Visual History of the World
The Modern Era
1789 - 1914
In Europe, the revolutionary transformation of the ruling systems
and state structures began with a bang: In 1789 the French
Revolution broke out in Paris, and its motto "Liberte, Egalite,
Fraternite"—Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood—took on an irrepressible
force. A fundamental reorganization of society followed the French
Revolution. The ideas behind the revolution were manifest in
Napoleon's Code Civil, which he imposed on many European nations.
The 19th century also experienced a transformation of society from
another source: The Industrial Revolution established within society
a poorer working class that stood in opposition to the merchant and
trading middle class. The nascent United States was shaken by an
embittered civil war. The economic growth that set in following that
war was accompanied by the development of imperialist endeavors and
its rise to the status of a Great Power.
Liberty Leading the People,
allegory of the 1830 July revolution that deposed the French
with Marianne as the personification of liberty,
contemporary painting by Eugene Delacroix.
England's economic development was almost half a century ahead of
the Continent's due to its early industrialization, but the working
conditions were devastating and led to impoverishment of the workers.
This made worker protection laws necessary, along with the gradual
extension of suffrage to ever-widening sections of the population, to
alleviate the social tensions. Under Queen Victoria, whose reign began
in 1837, the economy flourished at first, but social problems remained
and the worker movement demanded further reforms. The British colonial
empire was gradually restructured in the 19th century to become the
Commonwealth of Nations.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Victorian era of the United Kingdom was the period of Queen
Victoria's reign from June 1837 to January 1901. This is the longest
reign in British history, and is foreseeably likely to be exceeded only
if the present monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) remains on the throne to
2017. The reign was a long period of prosperity for the British people,
as profits gained from the overseas British Empire, as well as from
industrial improvements at home, allowed a large, educated middle class
to develop. Some scholars would extend the beginning of the period—as
defined by a variety of sensibilities and political games that have come
to be associated with the Victorians—back five years to the passage of
the Reform Act 1832.
The era was preceded by the Georgian period and succeeded by the
Edwardian period. The latter half of the Victorian era roughly coincided
with the first portion of the Belle Époque era of continental Europe.
The era is often characterized as a long period of peace, known as
the Pax Britannica, and economic, colonial, and industrial
consolidation, temporarily disrupted by the Crimean War, although
Britain was at war every year during this time. Towards the end of the
century, the policies of New Imperialism led to increasing colonial
conflicts and eventually the Anglo-Zanzibar War and the Boer War.
Domestically, the agenda was increasingly liberal with a number of
shifts in the direction of gradual political reform and the widening of
the voting franchise.
The population of England had almost doubled from 16.8 million in
1851 to 30.5 million in 1901. Ireland’s population decreased rapidly,
from 8.2 million in 1841 to less than 4.5 million in 1901. 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
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; the Tories became the Conservatives.
These parties were led by many prominent statesmen including Lord
Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Derby, Lord Palmerston, William
Gladstone, 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 of 1916 and the subsequent domino effect that
would play a large part in the fall of the empire.
Gothic Revival architecture became increasingly significant in the
period, leading to the Battle of the Styles between Gothic and Classical
ideals. Charles Barry's architecture for the new Palace of Westminster,
which had been badly damaged in an 1834 fire, built in the medieval
style of Westminster Hall, the surviving part of the building. It
constructed a narrative of cultural continuity, set in opposition to the
violent disjunctions of Revolutionary France, a comparison common to the
period, as expressed in Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution: A
History and Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. Gothic was also
supported by the critic John Ruskin, who argued that it epitomised
communal and inclusive social values, as opposed to Classicism, which he
considered to epitomise mechanical standardisation.
The middle of the 19th century saw The Great Exhibition of 1851, the
first World's Fair, and showcased the greatest innovations of the
century. At its centre was the Crystal Palace, an enormous, modular
glass and iron structure - the first of its kind. It was condemned by
Ruskin as the very model of mechanical dehumanisation in design, but
later came to be presented as the prototype of Modern architecture. The
emergence of photography, which was showcased at the Great Exhibition,
resulted in significant changes in Victorian art with Queen Victoria
being the first British Monarch to be photographed. John Everett Millais
was influenced by photography (notably in his portrait of Ruskin) as
were other Pre-Raphaelite artists. It later became associated with the
Impressionistic and Social Realist techniques that would dominate the
later years of the period in the work of artists such as Walter Sickert
and Frank Holl.
Popular forms of entertainment varied by social class. Victorian
Britain, like the periods before it, was interested in theatre and the
arts, and music, drama, and opera were widely attended. There were,
however, other forms of entertainment. Gambling at cards in
establishments popularly called casinos was wildly popular during the
period: so much so that evangelical and reform movements specifically
targeted such establishments in their efforts to stop gambling,
drinking, and prostitution.
Brass bands and 'The Bandstand' became popular in the Victorian era.
The band stand was a simple construction that not only created an
ornamental focal point, but also served acoustic requirements whilst
providing shelter from the changeable British weather. It was common to
hear the sound of a brass band whilst strolling through parklands. At
this time musical recording was still very much a novelty.
Another form of entertainment involved 'spectacles' where paranormal
events, such as hypnotism, communication with the dead (by way of
mediumship or channelling), ghost conjuring and the like, were carried
out to the delight of crowds and participants. Such activities were more
popular at this time than in other periods of recent Western history.
Technology and engineering
A great engineering feat in the Victorian Era was the sewage system
in London. It was designed by Joseph Bazalgette in 1858. He proposed to
build 82 mi (132 km) of sewer system linked with over 1,000 mi (1,600
km) of street sewers. Many problems were encountered but the sewers were
completed. After this, Bazalgette designed the Thames Embankment which
housed sewers, water pipes and the London Underground. During the same
period London's water supply network was expanded and improved, and a
gas network for lighting and heating was introduced in the 1880s.
During the Victorian era, science grew into the discipline it is
today. In addition to the increasing professionalism of university
science, many Victorian gentlemen devoted their time to the study of
natural history. This study of natural history was most powerfully
advanced by Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution first published
in his book On the Origin of Species in 1859.
Photography was realized in 1829 by Louis Daguerre in France and William
Fox Talbot in the UK. By 1900, hand-held cameras were available.
Although initially developed in the early years of the 19th century,
gas lighting became widespread during the Victorian era in industry,
homes, public buildings and the streets. The invention of the
incandescent gas mantle in the 1890s greatly improved light output and
ensured its survival as late as the 1960s. Hundreds of gasworks were
constructed in cities and towns across the country. In 1882,
incandescent electric lights were introduced to London streets, although
it took many years before they were installed everywhere.
Health and medicine
Medicine progressed during Queen Victoria's reign. Anaesthetics were
being used so surgery became painless. Chloroform was discovered in
July, 1831 by the American physician Samuel Guthrie but faced strong
criticism. However Queen Victoria is credited for stifling criticism of
the anaesthetic as she used it during child birth.
19th century Britain saw a huge population increase accompanied by
rapid urbanization stimulated by the Industrial Revolution. The large
numbers of skilled and unskilled people looking for work kept wages down
to 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 housing developed. Kellow Chesney described the situation as
follows: "Hideous slums, some of them acres wide, some no more than
crannies of obscure misery, make up a substantial part of the,
metropolis... In big, once handsome houses, thirty or more people of all
ages may inhabit a single room." (The Victorian Underworld)
The Victorian era became notorious for the employment of young
children in factories and mines and as chimney sweeps. Child labour,
often brought about by economic hardship, played an important role in
the Industrial Revolution from its outset: Charles Dickens 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).
The children of the poor were expected to help towards the family
budget, often working long hours in dangerous jobs for low wages.
Agile boys were employed by the chimney sweeps; small children were
employed to scramble under machinery to retrieve cotton bobbins; and
children were also employed to work in coal mines, crawling through
tunnels too narrow and low for adults. Children also worked as errand
boys, crossing sweepers, 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 (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
"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; 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 three were put to work. In coal mines children
began work at the age of five and generally died before the age of 25.
Many children (and adults) worked 16 hour days. As early as 1802 and
1819 Factory Acts were passed to limit the working hours of workhouse
children in factories and cotton mills to 12 hours per day. These acts
were largely ineffective and after radical agitation, by for example the
"Short Time Committees" in 1831, a Royal Commission recommended in 1833
that children aged 11-18 should work a maximum of 12 hours per day,
children aged 9-11 a maximum of eight hours, and children under the age
of nine should no longer be permitted to work. This act, however, only
applied to the textile industry, and further agitation led to another
act in 1847 limiting both adults and children to 10 hour working days.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of
IndiaVictorian morality is a distillation of the moral views of people
living at the time of Queen Victoria (reigned 1837 - 1901) in
particular, and to the moral climate of Great Britain throughout the
19th century in general that were in stark contrast to the morality of
the previous Georgian period. It is not tied to this historical period
and can describe any set of values that espouses sexual restraint, low
tolerance of crime, and a strong social ethic. Due to the prominence of
the British Empire, many of these values were spread across the world.
Historians now regard the Victorian era as a time of many
contradictions. A plethora of social movements concerned with morals
co-existed with a class system that permitted harsh living conditions
for many. The apparent contradiction between the widespread cultivation
of an outward appearance of dignity and restraint and the prevalence of
social phenomena that included prostitution and child labour were two
sides of the same coin: various social reform movements and high
principles arose from attempts to improve the harsh conditions.
Historical backgroundThe term Victorian has acquired a range of connotations, including
that of a particularly strict set of moral standards, which are often
applied hypocritically. This stems from the image of Queen Victoria—and
her husband, Prince Albert, perhaps even more so—as innocents, unaware
of the private habits of many of her respectable subjects; this
particularly relates to their sex lives. This image is mistaken:
Victoria’s attitude toward sexual morality was a consequence of her
knowledge of the corrosive effect of the loose morals of the aristocracy
in earlier reigns upon the public’s respect for the nobility and the
Crown. The Prince Consort as a young child had experienced the pain of
his parents' divorce after they were involved in public sexual scandals.
Young Prince Albert's mother had left his family home and she died
Two hundred years earlier, the Puritan movement, which led to the
installment of Oliver Cromwell, had temporarily overthrown the British
monarchy. During England’s years under Cromwell, the law imposed a
strict moral code on the people (such as abolishing Christmas as too
indulgent of the sensual pleasures).
When the monarchy was restored, a period of loose living and
debauchery appeared to be a reaction to the earlier repression. (See:
Charles II of England) The two social forces of Puritanism and
libertinism continued to motivate the collective psyche of Great Britain
from the restoration onward. This was particularly significant in the
public perceptions of the later Hanoverian monarchs who immediately
preceded Queen Victoria. For instance, her uncle George IV was commonly
perceived as a pleasure-seeking playboy, whose conduct in office was the
cause of much scandal.
Victorian prudery sometimes went so far as to deem it improper to say
"leg" in mixed company; instead, the preferred euphemism “limb” was
used. Those going for a swim in the sea at the beach would use a bathing
machine. However, historians Peter Gay and Michael Mason both point out
that we often confuse Victorian etiquette for a lack of knowledge. For
example, despite the use of the bathing machine, it was also possible to
see people bathing nude. Another example of the gap between our
preconceptions of Victorian sexuality and the facts is that contrary to
what we might expect, Queen Victoria liked to draw and collect male nude
figure drawings and even gave her husband one as a present.
Verbal or written communication of emotion or sexual feelings was
also often proscribed so people instead used the language of flowers.
However they also wrote explicit erotica, perhaps the most famous being
the racy tell-all My Secret Life by the pseudonym Walter (allegedly
Henry Spencer Ashbee), and the magazine The Pearl, which was published
for several years and reprinted as a paperback book in the 1960s.
Victorian erotica also survives in private letters archived in museums
and even in a study of women's orgasms. Some current historians now
believe that the myth of Victorian repression can be traced back to
early twentieth-century views, such as those of Lytton Strachey, a
member of the Bloomsbury Group, who wrote Eminent Victorians.
Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, only four years after the
Abolition of slavery in the British Empire. The anti-slavery movement
had campaigned for years to achieve the ban, succeeding with a partial
abolition in 1807 and the full ban on slave trade, but not slave
ownership, in 1833. It took so long because the anti-slavery morality
was pitted against a powerful capitalist element in the empire, which
claimed their businesses would be destroyed if they were not permitted
to exploit slave labour. Eventually, plantation owners in the Caribbean
received £20 million in compensation.
In Victoria's time, the Royal Navy patrolled the Atlantic Ocean,
stopping any ships that it suspected of trading African slaves to the
Americas and freeing any slaves found. The British had set up a Crown
Colony in West Africa—Sierra Leone—and transported freed slaves there.
Freed slaves from Nova Scotia founded and named the capital of Sierra
Leone "Freetown". Many people living at that time argued that the living
conditions of workers in English factories seemed worse than those
endured by some slaves.
Throughout the whole Victorian Era, homosexuals were regarded as
abominations and homosexuality was illegal. Homosexual acts were a
capital offence until 1861. However, many famous men from the British
Isles, such as Oscar Wilde, were notorious homosexuals. Toward the end
of the century, many large trials were held on the subject.
In the same way, throughout the Victorian Era, movements for justice,
freedom, and other strong moral values opposed greed, exploitation, and
cynicism. The writings of Charles Dickens, in particular, observed and
recorded these conditions. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels carried out
much of their analysis of capitalism in and as a reaction to Victorian
Women in the Victorian era
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The status of women in the Victorian era is often seen as an
illustration of the striking discrepancy between England's national
power and wealth and what many, then and now, consider its appalling
social conditions. Women were seen as pure and clean. Because of this
view, their bodies were seen as temples which should not be adorned with
jewellery nor used for physical exertion or pleasurable sex. The role of
women was to have children and tend to the house, in contrast to men,
according to the concept of Victorian masculinity.
Mistresses of households
The first mention of a woman being described as the mistress of a
household was in 1861 by Isabella Beeton in her manual Mrs Beeton's Book
of Household Management. Here she explained that the mistress of a
household is comparable to the Commander of an Army or the leader of an
enterprise. To run a respectable household and secure the happiness,
comfort and well-being of her family she must perform her duties
intelligently and thoroughly. For example, she has to organize, delegate
and instruct her servants which is not an easy task as many of them are
not reliable. Another duty described by Beeton is that of being the
"sick-nurse" who takes care of ill family members. This requires a good
temper, compassion for suffering and sympathy with sufferers,
neat-handedness, quiet manners, love of order and cleanliness; all
qualities a woman worthy of the name should possess in the 19th century.
A very special connection existed between women and their brothers.
Sisters had to treat their brothers as they would treat their future
husbands. They were dependent on their male family members as the
brother's affection might secure their future in case their husband
treated them badly or they did not get married at all. Furthermore,
while it was very easy to lose one's reputation, it was difficult to
establish a reputation. For example, it was not uncommon for whole
families to be stigmatised as a result of the misdeeds of one individual
member of that family.
Large numbers of working class women worked in factories, or in the
garment industry or in laundries or at various other jobs. From the
mid-1850s nursing became a respectable occupation for women. Large
numbers of women worked as nurses in the American Civil War, and in
England nursing schools were started to give women a proper training.
Women were increasingly employed in offices in the later part of the
century, the invention of the typewriter led to an increase in office
jobs for women, as they were found to make better typists than men. When
the telephone was invented they were employed as telephone switchboard
operators. Large numbers worked as sales clerks in the new department
stores. Some women broke into professions like medicine, law, and
journalism. The enterprising American journalist Nellie Bly, for
instance, was famous for 'stunt' journalism, and became the first person
to actually try and go around the world in 80 days, inviting comparisons
to Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg in the book 'Around
the World in 80 Days'.
In the early part of the Victorian age, girls of the upper and middle
class were educated mainly in 'fashionable' subjects like French,
drawing, painting, singing, dancing and playing the piano. However, in
the later part of the century, giving girls a proper education became
more important, and schools like Cheltenham Ladies' College and Rodean
were established, offering girls an education broadly modelled on that
of boys of the same class, with an emphasis on academic subjects and
outdoor games. The expansion of the educational system for poor children
meant that both boys and girls of the working class were guaranteed a
basic education, though many left school early to work. From the 1870s,
women's colleges were started in places like Oxford and Cambridge, which
offered female students an education on a par with that of men, though
it wasn't until the 20th century that they gained full acceptance by the
universities. In America, women made up a third of the student
population by 1880.
Reforming divorce laws
A number of changes were made to the legal status of women in the 19th
century, especially concerning marriage laws. The fact that fathers
always received custody of their children, leaving the mother completely
without any rights, slowly started to change. The Custody of Infants Act
in 1839 gave mothers of unblemished character access to their children
in the event of separation or divorce, and the Matrimonial Causes Act in
1857 gave women limited access to divorce. But while the husband only
had to prove his wife's adultery, a woman had to prove her husband had
not only committed adultery but also incest, bigamy, cruelty or
desertion. In 1873 the Custody of Infants Act extended access to
children to all women in the event of separation or divorce. In 1878,
after an amendment to the Matrimonial Causes Act, women could secure a
separation on the grounds of cruelty and claim custody of their
children. Magistrates even authorized protection orders to wives whose
husbands have been convicted of aggravated assault. An important change
was caused by an amendment to the Married Women's Property Act in 1884
that made a woman no longer a 'chattel' but an independent and separate
person. Through the Guardianship of Infants Act in 1886, women could be
made the sole guardian of their children if their husband died.
Despite the fact that Britain's head of state was a woman, women could
not vote. For much of the Victorian era, however, most men were also
unable to vote. The franchise was extended to include most men in towns
and some men living in rural areas in 1867, which doubled the
electorate. However, agricultural labourers were not given the vote
until 1884. Many women did not consider the vote to be of much
importance anyway, and some women were opposed to the idea of women
getting involved in politics. They believed women would be better
occupied concentrating on improving the lives of other women and
children though working to improve healthcare, education, and social
Reform of prostitution laws
The situation of prostitutes—and as was later demonstrated women in
general—was actually worsened through the 'First Contagious Diseases
Prevention Act' in 1864. In towns with a large military population,
women suspected of being prostitutes had to subject themselves to an
involuntary periodic genital examination. If they were diagnosed with an
illness they were confined to hospitals until they were cured. This law
applied to women only since military doctors believed that these
examinations were shameful and would destroy a man's self-respect. Since
the decision about who was a prostitute was left to the judgment of
police officers, a great deal of women were examined who were not
actually prostitutes. After two extensions of the law in 1866 and 1869,
the acts were finally repealed in 1886.
Beginning in the late 1840s, major news organizations, clergymen and
single women became increasingly concerned about prostitution, which
came to be known as "The Great Social Evil." Although estimates of the
number of prostitutes in London by the 1850s vary widely (in his
landmark study, Prostitution, William Acton reported that the police
estimated there were 8,600 in London alone in 1857), it is enough to say
that the number of women working the streets became increasingly
difficult to ignore. When the United Kingdom Census 1851 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 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 out of wedlock) became a staple
feature of mid-Victorian literature and politics. In the writings of
Henry Mayhew, Charles Booth and others, prostitution began to be seen as
a social problem.
When Parliament passed the first of the Contagious Diseases Acts in
1864 (which allowed the local constabulary to force any woman suspected
of venereal disease to submit to its inspection), Josephine Butler's
crusade to repeal the CD Acts yoked the anti-prostitution cause with the
emergent feminist movement. Butler attacked the long-established double
standard of sexual morality.
Prostitutes were often presented as victims in sentimental literature
such as Thomas Hood's poem The Bridge of Sighs, Elizabeth Gaskell's
novel Mary Barton and Dickens' novel Oliver Twist. The emphasis on the
purity of women found in such works as Coventry Patmore's The Angel in
the House led to the portrayal of the prostitute and fallen woman as
soiled, corrupted, and in need of cleansing.
This emphasis on female purity was allied to the stress on the
homemaking role of women, who helped to create a space free from the
pollution and corruption of the city. In this respect the prostitute
came to have symbolic significance as the embodiment of the violation of
that divide. The double standard remained in force. Divorce legislation
introduced in 1857 allowed for a man to divorce his wife for adultery,
but a woman could only divorce if adultery was accompanied by cruelty.
The anonymity of the city led to a large increase in prostitution and
unsanctioned sexual relationships. Dickens and other writers associated
prostitution with the mechanisation and industrialisation of modern
life, portraying prostitutes as human commodities consumed and thrown
away like refuse when they were used up. Moral reform movements
attempted to close down brothels, something that has sometimes been
argued to have been a factor in the concentration of street-prostitution
in Whitechapel, in the East End of London, by the 1880s.
The Victorian Era (1837 - 1901)
1832 - Passage of the first Reform Act.
1837 - Accession of Queen Victoria to the throne.
1840 - New Zealand becomes a British colony, through the Treaty of
1842 - Massacre of Elphinstone's Army by the Afghans in Afghanistan
results in the death or
incarceration of 16,500 soldiers and civilians.
The Mines Act of 1842 banned women/children from working in coal, iron,
lead and tin mining.
The Illustrated London News was first published.
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 demographics and became a rallying point for nationalist
sentiment that pervaded British politics for much of the following
1846 - Repeal of the Corn Laws.
1848 - Death of around 2,000 people a week in a cholera epidemic.
1850 - Restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Britain.
1851 - The Great Exhibition (the first World's Fair) was held at the
Crystal Palace, with great
success and international attention.
The Victorian gold rush. In ten years the Australian population nearly
1854 - Crimean War: The United Kingdom declared war on Russia.
1857 - The Indian Mutiny, a widespread revolt in India against the rule of
the British East India Company, was sparked by sepoys (native Indian
soldiers) in the Company's army. The rebellion, involving not just
sepoys but many sectors of the Indian population as well, was largely
quashed within a year. In response to the mutiny, the East India Company
was abolished in August 1858 and India came under the direct rule of the
British crown, beginning the period of the British Raj.
1858 - The Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, responded to the Orsini plot
against French emperor Napoleon III, the bombs for which were purchased
in Birmingham, by attempting to make such acts a felony, but the
resulting uproar forced him to resign.
1859 - Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which
led to various reactions.
1861 - Death of Prince Albert; Queen Victoria refused to go out in
public for many years, and
when she did she wore a widow's bonnet instead of the crown.
1866 - An angry crowd in London, protesting against John Russell's
resignation as Prime Minister, was barred from Hyde Park by the police;
they tore down iron railings and trampled on flower beds. Disturbances
like this convinced Derby and Disraeli of the need for further
1867 - The Constitution Act, 1867 passes and British North America
becomes Dominion of Canada.
1875 - Britain purchased Egypt's shares in the Suez Canal as the
African nation was forced
to raise money to pay off its debts.
1878 - Treaty of Berlin (1878). Cyprus becomes a Crown colony.
1882 - British troops began the occupation of Egypt by taking the Suez
Canal, in order to secure
the vital trade route and passage to India, and the country became a
1884 - The Fabian Society was founded in London by a group of middle
including Quaker Edward R. Pease, Havelock Ellis, and E. Nesbit, to
1888 - The serial killer known as Jack the Ripper murdered and mutilated
five (and possibly
more) prostitutes on the streets of London.
1870 - 1891 - Under the Elementary Education Act 1870, basic State
Education became free
for every child under the age of 10.
1901 - The death of the much-loved Victoria saw the end of this era, and
the ascension of her
eldest son, Edward, began the Edwardian era, another time of great
Victorian novelists and poets
is the literature produced during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) and corresponds to the Victorian era. It forms a link and
transition between the writers of the romantic period and the very
different literature of the 20th century.
The 19th century saw the novel become the leading form of literature
in English. The works by pre-Victorian writers such as
SCOTT had perfected both closely-observed social satire and
adventure stories. Popular works opened a market for the novel amongst a
reading public. The 19th century is often regarded as a high point in
British literature as well as in other countries such as France, the
United States and Russia. Books, and novels in particular, became
ubiquitous, and the "Victorian novelist" created legacy works with
Significant Victorian novelists and poets include:
from the Portuguese" ,
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland",
A. E. Housman,
Algernon Charles Swinburne,
"The Ballad of
"The Paradox of Oscar Wilde"
Manchester Town Hall is an example of Victorian Gothic Revival found
in Manchester, UK.
Museum of Natural History in London, UK.
Victorian Painters and Book Illustrations