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Liceul Teoretic Sfnta Maria Galai

Atestat de competen lingvistic la Limba Englez

Candidat: Coordonator:
Munteanu Flavia Huanu Mihai

The Victorian

Table of contents
Table of contents........................................................................................................3
Chapter One Morality and Ethics............................................................................5
Victorian era morality & values in literature.............................................................6
Contradictions in the Victorian Values......................................................................6
Ethics and morality during the Victorian Era............................................................7
Chapter Two High Culture....................................................................................10
Characteristics of Victorian Literature ...................................................................11
Victorian Arhitecture...............................................................................................12
Victorian Fashion....................................................................................................15
Chapther Three Family...........................................................................................23
Roles of parents in a Victorian family.....................................................................24


The Victorian Age is an important part of the Britan's History.I have decided
to write about Victorian Age because I think History is a part of our past even it is
not our countrys History,we all can learn from others History.
The most important aspect of the Victorian Age was the morality of the
principles that Queen Victoria had enforced. A principle that was of great
importance was the religious morality.The church had a great power then through
schools,universities etc.It was implemented the faith in God that asks you to
help your neighbour , the poor people Etc. in other words , your fellow man.This
will be presented in the first chapter.
The second chapter will be about the high culture that was a result of the
the international relations characterized by peace.Another name of this Age was
the Golden Years .This peace led Britan to a substantial progress in
economic,political, diplomatic and cultural field.In this era culture touched a high
level of development.An increase was saw in arhitecture, literature,decorative arts
and fashion.
The role of family in that era was considered essential .The woman was
supposed to focus on her husband and their children.The man was the head of his
family(chapter 3).

Chapter one
Morality and Ethics
Victorian Era Morality Facts: Moral Behavior, Values, Ideals, Ethics
Ethics and morals relate to right and wrong conduct. While they are
sometimes used interchangeably, they are different: ethics refer to rules provided
by an external source, e.g., codes of conduct in workplaces or principles in
religions.Morals refer to an individuals own principles regarding right and wrong.

The Victorian era is often thought of as a time when society and its rules
were rigid and strict. The term prudish is used very much in reference to this point
in time. So if one has to defineVictorian morality, it is based upon a group of
principles or standard of moral conduct including practising sexual restraint, zero
acceptance of criminal activity and a stern demeanour.
Facts about Victorian attitudes and values: an introduction
Victorian era is thus named after the monarch ruling over England during
this period and this particular term was employed for the first time when the Great
Exhibition of 1851 took place in London. This was the platform where all
that Victorian morality and inventions and discoveries were showcased to the
world at large.
What are examples of Victorian morality?
The term Victorian morality is often used to describe the values of the
period, which included:
sexual proprietary
hard work
sense of duty and responsibility towards the less well off
Religion, morality, elitist thinking, industrialization all played an important
role in the formation of what we today know as the Victorian era morality. It
changed England totally by altering the very thread of social interaction, mores and
Victorian morality in America
In line with the values, Royal Navy patrolled the Atlantic ocean checking on
ships for any illegal trade of slaves. If found, slaves were freed. Freed slaves were
sent to Sierra Leone.

Victorian era morality & values in literature
As mentioned earlier, movements for justice, freedom, and other strong
moral values were pitted against greed, exploitation, and cynicism. The writings
of Charles Dickens, in particular, observed and raised awareness about these
conditions. It is also said that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels analysis of
capitalism is in and as a reaction to Victorian Britain.
These patriarchal social values and roles for men & women are summed up
by Alfred Lord Tennysons (18091892) in his poem, The Princess (1847):
Man for the field and woman for the hearth;
for the sword, and for the needle she;
Man with the head, and women with the heart;
Man to command, and woman to obey;
All else is confusion.

Contradictions in the Victorian Values

Today, the historians view this period in history as a contradiction in terms.
On one hand, there was utmost abeyance to the dictates of society, exemplified
behaviour and formality. On the other hand, child labor and prostitution were
highly prevalent at the same time.
Thus, a faade of sobriety, sternness and piety was adopted while turning a
blind eye to the many evils that were rampant in Victorian England. Religion,
which was constant and unshakeable, was beginning to be questioned. The people
did not hesitate to ask why.
The advent of industrialization, modernization and the mushrooming of
factories, developments in science and the discovery of various continents left a
lingering doubt in the minds of people. Commercialism took precedence over
everything else.
Hence, the virtues prescribed by religion were named as values, i.e. a
morality based conduct and behaviour. Values, not prescribed by the church, were
changeable and alterable according to practice and peoples wishes.
Ideals were upheld as morals and values. The agnostic way of thinking
emerged due to the tremendous and rapid transformation of the countrys economy,
development and political situation. The Oxford movement, anti-liberal movement,
utilitarianism and Marxism came into power unlike anything before.
Thus, the belief that value means utility basis of thought came into being.
Nietzsche propounded the theory of nihilism meaning the ultimate emptying of
culture and meaninglessness.
The most thought was given to what was respectable. From the aristocracy
to the working class, respectability was the topmost thing on everyones minds.

Being clean, truthful, and polite and observing the rules of conversation
were very important. Philanthropy was also an example of Victorian morality.
Ethics and morality during the Victorian Era
What is the difference between ethics and morality?
Ethics refer to rules provided by an external source.Morals refer to an individuals
own principles regarding right and wrong.

The Victorian ethics, similar and closely related to Victorian morality, is the
subsequent result of the myriad of influences and struggles between
Victorian social classes, particularly the rise of the middle class.

The Victorian Upper Class

In the beginning of the Victorian Era (1837s 1901), the English society
was already dominated by social stratification, between the upper class
descendants of the nobility and the lower class those who do the dirty works
for a living. Consequently, the inevitable historical emergence
of industrialization and its clash against the predominant aristocratic ideology of
the people paved the way to the rise of the middle class doctors, manufacturers,
and professors, among many others. This rise challenged the existing social order
that led to the birth of the conflicting class-bound Victorian ethics.
Ethics and Materialism
The upper class was primarily materialist. The nobility focused on their
social appearance rather than their spirituality or inner self. Alongside with this,
they perceived idleness as a virtue a divine gift from the heavens bestowed upon
the descendants of the elite rulers. They loathe those who worked for a living.

As the era approached the early 19th century, Englands shift to
the economic mode of production from feudalism to industrial capitalism re-
distributed the socio-economic power. The middle class, being this historical shifts
beneficiary, grew contempt over the materialist perspective of the upper class and
their notion of the divine rights of the nobility. This is inevitably expected since the
rise of the middle class is founded on the ideology that a man has to work hard
both as contribution and catalysis towards the proliferation of the economic
Middle class and Individualism

The Victorian Working Class

Truly, the Victorian Era has become a plethora of social movements and
political changes. Following the materialist conception of history, class struggle
and conflict persist as to improve the prevailing and fragmented condition of the
Traditionally, the Victorian people simply accepted the social class that they
were born into. This implies that moving upwards the social ladder is impossible.
However, the historical shift from agriculture to industry opened the possibility of
social mobility. Higher social status can then be earned as long as people earn the
right and qualification needed for the proliferation of the industrial economy.
During the nobilitys subsequent financial crisis, the prosperous middle class
was able to buy lands and properties that were initially dedicated only to the upper
classes. This historical phenomenon has been followed by the emergence and

expansion of various disciplines, such as science, psychology, and sociology.
Modernism: Darwin, Freud, and Marx

Industrialization entails modernism. Three ground-shaking discoveries had

further increased the contradictions present during the Victorian era, namely
Charles Darwins Evolution of species, Sigmund Freuds Psychoanalysis and Karl
Marxs Communism. These ideas challenged all the pre-existing Victorian values
and beliefs as they altogether denounced creationism, ego-centrism, and socio-
political hierarchy.
Ethics, during the Victorian transitional period of the mode of production,
has become an ideological hybrid of feudalism and industrial capitalism.

Chapther Two
High culture

A picture of Leadenhall Street, London, c. 1837

The Poultry Cross, Salisbury, painted by Louise Rayner, c. 1870

Gothic Revival architecture became increasingly significant during the

period, leading to the Battle of the Styles between Gothic
and Classical ideals. Charles Barry's architecture for the new Palace of
Westminster, which had been badly damaged in an 1834 fire, was built in
the medieval style of Westminster Hall, the surviving part of the building. It
constructed a narrative of cultural continuity, set in opposition to the violent
disjunctions of Revolutionary France, a comparison common to the period, as
expressed in Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution: A History and Charles
Dickens' Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. Gothic was also supported
by critic John Ruskin, who argued that it epitomised communal and inclusive
social values, as opposed to Classicism, which he considered to epitomise
mechanical standardisation.
The middle of the 19th century saw The Great Exhibition of 1851, the
first World's Fair, which showcased the greatest innovations of the century. At its
centre was the Crystal Palace, a modular glass and iron structure the first of its
kind. It was condemned by Ruskin as the very model of mechanical
dehumanisation in design but later came to be presented as the prototype
of Modern architecture. The emergence of photography, showcased at the Great

Exhibition, resulted in significant changes in Victorian art with Queen Victoria
being the first British monarch to be photographed. John Everett Millais was
influenced by photography (notably in his portrait of Ruskin) as were other Pre-
Raphaelite artists. It later became associated with the Impressionistic and Social
Realist techniques that would dominate the later years of the period in the work of
artists such as Walter Sickert and Frank Holl.
The long-term effect of the reform movements was to tightly link the
nonconformist element with the Liberal party. The dissenters gave significant
support to moralistic issues, such as temperance and sabbath enforcement.
The nonconformist conscience, as it was called, was repeatedly called upon by
Gladstone for support for his moralistic foreign policy. In election after election,
Protestant ministers rallied their congregations to the Liberal ticket. In Scotland,
the Presbyterians played a similar role to the Nonconformist Methodists, Baptists
and other groups in England and Wales The political strength of Dissent faded
sharply after 1920 with the secularization of British society in the 20th century.
Characteristics of Victorian Literature
The literature of the Victorian age (1837 1901, named for the reign of
Queen Victoria) entered in a new period after the romantic revival. The literature of
this era expressed the fusion of pure romance to gross realism. Though, the
Victorian Age produced great poets, the age is also remarkable for the excellence
of its prose. The discoveries of science have particular effects upon the literature of
the age. If you study all the great writers of this period, you will mark four general
1.Literature of this age tends to come closer to daily life which reflects its practical
problems and interests. It becomes a powerful instrument for human progress.
Socially & economically, Industrialism was on the rise and various reform
movements like emancipation, child labor, womens rights, and evolution.
2. Moral Purpose: The Victorian literature seems to deviate from "art for art's sake"
and asserts its moral purpose. Tennyson, Browning, Carlyle, Ruskin - all were the
teachers of England with the faith in their moral message to instruct the world.
3.Idealism: It is often considered as an age of doubt and pessimism. The influence
of science is felt here. The whole age seems to be caught in the conception of man
in relation to the universe with the idea of evolution.
4.Though, the age is characterized as practical and materialistic, most of the writers
exalt a purely ideal life. It is an idealistic age where the great ideals like truth,
justice, love, brotherhood are emphasized by poets, essayists and novelists of the
The Style of the Victorian Novel
Victorian novels tend to be idealized portraits of difficult lives in which hard
work, perseverance, love and luck win out in the end; virtue would be rewarded

and wrongdoers are suitably punished. They tended to be of an improving nature
with a central moral lesson at heart. While this formula was the basis for much of
earlier Victorian fiction, the situation became more complex as the century
Victorian literature 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 Jane Austen and Walter 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 continuing
Significant Victorian novelists and poets include: Matthew Arnold, the
Bront sisters (Emily, Anne and Charlotte Bront), Christina Rossetti, Robert
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Joseph Conrad, Edward Bulwer-Lytton,
Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, George Eliot, George
Meredith, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, Richard Jefferies, Thomas Hardy, A.
E. Housman, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Algernon
Charles Swinburne, Philip Meadows Taylor, Alfred Lord Tennyson, William
Thackeray, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll and H. G. Wells (although many people
consider his writing to be more of the Edwardian age).
Victorian Architecture
Victorian architecture refers to several styles developed during the reign of
Queen Victoria.
A common mental image of a "Victorian" home looks much like a dollhouse
with elaborate trim and bright colors. But the term "Victorian architecture" actually
refers to styles that emerged in the period between 1830 and 1910, during the reign
of Queen Victoria. The Victorian era spawned several well-known styles, including
Gothic revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, stick style, Romanesque
style and shingle style.
The Victorian styles evolved largely from the imposing, elaborate Gothic
style, which appealed to the romantic Victorian idea that fashion, architecture and
furnishings should be beautiful rather than practical. A wealthy Victorian woman's
clothing, for example, involved corsets, hoop skirts and dresses that used yards of
fabric. It made sense for the trendy home designs to reflect that excess as well.
Architects took the ideas of Gothic architecture and added French, Italian,

Tudor and even Egyptian details. Designers were free to combine the styles to
create several different well-known styles -- and combine the styles as they saw fit.
As a result, there are few Victorian homes that look the same.
Ideas from the Gothic style may have started the Victorian styles, but a kick
from the Industrial Revolution nationalized the trend. Steam-powered sawmills
could create elaborate materials cheaper and faster. As a result, late Victorian
homes became increasingly ornate. Even lower-income families could afford trim
and patterns to turn their existing homes into "folk Victorians."
The Queen Anne style came into fashion in the 1880s, at the height of the
mass-production of architectural trim. These elaborate, brightly colored homes are
the image most people think of when they picture a Victorian home.
As the Arts and Crafts Movement began to hit America, critics accused the
Victorians of needless complexity and clutter, advocating a more streamlined,
handcrafted home. The style fell out of fashion, but is still very prevalent in
historic communities around the country.
Key Elements
Two to three stories. Victorian homes are usually large and imposing.
Wood or stone exterior. The majority of Victorian styles use wood siding, but the
Second Empire and Romanesque styles almost always have outer walls made of
Complicated, asymmetrical shape. Unlike the boxy Greek revival style, Victorian
homes have wings and bays in many directions.
Decorative trim. Commonly called "gingerbread," Victorian homes are usually
decorated with elaborate wood or metal trim.
Textured wall surfaces. Scalloped shingles, patterned masonry or half-timbering
are commonly used to dress up Victorian siding.
Steep, multi-faceted roof or Mansard roof. Victorian homes often have steep,
imposing rooflines with many gables facing in different directions. The Second
Empire Victorian style has a flat-topped Mansard roof with windows in the side to
allow for maximum space inside the house.
One-story porch. A large, wraparound porch with ornamental spindles and brackets
is common, especially in the Queen Anne style.
Towers. Some high-end Victorian homes are embellished with a round or octagonal
tower with a steep, pointed roof.
Vibrant colors. Before the Victorian era, most houses were painted all one color,
usually white or beige. By 1887, bright earth tones like burnt sienna and mustard
yellow were in vogue.

Famous Examples
Gingerbread House. This Savannah, Ga., landmark was built by Cord Asendorf in
1889. It's considered one of the best examples of Steamboat Gothic architecture.

Wedding Cake House. This square brick home in Kennebuck, Maine, was
originally built in 1826. Like many homes in the Victorian era, it was covered in
wooden Gothic decoration in 1850 to keep up with architecture trends.

"Painted Ladies" in San Francisco. The term "painted ladies" refers to Victorian
houses painted in three or more colors to embellish their architectural detail. It was
first used to describe the colorful homes in San Francisco in the 1978
book Painted Ladies: San Francisco's Resplendent Victorians.

Rosson House. Built in 1895, this Phoenix home is a great example of the Queen
Anne style and is now a museum. Its detailed trim is often referred to as Eastlake
detailing, after furniture designer Charles Eastlake's elaborate creations.

Victorian Fashion

llustration depicting fashions throughout the

19th century

Women's Fashions of the Victorian Era: From Hoop Skirts to Bustles - 1837 1901
Victorian Style - 1880s

From Victorian Fashion plate: First is early 1880's daywear dress; center an
1880's evening dress; third is mid 1880's day dress
Victorian Clothing - Prim and Proper Yet Outrageous Styles
Despite the prim and proper feminine ideal of the day, fashions of the
Victorian period created an often exaggerated, ostentatious look. Tight corsets,
gigantic hoop-skirts, and outrageous bustles make today's fashion trends look
sedate by comparison.
Clothing styles were dictated by propriety, and stylish garments were a sign
of respectability. The copious amounts of fabric used in the creation of Victorian
skirts usually meant that most women owned few outfits. Detachable collars and
cuffs enabled a woman to change the look of a garment for a bit of variety. Of
course, wealthier women owned more garments made of finer fabrics using more
material and embellishments.
Early Victorian Fashion
1836 ushered in a new change from the Romantic style of dress. Large
Gignot sleeves suddenly slimmed and a seam line dropped the shoulder of dresses.
A tight fitting bodice was boned and slanted to emphasize the waist. Cartridge
pleats at the waist created volume in the skirt without adding bulk to the waist.
Women of a higher social class were expected to be demure and indolent as

reflected by the restrictive dropped shoulder lines and corsets.Dresses in soft colors
could be refreshed with detachable white collars and cuffs.
In the 1840s, extra flounces were added to skirts and women wore a short
over-skirt in day dressing. Skirts widened as the hourglass silhouette became the
popular look, and women took to wearing layers of petticoats. Bodices took on a V
shape and the shoulder dropped more.
Evening wear exposed the shoulders and neckline and corsets lost their
shoulder straps. Sleeves of ball gowns were usually short.
Although women wore what we call dresses, many of these costumes were
actually a separate bodice and skirt.Three quarter length sleeves lasted through
most of the Victorian period and some sleeves began to sprout bell shaped ruffles.
For most of the 19th century, bonnets were the headgear of choice, in styles
that varied from plain to heavily ornamented.
Victorian Hair and Make Up
Women's hair was generally worn long, caught up in a chignon or bun. In the
1840s, ringlets of curls hung on either side of the head. In the 1870s, women drew
up the side hair but let it hang in long, loose curls in back.Crimping became
popular in the early 1870s.Throughout the Victorian period, women wore false hair
pieces and extensions as well as artificial flowers such as velvet pansies and roses,
false leaves, and beaded butterflies often combined into intricate and beautiful
headpieces.Make up was mostly worn by theater people. The look for women in
Victorian days was very pale skin occasionally highlighted with a smidge of rouge
on the cheeks.
The Victorian Corset
A corset is an undergarment set with strips of whalebone (actually whale
baleen), later replaced by steel.Though criticized as unhealthy, and certainly
uncomfortable, corsets were a fashion staple throughout the 19th century granting
women social status, respectability, and the idealized figure of youth.Often called
'stays,' from the French 'estayer,' meaning support, corsets were thought to provide
support to women, the weaker sex.Critics, including some health professionals,
believed that corsets caused cancer, anemia, birth defects, miscarriages, and
damage to internal organs. The tight restriction of the body did deplete lung
capacity and caused fainting.
The popular concept of an obsession with a tiny waist is probably
exaggerated. The competition of cinching in to improbable dimensions was more
of a fetish or a fad and not the norm as depicted in the 1939 film, Gone With the
Wind, when Scarlett O'Hara cinches her corset to a 17" waist.
1860 - Women in Crinolines

Mid-Victorian Crinolines and Hoop Skirts
In the 1850s, the dome shaped skirt switched to tapered skirts that flared at
the waist. The new hour glass figure grew to exaggerated proportions.Layers of
petticoats were suddenly not enough and the crinoline was introduced to add
volume to skirts. Crinoline was a heavy, stiff fabric made of woven horsehair that
was expensive, and impossible to clean.In the 1850s, a cage like affair replaced the
multi-layered petticoats. Called hoop-skirts, cage crinolines, or cages, they were
light weight, economical and more comfortable than the heavy crinolines.Cage
crinolines which produced the huge, volumnous skirts so often associated with
mid-century Victorian fashion, were made of flexible sprung steel rings suspended
from fabric tape.The look was so popular and economical that lower middle class
women, maids, and factory girls sported the style. Cheaper hoop skirts included a
dozen hoops while the high priced variety featured 20 - 40 hoops for a smoother
line.The hoop industry grew large and two New York factories produced 3,000 to
4,000 hoop cages a day, employing thousands of workers.Early versions of hoop
skirts reached the floor, but hemlines rose in the 1860s.Sleeves were often tight at
the top, opening at the bottom in a bell-like shape.
Victorian Costume - 1860s Hoop Skirts

From drawing by Pauquet
The Sewing Machine and Victorian Technology
The mass production of sewing machines in the 1850s as well as the advent
of synthetic dyes introduced major changes in fashion. Previously, clothing was
hand sewn using natural dyes.Other new developments included the introduction
of the sized paper pattern as well as machines that could slice several pattern
pieces at once. Clothing could now be produced quickly and cheaply.
In 1860, Charles Worth, a clothing designer in Paris, France, created
costumes worn by the French Empress Eugenie, Empress Elizabeth of Austria, and
Queen Victoria. Worth became so influential that he is known as the Father of
Haute Couture (high fashion).
In 1864, Worth introduced an over-skirt that was lifted and held back by
buttons and tabs. By 1868, the over-skirt was drawn back and looped, creating
fullness and drapery at the rear.
Meanwhile, certain fashion mavens felt that the over ornamentation had
gone too far. The New Princess Line was a simple form of dress, cut in one piece
of joined panels, fitted from shoulder to hem. The Gabriel Princess dress produced
a slim silhouette in plain or muted colors with a small white collar and a full,
though greatly diminished skirt.

The Bloomer Costume, named after feminist Amelia Bloomer, featured a
full, short skirt worn over wide trousers for ease of movement. The style did not go
over and was often ridiculed in the press.Followers of the Aesthetic
movementdespised the Industrial Revolution, exaggerated fashions, and the use of
the new synthetic dyes that produced sometimes lurid colors, and weird color
combinations. These intellectuals, artists, and literary folk longed for a simpler life
and the costumes that reflected the life-style.Garments were loose and
unstructured, used soft colors created with natural dyes, embellished by hand
embroidery featuring motifs drawn from nature.
Victorian - Brady Photograph of Women and Child circa 1862

mourning dress was worn during bereavement.

Late Victorian - The Bustle A bustle is a pad that emphasized the posterior.
Used in the late 1700s when swagged up skirts made a large rear end fashionable,
they eventually became the prime focus of fashion. By the later 1800s, rear pads
were called bustles.
1868 saw a fullness appear at the back of the skirt. The ideal female form
featured narrow, slope shoulders, wide hips, and a tiny waist.Held on with a
buckled waistband, the bustle was a rectangular or crescent shaped pad made of
horse hair or down filled woven wire mesh.By 1867, Worth's over-skirt caught on
and combined with a bustle created an entirely new look.
In 1870, ball gowns featured trains and by 1873, trains showed up in day
dresses. Trains were a short lived style, however, as they quickly became soiled
dragging along city streets.1875 saw skirts slimmed down with the skirt low and
close to the body, often, but not always, with a bustle.
The bustle came back in a big way in the 1880s creating a huge, shelf like
protrusion at the rear. But the ludicrous style fell out of favor and by 1887, was
greatly reduced in size. The 1890's saw some fullness at the rear, but the bustle was
on its way out.
Women's fashions took on a more tailored look with the introduction of the
cuirasse bodice in 1878. The stiff, corset like garment dipped down in front and
back and eventually reached the upper thighs.
The Edwardian Era Age Queen Victoria aged, fashionable heads turned
toward her son Edward, the Prince of Wales. The combination of his lust for a
hedonistic life-style and the women's emancipation movement changed the look of
fashion for women.Queen Victoria died in 1901, but changes come gradually and
the eras over-laped.The major change in the new Edwardian style was the end of
the corset and the introduction of the new 'health corset' with an S bend look.

Chapther Three

Queen Victoria and her Family (1846) by Franz Xavier Winterhalter

Differentiation of sexual spheres: men in public sphere and married women
in the home: There can be no security to society, no honour, no prosperity, no
dignity at home, no nobleness of attitude towards foreign nations, unless the
strength of the people rests upon the purity and firmness of the domestic system
Although the Victorian era was a period of extreme social inequality,
industrialisation brought about rapid changes in everyday life that affected all
classes. Family life, epitomised by the young Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and
their nine children, was enthusiastically idealised.
The tremendous expansion of the middle classes, in both numbers and
wealth, created a huge demand for goods and services. The pound was strong and

labour was cheap.Keen to display their affluence, and with the leisure to enjoy it,
the newly rich required a never-ending supply of novelties from the countrys
factories and workshops: new colours for ladies clothes (such as mauve), new toys
for their children, fine cutlery from Sheffield, silverware from factories like JW
Evans in Birmingham, dinner and tea services from the Staffordshire Potteries, and
plate glass from Liverpool.What in the 18th century would have been available
only to aristocrats was now on show in every smart middle-class home.The middle
classes needed servants too, and in 1900 almost a third of British women aged
between 15 and 20 were in service. Domestic servants represented the largest class
of workers in the country, and country houses like Audley End, Essex, had large
service wings to accommodate them.
Luxuries were not available to the millions of working poor, who toiled for
long hours in mills (like Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria), mines, factories and
docks. The dreadful working and living conditions of the early 19th century
persisted in many areas until the end of the Victorian age. The dark shadow of the
workhouse loomed over the unemployed and destitute.
By the 1880s and 1890s, however, most people were benefiting from
cheaper imported food and other goods. New terraces of houses for the more
prosperous working classes were increasingly connected to clean water, drains and
even gas.
A series of Factory Acts from the 1830s onwards progressively limited the
number of hours that women and children could be expected to work. Any attempts
to organise labour, however, were banned by law until late in the century.


By 1900 there were many diversions and entertainments for rich and poor
Theatres, music halls, libraries, museums and art galleries were built in
every major town and many minor ones, often founded by a new breed of
philanthropist. Seaside towns were no longer the preserve of the rich, and places
like Great Yarmouth and Blackpool developed as popular resorts for the working
There were many new sports, such as lawn tennis and croquet, and old sports
with newly defined rules, such as rugby, football and cricket. Games were an
essential ingredient of the education provided by the public schools that multiplied
during this period, to make gentlemen out of the new middle classes.
Education came to be regarded as a universal need, and eventually a
universal right. It was made compulsory (up to the age of ten) in 1880. To achieve

education for all, many new state or board schools were established, together
with church schools. By 1900 there was near-universal literacy, a colossal
achievement considering how appalling the situation of poor children had been in
the 1830s.
The Victorian age was the first in which childhood was recognised as a
distinct and precious phase in life. Family life, embodied by the young queen, her
beloved Albert and their nine children, was idealised.
As in so much else, the Victorians proved richly imaginative when it came to
entertaining children. The moral tales of the start of the period were supplemented
by animal stories (such as Black Beauty), stirring adventures (like Treasure Island),
and the eccentric brilliance of Alices Adventures in Wonderland, all of which
would inspire childrens literature in the 20th century.
Victorian Era Family Daily Life in England
The Victorian family was considered to be a very valuable part of the
everyday life throughout the era. Most often families were considered by todays
standards to be very large. In 1870 you would find that the average household
family contained five or six children.
Roles of parents in a Victorian family
In Victorian families, the father himself was the worker of the family. His
responsibility was to be the bread winner. He would likely work very long hours.
However, when returning to the home he frequently had a room referred to as the
study. This was a location that he would go if he needed some peace and quiet. The
children were frequently not allowed in the study without special permission from
the father.

The mother did not carry the same role that women did of the 1950s.
Although they rarely worked, they did not spend their time cooking and washing
clothes. Instead, they planned the dinner parties and spent a lot of time generally

teaching the children of the home core values. The Victorian life put a huge value
on ensuring that parents taught their children properly.

Children, however, did not spend a lot of time with their mother or father. In
an average day, most time was probably spent with someone like a nanny which
would have also been responsible for teaching them arithmetic and reading. They
may only spend an hour or two with both parents in attendance late in the evening
and only if they were cleaned up. Children left homes early in life to get married
and start their own families.
The vast majority of homes in the Victorian era did have servants. These
servants were a core part of the average household. Even middle-income
households had a servant that was frequently responsible for washing clothes,
doing the dishes, and preparing meals. They probably did a lot of the raising when
it came to the children. Most of the time, these servants would spend their entire
working life with one family

Conclusion - Legacy
The legacy of the Victorian era continues through its literature, music and
art, through technological and scientific advances that enriched and still enrich
human life.
One significant aspect of Victorian morality was its focus on public duty
and responsibility. Victorian imperialism was in many respects patronizing and
exploitative but the idea that government has a duty to improve people's lives took
deep root. At the beginning of the era, dealing with poverty or the welfare of the
body politic was more or less left to private philanthropy. As such Acts as the
Mines Act (1842), the Education Act (1870), and the Health Act (1875) became
law, responsibility for public welfare was gradually transferred from private
philanthropy to government.
Since Victoria reigned over a global empire, the ideals that stimulated
concern for public welfare also spread across the globe. As a consequence, many
more people throughout the world started to regard themselves as members of a
common culture, as co-citizens of an inter-dependent world. Calder suggests that
while it is undeniable "That the Victorians wanted to make the world a better
place" they often "had to settle for making the home a better place" instead.
Nonetheless, perhaps more than their predecessors, the Victorians were not
parochial in their interests. The Victorians may have seen themselves as the world's
police; yet despite the arrogant aspects of this, it assumes that all people belong to
a single world community, and that certain standards in governance, civil life, law
and order are universal, to be shared by everyone.

Jeni Calder , The Victorian home ( London , UK : Batsford , 1977 , ISBN
9780713408171 , 132 )