• Queen Victoria’s reign was the longest in
the history of England. She came to the
throne in 1837 and died in 1901.
• Her exemplary way of life and her strict
code of behaviour made her beloved,
especially by the middle classes, who
shared her moral and religious views.
• Britain became the most powerful
country in the world with the largest
empire it had ever existed, ruling a
quarter of the world’s population.
• The number of people living in Britain
more than doubled, causing a huge
demand of food, clothes and housing.
• Factories and machines were built to
meet this demand and new towns grew
up, changing the landscape and the
ways people lived and worked.
• Railways, originally built to transport
goods, meant people could travel easily
around the country for the first time.
VICTORIAN AGEThe quality of life depended on whether you were rich or poor.
• large families
• big, comfortable houses
• children brought up by their
• children rarely saw their
parents (1-hour visit in the
nursery each night)
• overcrowded houses
• poverty and disease
• terrible working conditions
• families were separated
• children had to work in
mines, factories, mills, and
as chimney sweepers
CHILDREN (as young as 5) WERE
EMPLOYED FOR 3 SIMPLE REASONS:
1. There were lots of them in
orphanages and they could be
easily replaced if accidents
2. They were cheaper than adults.
3. They were small enough to
crawl under machinery to tie
up broken threads.
THE VICTORIAN NOVEL
• The omniscient narrator provided a comment on the plot and
erected a barrier between right and wrong.
• The setting chosen by most
Victorian novelists was the city,
which was the main symbol of
industrial civilisation and the
expression of anonymous lives and
• The plot was long and often complicated by subplots.
• Retribution and punishment were to be found in the last
chapter, where the whole texture of events, adventures and
incidents had to be explained and justified.
JANE AUSTEN GEORGE ELIOT
EMILY BRONTËCHARLOTTE BRONTË