Block 42: The Mill Owner And The Messenger Boy

Block 42

The factory/mill in block 42 used similar colours to the old customs house in block 40 as they were built around the same time.  The original owner was a canny fella and realised that if his factory was built near the customs house, then he could build up a good relationship with the customs officer who would perhaps expedite the paperwork for the goods he was importing/exporting (or maybe turn a blind eye to his occasional under reporting of the tax owed on goods imported).  It also meant that the messenger lad didn't have far to run with his messages and so didn't wear out his shoe leather.  You might wonder why a mill owner concerned himself with the rate of wear on the messenger boy's shoes and you're right, it was unusual.  You see, as well as being a canny businessman, the mill owner was a kind-hearted soul (though he hid it well) and he knew that the lad's family depended on the pennies brought in from running messages.  His mam couldn't afford to buy him shoes (the lad's father died in an accident on the docks when a bale of cotton fell on him) and wouldn't allow him to set foot inside the mill to work as a piecer or scavenger, so the owner employed him as a messenger boy and included one pair of shoes per year as part of his wages.


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