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The Victorian Era. 1837 - 1901. Queen Victoria. She had the longest reign in British history Became queen at the age of 18; she was graceful and self-assured. She also had a gift for drawing and painting

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queen victoria
Queen Victoria

She had the longest reign in British history

Became queen at the age of 18; she was graceful and self-assured. She also had a gift for drawing and painting

Throughout her reign, she maintained a sense of dignity and decorum that restored the average person’s high opinion of the monarchy after a series of horrible, ineffective leaders

1840-Victoria married a German prince, Albert, who became not king, but Prince-consort

After he died in 1861, she sank into a deep depression and wore black every day for the rest of her life

the victorian era1
The Victorian Era
  • England became wealthiest nation
  • British Empire expansion
    • “The sun never sets on England.”
    • Queen-empress over 200 million people living outside Great Britain
    • India, North America, South Pacific, etc.
the growth of the british empire
The Growth of the British Empire
  • England grew to become the greatest nation on earth
  • Empire included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya, and India
  • England built a very large navy and merchant fleet (for trade and colonization).
the growth of the british empire1
The Growth of the British Empire
  • Imported raw materials such as cotton and silk and exported finished goods to countries around the world.
  • By the mid-1800s, England was the largest exporter and importer of goods in the world. It was the primary manufacturer of goods and the wealthiest country in the world.
  • Because of England’s success, they felt it was their duty to bring English values, laws, customs, and religion to the “savage” races around the world.
the industrial revolution
The Industrial Revolution
  • Factory systems emerged
  • The shift in the English economy moved away from agriculture and toward the production of manufactured goods
  • Great Exhibition of 1851-Prince Albert-housed in the Crystal Palace (made of glass and iron) exhibited hydraulic presses, locomotives, machine tools, power looms, power reapers, and steamboat engines.
the victorian era2
The Victorian Era
  • Industrial Revolution - booms & depressions
  • Created new towns, goods, wealth, jobs for people climbing through middle class
  • Social & economic changes expressed in gradual political reforms
  • History of the British Empire
social political reform
Social &Political Reform
  • 1832-First Reform Act-extended the vote to most middle-class men
  • 1833-Britain abolished slavery/Factory Act-regulated child labor in factories
  • 1834-Poor Law-Amendment applied a system of workhouses for poor people
  • 1871-Trade Union Act-made it legal for laborers to organize to protect their rights
social political reform1
Social & Political Reform
  • Women for suffrage – did not succeed until 1918 (30 & over)
  • Universal adult suffrage 1928 extended vote to women at age 21
  • Factory Acts – limited child & women labor
  • State supported schools est. in 1870; compulsory in 1880; free in 1891
  • Literacy rate increased from 40% to 90% from 1840-1900.
victorian society

Victorian Society

What was the expectation?

How did they live?

  • Decorum – powerful ideas about authority
    • Victorian private lives – autocratic father figure
    • Women – subject to male authority
    • Middle-class women expected to marry & make home a “refuge” for husband
    • Women had few occupations open to them
    • Unmarried women often portrayed by comedy by male writers
    • Vile Victorians Fashion
    • Vile Victorians
    • Victorian Slang
social class
Social Class
  • Working “Lower” Class- men and women perform daily labor and get paid dail or weekly wages for their work.
  • Middle Class – Men performed mental or “clean” work, paid monthly or annually.
  • Upper Class – Did not work, income came from inherited land and investments.
  • The children in poor families had to work from getting up in the morning to going to sleep in the night. They worked in caves, coal mines and as chimney sweepers and many more hard jobs, at what would now be two pence a day!! And that goes to their parents to pay for the family. But most children didn’t live long because there was no medicines or equipment to help with diseases. Children had to go to the workhouse, it wasn’t nice there at all it was cold, wet and smelt badly. Victorian children didn’t have good clothes. Vile Victorians Chile Labor
  • Many children in early Victorian times never went to school at all and more than half of them grew up unable to read or write.
  • Children from rich families were luckier than poor children. Nannies looked after them, and they had toys and books. A governess would get paid to teach the children of rich families at home.
  • Then, when the boys were old enough, they were sent away to a public school such as Eton or Rugby.
  • The daughters were kept at home and taught singing, piano playing and sewing.
  • Victorian School Punishments
  • Gentlemen
  • Tutored at home until they go to the University.
  • Subjects
    • Literature, Languages of Roman & Greek. Mathematics, Philosophy, and Law
  • Ladies
  • Almost entirely at home.
  • Boarding schools… No Universities.
  • Subjects
    • French, Art, Music, embroidery, use of globes, sewing and accounting.

Slowly, things changed for poorer children, by the end of the Victorian age all children under 12 had to go to school. Now everybody could learn how to read and write, and how to count properly. The teachers in schools had a cane used to punish children by hitting them on the hand. They didn’t write on paper but on slates.


WORKHOUSE. The word alone was calculated to send a shudder down the spine of any honest 19th century worker. It signified the end of the line, the final indignity. It said:

  • Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.
  • The mental picture of the gaunt, forbidding workhouse is one of the abiding impressions of Victorian England..

Just what was the workhouse?

  • It was a public institution which housed and fed people who were unable to support themselves. If these people were otherwise fit, they were put to work. But these simple facts hide a tale of horror and despair.
  • Until the 16th century, there were no state provision for the welfare of the poor. What relief there was, was provided by the church, but that soon came to an end as well.
interesting facts
Interesting facts
  • 1848: Women begin attending University of London
  • 1850: Life Insurance introduced
  • 1851: Gold discovered
  • 1860: Florence Nightingale founds school for nurses
  • 1876: Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone
  • 1877: Thomas Alva Edison patents the phonograph
  • 1886: Wimbledon opens
  • 1888: Jack the Ripper stalks London’s East End
  • 1901: Queen Victoria dies