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The Victorian Era - Google Docs

The Victorian Era
Food and drink - poor people:
Chalk added to bread - make it look whiter, and bread kneaded with feet
Coffee - full of acorns and sawdust
Milk - sometimes contain sheep brains
Sugar - padded out with arsenic
You could get cholera from drinking water - so people drank beer instead
The shivering dodge - on a cold day, wear thinnest clothes and shiver - aim was to get a rich person to
take pity on you and give you money
The lucifer dodge - have a tray of matches and as someone walks past pretend they made you spill the
matches and cry then someone may take pity on you.
The scaldrum dodge - rub some soap and vinegar on your bare arms so they look like blisters. They
also tried putting soap in their mouths to imitate vomiting. Strap a leg up to make it look like you have
lost it.
Crime and Punishment:
In 1829, a politician named Sir Robert Peel introduced the police force to maintain order in London.
At first they were named “peelers” after him. Over the next 10 years, other areas of England started to
introduce their own police force. They were poorly paid and had to monitor their own area called their
“beat”. They carried truncheons and rattles to raise the alarm. Many people didn't trust the police
force, however, over time people grew to trust them as they proved to lower crime rate.
For the first time in history, prison became one of the main forms of punishment for
law-breakers. Whilst there, they had to work in complete silence after carrying out pointless har
labour. A century previous, Jeremy Bentham had thought up an idea for a prison (Panopticon - built in
a star like shape with radiating wings) so that fresh air and light reached every cell but most
importantly so guards could keep an eye on all the cells. Bentham’s first creation, Millbank, had been
created in 1821 and Pentonvile prison (which was built on the edge of a well-built area of London)
was built in 1842.
When death was no longer the sentence for minor crimes, the English colonies came in useful.
The main receiving place was Australia, which received, on average, 460 convicts a year. However
some were sent to Gibraltar and fever- ridden Bermuda. In 1853, the colonies refused to accept any
more convicts so the punishment was transformed into hard labour in English prisons instead.
When there was a shortage of prisons, convicts were sent to The Hulks. These were
decommissioned warships anchored within the mud off of Woolwich. They were dark, damp and
verminous and so very few prisoners managed to escape.
During this time, executions were still public and seen as a form of entertainment. Over
30,000 people turned up to see the hanging of a notorious pair of criminals, in 1849, including Charles
Dickens who sent a letter to The Times condemning executions as a form of public entertainment.
However, it took another 20 years for executions to take place within prison walls.
Sometimes no door - used for fuel for fire to keep warm
No furniture
Chuck all their rubbish on the street
Sometimes no glass in the windows - sold it for food
Can be 10 or more people in one room - overcrowded
Lots of rats
Raw sewage flooding in
May have unstable foundations
Parliament having trouble with Thames - smelling awful. People pumping tonnes of raw sewage into
it. Cholera epidemic linked to the smell exerted by the Thames. People get their water from the
Thames which was contaminated leading to a cholera epidemic. Their solution was to cover all the
curtain of parliament with chloride of lime which was a victorian bleach which would overcome the
bad smell.
Henry Bessemer - molten steel
Automobile, petrol, tires, bikes, concrete, tarmac, light bulbs, typewriters, radios, telephone, flushing
toilets, films, flashbulb cameras, vacuum cleaners, toilet paper, post boxes, stamps, toiles aspirin,
anaesthetic, locks, electric lamps, sewing machines, x-rays, comics, ice cream in a pot, easter eggs,
rockets, trains, lines, bridges, underground, paddles, steamers, disinfectant, sterile doctors
instruments, conveyer bands, barometers, iron ships, dynamite.
Great Western Railway:
Travel from london to bristol in 4 hours. Different towns along route used different time zones so
everyone argued about the timing. Go to the toilet on the platform. Enjoy soup in a cafe - they keep
leftovers in a pot and reserve it.
Postal service:
Up to 12 deliveries per day and charged per one. Penny post service was then introduced - the person
posting the letter pays a penny in advance with postage stamps. They invented the letter box just for
Hygiene etiquette - the entire body is to be cleansed once daily with a quart of water - preferably
The head should be washed occasionally with soap and water. If the hair is harsh and dry, a
moderate amount of bear grease or other dressing should be used.
Beware of exterior cosmetics. Instead, once every two to three months take a teaspoon of
sweetened water or mink with charcoal. This will make the exterior clear and transparent.
Upon meeting intimate friends, among ladies, at the private house a kiss is common.
Social etiquette - bowing - a gentleman should not bow from a window to a lady on the street but
upon being recognised by a lady in a window he may give a slight bow.
Card playing - no one should violate the rules and cheat. If someone is seen cheating politely
call it to their attention. Do not get excited, people who experience ill feeling should not play.
Dignity - to approach someone and say ‘hello old fellow’ indicates ill breeding. If approached
and spoken to like this, a civil reply should be given and address the person respectfully.
Husbands - always should leave home with kind and loving words as they may be their last.
Train travel - those with weak eyes should avoid reading on trains and those with weak lungs
should avoid talking.
Street etiquette - when crossing a road a lady should lift her dress with her right hand up to
the ankles. To do so with both hands is considered vulgar and can only be excused in deep mud.
Floral Messaging System:
Each flower means a different thing - red tulip means i love you, a forget me not means true love, a
cactus flower means i really love you, hyacinth means im sorry, will you forgive me, an orange lily
means i hate you.
Tapeworm - fry a slice of bacon close to patient to tempt the tapeworm out
Boil - warm porridge applied to it
Wart - bury string in the ground
A cold - a sweaty sock tied about the throat is thought to be the best cure for colds
Cough - sugar and treacle mixed with beer, rum and vinegar
Earache - potato placed on the ear
Necropolis railway:
When you run out of room to bury people in the city, you transport them and they get buried in the
Costed a penny a day and not all poor families got the privilege - instead had to go to work hard
labour from the age of 5. You could become a teacher aged just 14 and you would be paid 60 pounds a
Punishments - people got caned, if the cane broke then they would be caned even more, they were
also put in stocks for a long time (in some cases 3 days) and if you sobbed even longer! ‘The Log’
was another punishment where a log was strapped to your back. The cage is another punishment
where pupils were put in a cage or basket and suspended from the rafters.
Repetition is how people in schools learnt. They had to repeat whatever the teacher said.
Jobs for poor people during this time:
Leech collector - leeches were used by Victorian doctors to treat problems from headaches to
hysteria by letting a ‘little blood out’. However, a leech catcher had to use themself as a human trap
effectively. A person would wade into a pond and stand with the hope of a leech attaching to their leg.
When they did, the collector would prise them off and put them in a pot. Leeches can survive up to a
year without food so they sat in a pharmacy until needed. To no surprise, leech collectors were at risk
of excessive blood loss and infectious diseases.
Pure finder - despite the name, this job wasn’t pure in the least. It involved collecting dog
poop from the streets to sell to tanners. It was used in the leather making process and so earned the
name pure as it was used to purify leather and make it more flexible.
Tosher - this job involved fishing around sewers beneath cities and rummaging around for
valuables that may have been dropped down there. This was quite dangerous as the fumes could be
toxic as well as the fact that the tunnels often crumbled, there were swarms of rats, and tides of filthy
water may come in and wash the tosher away. Because of these dangers, Toshers normally worked in
groups. They were easily recognisable with their canvas trousers, aprons (with many pockets) and
lanterns on their chests. Most carried a long pole with a hoe attached to fish around the waste for
treasure. After 1840, it became illegal to enter the sewers without permission.
Matchstick makers - matchsticks are made by cutting wood into thin strips and dipping them
into phosphorus (a highly toxic chemical). During the Victorian era, this was mainly performed by
teenage girls who worked in terrible conditions and for around 12-16 hours per day with little
amounts of breaks. They were forced to eat their lunch at the workstations with the risk of phosphorus
getting into their food which lead to the development of ‘phossy jaw’ which is where the jawbone
becomes infected and disfigured.
Mudlark - this job was similar to that of a tosher. It was considered as a “step down” from a
Young people were sent up chimneys to clean them from the age of 5. Sometimes children could get
stuck up there.
Victorian names:
Some victorian names were silly. Here are some examples - raspberry lemon, lettuce burger, bovril,
okay, never, toilet, baboon, evil, happy, freezer breezer, princess cheese, minty badger, scary looker.
Victorian slang: