Ripper Street | Annie Besant discovered that the women worked fourteen hours a day for a wage of less than five shillings a week. However, they did not always received their full wage because of a system of fines, ranging from three pence to one shilling. Offences included talking, dropping matches or going to the toilet without permission. The women worked from 6.30 am in summer (8.00 in winter) to 6.00 pm. If workers were late, they were fined a half-day's pay.
Occupational photograph of Victorian match girls, ca. 1888. These girls worked in terrible conditions, for 14 hours a day, and received very little pay for their work. The phosphorous used in making matches caused hair and teeth loss, yellowing of the skin, and "phossy jaw", a type of facial bone cancer.