Richard Oastler
(1789-1861)

Died aged c. 72

Richard Oastler (20 December 1789 - 22 August 1861) "the Factory King" was a "Tory radical", an active opponent of Catholic Emancipation and Parliamentary Reform and a lifelong admirer of the Duke of Wellington; but also an abolitionist and prominent in the "anti-Poor Law" resistance to the implementation of the "New Poor Law" of 1834. Most notably, as his soubriquet indicates he was at the heart of the campaign for a ten-hour working day in its early years (although less so by the time of its successful culmination in the Factory Act of 1847 he retained the soubriquet )"Moved by pity and indignation at the long hours worked by young children in factories, he devoted his life to their emancipation, and was a tireless champion of the Ten Hours Factory Bill" noted a commemorative plaque erected in Leeds parish church in 1925. "He cannot altogether claim prominence as a political thinker...but history acclaims him not as a politician, but as an agitator" commented the Yorkshire Post on that occasion.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Richard Oastler 'The Factory King' was born in St Peter's Square. His 1830 letter to the Leeds Mercury about 'Yorkshire Slavery' began the campaign to reduce the working day of factory children to ten hours. The Ten Hours Act of 1847 owed much to his persuasive writing and compelling oratory. 1789 - 1861

The Wardrobe, St Peters Square (by BBC North HQ), Leeds, United Kingdom where they was born (1789)