1837 – 1901
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.
Dickens’ opening line to his story about 1790’s can just as easily describe Victorian England. On the one hand a time of peace, prosperity, and international growth. The other, a struggle with overcrowding, inadequate urban infrastructure, smog and appalling working conditions. The speed of technological and social change was increasing. Each advancement becoming the step to next; driven in no small part by tensions between those that had and those that did not.
There are so many possibilities for a Victorian topic – focus on a famous person in the context of how they lived; compare lifestyles; looking at inventions.
Popular choices are:
- Life in wealthy Victorian times – clothes, hygiene, food, leisure, homes, healthcare, social customs and etiquette
- Contrasts between poor and rich children’s life styles.
- The Great Exhibition
- A school day
- Florence Nightingale
- Mary Seacole
- Charles Dickens
- Beatrix Potter
- Mary Annings