£24.99 For Sale

Little slaves of the harp

This advert is located in and around Preston, London

Advert Description

Oxfam Bookshop Preston During the 19th century thousands of Italian children were indentured to "padroni" as street performers in France for periods of from one to three years. Often the "padroni" were known to the families of the children, or were from the same villages. Some were cruel exploiters who obtained obedience through terror and abuse, but the lot of most of the children was similar to that of child apprentices and helpers in many other trades. Child street musicians, however, were much more visible to the public and the authorities of the host countries, and the image of exploitation took hold.;The child musicians were part of the mass migration of the 19th century, and public reactions to them - different in each city - reflected the host society's view of the influx of foreign immigrants in general. Although England, France and the United States developed legislation in the mid-19th century to deal with children in factories, they did not attempt to regulate children in street trades until later in the century because they perceived the work of the children as "a veiled form of mendicancy". The battle to get Italian child musicians off the streets dragged on for years before legislation and new work opportunities - often as onerous as or worse than street performing - directed the children into new trades.;This book sets out to show that the children's work was an aspect of the emerging industry in commercial leisure, and discusses how their presence in foreign cities raised numerous questions relating to social welfare. It studies the "little slaves" as part of the dialogue between rural and urban worlds, with the children part of the family economy and contributing to the family's goal of preserving its position in times of severe economic fluctuation. See Oxfam website for delivery information

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