Leaving home and entering service: the age of apprenticeship in early modern London
Leaving home and entering service was a key transition in early modern England. This paper presents evidence on the age of apprenticeship in London. Using a new sample of 22,156 apprentices bound between 1575 and 1810, we find that apprentices became younger (from 17.4 to 14.7 years) and more homogenous, irrespective of background. We examine the effect of region of origin, parental occupation, company entered, and paternal mortality on age of entry. The fall in apprentices’ age has significant implications for our understanding of labour supply, training structures, the experience of apprenticeship, and the family economy in this period.
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