Victorian era

Victorian era

Overview
The Victorian era of British history
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence. Some scholars date the beginning of the period in terms of sensibilities and political concerns to the passage of the Reform Act 1832
Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales...

.

The era was preceded by the Georgian period
Georgian era
The Georgian era is a period of British history which takes its name from, and is normally defined as spanning the reigns of, the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain : George I, George II, George III and George IV...

 and succeeded by the Edwardian period.
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Encyclopedia
The Victorian era of British history
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence. Some scholars date the beginning of the period in terms of sensibilities and political concerns to the passage of the Reform Act 1832
Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales...

.

The era was preceded by the Georgian period
Georgian era
The Georgian era is a period of British history which takes its name from, and is normally defined as spanning the reigns of, the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain : George I, George II, George III and George IV...

 and succeeded by the Edwardian period. The latter half of the Victorian age roughly coincided with the first portion of the Belle Époque
Belle Époque
The Belle Époque or La Belle Époque was a period in European social history that began during the late 19th century and lasted until World War I. Occurring during the era of the French Third Republic and the German Empire, it was a period characterised by optimism and new technological and medical...

era of continental Europe and the Gilded Age
Gilded Age
In United States history, the Gilded Age refers to the era of rapid economic and population growth in the United States during the post–Civil War and post-Reconstruction eras of the late 19th century. The term "Gilded Age" was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their book The Gilded...

of the United States.

Culturally there was a transition away from the rationalism of the Georgian period and toward romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and the arts. The era is popularly associated with the values of social and sexual restraint
Victorian morality
Victorian morality is a distillation of the moral views of people living at the time of Queen Victoria's reign and of the moral climate of the United Kingdom throughout the 19th century in general, which contrasted greatly with the morality of the previous Georgian period...

.

In international relations the era was a long period of peace, known as the Pax Britannica
Pax Britannica
Pax Britannica was the period of relative peace in Europe when the British Empire controlled most of the key maritime trade routes and enjoyed unchallenged sea power...

, and economic, colonial, and industrial consolidation, temporarily disrupted by the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 in 1854. The end of the period saw the Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

. Domestically, the agenda was increasingly liberal with a number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform
Reform movement
A reform movement is a kind of social movement that aims to make gradual change, or change in certain aspects of society, rather than rapid or fundamental changes...

, industrial reform and the widening of the voting franchise
Suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

.

The population of England almost doubled from 16.8 million in 1851 to 30.5 million in 1901. Scotland's population also rose rapidly, from 2.8 million in 1851 to 4.4 million in 1901. Ireland's population decreased rapidly, from 8.2 million in 1841 to less than 4.5 million in 1901, mostly due to the Great Famine. At the same time, around 15 million emigrants left the United Kingdom in the Victorian era and settled mostly in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

During the early part of the era, the House of Commons was headed by the two parties, the Whigs and the Tories. From the late 1850s onwards, the Whigs became the Liberals
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

; the Tories became the Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

. These parties were led by many prominent statesmen including Lord Melbourne
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, PC, FRS was a British Whig statesman who served as Home Secretary and Prime Minister . He is best known for his intense and successful mentoring of Queen Victoria, at ages 18-21, in the ways of politics...

, Sir Robert Peel
Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 December 1834 to 8 April 1835, and again from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846...

, Lord Derby
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, KG, PC was an English statesman, three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and to date the longest serving leader of the Conservative Party. He was known before 1834 as Edward Stanley, and from 1834 to 1851 as Lord Stanley...

, Lord Palmerston, William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

, Benjamin Disraeli, 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. Indeed, these issues would eventually lead to the Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

 of 1916 and the subsequent domino effect
Domino effect
The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes...

 that would play a large part in the fall of the empire.

Victoria's reign lasted for 63 years and 216 days, the longest in British history up to the present day. However, the present monarch, Elizabeth II, will surpass this if she remains on the throne until 9 September 2015.

Population in the Victorian era


The Victorian era was a time of unprecedented demographic increase in England. The population rose from 13.897 million in 1831 to 32.528 million in 1901. Two major factors affecting population growth are fertility rates and mortality rates. England was the first country to undergo the Demographic transition
Demographic transition
The demographic transition model is the transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates as a country develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system. The theory is based on an interpretation of demographic history developed in 1929 by the American...

 and the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

.

Many countries in the 19th century did not increase in population so rapidly and successfully throughout the Industrial Revolution. At the time, some believed this lack of growth outside Britain was due to the ‘Malthusian trap
Malthusian trap
The Malthusian trap, named after political economist Thomas Robert Malthus, suggests that for most of human history, income was largely stagnant because technological advances and discoveries only resulted in more people, rather than improvements in the standard of living...

’ theory; Thomas Malthus argued before the start of the Industrial Revolution that it was the tendency of a population to expand beyond the limits of resource sustainability, at which point a crisis (such as famine, war, or epidemic) would reduce the population to a sustainable size. England 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.

Fertility rates


Fertility rates in the Victorian era increased every decade until 1901 when the rates started evening out. There are several reasons for the increase in birth rates. One reason is biological. With living standards improving, the percentage of women who were able to have children increased. Another possible explanation is social. In the 19th century, the marriage rate increased, and the age people were getting married was very young until the end of the 19th century, when the average age of marriage started to increase again slowly. 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 inside 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 in population per every thousand people. This is thought not to be accurate enough as key groups and their fertility rates are not clear. It also does not take into account population changes, e.g. same number of births in a smaller population (if men go to war, etc.). It was then changed to be recorded by the ‘Net Reproduction Rate’ that only measured the fertility rate of women who were capable of giving birth.

The evening out of fertility rates at the beginning of the 20th century was mainly a result of a few big changes: forms of birth control became available, and people's attitude towards sex altered (Bradlaw and Besant published ‘Fruits of Philosophy’, which is a publication about birth control.) Abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 also became a more widely used practice - with attitudes becoming less negative towards it. Finally, the state stopped children working - attitudes to children changed as they were no longer seen as economical assets.

Mortality rates



The mortality rates in England changed greatly through the 19th century. There was no catastrophic epidemic or famine in England or Scotland in the 19th century - it was the first century in which a major epidemic did not occur, with deaths per 1000 of population per year dropping from 22.4 from 1841-50 to 14.4 from 1911-20. Class had a big effect on mortality rates as the upper class
Upper class
In social science, the "upper class" is the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class may have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.- Historical meaning :...

es 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. 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 was also improving because the population had more money to spend on medical technology (for example, techniques to prevent death in childbirth so more women and children survived), which also led to a greater number of cures for diseases. However, a cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 epidemic took place in London in 1848-49 killing 14,137, and subsequently in 1853, killing 10,738 . This anomaly was attributed to the closure and replacement of cesspit
Cesspit
A cesspit, or cesspool is a pit, conservancy tank, or covered cistern, which can be used to dispose of urine and feces, and more generally of all sewage and refuse. It is a more antiquated solution than a sewer system. Traditionally, it was a deep cylindrical chamber dug into the earth, having...

s, by the modern sewerage systems.

Culture



Gothic Revival architecture
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 became increasingly significant during the period, leading to the Battle of the Styles
Battle of the Styles
The Battle of the Styles is a term used to refer to the conflict between supporters of the Gothic style and the Classical style in architecture. In Britain this led to public debates between Decimus Burton and Augustus Pugin. In France it led to controversy over the work of Viollet-le-Duc...

 between Gothic and Classical
Classical architecture
Classical architecture is a mode of architecture employing vocabulary derived in part from the Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, enriched by classicizing architectural practice in Europe since the Renaissance...

 ideals. Charles Barry
Charles Barry
Sir Charles Barry FRS was an English architect, best known for his role in the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in London during the mid-19th century, but also responsible for numerous other buildings and gardens.- Background and training :Born on 23 May 1795 in Bridge Street, Westminster...

's architecture for the new Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

, which had been badly damaged in an 1834 fire
Burning of Parliament
Burning of Parliament is the popular name for the fire which destroyed the Palace of Westminster, the home of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, on 16 October 1834...

, was built in the medieval style
Medieval architecture
Medieval architecture is a term used to represent various forms of architecture common in Medieval Europe.-Characteristics:-Religious architecture:...

 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
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, a comparison common to the period, as expressed in Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher during the Victorian era.He called economics "the dismal science", wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, and became a controversial social commentator.Coming from a strict Calvinist family, Carlyle was...

's The French Revolution: A History
The French Revolution: A History
The French Revolution: A History was written by the Scottish essayist, philosopher, and historian Thomas Carlyle. The three-volume work, first published in 1837 , charts the course of the French Revolution from 1789 to the height of the Reign of Terror and culminates in 1795...

and Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

' Great Expectations
Great Expectations
Great Expectations is a novel by Charles Dickens. It was first published in serial form in the publication All the Year Round from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. It has been adapted for stage and screen over 250 times....

and A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature....

. Gothic was also supported by critic John Ruskin
John Ruskin
John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political...

, 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
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October...

 of 1851, the first World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

, which showcased the greatest innovations of the century. At its centre was the Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in...

, 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
Modern architecture
Modern architecture is generally characterized by simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme of the building. It is a term applied to an overarching movement, with its exact definition and scope varying widely...

. The emergence of photography
History of photography
The first permanent photograph was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.- Etymology :The word photography derives from the Greek words phōs light, and gráphein, to write...

, 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
John Everett Millais
Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, PRA was an English painter and illustrator and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.-Early life:...

 was influenced by photography (notably in his portrait of Ruskin) as were other Pre-Raphaelite
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti...

 artists. It later became associated with the Impressionistic
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

 and Social Realist
Social realism
Social Realism, also known as Socio-Realism, is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts social and racial injustice, economic hardship, through unvarnished pictures of life's struggles; often depicting working class activities as heroic...

 techniques that would dominate the later years of the period in the work of artists such as Walter Sickert
Walter Sickert
Walter Richard Sickert , born in Munich, Germany, was a painter who was a member of the Camden Town Group in London. He was an important influence on distinctively British styles of avant-garde art in the 20th century....

 and Frank Holl
Frank Holl
Frank Holl , English painter, was born in London, and was educated chiefly at University College School.He was a grandson of William Holl, an engraver of note, and the son of Francis Holl, ARA, another engraver, whose profession he originally intended to follow...

.

Events


1832: Passage of the first Reform Act
Reform Act
In the United Kingdom, Reform Act is a generic term used for legislation concerning electoral matters. It is most commonly used for laws passed to enfranchise new groups of voters and to redistribute seats in the British House of Commons...

.
1837: Ascension of Queen Victoria to the throne.
1840: Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield. He had been naturalised and granted the British style of Royal Highness
Royal Highness
Royal Highness is a style ; plural Royal Highnesses...

beforehand. For the next 17 years, he was known as HRH Prince Albert.
1840: Birth of the Queen's first child The Princess Victoria
Victoria, Princess Royal
The Princess Victoria, Princess Royal was the eldest child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert. She was created Princess Royal of the United Kingdom in 1841. She became German Empress and Queen of Prussia by marriage to German Emperor Frederick III...

. Within months she was granted the title Princess Royal
Princess Royal
Princess Royal is a style customarily awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. The style is held for life, so a princess cannot be given the style during the lifetime of another Princess Royal...

.
1840: New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 becomes a British colony, through the Treaty of Waitangi
Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand....

.
1841: Birth of the Queen's heir-apparent The Prince Albert Edward, Duke of Cornwall (Duke of Rothesay)
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

. He was swiftly made Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

.
1842: Treaty of Nanking
Treaty of Nanking
The Treaty of Nanking was signed on 29 August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China...

. Massacre of Elphinstone's Army
Massacre of Elphinstone's Army
The Massacre of Elphinstone's Army was the destruction by Afghan forces, led by Akbar Khan, the son of Dost Mohammad Khan, of a combined British and Indian force of the British East India Company, led by Major General William Elphinstone, in January 1842....

 by the Afghans
Demography of Afghanistan
The population of Afghanistan is around 29,835,392 as of the year 2011, which is unclear if the refugees living outside the country are included or not. The nation is composed of a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society, reflecting its location astride historic trade and invasion routes between...

 in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 results in the death or incarceration of 16,500 soldiers and civilians. The Mines Act of 1842 banned women/children from working in coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, iron, lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

. The Illustrated London News was first published.
1843: Birth of The Princess Alice
Princess Alice of the United Kingdom
The Princess Alice was a member of the British royal family, the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.Alice's education was devised by Albert's close friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar...


1844: Birth of The Prince Alfred
1845: 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 following century.
1846: Repeal of the Corn Laws
Corn Laws
The Corn Laws were trade barriers designed to protect cereal producers in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland against competition from less expensive foreign imports between 1815 and 1846. The barriers were introduced by the Importation Act 1815 and repealed by the Importation Act 1846...

.
1846: Birth of The Princess Helena
Princess Helena of the United Kingdom
Princess Helena was a member of the British Royal Family, the third daughter and fifth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert....


1848: Death of around 2,000 people a week in a cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 epidemic
Epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

.
1848: Birth of The Princess Louise
Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll
The Princess Louise was a member of the British Royal Family, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert, Prince Consort.Louise's early life was spent moving between the various royal residences in the...


1850: Restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Britain.
1850: Birth of The Prince Arthur
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn was a member of the shared British and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha royal family who served as the Governor General of Canada, the 10th since Canadian Confederation.Born the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and...


1851: The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October...

 (the first World's Fair) is held at the Crystal Palace, with great success and international attention. The Victorian gold rush
Victorian gold rush
The Victorian gold rush was a period in the history of Victoria, Australia approximately between 1851 and the late 1860s. In 10 years the Australian population nearly tripled.- Overview :During this era Victoria dominated the world's gold output...

. In ten years the Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n population nearly tripled.
1853: Birth of The Prince Leopold
Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
The Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany was the eighth child and fourth son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Leopold was later created Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence, and Baron Arklow...


1854: Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

: The United Kingdom declares war on Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

.
1857: The Indian Mutiny
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

, a widespread revolt in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 against the rule of the British East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, is sparked by sepoy
Sepoy
A sepoy was formerly the designation given to an Indian soldier in the service of a European power. In the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army it remains in use for the rank of private soldier.-Etymology and Historical usage:...

s
(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
Mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

, the East India Company is abolished in August 1858 and India comes under the direct rule of the British crown
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

, beginning the period of the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

. Prince Albert is given the title The Prince Consort
Prince consort
A prince consort is the husband of a queen regnant who is not himself a king in his own right.Current examples include the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh , and Prince Henrik of Denmark .In recognition of his status, a prince consort may be given a formal...


1857: Birth of The Princess Beatrice
Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom
The Princess Beatrice was a member of the British Royal Family. She was the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Juan Carlos, King of Spain, is her great-grandson...


1858: The Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, Lord Palmerston, responds to the Orsini
Felice Orsini
Felice Orsini was an Italian revolutionary and leader of the Carbonari who tried to assassinate Napoleon III, Emperor of the French.-Early:Felice Orsini was born at Meldola in Romagna, then part of the Papal States....

 plot against French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 emperor Napoleon III
Napoleon III of France
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

, the bombs for which were purchased in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, by attempting to make such acts a felony
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

; the resulting uproar forces him to resign.
1859: Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 publishes On the Origin of Species, which leads to various reactions
Reaction to Darwin's theory
The immediate reaction to Darwin's theory followed closely on his publication of On the Origin of Species, and Charles Darwin's book sparked off international debate, though the heat of controversy was less than that over earlier works such as Vestiges of Creation...

. Victoria and Albert's first grandchild, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, is born — he later became William II, German Emperor
William II, German Emperor
Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe...


1861: 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
Bonnet (headgear)
Bonnets are a variety of headgear for both sexes, which have in common only the absence of a brim. Bonnet derives from the same word in French, where it originally indicated a type of material...

 instead of the crown.
1863: The Prince of Wales
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 marries Princess Alexandra of Denmark
Alexandra of Denmark
Alexandra of Denmark was the wife of Edward VII of the United Kingdom...

 at Windsor
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

.
1865: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures...

 is published.
1866: An angry crowd in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, protesting against John Russell
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, KG, GCMG, PC , known as Lord John Russell before 1861, was an English Whig and Liberal politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century....

's resignation as Prime Minister, is barred from Hyde Park
Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, United Kingdom, and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.The park is divided in two by the Serpentine...

 by the police; they tear down iron railing
Guard rail
Guard rail or guardrail, sometimes referred to as guide rail or railing, is a system designed to keep people or vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limits areas...

s and trample on flower bed
Garden
A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials. The most common form today is known as a residential garden, but the term garden has...

s. Disturbances like this convince Derby and Disraeli of the need for further parliamentary reform.
1867: The Constitution Act, 1867
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

 passes and British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

 becomes Dominion of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.
1875: Britain purchased Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

's shares in the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 as the Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n nation was forced to raise money to pay off its debts.
1877: The Princess Alice
Princess Alice of the United Kingdom
The Princess Alice was a member of the British royal family, the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.Alice's education was devised by Albert's close friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar...

 becomes Grand Duchess of Hesse when her husband succeeds as Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse
Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse
Louis IV , was the fourth Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, reigning from 13 June 1877 until his death...


1878: Treaty of Berlin (1878). Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 becomes a Crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

. The Princess Alice dies. Princess Louise
Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll
The Princess Louise was a member of the British Royal Family, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert, Prince Consort.Louise's early life was spent moving between the various royal residences in the...

's husband The Marchioness of Lorne
John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll
John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll KG, KT, GCMG, GCVO, VD, PC , usually better known by the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, by which he was known between 1847 and 1900, was a British nobleman and was the fourth Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883...

 is appointed Governor-General of Canada
1879: Victoria and Albert's first great-grandchild, Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen
Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen
Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen was born at Potsdam, was the only child of Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen and his wife Charlotte of Prussia...

, is born.
1882: British troops
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 begin the occupation of Egypt by taking the Suez Canal, in order to secure the vital trade route
Trade route
A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. Allowing goods to reach distant markets, a single trade route contains long distance arteries which may further be connected to several smaller networks of commercial...

 and passage to India, and the country becomes a protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

.
1883: Princess Louise
Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll
The Princess Louise was a member of the British Royal Family, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert, Prince Consort.Louise's early life was spent moving between the various royal residences in the...

 and Lord Lorne
John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll
John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll KG, KT, GCMG, GCVO, VD, PC , usually better known by the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, by which he was known between 1847 and 1900, was a British nobleman and was the fourth Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883...

 return from Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...


1884: The Fabian Society
Fabian Society
The Fabian Society is a British socialist movement, whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism via gradualist and reformist, rather than revolutionary, means. It is best known for its initial ground-breaking work beginning late in the 19th century and continuing up to World...

 is founded in London by a group of middle class intellectuals, including Quaker
Religious Society of Friends
The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. It is made of independent organisations, which have split from one another due to doctrinal differences...

 Edward R. Pease
Edward R. Pease
Edward Reynolds Pease was an English writer and a founding member of the Fabian Society.Pease, the sixth of fifteen children, was born near Bristol, the son of devout Quakers, Thomas Pease and Susanna Ann Fry sister of Edward Fry, the judge...

, Havelock Ellis
Havelock Ellis
Henry Havelock Ellis, known as Havelock Ellis , was a British physician and psychologist, writer, and social reformer who studied human sexuality. He was co-author of the first medical textbook in English on homosexuality in 1897, and also published works on a variety of sexual practices and...

, and E. Nesbit
E. Nesbit
Edith Nesbit was an English author and poet whose children's works were published under the name of E. Nesbit. She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television...

, to promote socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

. Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
The Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany was the eighth child and fourth son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Leopold was later created Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence, and Baron Arklow...

 dies.
1886: Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

 and the Liberal Party tries passing the First Irish Home Rule Bill, but the House of Commons rejects it.
1888: The serial killer
Serial killer
A serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification...

 known as Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper
"Jack the Ripper" is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the...

 murders and mutilates five (and possibly more) prostitutes
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

 on the streets of London. Victoria's eldest daughter, the Princess Royal, becomes German Empress when her husband succeeds as Frederick III, German Emperor
Frederick III, German Emperor
Frederick III was German Emperor and King of Prussia for 99 days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl known informally as Fritz, was the only son of Emperor William I and was raised in his family's tradition of military service...

. Within months, Frederick dies, and their son becomes William II, German Emperor
William II, German Emperor
Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe...

. The widowed Vicky becomes the Dowager
Dowager
A dowager is a widow who holds a title or property, or dower, derived from her deceased husband. As an adjective, "Dowager" usually appears in association with monarchical and aristocratic titles....

 Empress as is known as "Empress Frederick".
1870 - 1891: Under the Elementary Education Act 1870
Elementary Education Act 1870
The Elementary Education Act 1870, commonly known as Forster's Education Act, set the framework for schooling of all children between ages 5 and 12 in England and Wales...

, basic State Education becomes free for every child under the age of 10.
1891: Victoria and Albert's last grandchild, Prince Maurice of Battenberg
Prince Maurice of Battenberg
Prince Maurice of Battenberg, KCVO, was a member of the Hessian princely Battenberg family and the extended British Royal Family, the youngest grandchild of Queen Victoria...

, is born.
1892: The Prince of Wales' eldest son Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale was a member of the British Royal Family. He was the eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and Alexandra, Princess of Wales , and the grandson of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria...

 dies of influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

.
1893: The Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the third Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and reigned from 1893 to 1900. He was also a member of the British Royal Family, the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha...

 succeeds as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha when his uncle dies. The Duchy skips over The Prince of Wales
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 due to his renunciation of his succession rights to that Duchy.
1900: Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the third Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and reigned from 1893 to 1900. He was also a member of the British Royal Family, the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha...

 dies. His nephew Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany
Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the fourth and last reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, two duchies in Germany , and the head of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from 1900 until his death in 1954...

 succeeds him, because his brother Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and nephew Prince Arthur of Connaught
Prince Arthur of Connaught
Prince Arthur of Connaught and Strathearn was a member of the British Royal Family, a grandson of Queen Victoria. Prince Arthur held the title of a British prince with the style His Royal Highness...

 had renounced their rights.
1901: 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.

Entertainment



Popular forms of entertainment varied by social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

. Victorian Britain, like the periods before it, was interested in literature (see Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

 and William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray was an English novelist of the 19th century. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society.-Biography:...

), theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

 and the arts
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

 (see Aesthetic movement and Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti...

), and music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

, and opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 were widely attended. Michael Balfe was the most popular British grand opera
Grand Opera
Grand opera is a genre of 19th-century opera generally in four or five acts, characterised by large-scale casts and orchestras, and lavish and spectacular design and stage effects, normally with plots based on or around dramatic historic events...

 composer of the period, while the most popular musical theatre
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

 was a series of fourteen comic operas by Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

, although there was also musical burlesque and the beginning of Edwardian musical comedy
Edwardian Musical Comedy
Edwardian musical comedies were British musical theatre shows from the period between the early 1890s, when the Gilbert and Sullivan operas' dominance had ended, until the rise of the American musicals by Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, George Gershwin and Cole Porter following World War I.Between...

 in the 1890s. Drama ranged from low comedy
Low comedy
Low comedy is a type of comedy characterized by "horseplay", slapstick or farce. Examples include somebody throwing a custard pie in another's face. This definition has also expanded to include lewd types of comedy that rely on physical jokes, for example, the wedgie.- History :This type of comedy...

 to Shakespeare (see Henry Irving
Henry Irving
Sir Henry Irving , born John Henry Brodribb, was an English stage actor in the Victorian era, known as an actor-manager because he took complete responsibility for season after season at the Lyceum Theatre, establishing himself and his company as...

). There were, however, other forms of entertainment. Gentlemen went to dining clubs, like the Beefsteak club
Beefsteak Club
Beefsteak Club is the name, nickname and historically common misnomer applied by sources to several 18th and 19th century male dining clubs that celebrated the beefsteak as a symbol of patriotic and often Whig concepts of liberty and prosperity....

 or the Savage club
Savage Club
The Savage Club, founded in 1857 is a gentlemen's club in London.-History:Many and varied are the stories that have been told about the first meeting of the Savage Club, of the precise purposes for which it was formed, and of its christening...

. Gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 at cards in establishments popularly called casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

s 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
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

, and prostitution.

Brass bands
Brass band (British style)
A British-style brass band is a musical ensemble comprising a standardised range of brass and percussion instruments. The modern form of the brass band in the United Kingdom dates back to the 19th century, with a vibrant tradition of competition based around local industry and communities...

 and 'The Bandstand
Bandstand
A bandstand is a circular or semicircular structure set in a park, garden, pier, or indoor space, designed to accommodate musical bands performing concerts...

' 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
Climate of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom straddles the geographic mid-latitudes between 50-60 N from the equator. It is also positioned on the western seaboard of Eurasia, the world's largest land mass. These boundary conditions allow convergence between moist maritime air and dry continental air...

. It was common to hear the sound of a brass band whilst strolling through parklands
Urban park
An urban park, is also known as a municipal park or a public park, public open space or municipal gardens , is a park in cities and other incorporated places to offer recreation and green space to residents of, and visitors to, the municipality...

. At this time musical recording was still very much a novelty.

The Victorian era marked the golden age of the British circus
Circus
A circus is commonly a travelling company of performers that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and other stunt-oriented artists...

. Astley's Amphitheatre
Astley's Amphitheatre
Philip Astley opened Astley's Amphitheatre in London in 1773. * The structure was burned in 1794, then rebuilt. With increasing prosperity and rebuilding after successive fires, it grew to become Astley's Royal Amphitheatre and this was the home of the circus...

 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
Andrew Ducrow
Andrew Ducrow was a British circus performer, often called the "Father of British circus equestrianism" and "the Colossus of equestrians" he was the originator of horsemanship acts and proprietor of the Astley’s Amphitheatre. Ducrow was trained by his father who had immigrated to England from...

 and William Batty
William Batty
William Batty was an equestrian performer, circus proprietor, and longtime operator of Astley's Amphitheatre in London. Batty was one of the most successful circus proprietors in Victorian England, and helped launch the careers of a number of leading Victorian circus personalities, such as Pablo...

 managing the theatre in the middle part of the century. William Batty
William Batty
William Batty was an equestrian performer, circus proprietor, and longtime operator of Astley's Amphitheatre in London. Batty was one of the most successful circus proprietors in Victorian England, and helped launch the careers of a number of leading Victorian circus personalities, such as Pablo...

 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. Traveling circuses, like Pablo Fanque
Pablo Fanque
Pablo Fanque was the first black circus proprietor in Britain. His circus, in which he himself was a performer, was the most popular circus in Victorian Britain for 30 years, a period that is regarded as the golden age of the circus...

'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 for The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 song, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" is a song from the 1967 album by The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was composed by John Lennon...

). 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
Mediumship
Mediumship is described as a form of communication with spirits. It is a practice in religious beliefs such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo and Umbanda.- Concept :...

 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 history.

Natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 became increasingly an "amateur" activity. Particularly in Britain and the United States, this grew into specialist hobbies
Hobby
A hobby is a regular activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure, typically done during one's leisure time.- Etymology :A hobby horse is a wooden or wickerwork toy made to be ridden just like a real horse...

 such as the study of birds
Ornithology
Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds...

, butterflies, seashells (malacology
Malacology
Malacology is the branch of invertebrate zoology which deals with the study of the Mollusca , the second-largest phylum of animals in terms of described species after the arthropods. Mollusks include snails and slugs, clams, octopus and squid, and numerous other kinds, many of which have shells...

/conchology
Conchology
Conchology is the scientific or amateur study of mollusc shells. Conchology is one aspect of malacology, the study of molluscs, however malacology studies molluscs as whole organisms, not just their shells. Conchology pre-dated malacology as a field of study. It includes the study of land and...

), beetles and wild flowers. Amateur collectors
Collecting
The hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector. Some collectors are generalists, accumulating merchandise, or stamps from all countries of the world...

 and natural history entrepreneurs played an important role in building the large natural history collections of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Many people used the train services to visit the seaside, helped by the Bank Holiday Act of 1871, which created a number of fixed holidays which all sectors of society could enjoy. Large numbers travelling to quiet fishing villages such as Worthing
Worthing
Worthing is a large seaside town with borough status in West Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, forming part of the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation. It is situated at the foot of the South Downs, west of Brighton, and east of the county town of Chichester...

, Brighton
Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

, Morecambe
Morecambe
Morecambe is a resort town and civil parish within the City of Lancaster in Lancashire, England. As of 2001 it has a resident population of 38,917. It faces into Morecambe Bay...

 and Scarborough began turning them into major tourist centres, and people like Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook of Melbourne, Derbyshire, England founded the travel agency that is now Thomas Cook Group.- Early days :...

 saw tourism and even overseas travel as viable businesses.

Technology and engineering




An important development during the Victorian era was the improvement of communication links. Stagecoach
Stagecoach
A stagecoach is a type of covered wagon for passengers and goods, strongly sprung and drawn by four horses, usually four-in-hand. Widely used before the introduction of railway transport, it made regular trips between stages or stations, which were places of rest provided for stagecoach travelers...

es, canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s, steam ships and most notably the railways all allowed goods, raw materials and people to be moved about, rapidly facilitating trade and industry. Trains became another important factor ordering society, with "railway time" being the standard by which clocks were set throughout Britain. Steam ships such as the SS Great Britain
SS Great Britain
SS Great Britain was an advanced passenger steamship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company's transatlantic service between Bristol and New York. While other ships had previously been built of iron or equipped with a screw propeller, Great Britain was the first...

 and SS Great Western
SS Great Western
SS Great Western of 1838, was an oak-hulled paddle-wheel steamship; the first purpose-built for crossing the Atlantic and the initial unit of the Great Western Steamship Company. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Great Western proved satisfactory in service and was the model for all successful...

 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 such as corn from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and meat from Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. One more important innovation in communications was the Penny Black
Penny Black
The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It was issued in Britain on 1 May 1840, for official use from 6 May of that year....

, the first postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

, which standardised postage to a flat price regardless of distance sent.

Even later communication methods such as cinema
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, telegraph, telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

s, car
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

s and aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, had an impact. Photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

 was realized in 1839 by Louis Daguerre
Louis Daguerre
Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre was a French artist and physicist, recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography.- Biography :...

 in France and William Fox Talbot
William Fox Talbot
William Henry Fox Talbot was a British inventor and a pioneer of photography. He was the inventor of calotype process, the precursor to most photographic processes of the 19th and 20th centuries. He was also a noted photographer who made major contributions to the development of photography as an...

 in the UK. By 1900, hand-held cameras were available.


Similar sanitation
Sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

 reforms, prompted by the Public Health Acts 1848 and 1869, were made in the crowded, dirty streets of the existing cities, and soap
Soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

 was the main product shown in the relatively new phenomenon of advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

. A great engineering feat in the Victorian Era was the sewage system in London
London sewerage system
The London sewerage system is part of the water infrastructure serving London. The modern system was developed during the late 19th century, and as London has grown the system has been expanded.-History:...

. It was designed by Joseph Bazalgette
Joseph Bazalgette
Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, CB was an English civil engineer of the 19th century. As chief engineer of London's Metropolitan Board of Works his major achievement was the creation of a sewer network for central London which was instrumental in relieving the city from cholera epidemics, while...

 in 1858. He proposed to build 82 mi (132 km) of sewer system
Sewage collection and disposal
Sewage collection and disposal systems transport sewage through cities and other inhabited areas to sewage treatment plants to protect public health and prevent disease. Sewage is treated to control water pollution before discharge to surface waters....

 linked with over 1000 mi (1,609.3 km) of street sewer
Sanitary sewer
A sanitary sewer is a separate underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings to treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers serving industrial areas also carry industrial wastewater...

s. Many problems were encountered but the sewers
Sanitary sewer
A sanitary sewer is a separate underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings to treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers serving industrial areas also carry industrial wastewater...

 were completed. After this, Bazalgette designed the Thames Embankment
Thames Embankment
The Thames Embankment is a major feat of 19th century civil engineering designed to reclaim marshy land next to the River Thames in central London. It consists of the Victoria and Chelsea Embankment....

 which housed sewers, water pipe
Water pipe
Water pipes are pipes or tubes, frequently made of polyvinyl chloride , ductile iron, steel, cast iron, polypropylene, polyethylene, or copper, that carry pressurized and treated fresh water to buildings , as well as inside the building.-History:For many centuries, lead was the favoured material...

s and the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

. During the same period London's water supply
Water supply
Water supply is the provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavours or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes...

 network was expanded and improved, and a gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 network
Cross-link
Cross-links are bonds that link one polymer chain to another. They can be covalent bonds or ionic bonds. "Polymer chains" can refer to synthetic polymers or natural polymers . When the term "cross-linking" is used in the synthetic polymer science field, it usually refers to the use of...

 for lighting
Gas lighting
Gas lighting is production of artificial light from combustion of a gaseous fuel, including hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, propane, butane, acetylene, ethylene, or natural gas. Before electricity became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most...

 and heating
Gas heater
A gas heater is a device used to heat a room or outdoor area by burning natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. Indoor household gas heaters can be broadly categorized in one of two ways: flued or non-flued, or vented and unvented...

 was introduced in the 1880s.

The Victorians were impressed by science and progress, and felt that they could improve society in the same way as they were improving technology. The model town of Saltaire
Saltaire
Saltaire is a Victorian model village within the City of Bradford Metropolitan District, West Yorkshire, England, by the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal...

 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
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 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
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

. This study of natural history was most powerfully advanced by Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 and his theory of evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 first published in his book On the Origin of Species in 1859.
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
Street light
A street light, lamppost, street lamp, light standard, or lamp standard is a raised source of light on the edge of a road or walkway, which is turned on or lit at a certain time every night. Modern lamps may also have light-sensitive photocells to turn them on at dusk, off at dawn, or activate...

. The invention of the incandescent
Incandescence
Incandescence is the emission of light from a hot body as a result of its temperature. The term derives from the Latin verb incandescere, to glow white....

 gas mantle
Gas mantle
An incandescent gas mantle, gas mantle, or Welsbach mantle is a device for generating bright white light when heated by a flame. The name refers to its original heat source, existing gas lights, which filled the streets of Europe and North America in the late 19th century, mantle referring to the...

 in the 1890s greatly improved light output and ensured its survival as late as the 1960s. Hundreds of gasworks
Gasworks
A gasworks or gas house is a factory for the manufacture of gas. The use of natural gas has made many redundant in the developed world, however they are often still used for storage.- Early gasworks :...

 were constructed in cities and towns across the country. In 1882, incandescent electric light
Electric light
Electric lights are a convenient and economic form of artificial lighting which provide increased comfort, safety and efficiency. Most electric lighting is powered by centrally-generated electric power, but lighting may also be powered by mobile or standby electric generators or battery systems...

s were introduced to London streets, although it took many years before they were installed everywhere.

Health and medicine


Medicine progressed during Queen Victoria's reign.

Although nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or sweet air, is a chemical compound with the formula . It is an oxide of nitrogen. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic...

, or laughing gas, had been proposed as an anaesthetic as far back as 1799 by Humphry Davy
Humphry Davy
Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet FRS MRIA was a British chemist and inventor. He is probably best remembered today for his discoveries of several alkali and alkaline earth metals, as well as contributions to the discoveries of the elemental nature of chlorine and iodine...

, it wasn't until 1846 when an American Dentist named William Morton
William Morton
William Morton may refer to:* William T.G. Morton , American dentist, the first to use ether anesthesia* William Morton , American boxer, see Boxing at the 1955 Pan American Games* William Morton , Scottish cricketer...

 started using ether
Ether
Ethers are a class of organic compounds that contain an ether group — an oxygen atom connected to two alkyl or aryl groups — of general formula R–O–R'. A typical example is the solvent and anesthetic diethyl ether, commonly referred to simply as "ether"...

 on his patients that anaesthetics became common in the medical profession. In 1847 chloroform
Chloroform
Chloroform is an organic compound with formula CHCl3. It is one of the four chloromethanes. The colorless, sweet-smelling, dense liquid is a trihalomethane, and is considered somewhat hazardous...

 was introduced as an anaesthetic by James Young Simpson
James Young Simpson
Sir James Young Simpson was a Scottish doctor and an important figure in the history of medicine. Simpson discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform and successfully introduced it for general medical use....

. 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 Dr. 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 the European diet grew a great deal sweeter as the use of sugar became more widespread. As a result, more and more people were having teeth pulled and needed replacements. This gave rise to "Waterloo Teeth", which were real human teeth set into hand-carved chunks 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 impoverished.

Medicine also benefited from the introduction of antiseptics by Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister may refer to:*Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister , English surgeon, discovered that cleaning and disinfecting surgical wounds, and bandages, with carbolic acid prevents lethal infections...

 in 1867 in the form of Carbolic acid (phenol
Phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

). 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.

Poverty


19th century Britain saw a huge population increase accompanied by rapid urbanization
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 stimulated by the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

. The large numbers of skilled and unskilled people looking for work kept wages down to a barely subsistence level. Available housing was scarce and expensive, resulting in overcrowding. 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
Slum
A slum, as defined by United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the...

 housing developed. Kellow Chesney
Kellow Chesney
Kellow Chesney is a journalist, publisher's reader, editor and writer. His most notable book is Underworld London, first published in 1970. The writer William Gibson has stated that his depiction of the criminal society in Neuromancer was strongly influenced by this popular work...

 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, including in England and Wales
English Poor Laws
The English Poor Laws were a system of poor relief which existed in England and Wales that developed out of late-medieval and Tudor-era laws before being codified in 1587–98...

, Scotland, and Ireland
Irish Poor Laws
The Irish Poor Laws were a series of Acts of Parliament intended to address social instability due to widespread and persistent poverty in Ireland. While some legislation had been introduced by the pre-Union Parliament of Ireland prior to the Act of Union, the most radical and comprehensive...

. These included significant expansions in workhouses (or poorhouses in Scotland), although with changing populations during the era.

Child labour



The Victorian era became notorious for the employment of young children in factories and mines and as chimney sweep
Chimney sweep
A chimney sweep is a worker who clears ash and soot from chimneys. The chimney uses the pressure difference caused by a hot column of gas to create a draught and draw air over the hot coals or wood enabling continued combustion. Chimneys may be straight or contain many changes of direction. During...

s. Child labour, often brought about by economic hardship, played an important role in the Industrial Revolution from its outset: Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, for example, worked at the age of 12 in a blacking factory, with his family in a debtors' prison. 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
Sunday school
Sunday school is the generic name for many different types of religious education pursued on Sundays by various denominations.-England:The first Sunday school may have been opened in 1751 in St. Mary's Church, Nottingham. Another early start was made by Hannah Ball, a native of High Wycombe in...

).

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
History of coal mining
Due to its abundance, coal has been mined in various parts of the world throughout history and continues to be an important economic activity today. Compared to wood fuels, coal yields a higher amount of energy per mass and could be obtained in areas where wood is not readily available...

, crawling through tunnels too narrow and low for adults. Children also worked as errand boys, crossing sweepers, or shoe blacks, or selling matches, flowers, and other cheap goods. Some children undertook work as apprentices to respectable trades, such as building, or as domestic servants
Domestic worker
A domestic worker is a man, woman or child who works within the employer's household. Domestic workers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to cleaning and household maintenance, known as housekeeping...

 (there were over 120,000 domestic servants in London in the mid 18th century). Working hours were long: builders might work 64 hours a week in summer and 52 in winter, while domestic servants worked 80 hour weeks. Many young people worked as prostitutes (the majority of prostitutes in London were between 15 and 22 years of age).


"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 Commission 1842)



"My father has been dead about a year; my mother is living and has ten children, five lads and five lasses; the oldest is about thirty, the youngest is four; three lasses go to mill; all the lads are colliers, two getters and three hurriers
Hurrying
A hurrier, also sometimes called a coal drawer or coal thruster, was a child or woman employed by a collier to transport the coal that they had mined. Women would normally get the children to help them because of the difficulty of carrying the coal...

; one lives at home and does nothing; mother does nought but look after home.

All my sisters have been hurriers, but three went to the mill. Alice went because her legs swelled from hurrying in cold water when she was hot. I never went to day-school; I go to Sunday-school, but I cannot read or write; I go to pit at five o'clock in the morning and come out at five in the evening; I get my breakfast of porridge and milk first; I take my dinner with me, a cake, and eat it as I go; I do not stop or rest any time for the purpose; I get nothing else until I get home, and then have potatoes and meat, not every day meat. I hurry in the clothes I have now got on, trousers and ragged jacket; the bald place upon my head is made by thrusting the corves; my legs have never swelled, but sisters' did when they went to mill; I hurry the corves a mile and more under ground and back; they weigh 300 cwt.; I hurry 11 a-day; I wear a belt and chain at the workings, to get the corves out;" (Patience Kershaw, 17 years old, coal-bearer, testimony gathered by Ashley's Mines Commission 1842)


Children as young as four were put to work. In coal mines children began work at the age of 5 and generally died before the age of 25. Many children (and adults) worked 16 hour days. As early as 1802 and 1819, Factory Acts
Factory Acts
The Factory Acts were a series of Acts passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to limit the number of hours worked by women and children first in the textile industry, then later in all industries....

 were passed to limit the working hours of workhouse
Workhouse
In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment...

 children in factories and cotton mill
Cotton mill
A cotton mill is a factory that houses spinning and weaving machinery. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution....

s to 12 hours per day. These acts were largely ineffective and after radical agitation, by for example the "Short Time Committees" in 1831, a Royal Commission
Royal Commission
In Commonwealth realms and other monarchies a Royal Commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue. They have been held in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia...

 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
Textile industry
The textile industry is primarily concerned with the production of yarn, and cloth and the subsequent design or manufacture of clothing and their distribution. The raw material may be natural, or synthetic using products of the chemical industry....

, and further agitation led to another act in 1847 limiting both adults and children to 10 hour working days.

Prostitution


Beginning in the late 1840s, major news organizations, clergymen, and single women became increasingly concerned about prostitution
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

, 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
William Acton
William Acton was a British medical doctor and book writer. He was known for his books on masturbation.-Biography:Acton was a native of Shillingstone and he enrolled as a resident apprentice at St Bartholomew's Hospital....

 reported that the police estimated there were 8,600 in London alone in 1857). When the United Kingdom Census 1851
United Kingdom Census 1851
The United Kingdom Census of 1851 recorded the people residing in every household on the night of 30 March 1851, and was the second of the UK censuses to include details of household members...

 publicly revealed a 4% demographic imbalance in favour of women (i.e., 4% more women than men), the problem of prostitution began to shift from a moral/religious cause to a socio-economic
Socioeconomics
Socioeconomics or socio-economics or social economics is an umbrella term with different usages. 'Social economics' may refer broadly to the "use of economics in the study of society." More narrowly, contemporary practice considers behavioral interactions of individuals and groups through social...

 one. The 1851 census showed that the population of Great Britain was roughly 18 million; this meant that roughly 750,000 women would remain unmarried simply because there were not enough men. These women came to be referred to as "superfluous women" or "redundant women", and many essays were published discussing what, precisely, ought to be done with them.

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" (an umbrella term used to describe any women who had sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 out of wedlock
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

) became a staple feature of mid-Victorian literature
Victorian literature
Victorian literature is the literature produced during the reign of Queen Victoria . It forms a link and transition between the writers of the romantic period and the very different literature of the 20th century....

 and politics. In the writings of Henry Mayhew
Henry Mayhew
Henry Mayhew was an English social researcher, journalist, playwright and advocate of reform. He was one of the two founders of the satirical and humorous magazine Punch, and the magazine's joint-editor, with Mark Lemon, in its early days...

, Charles Booth
Charles Booth (philanthropist)
Charles Booth was an English philanthropist and social researcher. He is most famed for his innovative work on documenting working class life in London at the end of the 19th century, work that along with that of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree influenced government intervention against poverty in the...

, and others, prostitution began to be seen as a social problem
Social issues
Social issues are controversial issues which relate to people's personal lives and interactions. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues...

.

When Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 passed the first of the Contagious Diseases Acts
Contagious Diseases Acts
The Contagious Diseases Acts were originally passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1864, with further alterations and editions made to it in 1866 and 1869. In 1862, a committee was established to inquire into venereal disease in the armed forces; on its recommendation the first...

 in 1864 (which allowed the local constabulary to force any woman suspected of venereal disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

 to submit to its inspection), Josephine Butler
Josephine Butler
Josephine Elizabeth Butler was a Victorian era British feminist who was especially concerned with the welfare of prostitutes...

's crusade to repeal the CD Acts yoked the anti-prostitution cause with the emergent feminist movement
Feminist movement
The feminist movement refers to a series of campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women's suffrage, sexual harassment and sexual violence...

. Butler attacked the long-established double standard
Double standard
A double standard is the unjust application of different sets of principles for similar situations. The concept implies that a single set of principles encompassing all situations is the desirable ideal. The term has been used in print since at least 1895...

 of sexual morality
Sexual ethics
Sexual ethics refers to those aspects of ethics that deal with issues arising from all aspects of sexuality and human sexual behavior...

.

Prostitutes were often presented as victims in sentimental literature
Sentimental novel
The sentimental novel or the novel of sensibility is an 18th century literary genre which celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism, and sensibility...

 such as Thomas Hood
Thomas Hood
Thomas Hood was a British humorist and poet. His son, Tom Hood, became a well known playwright and editor.-Early life:...

's poem The Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs (poem)
"The Bridge of Sighs" is a famous poem of 1844 by Thomas Hood concerning the suicide of a homeless young woman who threw herself from Waterloo Bridge in London....

, Elizabeth Gaskell
Elizabeth Gaskell
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson , often referred to simply as Mrs Gaskell, was a British novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era...

's novel Mary Barton
Mary Barton
Mary Barton is the first novel by English author Elizabeth Gaskell, published in 1848. The story is set in the English city of Manchester during the 1830s and 1840s and deals heavily with the difficulties faced by the Victorian lower class.-Plot summary:...

, and Dickens' novel Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress is the second novel by English author Charles Dickens, published by Richard Bentley in 1838. The story is about an orphan Oliver Twist, who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse and then is placed with an undertaker. He escapes and travels to...

. The emphasis on the purity of women found in such works as Coventry Patmore
Coventry Patmore
Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore was an English poet and critic best known for The Angel in the House, his narrative poem about an ideal happy marriage.-Youth:...

's The Angel in the House
The Angel in the House
The Angel in the House is a narrative poem by Coventry Patmore, first published in 1854 and expanded up until 1862. Although largely ignored upon publication, it became enormously popular during the later nineteenth century and its influence continued well into the twentieth...

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
Homemaker
Homemaking is a mainly American term for the management of a home, otherwise known as housework, housekeeping or household management...

 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
Divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

 legislation introduced in 1857 allowed for a man to divorce his wife for adultery
Adultery
Adultery is sexual infidelity to one's spouse, and is a form of extramarital sex. It originally referred only to sex between a woman who was married and a person other than her spouse. Even in cases of separation from one's spouse, an extramarital affair is still considered adultery.Adultery is...

, 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
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 consumed and thrown away like refuse when they were used up. Moral reform movements attempted to close down brothel
Brothel
Brothels are business establishments where patrons can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, and bawdy house...

s, something that has sometimes been argued to have been a factor in the concentration of street-prostitution in Whitechapel
Whitechapel
Whitechapel is a built-up inner city district in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London, England. It is located east of Charing Cross and roughly bounded by the Bishopsgate thoroughfare on the west, Fashion Street on the north, Brady Street and Cavell Street on the east and The Highway on the...

 (where the Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper
"Jack the Ripper" is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the...

 prostitute murders took place), part of the East End of London
East End of London
The East End of London, also known simply as the East End, is the area of London, England, United Kingdom, east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames. Although not defined by universally accepted formal boundaries, the River Lea can be considered another boundary...

, by the 1880s (near the end of the 19th century).

See also

  • Horror Victorianorum
    Horror Victorianorum
    Horror Victorianorum is a term devised by the philosopher David Stove to refer to irrational distaste for, or condemnation of, Victorian culture, art and design. The term was used in Stove's book The Plato Cult as part of his argument against Karl Popper and other philosophers whom he...

  • Imperialism
    Imperialism
    Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

  • Neo-Victorian
    Neo-Victorian
    Neo-Victorian is an aesthetic movement which amalgamates Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies...

  • Social history of England
  • Victorian America
    Victorian America
    The Victorian Era is a name for the period from 1837 to 1901, the length of the rule of Britain's Queen Victoria. American Victorianism was an offshoot of this period and lifestyle that occurred in the United States, chiefly in heavily populated regions such as New England and the Deep South...


Further reading

  • Altick, Richard Daniel
    Richard Altick
    Richard Daniel Altick was an American literary scholar, known for his pioneering contributions to Victorian Studies, as well as for championing both the joys and the rigorous methods of literary research.-Life:...

    . Victorian People and Ideas: A Companion for the Modern Reader of Victorian Literature. W.W. Norton & Company: 1974. ISBN 0-393-09376-X.
  • Burton, Antoinette (editor). Politics and Empire in Victorian Britain: A Reader. Palgrave Macmillan: 2001. ISBN 0-312-29335-6.
  • Gay, Peter
    Peter Gay
    Peter Gay is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University and former director of the New York Public Library's Center for Scholars and Writers . Gay received the American Historical Association's Award for Scholarly Distinction in 2004...

    , The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, 5 volumes, Oxford University Press, 1984–1989
  • 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
  • Flanders, Judith. Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England. W.W. Norton & Company: 2004. ISBN 0-393-05209-5.
  • Mitchell, Sally. Daily Life in Victorian England. Greenwood Press: 1996. ISBN 0-313-29467-4.
  • Wilson, A. N.
    A. N. Wilson
    Andrew Norman Wilson is an English writer and newspaper columnist, known for his critical biographies, novels, works of popular history and religious views...

     The Victorians. Arrow Books: 2002. ISBN 0-09-945186-7
  • A Victorian Childhood, Annabel Jackson
    Claire Annabel Caroline Grant Duff
    Claire Annabel Caroline Grant Duff, , was a poet, writer and high society hostess. She was the eldest daughter of Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff and Anna Julia Webster. She was the author of A Victorian Childhood, which was published in 1932, under the pen name Annabel Jackson...

    , 1932 (memoir)

External links