Workmen and workwomen

This painting by Philip Homan Miller is called workmen and workwomen and shows a family working in a salt pan in 1870. Salt was made by boiling brine in pans to remove the water. Often a man would rent a salt pan and his whole family would assist with tending it. It was heavy work, scalds and burns were common and hours long. However, what most shocked the Victorian reformers was that due to the intense heat women often worked in their petticoats alongside men without their shirts.