In the history of the United Kingdom, the
Victorian era was the period
of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22
January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the
Edwardian period, and its later half overlaps with the first part of
Belle Époque era of continental Europe. Defined according to
sensibilities and political concerns, the period is sometimes
considered to begin with the passage of the
Reform Act 1832. The
period is characterised as one of relative peace among the great
powers (as established by the Congress of Vienna), increased economic
activity, "refined sensibilities" and national self-confidence for
Victorian era witnessed resistance to the
rationalism that defined the Georgian period and an increasing turn
towards romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social
values, and arts. In international relations, the supremacy of the
Royal Navy helped maintain a period of relative peace among the great
powers (Pax Britannica) as well as economic, colonial, and industrial
consolidation and expansion, a notable exception being the Crimean War
(1853–56). Britain embarked on global imperial expansion,
particularly in Asia and Africa, which made the
British Empire the
largest empire in history.
Domestically, the political agenda was increasingly liberal, with a
number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform,
industrial reform, and the widening of the voting franchise. There
were unprecedented demographic changes: the population of
Wales almost doubled from 16.8 million in 1851 to 30.5 million in
1901, and Scotland's population also rose rapidly, from 2.8 million
in 1851 to 4.4 million in 1901. However, Ireland's population
decreased sharply, from 8.2 million in 1841 to less than 4.5 million
in 1901, mostly due to emigration and the Great Famine. Between
1837 and 1901 about 15 million emigrated from Great Britain, mostly to
the United States, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and
The two main political parties during the era remained the
Whigs/Liberals and the Conservatives; by its end, the Labour Party had
formed as a distinct political entity. These parties were led by such
prominent statesmen as Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Derby,
Lord Palmerston, Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, and Lord
Salisbury. The unsolved problems relating to Irish Home Rule played a
great part in politics in the later Victorian era, particularly in
view of Gladstone's determination to achieve a political settlement in
1 Terminology and periodisation
2 Political and diplomatic history
3 Society and culture
3.3 Literature and arts
4 Economy, industry and trade
5 Technology, science and engineering
5.2 Health and medicine
6.1 Fertility rates
6.2 Mortality rates
7 High culture
8 The middle-class
11 Child labour
14 See also
17 Further reading
17.2 Primary sources
18 External links
Terminology and periodisation
See also: Periodisation
In the strictest sense, the
Victorian era covers the duration of
Victoria's reign as Queen of the
United Kingdom of
Great Britain and
Ireland, from her accession on 20 June 1837—after the death of her
uncle, William IV—until her death on 22 January 1901, after which
she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII. Her reign lasted for
63 years and seven months, a longer period than any of her
predecessors. The term 'Victorian' was in contemporaneous usage to
describe the era. The era has also been understood more extensively
as a period that possessed sensibilities and characteristics distinct
from those adjacent, in which case it is sometimes dated to begin
before Victoria's accession—typically from the passage of or
agitation for (during the 1830s) the
Reform Act 1832, which introduced
a wide-ranging change to the electoral system of
England and Wales.
Definitions according to a distinct sensibility or politics have also
created scepticisim about the worth of the label "Victorian", though
there have equally been defences of it as a marker of time.
Political and diplomatic history
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and
International relations of the
Great Powers (1814–1919)
In 1832, after much political agitation, the
Reform Act was passed on
the third attempt. The Act abolished many borough seats and created
others in their place, as well as expanding the franchise in England
Wales (a Scottish
Reform Act and Irish
Reform Act were passed
separately). Minor reforms followed in 1835 and 1836.
East India Company
East India Company steamship Nemesis (right background) destroying
Chinese war junks in the
Second Battle of Chuenpi
Second Battle of Chuenpi on 7 January 1841
First Opium War
First Opium War between Britain and the Qing dynasty.
On 20 June 1837, Victoria became Queen of the
United Kingdom on the
death of her uncle, William IV. Being female, Victoria was prevented
Salic law from acceding to the throne of Hanover, as had been
the custom for British monarchs since the Hanoverian succession; the
kingdom passed instead to her uncle, who became King Ernest Augustus I
of Hanover. The government at the time of Victoria's accession was led
by the Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne, but within two years he had
resigned, and the Tory politician Sir
Robert Peel formed a new
ministry. In the same year, a seizure of British opium exports to
China prompted the
First Opium War
First Opium War against the Qing dynasty, and
British imperial India initiated the First Anglo-Afghan War—one of
the first major conflicts of the Great Game between Britain and
Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield
and gave birth to her first child, Victoria, who became Princess
Royal. In the same year, the
Treaty of Waitangi
Treaty of Waitangi established British
sovereignty over New Zealand. The signing of the
Treaty of Nanking
Treaty of Nanking in
1842 ended the
First Opium War
First Opium War and gave Britain control over Hong Kong
Island, but a disastrous retreat from Kabul in the same year led to
the annihilation of a British army column. In 1845, the Great Famine
began to cause mass starvation and disease in Ireland, ultimately
initiating widespread emigration; in response, the Peel government
repealed the Corn Laws, in the process leading to its downfall and
replacement by the Whig ministry of Lord John Russell.
In 1853, Britain fought alongside France in the
Crimean War against
Russia. The goal was to ensure that Russia could not benefit from the
declining status of the Ottoman Empire, a strategic consideration
known as the Eastern Question. The conflict marked a rare breach in
the Pax Britannica, the period of relative peace (1815-1914) that
existed among the
Great Powers of the time, and especially in
Britain's interaction with them. On its conclusion in 1856 with the
Treaty of Paris, Russia was prohibited from hosting a military
presence in the Crimea. In October of the same year, the Second Opium
War saw Britain overpower the
Qing dynasty in China.
During 1857-8, an uprising by sepoys against the East India Company
was suppressed, an event that led to the end of Company rule in India
and the transferral of administration to direct rule by the British
government. The princely states were not affected and remained under
In 1861, Prince Albert died. In 1867, the second
Reform Act was
passed, expanding the franchise, and the
British North America
British North America Act
consolidated the country's possessions in that region into a Canadian
In 1878, Britain was a plenipotentiary at the Treaty of Berlin, which
gave de jure recognition to the independent states of Romania, Serbia,
Society and culture
See also: English cuisine § Nineteenth century
Nonconformist conscience describes the moral sensibility of the
Nonconformist churches—those which dissent from the established
Church of England—that influenced British politics in the 19th and
early 20th centuries. In the 1851 census of church attendance,
noncomformists who went to chapel comprised half the attendance of
Sunday services. Noncomformists were focused in the fast-growing
urban middle class. The two categories of this group were in
addition to the evangelicals or "Low Church" element in the Church of
England: "Old Dissenters," dating from the 16th and 17th centuries,
included Baptists, Congregationalists, Quakers, Unitarians, and
Presbyterians outside Scotland; "New Dissenters" emerged in the 18th
century and were mainly Methodists. The "
Nonconformist conscience" of
the Old group emphasised religious freedom and equality, the pursuit
of justice, and opposition to discrimination, compulsion, and
coercion. The New Dissenters (and also the Anglican evangelicals)
stressed personal morality issues, including sexuality, temperance,
family values, and Sabbath-keeping. Both factions were politically
active, but until the mid-19th century, the Old group supported mostly
Whigs and Liberals in politics, while the New—like most
Anglicans—generally supported Conservatives. In the late 19th
century, the New Dissenters mostly switched to the Liberal Party. The
result was a merging of the two groups, strengthening their great
weight as a political pressure group. They joined together on new
issues especially regarding schools and temperance, with the latter of
special interest to Methodists. By 1914 the linkage was
weakening and by the 1920s it was virtually dead.
Parliament had long imposed a series of political disabilities on
Nonconformists outside Scotland. They could not hold most public
offices, they had to pay local taxes to the Anglican church, be
married by Anglican ministers, and be denied attendance at Oxford or
degrees at Cambridge. Dissenters demanded the removal of political and
civil disabilities that applied to them (especially those in the Test
and Corporation Acts). The Anglican establishment strongly resisted
until 1828. Disseneters organized into a political pressure group
and succeeded in 1828 in repeal of some restrictions. It was a major
achievement for an outside group, but the Dissenters were not finished
and the early Victorian period saw them even more active and
successful in eliminating their grievances. Next on the agenda was
the matter of church rates, which were local taxes at the parish level
for the support of the parish church building in
England and Wales.
Only buildings of the established church received the tax money. Civil
disobedience was attempted but was met with the seizure of personal
property and even imprisonment. The compulsory factor was finally
abolished in 1868 by William Ewart Gladstone, and payment was made
voluntary. While Gladstone was a moralistic evangelical inside the
Church of England, he had strong support in the Nonconformist
community. The marriage question was settled in 1837, by
allowing local government registrars to handle marriages.
Nonconformist ministers in their own chapels were allowed to marry
couples if a registrar was present. Also in 1836, civil registration
of births, deaths, and marriages was taken from the hands of local
parish officials and given to local government registrars. Burial of
the dead was a more troubling problem, for urban chapels had no
graveyards, and sought to use the traditional graveyards controlled by
the established church. The Burials Act of 1880 finally allowed
Oxford University required students seeking admission to submit to the
39 articles of the Church of England. Cambridge required that for a
diploma. The two ancient universities opposed giving a charter to the
new London University in the 1830s because it had no such restriction.
London University, nevertheless, was established in 1837, and by the
1850s Oxford dropped its restrictions. In 1871 Gladstone sponsored
legislation that provided full access to degrees and fellowships. The
Scottish universities never had restrictions. Nonconformists
(especially Unitarians and Presbyterians) played major roles in
founding new universities in the late 19th century at Manchester, as
well as Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds.
Further information: History of education in England
§ Nineteenth century, and Public school (United Kingdom)
The era saw a reform and renaissance of public schools, inspired by
Thomas Arnold at Rugby. The public school became a model for gentlemen
and for public service.
Literature and arts
Main article: Victorian literature
In prose, the novel rose from a position of relative neglect during
the 1830s to become the leading literary genre by the end of the
era. In the 1830s and 1840s, the social novel (also
England novels") responded to the social, political and
economic upheaval associated with industrialisation. Though it
remained influential throughout the period, there was a notable
Gothic fiction in the fin de siecle, such as in Robert
Louis Stevenson's novella
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
and Oscar Wilde's
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891).
Pablo Fanque performing at Astley's Amphitheatre, 1847
The Epsom Derby; painting by James Pollard, c. 1840
Llandudno, 1856. With the arrival of the railway network, seaside
towns became popular destinations for Victorian holiday makers
Popular forms of entertainment varied by social class. Victorian
Britain, like the periods before it, was interested in literature (see
Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charlotte, Emily and Anne
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson and William Makepeace Thackeray),
theatre and the arts (see
Aesthetic movement and Pre-Raphaelite
Brotherhood), and music, drama, and opera were widely attended.
Michael Balfe was the most popular British grand opera composer of the
period, while the most popular musical theatre was a series of
fourteen comic operas by Gilbert and Sullivan, although there was also
musical burlesque and the beginning of
Edwardian musical comedy
Edwardian musical comedy in the
1890s. Drama ranged from low comedy to
Shakespeare (see Henry Irving).
There were, however, other forms of entertainment. Gentlemen went to
dining clubs, like the
Beefsteak club or the Savage club. Gambling at
cards in establishments popularly called casinos was wildly popular
during the period: so much so that evangelical and reform movements
specifically targeted such establishments in their efforts to stop
gambling, drinking, and prostitution.
Brass bands and 'The Bandstand' became popular in the Victorian era.
The band stand was a simple construction that not only created an
ornamental focal point, but also served acoustic requirements whilst
providing shelter from the changeable British weather. It was common
to hear the sound of a brass band whilst strolling through parklands.
At this time musical recording was still very much a novelty.
Victorian era marked the golden age of the British
Astley's Amphitheatre in Lambeth, London, featuring
equestrian acts in a 42-foot wide circus ring, was the epicentre of
the 19th century circus. The permanent structure sustained three fires
but as an institution lasted a full century, with
Andrew Ducrow and
William Batty managing the theatre in the middle part of the century.
William Batty would also build his own 14,000-person arena, known
commonly as Batty's Hippodrome, in Kensington Gardens and draw crowds
from the Crystal Palace Exhibition. Travelling circuses, like Pablo
Fanque's, dominated the British provinces, Scotland, and Ireland
(Fanque would enjoy fame again in the 20th century when John Lennon
would buy an 1843 poster advertising his circus and adapt the lyrics
The Beatles song, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!). Fanque also
stands out as a black man who achieved great success and enjoyed great
admiration among the British public only a few decades after Britain
had abolished slavery.
Another form of entertainment involved 'spectacles' where paranormal
events, such as mesmerism, communication with the dead (by way of
mediumship or channelling), ghost conjuring and the like, were carried
out to the delight of crowds and participants. Such activities were
more popular at this time than in other periods of recent Western
Natural history became increasingly an "amateur" activity.
Particularly in Britain and the United States, this grew into
specialist hobbies such as the study of birds, butterflies, seashells
(malacology/conchology), beetles and wild flowers. Amateur collectors
and natural history entrepreneurs played an important role in building
the large natural history collections of the nineteenth and early
Middle-class Victorians used the train services to visit the seaside,
helped by the Bank Holiday Act of 1871, which created a number of
fixed holidays. Large numbers travelling to quiet fishing villages
such as Worthing, Brighton,
Morecambe and Scarborough began turning
them into major tourist centres, and people like
Thomas Cook saw
tourism and even overseas travel as viable businesses.
Main article: Sport in the
United Kingdom § History
Rugby football match between
England and Scotland, c. 1880
The Victorian Era saw the introduction and development of many modern
sports. Often originating in the public schools, they exemplified
new ideals of manliness. Cricket, cycling, croquet,
horse-riding, and many water activities are examples of some of the
popular sports in the Victorian Era.
The modern game of tennis originated in Birmingham, England, between
1859 and 1865. The world's oldest tennis tournament, the Wimbledon
championships, were first played in London in 1877. Britain was an
active competitor in all the
Olympic Games starting in 1896.
Economy, industry and trade
Industrial revolution and Second industrial
The most obvious and the most distinctive feature of the History of
Civilisation, during the last fifty years [1837-87], is the wonderful
increase of industrial production by the application of machinery, the
improvement of old technical processes and the invention of new ones,
accompanied by an even more remarkable development of old and new
means of locomotion and intercommunication
—Thomas Henry Huxley
Historians have characterised the mid-
Victorian era (1850–1870) as
Britain's "Golden Years". There was prosperity, as the national
income per person grew by half. Much of the prosperity was due to the
increasing industrialisation, especially in textiles and machinery, as
well as to the worldwide network of trade and engineering that
produced profits for British merchants, and exports from[clarification
needed] across the globe. There was peace abroad (apart from the short
Crimean war, 1854–56), and social peace at home. Opposition to the
new order melted away, says Porter. The Chartist movement peaked as a
democratic movement among the working class in 1848; its leaders moved
to other pursuits, such as trade unions and cooperative societies. The
working class ignored foreign agitators like Karl Marx in their midst,
and joined in celebrating the new prosperity. Employers typically were
paternalistic and generally recognised the trade unions. Companies
provided their employees with welfare services ranging from housing,
schools and churches, to libraries, baths, and gymnasia. Middle-class
reformers did their best to assist the working classes' aspirations to
middle-class norms of "respectability".
There was a spirit of libertarianism, says Porter, as people felt they
were free. Taxes were very low, and government restrictions were
minimal. There were still problem areas, such as occasional riots,
especially those motivated by anti-Catholicism. Society was still
ruled by the aristocracy and the gentry, who controlled high
government offices, both houses of Parliament, the church, and the
military. Becoming a rich businessman was not as prestigious as
inheriting a title and owning a landed estate. Literature was doing
well, but the fine arts languished as the Great Exhibition of 1851
showcased Britain's industrial prowess rather than its sculpture,
painting or music. The educational system was mediocre; the main
universities (outside Scotland) were likewise mediocre. Historian
Llewellyn Woodward has concluded:
For leisure or work, for getting or for spending,
England was a better
country in 1879 than in 1815. The scales were less weighted against
the weak, against women and children, and against the poor. There was
greater movement, and less of the fatalism of an earlier age. The
public conscience was more instructed, and the content of liberty was
being widened to include something more than freedom from political
constraint ... Yet
England in 1871 was by no means an earthly
paradise. The housing and conditions of life of the working class in
town & country were still a disgrace to an age of plenty.
Technology, science and engineering
The railways changed communications and society dramatically
The Victorians were impressed by science and progress and felt that
they could improve society in the same way as they were improving
technology. Britain was the leading world centre for advanced
engineering and technology. Its engineering firms were in worldwide
demand for designing and constructing railways.
A central development during the
Victorian era was the improvement of
communication. The new railways all allowed goods, raw materials, and
people to be moved about, rapidly facilitating trade and industry. The
financing of railways became an important specialty of London's
financiers. The railway system led to a reorganisation of society
more generally, with "railway time" being the standard by which clocks
were set throughout Britain; the complex railway system setting the
standard for technological advances and efficiency. Steam ships such
SS Great Britain
SS Great Britain and
SS Great Western
SS Great Western made international travel
more common but also advanced trade, so that in Britain it was not
just the luxury goods of earlier times that were imported into the
country but essentials and raw materials such as corn and cotton from
the United States and meat and wool from Australia. One more important
innovation in communications was the Penny Black, the first postage
stamp, which standardised postage to a flat price regardless of
Even later communication methods such as electric power, telegraph,
and telephones, had an impact. Photography was realised in 1839 by
Louis Daguerre in France and
William Fox Talbot
William Fox Talbot in Britain. By 1889,
hand-held cameras were available.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol
Similar sanitation reforms, prompted by the Public Health Acts 1848
and 1869, were made in the crowded, dirty streets of the existing
cities, and soap was the main product shown in the relatively new
phenomenon of advertising. A great engineering feat in the Victorian
Era was the sewage system in London. It was designed by Joseph
Bazalgette in 1858. He proposed to build 82 mi (132 km) of
sewer system linked with over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) of street
sewers. Many problems were encountered but the sewers were completed.
After this, Bazalgette designed the
Thames Embankment which housed
sewers, water pipes and the London Underground. During the same
period, London's water supply network was expanded and improved, and a
gas network for lighting and heating was introduced in the 1880s.
The model town of
Saltaire was founded, along with others, as a
planned environment with good sanitation and many civic, educational
and recreational facilities, although it lacked a pub, which was
regarded as a focus of dissent. During the Victorian era, science grew
into the discipline it is today. In addition to the increasing
professionalism of university science, many Victorian gentlemen
devoted their time to the study of natural history. This study of
natural history was most powerfully advanced by
Charles Darwin and his
theory of evolution first published in his book On the Origin of
Species in 1859.
Glasgow slum in 1871
Lagan Canal by the
Ulster Railway near Moira, a sensible
legacy of the Victorian era.
Although initially developed in the early years of the 19th century,
gas lighting became widespread during the
Victorian era in industry,
homes, public buildings and the streets. The invention of the
incandescent gas mantle in the 1890s greatly improved light output and
ensured its survival as late as the 1960s. Hundreds of gasworks were
constructed in cities and towns across the country. In 1882,
incandescent electric lights were introduced to London streets,
although it took many years before they were installed everywhere.
One of the great achievements of the
Industrial Revolution in Britain
was the introduction and advancement of railway systems, not only in
United Kingdom and the
British Empire but across the world.
British engineers and financiers designed, built and funded many major
systems. They retained an ownership share even while turning over
management to locals; that ownership was largely liquidated in
1914-1916 to pay for the World War. Railroads originated in England
because industrialists had already discovered the need for inexpensive
transportation to haul coal for the new steam engines, to supply parts
to specialized factories, and to take products to market. The existing
system of canals was inexpensive but was too slow and too limited in
The engineers and businessmen needed to create and finance a railway
system were available; they knew how to invent, to build, and to
finance a large complex system. The first quarter of the 19th century
involved numerous experiments with locomotives and rail technology. By
1825 railways were commercially feasible, as demonstrated by George
Stephenson (1791-1848) when he built the Stockton and Darlington. On
his first run, his locomotive pulled 38 freight and passenger cars at
speeds as high as 12 miles per hour. Stephenson went on to design many
more railways and is best known for standardizing designs, such as the
"standard gauge" of rail spacing, at 4 feet 8 ½ inches. Thomas
Brassey (1805–70) was even more prominent, operating construction
crews that at one point in the 1840s totalled 75,000 men throughout
Europe, the British Empire, and Latin America. Brassey took
thousands of British engineers and mechanics across the globe to build
new lines. They invented and improved thousands of mechanical devices,
and developed the science of civil engineering to build roadways,
tunnels and bridges.
Britain had a superior financial system based in London that funded
both the railways in Britain and also in many other parts of the
world, including the United States, up until 1914. The boom years were
1836 and 1845–47 when Parliament authorised 8,000 miles of lines at
a projected cost of £200 million, which was about the same value as
the country's annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at that time. A new
railway needed a charter, which typically cost over £200,000 (about
$1 million) to obtain from Parliament, but opposition could
effectively prevent its construction. The canal companies, unable or
unwilling to upgrade their facilities to compete with railways, used
political power to try to stop them. The railways responded by
purchasing about a fourth of the canal system, in part to get the
right of way, and in part to buy off critics. Once a charter was
obtained, there was little government regulation, as laissez-faire and
private ownership had become accepted practices.
The different lines typically had exclusive territory, but given the
compact size of Britain, this meant that multiple competing lines
could provide service between major cities.
George Hudson (1800-1871)
became the "railway king" of Britain. He merged various independent
lines and set up a "Clearing House" in 1842 which rationalized
interconnections by establishing uniform paperwork and standard
methods for transferring passengers and freight between lines, and
rates when one system used freight cars owned by another. By 1850,
rates had fallen to a penny a ton mile for coal, at speeds of up to
fifty miles an hour. Britain now had had the model for the world in a
well integrated, well-engineered system that allowed fast, cheap
movement of freight and people, and which could be replicated in other
Frith's depiction of Paddington railway station in London.
The railways directly or indirectly employed tens of thousands of
engineers, mechanics, repairmen and technicians, as well as
statisticians and financial planners. They developed new and more
efficient and less expensive techniques. Most important, they created
a mindset of how technology could be used in many different forms of
business. Railways had a major impact on industrialization. By
lowering transportation costs, they reduced costs for all industries
moving supplies and finished goods, and they increased demand for the
production of all the inputs needed for the railroad system itself. By
1880, there were 13,500 locomotives which each carried 97,800
passengers a year, or 31,500 tons of freight.
India provides an example of the London-based financiers pouring money
and expertise into a very well built system designed for military
reasons (after the
Mutiny of 1857), and with the hope that it would
stimulate industry. The system was overbuilt and much too elaborate
and expensive for the small amount of freight traffic it carried.
However, it did capture the imagination of the Indians, who saw their
railways as the symbol of an industrial modernity—but one that was
not realized until a century or so later.
Health and medicine
Joseph Thomas Clover
Joseph Thomas Clover demonstrating the
Chloroform apparatus he
invented in 1862
Medicine progressed during Queen Victoria's reign. Although nitrous
oxide, or laughing gas, had been proposed as an anaesthetic as far
back as 1799 by Humphry Davy, it wasn't until 1846 when an American
dentist named William Morton started using ether on his patients that
anaesthetics became common in the medical profession. In 1847
chloroform was introduced as an anaesthetic by James Young
Chloroform was favoured by doctors and hospital staff
because it is much less flammable than ether, but critics complained
that it could cause the patient to have a heart attack. Chloroform
gained in popularity in
England and Germany after John Snow gave Queen
Victoria chloroform for the birth of her eighth child (Prince
Leopold). By 1920, chloroform was used in 80 to 95% of all
narcoses performed in the UK and German-speaking countries.
Anaesthetics made painless dentistry possible. At the same time sugar
consumption in the British diet increased, greatly increasing
instances of tooth decay . As a result, more and more people were
having teeth extracted and needing dentures. This gave rise to
"Waterloo Teeth", which were real human teeth set into hand-carved
pieces of ivory from hippopotamus or walrus jaws. The teeth
were obtained from executed criminals, victims of battlefields, from
grave-robbers, and were even bought directly from the desperately
Medicine also benefited from the introduction of antiseptics by Joseph
Lister in 1867 in the form of carbolic acid (phenol). He
instructed the hospital staff to wear gloves and wash their hands,
instruments, and dressings with a phenol solution and in 1869, he
invented a machine that would spray carbolic acid in the operating
theatre during surgery.
1880 London magazine ad links prosperity to temperance.
Victorian era was a time of unprecedented population growth in
Britain. The population rose from 13.9 million in 1831 to 32.5 million
in 1901. Two major contributary factors were fertility rates and
mortality rates. Britain was the first country to undergo the
Demographic transition and the Agricultural and Industrial
Royal Mail travelling by train from Peterborough
Britain had the lead in rapid economic and population growth. At the
time, Thomas Malthus believed this lack of growth outside Britain was
due to the 'Malthusian trap'. That is, the tendency of a population to
expand geometrically while resources grew more slowly, reaching a
crisis (such as famine, war, or epidemic) which would reduce the
population to a sustainable size. Britain escaped the 'Malthusian
trap' because the
Industrial Revolution had a positive impact on
living standards. People had more money and could improve their
standards; therefore, a population increase was sustainable.
In the Victorian era, fertility rates increased in every decade until
1901, when the rates started evening out. There were several
reasons for this. One is biological: with improving living standards,
a higher proportion of women were biologically able to have children.
Another possible explanation is social. In the 19th century, the
marriage rate increased, and people were getting married at a very
young age until the end of the century, when the average age of
marriage started to increase again slowly. The reasons why people got
married younger and more frequently are uncertain. One theory is that
greater prosperity allowed people to finance marriage and new
households earlier than previously possible. With more births within
marriage, it seems inevitable that marriage rates and birth rates
would rise together.
Birth rates were originally measured by the 'Crude birth
rate' – births per year divided by total population. This is
indeed a crude measure, as key groups and their fertility rates are
not clear. It is likely to be affected mainly by changes in the age
distribution of the population. The Net Reproduction Rate was then
introduced as an alternative measure: it measures the average
fertility rate of women of child-bearing ages.
High rates of birth also occurred because of a lack of Birth control.
Mainly because women lacked knowledge of birth control methods and the
practice was seen as unrespectable. The evening out of fertility
rates at the beginning of the 20th century was mainly the result of a
few big changes: availability of forms of birth control, and changes
in people's attitude towards sex.
The mortality rates in
England changed greatly through the 19th
century. There was no catastrophic epidemic or famine in
Scotland in the 19th century – it was the first century in
which a major epidemic did not occur throughout the whole country, and
deaths per 1000 of population per year in
England and Wales
England and Wales fell from
21.9 from 1848–54 to 17 in 1901 (cf, for instance, 5.4 in 1971).
Social class had a significant effect on mortality rates: the upper
classes had a lower rate of premature death early in the 19th century
than poorer classes did.
Environmental and health standards rose throughout the Victorian era;
improvements in nutrition may also have played a role, although the
importance of this is debated. Sewage works were improved, as was
the quality of drinking water. With a healthier environment, diseases
were caught less easily and did not spread as much. Technology
improved because the population had more money to spend on medical
technology (for example, techniques to prevent death in childbirth, so
that more women and children survived), which also led to a greater
number of cures for diseases. However, there was a cholera epidemic in
London in 1848–49, which killed 14,137 people, and another in 1853
killing 10,738. Reformers rushed to complete a modern London sewerage
Tuberculosis (spread in congested dwellings), lung
diseases from the mines and typhoid remained common.
See also: Victorian literature, Victorian architecture, Victorian
decorative arts, and Victorian fashion
A picture of Leadenhall Street, London, c. 1837
The Poultry Cross, Salisbury, painted by Louise Rayner, c. 1870
Gothic Revival architecture
Gothic Revival architecture became increasingly significant during the
period, leading to the
Battle of the Styles between Gothic and
Classical ideals. Charles Barry's architecture for the new Palace of
Westminster, which had been badly damaged in an 1834 fire, was built
in the medieval style of Westminster Hall, the surviving part of the
building. It constructed a narrative of cultural continuity, set in
opposition to the violent disjunctions of Revolutionary France, a
comparison common to the period, as expressed in Thomas Carlyle's The
French Revolution: A History and Charles Dickens' Great Expectations
and A Tale of Two Cities. Gothic was also supported by critic John
Ruskin, who argued that it epitomised communal and inclusive social
values, as opposed to Classicism, which he considered to epitomise
mechanical standardisation.
The middle of the 19th century saw
The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition of 1851, the
first World's Fair, which showcased the greatest innovations of the
century. At its centre was the Crystal Palace, a modular glass and
iron structure – the first of its kind. It was condemned by
Ruskin as the very model of mechanical dehumanisation in design but
later came to be presented as the prototype of Modern architecture.
The emergence of photography, showcased at the Great Exhibition,
resulted in significant changes in Victorian art with Queen Victoria
being the first British monarch to be photographed. John Everett
Millais was influenced by photography (notably in his portrait of
Ruskin) as were other Pre-Raphaelite artists. It later became
associated with the Impressionistic and Social Realist techniques that
would dominate the later years of the period in the work of artists
Walter Sickert and Frank Holl.
The long-term effect of the reform movements was to tightly link the
nonconformist element with the Liberal party. The dissenters gave
significant support to moralistic issues, such as temperance and
sabbath enforcement. The nonconformist conscience, as it was called,
was repeatedly called upon by Gladstone for support for his moralistic
foreign policy. In election after election, Protestant ministers
rallied their congregations to the Liberal ticket. In Scotland, the
Presbyterians played a similar role to the
Baptists and other groups in
England and Wales
England and Wales  The political
strength of Dissent faded sharply after 1920 with the secularization
of British society in the 20th century.
The rise of the middle class during the era had a formative effect on
its character; the historian Walter E. Houghton reflects that "once
the middle class attained political as well as financial eminence,
their social influence became decisive. The Victorian frame of mind is
largely composed of their characteristic modes of thought and
Industrialisation brought with it a rapidly growing middle class whose
increase in numbers had a significant effect on the social strata
itself: cultural norms, lifestyle, values and morality. Identifiable
characteristics came to define the middle class home and lifestyle.
Previously, in town and city, residential space was adjacent to or
incorporated into the work site, virtually occupying the same
geographical space. The difference between private life and commerce
was a fluid one distinguished by an informal demarcation of function.
In the Victorian era, English family life increasingly became
compartmentalised, the home a self-contained structure housing a
nuclear family extended according to need and circumstance to include
blood relations. The concept of "privacy" became a hallmark of the
The English home closed up and darkened over the decade (1850s), the
cult of domesticity matched by a cult of privacy. Bourgeois existence
was a world of interior space, heavily curtained off and wary of
intrusion, and opened only by invitation for viewing on occasions such
as parties or teas. "The essential, unknowability of each individual,
and society's collaboration in the maintenance of a façade behind
which lurked innumerable mysteries, were the themes which preoccupied
many mid-century novelists."
Kate Summerscale quoting historian Anthony S. Wohl
Main article: History of journalism in the United Kingdom
A wounded British officer reading The Times's report of the end of the
There were four major factors that radically transformed newspapers in
19th century Britain. First, by the 1830s the government had ended
very high taxes and lifted severe legal restraints. Second, new
machines, especially the rotary press, allowed the printing of tens of
thousands of copies a day at a low cost. Third, the newspapers reached
out to new readers in multiple ways, including features,
illustrations, and advertisements that enlarged the audience. Finally,
the franchise was expanded from one or two percent of the men to a
majority, and newspapers became the primary means of political
In 1817 Thomas Barnes became general editor of The Times; he was a
political radical, a sharp critic of parliamentary hypocrisy and a
champion of freedom of the press. Under Barnes and his successor
in 1841, John Thadeus Delane, the influence of
The Times rose to great
heights, especially in politics and in the financial district (the
City of London). It spoke of reform.
The Times originated the
practice of sending war correspondents to cover particular conflicts.
W. H. Russell
W. H. Russell wrote immensely influential dispatches on the Crimean
War of 1853-1856; for the first time, the public could read about the
reality of warfare. Russell wrote one dispatch that highlighted the
surgeons' "inhumane barbarity" and the lack of ambulance care for
wounded troops. Shocked and outraged, the public reacted in a backlash
that led to major reforms especially in the provision of nursing, led
by Florence Nightingale.
Manchester Guardian was founded in Manchester in 1821 by a group
of non-conformist businessmen. Its most famous editor, Charles
Prestwich Scott, made the Guardian into a world-famous newspaper in
the 1890s. The Daily
Telegraph in 1856 became the first penny
newspaper in London. It was funded by advertising revenue based on a
Ramsgate beach in 1899
Opportunities for leisure activities increased dramatically as real
wages continued to grow and hours of work continued to decline. In
urban areas, the nine-hour workday became increasingly the norm; the
1874 Factory Act limited the workweek to 56.5 hours, encouraging the
movement toward an eventual eight-hour workday. Furthermore, a system
of routine annual vacations came into play, starting with white-collar
workers and moving into the working-class. Some 200 seaside
resorts emerged thanks to cheap hotels and inexpensive railway fares,
widespread banking holidays and the fading of many religious
prohibitions against secular activities on Sundays.
By the late Victorian era, the leisure industry had emerged in all
cities. It provided scheduled entertainment of suitable length at
convenient locales at inexpensive prices. These included sporting
events, music halls, and popular theater. By 1880 football was no
longer the preserve of the social elite, as it attracted large
working-class audiences. Average gate attendance was 5000 in 1905,
rising to 23,000 in 1913. That amounted to 6 million paying customers
with a weekly turnover of £400,000. Sports by 1900 generated some
three percent of the total gross national product. Professional sports
were the norm, although some new activities reached an upscale amateur
audience, such as lawn tennis and golf. Women were now allowed in some
sports, such as archery, tennis, badminton and gymnastics.
The very rapid growth in population in the 19th century in the cities
included the new industrial and manufacturing cities, as well as
service centres such as Edinburgh and London. The critical factor was
financing, which was handled by building societies that dealt directly
with large contracting firms. Private renting from housing
landlords was the dominant tenure. P. Kemp says this was usually of
advantage to tenants. People moved in so rapidly that there was
not enough capital to build adequate housing for everyone, so low
income newcomers squeezed into increasingly overcrowded slums. Clean
water, sanitation, and public health facilities were inadequate; the
death rate was high, especially infant mortality, and tuberculosis
among young adults.
Cholera from polluted water and typhoid were
endemic. Unlike rural areas, there were no famines such as the one
which devastated Ireland in the 1840s.
Part of Charles Booth's poverty map showing the Old Nichol, a slum in
the East End of London. Published 1889 in Life and Labour of the
People in London. The red areas are "middle class, well-to-do", light
blue areas are "poor, 18s to 21s a week for a moderate family", dark
blue areas are "very poor, casual, chronic want", and black areas are
the "lowest class...occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers,
criminals and semi-criminals".
Working class life in Victorian Wetherby, West Yorkshire
19th century Britain saw a huge population increase accompanied by
rapid urbanisation stimulated by the Industrial Revolution. Wage rates
improved steadily; real wages (after taking inflation into account)
were 65 percent higher in 1901, compared to 1871. Much of the money
was saved, as the number of depositors in savings banks rose from
430,000 in 1831, to 5.2 million in 1887, and their deposits from £14
million to over £90 million. People flooded into industrial areas
and commercial cities faster than housing could be built, resulting in
overcrowding and lagging sanitation facilities such as fresh water and
sewage. These problems were magnified in London, where the population
grew at record rates. Large houses were turned into flats and
tenements, and as landlords failed to maintain these dwellings, slum
Kellow Chesney described the situation as follows:
"Hideous slums, some of them acres wide, some no more than crannies of
obscure misery, make up a substantial part of the metropolis... In
big, once handsome houses, thirty or more people of all ages may
inhabit a single room." Significant changes happened in the
British Poor Law system in
England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
These included a large expansion in workhouses (or poorhouses in
Scotland), although with changing populations during the era.
Girl pulling a coal tub in mine. From official report of the
parliamentary commission in the mid 19th century.
Victorian era before the reforms of the 1840s became
notorious for the employment of young children in factories and mines
and as chimney sweeps.
Child labour played an important role
Industrial Revolution from its outset: novelist Charles
Dickens, for example, worked at the age of 12 in a blacking factory,
with his family in a debtors' prison. Reformers wanted the children in
school: in 1840 only about 20 percent of the children in London had
any schooling. By 1860 about half of the children between 5 and 15
were in school (including Sunday school).
The children of the poor were expected to help towards the family
budget, often working long hours in dangerous jobs for low wages.
Agile boys were employed by the chimney sweeps; small children were
employed to scramble under machinery to retrieve cotton bobbins; and
children were also employed to work in coal mines, crawling through
tunnels too narrow and low for adults. Children also worked as errand
boys, crossing sweepers, shoe blacks, or sold matches, flowers, and
other cheap goods. Some children undertook work as apprentices to
respectable trades, such as building, or as domestic servants (there
were over 120,000 domestic servants in London in the mid 19th
century). Working hours were long: builders might work 64 hours a week
in summer and 52 in winter, while domestic servants were theoretically
on duty 80-hours a week.
"Mother bides at home, she is troubled with bad breath, and is sair
weak in her body from early labour. I am wrought with sister and
brother, it is very sore work; cannot say how many rakes or journeys I
make from pit's bottom to wall face and back, thinks about 30 or 25 on
the average; the distance varies from 100 to 250 fathom. I carry about
1 cwt. and a quarter on my back; have to stoop much and creep through
water, which is frequently up to the calves of my legs." (Isabella
Read, 12 years old, coal-bearer, testimony gathered by Ashley's Mines
As early as 1802 and 1819,
Factory Acts were passed to limit the
working hours of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills to
12 hours per day. These acts were largely ineffective and after
radical agitation, by for example the "Short Time Committees" in 1831,
Royal Commission recommended in 1833 that children aged 11–18
should work a maximum of 12 hours per day, children aged 9–11 a
maximum of eight hours, and children under the age of nine should no
longer be permitted to work. This act, however, only applied to the
textile industry, and further agitation led to another act in 1847
limiting both adults and children to 10-hour working days.
Victorian morality and Women in the Victorian era
Victorian era is famous for the Victorian standards of personal
morality. Historians generally agree that the middle classes held high
personal moral standards (and usually followed them), but have debated
whether the working classes followed suit. Moralists in the late 19th
century such as
Henry Mayhew decried the slums for their supposed high
levels of cohabitation without marriage and illegitimate births.
However new research using computerized matching of data files shows
that the rates of cohabitation were quite low—under 5%—for the
working class and the poor. By contrast in 21st century Britain,
nearly half of all children are born outside marriage, and nine in ten
newlyweds have been cohabitating.
A victim of Jack the Ripper
Prostitution had been a factor in city life for centuries. The
reformers started mobilizing in the late 1840s, major news
organisations, clergymen, and single women became increasingly
concerned about prostitution, which came to be known as "The Great
Social Evil". Estimates of the number of prostitutes in London in
the 1850s vary widely (in his landmark study, Prostitution, William
Acton reported that the police estimated there were 8,600 in London
alone in 1857).
While the Magdalene Asylums had been reforming prostitutes since the
mid-18th century, the years between 1848 and 1870 saw a veritable
explosion in the number of institutions working to "reclaim" these
"fallen women" from the streets and retrain them for entry into
respectable society — usually for work as domestic servants.
The theme of prostitution and the "fallen woman" (any woman who has
had sexual intercourse out of marriage) became a staple feature of
Victorian literature and politics. In the writings of Henry
Mayhew, Charles Booth,
Charles Dickens and others, prostitution began
to be seen as a social problem.
When Parliament passed the first of the
Contagious Diseases Acts in
1864 (which allowed the local constabulary to force any woman
suspected of venereal disease to submit to its inspection), Josephine
Butler's crusade to repeal the CD Acts yoked the anti-prostitution
cause with the emergent feminist movement. Butler attacked the
long-established double standard of sexual morality.
Prostitutes were often presented as victims in sentimental literature
such as Thomas Hood's poem The Bridge of Sighs, Elizabeth Gaskell's
novel Mary Barton, and Dickens' novel Oliver Twist. The emphasis on
the purity of women found in such works as Coventry Patmore's The
Angel in the House led to the portrayal of the prostitute and fallen
woman as soiled, corrupted, and in need of cleansing.
This emphasis on female purity was allied to the stress on the
homemaking role of women, who helped to create a space free from the
pollution and corruption of the city. In this respect, the prostitute
came to have symbolic significance as the embodiment of the violation
of that divide. The double standard remained in force. Divorce
legislation introduced in 1857 allowed for a man to divorce his wife
for adultery, but a woman could only divorce if adultery were
accompanied by cruelty. The anonymity of the city led to a large
increase in prostitution and unsanctioned sexual relationships.
Dickens and other writers associated prostitution with the
mechanisation and industrialisation of modern life, portraying
prostitutes as human commodities consumed and thrown away like refuse
when they were used up. Moral reform movements attempted to close down
brothels, something that has sometimes been argued to have been a
factor in the concentration of street-prostitution.
Passage of the first Reform Act.
The 1843 launch of the Great Britain, the revolutionary ship of
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Queen Victoria to the throne.
Treaty of Balta Liman
Treaty of Balta Liman (
Great Britain trade alliance with the Ottoman
First Opium War
First Opium War (1839–42) fought between Britain and China.
Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield. He had
been naturalised and granted the British style of Royal Highness
beforehand. For the next 17 years, he was known as HRH Prince Albert.
Birth of the Queen's first child The Princess Victoria. Within months
she was granted the title Princess Royal.
New Zealand becomes a British colony, through the Treaty of Waitangi.
No longer part of New South Wales
First Opium War: British ships approaching Canton in May 1841
Birth of the Queen's heir-apparent The Prince Albert Edward, Duke of
Cornwall (Duke of Rothesay). He was swiftly made Prince of Wales. Sir
James Brooke founds the White Rajah dynasty of Sarawak.
The last stand of the survivors of Her Majesty's 44th Foot at
Treaty of Nanking. The
Massacre of Elphinstone's Army
Massacre of Elphinstone's Army by the Afghans
in Afghanistan results in the death or incarceration of 16,500
soldiers and civilians. The
Mines Act of 1842
Mines Act of 1842 banned
women/children from working in coal, iron, lead and tin mining.
The Illustrated London News
The Illustrated London News was first published.
Birth of The Princess Alice
Birth of The Prince Alfred
The Irish famine begins. Within 5 years it would become the UK's worst
human disaster, with starvation and emigration reducing the population
of Ireland itself by over 50%. The famine permanently changed
Ireland's and Scotland's demographics and became a rallying point for
nationalist sentiment that pervaded British politics for much of the
Repeal of the Corn Laws.
Birth of The Princess Helena
Death of around 2,000 people a week in a cholera epidemic.
Birth of The Princess Louise
The last of the mail coaches at Newcastle upon Tyne, 1848
Restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in
England and Wales.
Scotland did not follow until 1878.)
Birth of The Prince Arthur
The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition (the first World's Fair) is held at the Crystal
Palace, with great success and international attention. The
Victorian gold rush. In ten years the Australian population nearly
The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition in London. The
United Kingdom was the first
country in the world to industrialise.
Birth of The Prince Leopold
Crimean War: The
United Kingdom declares war on Russia.
The Indian Mutiny, a widespread revolt in India against the rule of
the British East India Company, is sparked by sepoys (native Indian
soldiers) in the Company's army. The rebellion, involving not just
sepoys but many sectors of the Indian population as well, is largely
quashed within a year. In response to the mutiny, the East India
Company is abolished in August 1858 and India comes under the direct
rule of the British crown, beginning the period of the British Raj.
Prince Albert is given the title The Prince Consort
Birth of The Princess Beatrice
The Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, responds to the Orsini plot
against French emperor Napoleon III, the bombs for which were
purchased in Birmingham, by attempting to make such acts a felony; the
resulting uproar forces him to resign.
Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species, which leads to
various reactions. Victoria and Albert's first grandchild, Prince
Wilhelm of Prussia, is born — he later became William II,
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill publishes On Liberty, a defence of
the famous harm principle.
Governor-General of India
Lord Canning meets Maharaja
Ranbir Singh of
Jammu and Kashmir, 1860
Death of Prince Albert;
Queen Victoria refuses to go out in
public for many years, and when she did she wore a widow's bonnet
instead of the crown.
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales marries Princess
Alexandra of Denmark
Alexandra of Denmark at Windsor.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is published.
An angry crowd in London, protesting against John Russell's
resignation as Prime Minister, is barred from Hyde Park by the police;
they tear down iron railings and trample on flower beds. Disturbances
like this convince Derby and Disraeli of the need for further
Constitution Act, 1867
Constitution Act, 1867 passes and
British North America
British North America becomes
Dominion of Canada.
The defence of Rorke's Drift during the
Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
Britain purchased Egypt's shares in the Suez Canal as the African
nation was forced to raise money to pay off its debts.
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
The Princess Alice becomes Grand Duchess of Hesse when her husband
succeeds as Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse
Treaty of Berlin (1878).
Cyprus becomes a Crown colony. The Princess
Alice dies. Princess Louise's husband The Marquis of Lorne is
appointed Governor-General of Canada. First incandescent light bulb by
Joseph Wilson Swan.
Battle of Isandlwana
Battle of Isandlwana is the first major encounter in the
Anglo-Zulu War. Victoria and Albert's first great-grandchild, Princess
Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen, is born.
Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War
Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War in 1896, the British proclaimed
a protectorate over the Ashanti Kingdom.
The British suffer defeat at the Battle of Majuba Hill, leading to the
signing of a peace treaty and later the Pretoria Convention, between
the British and the reinstated South African Republic, ending the
Boer War. Sometimes claimed to mark the beginning of the decline
of the British Empire.
British troops begin the occupation of Egypt by taking the Suez Canal,
to secure the vital trade route and passage to India, and the country
becomes a protectorate.
Princess Louise and Lord Lorne return from Canada
Fabian Society is founded in London by a group of middle class
intellectuals, including Quaker Edward R. Pease, Havelock Ellis, and
E. Nesbit, to promote socialism. Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
Blackpool Electric Tramway Company
Blackpool Electric Tramway Company starts the first electric tram
service in the United Kingdom.
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone and the Liberal Party tries
passing the First Irish Home Rule Bill, but the House of Commons
Daimler Wagonette, Ireland, c. 1899
The serial killer known as
Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper murders and mutilates five
(and possibly more) prostitutes on the streets of London.
Victoria's eldest daughter, the Princess Royal, becomes German Empress
when her husband succeeds as Frederick III, German Emperor. Within
months, Frederick dies, and their son becomes William II, German
Emperor. The widowed Vicky becomes the
Dowager Empress as is known as
Emily Williamson founds the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
British and Australian officers in South Africa during the Second Boer
1870 – 1891
Under the Elementary Education Act 1870, basic State Education becomes
free for every child under the age of 10.
Victoria and Albert's last grandchild, Prince Maurice of Battenberg,
The Prince of Wales' eldest son Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence
dies of influenza.
Workmen leaving Platt's Works, Oldham, 1900
The Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh succeeds as Duke of Saxe-Coburg
and Gotha when his uncle dies. The Duchy skips over The Prince of
Wales due to his renunciation of his succession rights to that Duchy.
British and Egyptian troops led by Horatio Kitchener defeat the
Mahdist forces at the battle of Omdurman, thus establishing British
dominance in the Sudan. Winston Churchill takes part in the British
cavalry charge at Omdurman.
Second Boer War
Second Boer War is fought between the
British Empire and the two
Boer republics. The Boers finally surrendered and the
British annexed the
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha dies. His nephew Prince Charles
Edward, Duke of Albany succeeds him, because his brother Prince
Arthur, Duke of Connaught and nephew
Prince Arthur of Connaught
Prince Arthur of Connaught had
renounced their rights.
The death of Victoria sees the end of this era. The ascension of her
eldest son, Edward, begins the Edwardian era; albeit considerably
shorter, this was another time of great change.
Victorian era portal
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland covers politics and
Historiography of the United Kingdom
Historiography of the British Empire
International relations of the
Great Powers (1814–1919)
Victorian decorative arts
Social history of England
Women in the Victorian era
Gilded Age, in the United States
Belle Époque, in France
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Cycling" in Victorian-Era.org Online
^ Houghton, The Victorian Frame of Mind, p. 5
^ Bernard Porter, Britannia's Burden: The Political
Modern Britain 1851–1890 (1994) ch 3
^ F. M. L. Thompson, Rise of Respectable Society: A Social History of
Victorian Britain, 1830–1900 (1988) pP 211–14
^ Porter, ch 1–3; K Theodore Hoppen, The Mid-Victorian Generation:
1846–1886 (1998), ch 1 to 3, 9–11
^ Llewellyn Woodward, The Age of Reform, 1815–1870 (2nd ed. 1962) p
^ Lionel Thomas Caswell Rolt, Victorian engineering (Penguin, 1974).
^ Herbert L. Sussman, Victorian technology: invention, innovation, and
the rise of the machine (ABC-CLIO, 2009)
^ John R. Kellett, The impact of railways on Victorian cities
^ Tom Standage, The Victorian Internet: The remarkable story of the
telegraph and the nineteenth century's online pioneers (Weidenfeld
& Nicolson, 1998).
^ Anthony S. Wohl, Endangered lives: public health in Victorian
Britain (JM Dent and Sons, 1983)
^ Jack Simmons and Gordon Biddle, eds., The Oxford Companion to
British Railway History: From 1603 to the 1990s (2nd ed. 1999)
^ L.T.C. Rolt, George & Robert Stephenson: The Railway Revolution
^ For example see John H. Jensen and Gerhard Rosegger. "British
Railway Builders along the Lower Danube, 1856-1869." Slavonic and East
European Review 46#106 (1968): 105-128; H. R. Stones, British railways
in Argentina 1860-1948 (1993)
^ Charles Walker, Thomas Brassey: railway builder (1969).
^ Mark Casson, The World's First Railway System: Enterprise,
Competition, and Regulation on the Railway Network in Victorian
^ R. S Joby, The Railway Builders: Lives and Works of the Victorian
Railway Contractors (1983)
^ Ian J. Kerr, Building the Railways of the Raj, 1850-1900 (1995).
^ "Dr William Green Morton (1819–68)". General-anaesthesia.com.
Retrieved 10 August 2010.
^ a b c "History of chloroform anaesthesia". General-anaesthesia.com.
Retrieved 10 August 2010.
^ Ralph R. Frerichs. "Anesthesia and Queen Victoria". Ph.ucla.edu.
Retrieved 10 August 2010.
^ a b c "h2g2 – Waterloo Teeth: A History of Dentures". BBC. 24
August 2005. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
^ "Waterloo Teeth". Historyhome.co.uk. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
^ a b "Joseph Lister". Web.ukonline.co.uk. 10 February 1912. Archived
from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
^ "Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population: Library of
^ Simon Szreter, Fertility, class and gender in Britain, 1860-1940
(Cambridge University Press, 2002).
^ Roberts, Elizabeth (1984). A Woman’s Place: An Oral History of
Working – Class Women 1890 – 1940. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
^ Bradlaw and Besant published 'Fruits of Philosophy', which is a
publication about birth control.
^ a b Szreter, Simon (1988). "The importance of social intervention in
Britain's mortality decline c.1850–1914: A re-interpretation of the
role of public health". Social History of Medicine. 1: 1–37.
doi:10.1093/shm/1.1.1. (subscription required)
^ Robert W. Fogel, The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death,
1700–2100: Europe, America, and the Third World (Cambridge Studies
in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time) (2004) p 40
^ Peter Vinten-Johansen et al. Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of
Medicine: A Life of John Snow (2003) p. 355
^ D. W. Bebbington, The
Nonconformist Conscience: Chapel and Politics,
1870-1914 (George Allen & Unwin, 1982)
^ David L. Wykes, "Introduction: Parliament and Dissent from the
Restoration to the Twentieth Century," Parliamentary History (2005)
24#1 pp 1-26
^ Houghton, The Victorian Frame of Mind, p. 1
^ Wohl, Anthony S. (1978). The Victorian family: structure and
stresses. London: Croom Helm. ISBN 9780856644382.
Cited in: Summerscale, Kate (2008). The suspicions of Mr. Whicher or
the murder at Road Hill House. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 109–110.
ISBN 9780747596486. (novel)
^ Andrew Marr, My trade: a short history of British journalism (2004)
^ Reginald Watters, "Thomas Barnes and 'The Times' 1817-1841," History
Today (1979) 29#9 pp 561-68
^ Trowbridge H. Ford, "Political Coverage in 'The Times,' 1811-41: The
Role of Barnes and Brougham," Bulletin of the Institute of Historical
Research (1986) 59#139, pp 91-107.
^ Alan Hankinson, Man of Wars: William Howard Russell of 'The Times'
^ G. R. Searle, A New England?: Peace and War, 1886-1918 (Oxford
University Press, 2004), 529-70.
^ Hugh Cunningham, Time, work and leisure: Life changes in England
since 1700 (2014)
^ John K. Walton, The English seaside resort. A social history
^ Searle, A New England? pp 547-53
^ H.J. Dyos, "The speculative builders and developers of Victorian
London." Victorian Studies 11 (1968): 641-690. in JSTOR
^ Christopher Powell, The British building industry since 1800: An
economic history (Taylor & Francis, 1996).
^ P. Kemp, "Housing landlordism in late nineteenth-century Britain."
Environment and Planning A 14.11 (1982): 1437-1447.
^ H.J. Dyos, "The Slums of Victorian London." Victorian Studies 11.1
(1967): 5-40. in JSTOR
^ Anthony S. Wohl, The eternal slum: housing and social policy in
Victorian London (1977).
^ Martin J. Daunton, House and home in the Victorian city: working
class housing, 1850-1914 (1983).
^ J. A. R. Marriott, Modern England: 1885-1945 (4th ed., 1948) p 166.
^ a b c Barbara Daniels, Poverty and Families in the Victorian Era
^ a b Testimony Gathered by Ashley's Mines Commission Laura Del Col,
West Virginia University
^ Jane Humphries, Childhood & Child Labour in The British
Industrial Revolution (Cambridge UP, 2016).
^ Del Col, Laura (1988). "The Life of the Industrial Worker in
Ninteenth-Century [sic] England". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 19
^ a b Child Labor David Cody, Hartwick College
^ Rebecca Probert, "Living in Sin," BBC History Magazine (September
2012); G. Frost, Living in Sin: Cohabiting as Husband and Wife in
England (Manchester U.P. 2008)
^ Judith R. Walkowitz, Prostitution and Victorian society: Women,
class, and the state (1982).
^ Nancy Boyd, Three Victorian Women Who Changed Their World: Josephine
Butler, Octavia Hill,
Florence Nightingale (1982)
^ George Watt, The fallen woman in the nineteenth-century English
^ Judith R. Walkowitz, "Male vice and feminist virtue: feminism and
the politics of prostitution in nineteenth-century Britain." History
Workshop (1982) 13:79–93. in JSTOR
^ a b c d e f g h i Swisher, Clarice, ed. Victorian England. San
Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. pp. 248–250
^ "Anthony Brooke". The Daily Telegraph. 8 July 2012.
^ Vallely, Paul (25 April 2006). "1841: A window on Victorian
Britain". London: Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
^ "Illustrated London News". Iln.org.uk. Retrieved 10 August
^ California Gold Rush Archived 24 November 2011 at the Wayback
Machine.. Robert Whaples, Wake Forest University.
^ Farwell, Byron (2009). Queen Victoria's Little Wars. Pen & Sword
Books. ISBN 9781848840157.
^ "Is this what Labour's next Clause four should say?".
Fabians.org.uk. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved
10 August 2010.
^ "1870 Education Act". Archived from the original on 11 September
2009. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
Hobsbawm, Eric (1997). The Age of Capital, 1848−1875. London:
Houghton, Walter E. (1957). The Victorian frame of mind, 1830-1870
(16. printing. ed.). New Haven: Yale Univ. Press for Wesley College.
Clarice Swisher, ed. (2000). Victorian England. San Diego: Greenhaven
Adams, James, ed. Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era (4 Vol. 2004),
short essays on a wide range of topics by experts
Altick, Richard Daniel. Victorian People and Ideas: A Companion for
the Modern Reader of Victorian Literature. W.W. Norton & Company:
1974. ISBN 0-393-09376-X.
Bailey, Peter. Leisure and class in Victorian England: Rational
recreation and the contest for control, 1830-1885 (Routledge, 2014).
Bourne, Kenneth. The foreign policy of Victorian England, 1830-1902
(Oxford UP, 1970.) pp 195–504 are 147 "Selected documents"
Boyd, Kelly and Rohan McWilliam, eds. The Victorian Studies Reader
(2007) 467pp; articles and excerpts by scholars excepts and text
Bright, J. Franck. A History Of England. Period 4: Growth Of
Democracy: Victoria 1837-1880 (1902)online 608pp; highly detailed
Burton, Antoinette, ed. Politics and Empire in Victorian Britain: A
Reader. Palgrave Macmillan: 2001. ISBN 0-312-29335-6.
Clark, G. Kitson The making of Victorian
Ensor, R. C. K. England, 1870–1914 (1936) online
Flanders, Judith. Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic
Life in Victorian England. W.W. Norton & Company: 2004.
Harrison, J.F.C. Late Victorian Britain 1875-1901 (Routledge, 2013).
Heffer, Simon. High Minds: The Victorians and the Birth of Modern
Britain (2014), survey to 1880.
Heffer, Simon. The Age of Decadence: Britain 1880 to 1914 (2017),
wide-ranging scholarly survey.
Heilmann, Ann, and Mark Llewellyn, eds. Neo-Victorianism: The
Victorians in the Twenty-First Century, 1999–2009 (Palgrave
Macmillan; 2011) 323 pages; looks at recent literary & cinematic,
interest in the Victorian era, including magic, sexuality, theme
parks, and the postcolonial
Hoppen, K. Theodore. The Mid-Victorian Generation 1846-1886 (New
Oxford History of England) (2000), comprehensive scholarly history
excerpt and text search
McCord, Norman and Bill Purdue. British History, 1815-1914 (2nd ed.
2007), 612 pp online, university textbook
Marriott, J. A. R.
England Since Waterloo (1913) online
Martin, Howard.Britain in the 19th Century (Challenging History
series, 2000) 409pp; textbook; emphasizing politics, diplomacy and use
of primary sources
Mitchell, Sally. Daily Life in Victorian England. Greenwood Press:
1996. ISBN 0-313-29467-4.
Paul, Herbert. History of Modern England, 1904-6 (5 vols) vol 2 online
Roberts, Clayton and David F. Roberts. A History of England, Volume 2:
1688 to the present (2013) university textbook; 1985 edition online
Steinbach, Susie L. Understanding the Victorians: Politics, Culture
and Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2012) excerpt and text
Walpole, Spencer. A
History of England
History of England from the Conclusion of the
Great War in 1815 (6 vol. 1878-86), very well written political
narrative to 1855; online
Walpole, Spencer. History of Twenty-Five Years (4 vol. 1904-1908)
covers 1856-1880; online
Weiler, Peter. The New Liberalism: Liberal Social Theory in Great
Britain, 1889-1914 (Routledge, 2016).
Wilson, A. N. The Victorians. Arrow Books: 2002.
Woodward, E. L. The Age of Reform: 1815-1870 (1954) comprehensive
Burton, Antoinette. "Victorian History: Some Experiments with
Syllabi." Victorian Studies 54.2 (2012): 305-311.
Elton, G.R. Modern Historians on British History 1485-1945: A Critical
Bibliography 1945-1969 (1969), annotated guide to 1000 history books
on every major topic, plus book reviews and major scholarly articles.
Goodlad, Lauren ME. "'A Middle Class Cut into Two': Historiography and
Victorian National Character." ELH 67.1 (2000): 143-178.
Homans, Margaret, and Adrienne Munich, eds. Remaking Queen Victoria
(Cambridge University Press, 1997)
Kent, Christopher. "Victorian social history: post-Thompson,
post-Foucault, postmodern." Victorian Studies (1996): 97-133. [ in
Mays, Kelly J. "Looking backward, looking forward: the Victorians in
the rear-view mirror of future history." Victorian Studies 53.3
Moore, D. C. "In Search of a New Past: 1820 – 1870," in Richard
Schlatter, ed., Recent Views on British History: Essays on Historical
Writing since 1966 (Rutgers UP, 1984), pp 255 – 298
Parry, J. P. "The State of Victorian Political History." Historical
Journal (1983) 26#2 pp. 469–484 online
Sandiford, Keith AP. "The Victorians at play: Problems in
historiographical methodology." Journal of Social History (1981):
271-288. in JSTOR
Stansky, Peter. "British History: 1870 – 1914," in Richard
Schlatter, ed., Recent Views on British History: Essays on Historical
Writing since 1966 (Rutgers UP, 1984), pp 299 – 326
Vernon, James. "Historians and the Victorian Studies Question."
Victorian Studies 47.2 (2005): 272-79
Webb, R.K. Modern England: from the 18th century to the present (1968)
online widely recommended university textbook
Black, E.C. ed. British politics in the nineteenth century (1969)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Victorian era.
Victorians British Library website exploring the Victorian period.
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