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Presentation on theme: "THE RISE OF THE VICTORIAN MIDDLE CLASS"— Presentation transcript:


2 An ideal family Music-making became a widely practiced activity as public concerts were more frequent and musical scores could be printed more easily and at a lower price. The house is decorated with paintings. Many Victorian interiors were decorated with numberless machine-made objects. Victorian taste is characterized by ecclectism and the richness of ornamentation.

3 Housemaids and servants

4 A new domestic happiness

5 Tea-time

6 A middle-class Christmas dinner
Table manners were very important and tableware was a sign of wealth. Entertaining guests became fashionable.

7 Difference of view

8 By the seaside, 1864 A seaside resort – recreational activities – piers with restaurants and ballrooms

9 Social classes Income: high vs. Low income families Earn one’s living Live below the bread / poverty line Climb up the social / career ladder Set up a business A clerk / an employee A decent standard of living Purchasing power Rich – wealthy – affluent – well-off The land-owning aristocracy – land-owners The lower / upper middle-class Civilized urban life Recreational activities – leisure Keep servants – have housemaids

10 A new political power: the 1832 Reform Act
Between 1770 and 1830, the Tories were the dominant force in the House of Commons. The Tories were strongly opposed to increasing the number of people who could vote. In November, 1830, Earl Grey a WhIg, became Prime Minister. Grey explained to William IV that he wanted to introduce proposals that would get rid of some of the rotten boroughs. A "rotten" borough was a parliamentary borough or constituency that had a very small electorate and could be used by a patron to gain unrepresentative influence within Parliament. In April 1831 Grey asked William IV to dissolve Parliament so that the Whigs could secure a larger majority in the House of Commons. William agreed. After Lord Grey's election victory, he tried again to introduce parliamentary reform. On 22nd September 1831, the House of Commons passed the Reform Bill. However, the Tories still dominated the House of Lords, and after a long debate the bill was defeated. When people heard the news, Reform Riots took place in several British towns.

11 The Bristol Riots In Bristol the magistrate, Sir Charles Weatherall, a notorious opponent of reform arrived in the city and decided to celebrate the defeat of the reform bill with the Bishop and other notaries. A protest by pro-reformists was joined by an angry mob who then attacked the Mansion house where Weatherall tried to take shelter after his carriage was stoned. After a cavalry charge by the Light Dragoons cleared the crowd from Queen's Square the wealthy merchants thought the unrest was over. The next day the mob returned with greater numbers and with a determination to burn, loot and destroy those institutions that they despised, the prisons, the houses of the rich and the houses of the corrupt (the Bishop's Palace, the Cathedral). Some middle class pro-reformists attempted to halt the actions of the crowd. This wasn't about parliamentary reform any more this was an explosion of class anger.

12 The Bristol Riots

13 On 7th May 1832, Grey and Henry Brougham met the king and asked him to create a large number of Whig peers in order to get the Reform Bill passed in the House of Lords but William refused.  Lord Grey's government resigned and William IV now asked the leader of the Tories, the Duke of Wellington to form a new government but some Tories were unwilling to join a cabinet that was in opposition to the views of the vast majority of the people: there was a strong danger of a civil war in Britain.  William was forced to ask Grey to return to office. William agreed to create a large number of new Whig peers. When the Lords heard the news, they agreed to pass the Reform Act. 

14 The Reform Act Many people were disappointed with the 1832 Reform Bill. Voting in the boroughs was restricted to men who occupied homes with an annual value of £10. There were also property qualifications for people living in rural areas. As a result, only one in seven adult males had the vote. Nor were the constituencies of equal size. Whereas 35 constituencies had less than 300 electors, Liverpool had a constituency of over 11,000.

15 Listen to a BBC conference on the Reform Act
Available to listen. Last broadcast on Thu, 27 Nov 2008, 21:30 on BBC Radio 4 Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Great Reform Act of The Act redrew the map of British politics in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and is a landmark in British political history. “We must get the suffrage, we must get votes, that we may send the men to Parliament who will do our work for us; …and we must have the country divided so that the little kings of the counties can't do as they like, but must be shaken up in one bag with us.” So declares a working class reformist in George Eliot’s novel Felix Holt: the Radical. It is set in 1832, the year of the so-called “Great Reform Act” which extended the vote and gave industrial cities such as Manchester and Birmingham political representation for the first time. But to what extent was Britain’s political system transformed by the Great Reform Act? What were the causes of reform in the first place and was the Act designed to encourage democracy in Britain or to head it off?

16 Many children in early Victorian England never went to school at all and more than half of them grew up unable even to read or write. Although some did go to Sunday schools which were run by churches. Children from rich families were luckier than poor children. Nannies looked after them, and they had toys and books. A governess would  teach the children at home. Then, when the boys were old enough, they were sent away to a public school. The daughters were kept at home and taught singing, piano playing and sewing. Slowly, things changed for poorer children too. By the end of the Victorian age all children under 12 had to go to school. Now everybody could learn how to read and write, and how to count properly.

17 Education Reform 1833: first Education grant. The grant of £20,000 for the provision of schools was the first time that the goverment had involved itself in education in any way. 1870 Education Act. This Act was intended only to 'plug the gaps' in the educational provision that existed. The two religious organisations that ran schools were given grants and the Act provided for the establishment of so-called 'Board Schools'. After 1870, all children from five to thirteen had to attend school by law.

18 Urbanization

19 Upper-middle class housing

20 Public transports

21 Middle-class values Self-reliance and individualism
Belief in social promotion for the deserving ones. Thrift Prudence, responsibility and rationality Hard work, industriousness, perseverance High religious morality


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