The Children's Employment Commission came into existence on 20 October 1840 headed by a central Board of four Commissioners. By March of the following year a team of twenty Sub-Commissioners had been recruited. Instructions required them to

look into the employment and condition of all Children of the poorer classes, not under the protection of the Factories Regulation Act who are employed in any description of mining and manufacturing labour whatsoever in which they work together in numbers.1