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10 February 2011

Agricultural labourers' wages - 1850-1914

How much did an agricultural labourer earn in the 19th century? Almost everyone looking into their family tree will come across at least one Victorian ag lab in their ancestry. But that need not be the end of the research line.

In 1908 the Labour Department of the Board of Trade prepared a report on the Rates of Wages and Hours of Labour for ordinary labourers in agriculture. The report was not published at the time but was rescued and appeared in British Labour Statistics: Historical Abstract 1886-1968 (Department of Employment and Productivity, 1971).


The table of average weekly cash wages shown here is taken from that publication. The book notes that from 1850 to 1873 the figures are based on returns supplied by 69 farms, and that after that date they are based on returns from 128 farms.

Currency note: wages are shown in shillings (s) and pence (d). There were 12d to 1s – and 20s to one pound (£). NB 1/2d is a ha’penny or half penny.

Year
Weekly wage
1850
9s 3 1/2d
1851
9s 2 1/2d
1852
9s 3d
1853
9s 11d
1854
10s 8d
1855
10s 11 1/2d
1856
11s 0 1/2d
1857
10s 11 1/2d
1858
10s 9 1/2d
1859
10s 8 1/2d
1860
10s 11d
1861
11s 1d
1862
11s 1d
1863
11s 0d
1864
11s 0 1/2d
1865
11s 3d
1866
11s 6d
1867
11s 11d
1868
12s 0d
1869
11s 8 1/2d
1870
11s 10 1/2d
1871
12s 1d
1872
12s 8 1/2d
1873
13s 4d
1874
13s 11 1/2d
1875
14s 0d
1876
14s 1 1/2d
1877
14s 1 1/2d
1878
14s 0 1/2d
1879
13s 8 1/2d
1880
13s 7 1/2d
1881
13s 7 1/2d
1882
13s 7 1/2d
1883
13s 8d
1884
13s 7 1/2d
1885
13s 5 1/2d
1886
13s 4d
1887
13s 2 1/2d
1888
13s 2 1/2d
1889
13s 4d
1890
13s 6d
1891
13s 9 1/2d
1892
13s 10d
1893
13s 9d
1894
13s 9d
1895
13s 8 1/2d
1896
13s 9d
1897
13s 10 1/2d
1898
14s 1 1/2d
1899
14s 4d
1900
14s 10d
1901
14s 11d
1902
14s 11 1/2d
1903
14s 11 1/2d
1904
14s 11 1/2d
1905
15s 0d
1906
15s 1d
1910
15s 4d
1914
16s9d
Source: British Labour Statistics: Historical Abstract 1886-1968 (Department of Employment and Productivity, 1971)

3 comments:

  1. Are these nominal (ie actual) figures, and not adjusted for inflation? If so - it is interesting to note that between 1950 and 1900, pay increased at just 0.9% a year...

    ReplyDelete
  2. How many working hours were there in a week?

    ReplyDelete