There is evidence to show that the Gregs cared about the apprentices at Styal Mill. We are able to make this statement we know (do to documented evidence) that the punishments, working conditions among other things reflect this statement, however we can’t be entirely sure how genuine their concern was because doing such things would also benefit the Gregs. In the sense that if their apprentices were healthy, well fed and not injured from punishments they would work harder thus making the Gregs more money.
The working conditions of the apprentices were good in the sense that they were not punished physically, like children in other city mills were, some punishments in the city mills consisted of being beaten. There is documented evidence at the Mill that states if they apprentices broke a window they would be fined, doing plenty of over time to pay for the broken window. Other punishments include cutting the apprentice’s hair off as this would have been a humiliation when they all had long hair and everybody would therefore we aware of their transgression.
The Gregs may have genuinely cared about the welfare of the children, and also, being religious thought it was immoral to hurt the children, however we also doubt the reliability of the transcripts by Thomas Priestly and Joseph Sefton on how they were treated at the mill, as mentioned in question 1, because they were written in a manner wouldn’t have been spoken by them being poor children in the 19th century, also knowing they would be returning to the Mill, they wouldn’t want to complain.
Also as mentioned before if the children were healthy and not injured they would be capable of working much harder and subsequently making the Gregs more money. This also connects with the Gregs employing Dr Holland because if the children were healthy and not ill they would work harder. Also the food they ate, as stated in Joseph Sefton and Thomas Priestley’s they ate porridge twice a day and on Sundays had pork and vegetables would mean they have a healthy diet and are well nourished.
On Sundays they also went to church, this suggests they cared about the wellbeing of the children; however they may have been wary about their reputation if they brought ill looking children to church. The apprentices housing was good because they all had somewhere to stay and a bed to sleep in, unlike the majority of the City Mills where the children were forced to sleep on the floor.
We also know that at least some of the children, mainly the boys, were given an education, while this is clearly beneficial for the boys, it would also mean the possibility that they would continue to work for the Gregs after the apprenticeship was completed, and we have evidence of one apprentice doing this. The visual, oral and documentary evidence support the statement that ‘The Gregs had a genuine concern for the welfare of their apprentices’ because although The Gregs would have also benefitted from how they treated their apprentices, they still showed genuine care towards the apprentices.