working hours and strict rules for staff which would mean docked wages (or forfeits) when broken.

This quarterly forfeits book lists the date, name of the staff member, the person who reported (sanctioned) them for breaking the rules of their employment, the offence committed and the amount deducted from wages.

The most common misdemeanor was leaving work without permission, but other misdemeanors listed here include poor work (such as mixing the balls of yarn wrongly and tying bad knots) and breaking equipment (in this case a thermometer). This book also shows that there were soldiers in the neighbourhood in 1807, resulting in forfeits for three people: Ann Vallans and Fanny Farnsworth were fined 13 weeks' wages for going off without leave with soldiers, and William Warren forfeited 1 week's wages for calling through the window at some soldiers.


  • Title: Quarterly forfeits book
  • Creator: W G and J Strutt Ltd
  • Date Created: 1807
  • Provenance: W G & J Strutt Ltd, Cotton Spinners of Belper, Derbyshire (D6948/6/75)
  • Subject Keywords: Factories, Industrial Revolution, Derwent Valley Mills, World Heritage Sites, Mill workers, Cotton mills

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