-The Victorian Age-
Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 and her reign lasted till 1901.
She was married with Prince Albert; they got married in 1840.
During her long reign, Whig politicians made some laws:
• They gave vote to the middle class in the First Reform Act (1832);
• They reformed social and economic conditions in the Factory Act (1833) and Ten Hours’ Act, which prevented children from being employed more than 48 hours a week and no person under 18 could work more than 69 hours a week and also limited the working hours to ten a day for all workers.
• Workhouses were established with the Poor Law Amendment Act (1834); poor had basic support in these institutions.
Self-help was considered very important and it was a matter of pride to be a ‘self made man’.
There was an explosion in knowledge; studies about plants and geology were made in this period.
Scientist experimented and great improvements were made in chemistry.
The government commissioned many reports on health, poverty, factory conditions and education.
Other laws were made:
• Corn Law: reduced the price of corn;
• Second Reform Act: gave vote to skilled working men.
The building of the London Underground started in 1854 and the railways started to transform the landscape and people’s lives.
They transported large quantities of raw materials and products quickly and cheaply.
Also important were the steel steam ships because they were used for trading; half of the world’s trade was carried in British ships.
Transport, coal, iron and steel formed the basis for the economy.
Britain also exported people: civil servants and soldiers were sent to administer the Empire (India, Australia, South Africa), but even experts like engineers and doctors.