|From Cassell's New Penny Magazine 1899|
|Marriage index December quarter 1865|
'In some offices where there is occasionally a sudden temporary influx of work requiring speedy attention I know the system of writers supplied by Law Stationers who, as middlemen, abstract a large share of the poor writers' hard earnings in payment for the Law Stationers' patronage: I am also acquainted with the system of employing boys from 13 to 16 years of age at very low wages and then discharging them ; but I do not approve of either system in established government offices. I have had great experience of temporary clerks and boys in a temporary office; having had under my control 105 temporary clerks, 37 of whom were not 20 years old.
If temporary clerks and writers and boys are on day pay, they may be placed at desks; but no amount of supervision can obtain from all of them a good day's work. They know that the more work they execute in a day, the sooner their temporary employment will cease and they will be again turned adrift; therefore it is their interest to do as little work as possible'.
So next time you search the indexes by pressing a few keys and jiggling the mouse a bit, spare a thought for the GRO clerks a century and more ago who made it possible.