10 facts about the Victorian times

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The Victorian Era of the United Kingdom was the period of Queen Victoria's reign. This period was a complex time that has been called the Second English Renaissance and even the beginning of the modern times.

The Victorian times are known for scientific progress and ideas such as Darwin's theory of evolution and Karl Marx's radical economic theory.


The Victorian era lasted from June 1837 to the death of Queen Victoria on 22nd January, 1901. Queen Victoria reigned for 63 years and 216 days, which remains the longest in British history. Queen Elizabeth II will have to reign past 10th September 2015 to beat that record.

Life expectancy

People died in their high 30s in 1837. But by 1901, people lived up to 48 years old.


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For women's fashion, clothing changed from gowns with narrow and sloping shoulders and corsets underneath. In the 1890s, clothing became simpler in style with bustles, crinoline and longer corsets that helped give women an S-curve shape. For men's clothing in the 1840s, men wore tight-fitting frock coats and a waist coast or vest and top hats. By the time of the 1890s, a jacket called a blazer was introduced to men's fashion, which was used for smart casual dress. Also in the 1890s, men's hair was generally short and they often sported a pointed beard.


In the early part of the era, Whigs and Tories dominated the House of Commons. They were the only two political parties. The Whigs party identified themselves as the opponents of tyranny. The Tory party believed in the Divine Right. The Divine Right was the king's prerogative and hereditary succession given by God. From the late 1850s, the Whigs became the Liberals while the Tories became known as the Conservatives.

Most powerful nation

According to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Britain was an imperial power with considerable global influence. The British Empire at the time was the largest empire ever and ruled over 25 per cent of the world's population. By 1900, Queen Victoria reigned over 410 million people.

Best-known authors

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English literature in this era is a bridge between the works of the Romantic era and the works of 20th century. According to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Victorian literature is known for a sense of morality, prudishness and oppression, but it also made attempts to combine imagination and emotion for the common person. Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte and Emily Bronte are well-known authors from this period.

Child labour

The Victorian era employed very young children in factories, mines, and as chimney sweepers. At the age of eight, children in poor families had to leave school and were forced to go to work. At the end of the era, a government body, called the Royal Commission, passed child labour laws that stopped children from working.

Fertility rates

Fertility rates increased every decade until 1901 when the rates started to even out. The levelling out of fertility rates was mainly because of a few changes including the higher rates of abortion and the use of birth control.

Darwin's Theory Of Natural Selection

Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, developed his idea of natural selection in 1838 and continued to develop his theory in 1847. On November 24, 1859, Darwin published his book "On the Origin of Species" about his theory of natural selection.

Children's literature

During the era, literature for children with a moralistic tone became wildly popular. Lewis Carrol, author of Alice in Wonderland, and Rudyard Kipling, author of the Jungle Book, were especially well liked in the era.