Time: 1839 – 1901
Who are the Victorians?
The Victorians were the people who lived when Queen Victoria was ruling which was from 1839 to 1901.
What was life like in Victorian Britain?
There were many factories in many parts of Britain. The factory owners were rich and live in grand houses whereas the workers who were paid very little lived in dirty crowded parts of the town. These were called slums.
Vile Victorians – Horrible Histories
Poor Victorian children
Poor Victorian children had to live in slums. They were tiny houses on narrow streets with no inside toilets or running water. Their homes would be damp and filthy so it was easy to catch diseases. The air was full of smoke from the factories.
The children had very few luxuries and they had to work long hours and ate poor food. Because they were so poor many people had to steal food or money to survive. There was no money for toys so they made their own entertainment by climbing trees or lamp-posts or paddling in a stream. Some children were too sick and hungry to play.
Rich Victorian children
Rich families lived in large houses and children had a room for themselves called a nursery. A nanny would look after the children and take them to the park or zoo. They had many toys to entertain them and they ate well.
Everything you want to know about the children in Victorian Britain. Children at work and play, rich and poor family life and toys and games.
A look into how they lived, played, worked and survived. Life for Victorian children in Victorian times was nothing like childhood in today’s world.
What did rich people eat in Victorian times?
Their diet would consist of a lot of meat like venison, chicken, pork and pheasant. They would eat root vegetables such as carrots, onions, turnips and potatoes.
Poor people would have to eat bread, milk, cheese and potatoes. They could only afford to buy meat once a week.
People who couldn’t work or had no money had to live in places called workhouses. It was like a prison, once inside it was hard to leave. Workers had to work very long hours.
Life was hard working in factories too. There would be long hours and unsafe environments. Workers started a trade union. This is a group of workers who get together to fight for the rights for a better working environment, better pay, and better hours. If the workers wanted to protest about something they would all stop working and on strike.
At the beginning of the Victorian period parents would have to pay if they wanted their child to go to school. By the end of the Victorian period children until the age of 12 had to go to school which was free. But school life was tough. The teachers were very strict and often beat the pupils.
Did you know Victorian schools were grim places with windows high up so that children could not see out and classes as huge as 300 children!
The most famous Queen in history, Queen Victoria became Queen when she was 18 and was Queen for over 60 years.
She married her cousin Albert in 1840, together they had 9 children. They liked to celebrate Christmas. Albert loved Christmas trees with candles and soon many families had trees at Christmas. The first Christmas card was sent in 1843 and the Queen send them also and gave presents to palace servants.
They took holidays on the Isle of Wight at Osborne House and visited their home in Scotland, Balmoral Castle.
When Prince Albert died in 1861 the Queen was so upset that she would wear only black which is normal for someone in mourning to wear for a short time. The Queen however, wore only black for the rest of her life. She died on 22nd January 1901.
The Crimean War
In 1854 Britain went to war with Russia. Russia wanted to take over more land in Europe but Britain was worried that if Russia was successful they would carry on to British India and want that as well. Florence Nightingale helped the wounded soldiers and Queen Victoria would send warm hats and scarves for the sick.