The Victorian Age
Takes his name from queen Victoria, whose reign was very long , 1837 - 1901. (the longest one after queen Elizabeth II).
It is a very contradictory era: on one hand, we have progress and social improvement: factory act, education act, vote act.. increase of rights for children (they could not work for more than 48 hours per week, while the underaged could work for 69 hours per week tops);
on the other hand, we have social unrest, differences between social classes and poverty.
The government thought that the condition of poor people was due to laziness: that’s why they were sent into the so called workhouses, which were places where they lived in horrible conditions and were forced to work and live without hygienic services; families were separated. (Oliver Twist)
First reform act: gives the right to vote to the middle class.
Factory act: children couldn’t work more than 48 hours per week; underaged for 69 hours per week.
Ten Hours Act: no man could work for more than 10 hours per day.
The corn law: the price of corn was lowered (that’s why this period is called “Golden Age”)
Second Reform Act: gives the right to vote to workers.
The Third Reform Act: all male householders could vote.
Trade Union Act: the Trade Unions were legalized.
Trade Unions were born during this period.
Society was divided into two main parts: the rich part (usually described by Oscar Wilde), characterized by the explosion of economy (England owned a huge market, half of the world’s trades. This was showed in the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace)
At Prince Albert’s death, she obtained a very important role.
There were two main parties: the liberal (ex wigs) one and the conservative one (ex tories). They both won elections with the same aim: solve urban health, state education and the rights of trade unions.
Queen Victoria established her own Jubilees, which were (and still are) occasions of celebration and pride.
By this time Britain was mainly an urban society; even agriculture began to be mechanised
During Queen Victoria’s reign, certain values were established:
Sexuality was a taboo; every word with a slight sexual reference was censored and cut out from dictionaries; the woman was seen has a housewife and she hadn't any right and the man cared of the financial aspect.
The dark side of the Victorian Age: during this period the circus was the main event, where people go to have fun. But the chilling thing is that the show was focused on subjects with physical dysfunction and deformities; deformity was unaccepted and exorcised, because it contrasted the perfection of the victorians. For this reason they were ridiculed by the cruel middle-class public.