Will Thorne (1857-1946) was born into a poor family in Farm Street, Hockley on 8 October 1857. His father was a brick maker, and on weekends he would drink and get into fights. His mother and sisters took in work at home, sewing hooks and eyes onto cards. Will had his first job at the age of 6 turning a wheel for a rope and twine spinner at Rob’s Rope Walk in Duddeston Mill Road. He was paid 2 shillings 6 pence a week and worked from 6am to 6pm with half an hour for breakfast and an hour for lunch.
In 1864 when Will was 7 years old his father was killed in a fight. Shortly after this Will went to work with his uncle in the brickyard described here. He carried 400-500 bricks every day, and each brick weighed about 9 pounds. He worked a 12 hour day and walked the three miles there in the morning and three miles back again every evening.
After a succession of different jobs Will eventually became a trade union leader and a Member of Parliament.
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