VICTORIAN CHILDREN'S LIVES Resource page, Richard York.


Pictures by Victorians

Return To Home Page Link back to TOC Back to Table Of Contents

A lot depended on which end of Victoria's reign you're thinking about, and it always depended on where you were on the social ladder.
If your parents had plenty of money, it was very different from how things were if they were poor.
Feeding swans
Fish boy At the beginning of Victorian times, children without rich parents would be working, often when still very young. What they wore and what they did would not seem like childhood to us - they just did jobs they were supposedly suited to; and they wore smaller versions of the clothes adults wore, or even adult clothes cut down and rolled up to make them fit.
Children of richer families would have education, and many other things, though their clothes were still mostly smaller versions of what the adults wore.
By 1901, all children were legally supposed to be attending school.
The Earl of Shaftesbury's reforms meant that it was illegal for young children to have to work such long hours as they had earlier.
Rich children would still have education at fee paying schools.
Clothes were beginning to be more different for children.
Boys fight at School
Many Victorians themselves realised that life was tough on working children. These pictures are typical of their sort. It's interesting that most pictures like this, published in magazines of the times, were meant to make you feel sorry for the children in the pictures... but not intended to be too realistic. They very often look far too clean!
Girl road sweeper Shepherd boy
Father comes home There are lots of myths - stories which lots of us believe, but need not actually be true - about the Victorians. One is of the stern father. There were lots of stern fathers, quite true. But another side of the Victorian Ideal Father was the family man who loved his children and played with them, as seen here when they welcome him home.
Of course, this picture might well also be idealised - made to look as good as possible, whether it was true or not...
Four Heads
I intend to add to this page... like the rest, when I get time!
Meanwhile, in answer to a request for a picture showing all those buttons they used to fasten their clothes, here's a quick example.
This young chap - a bit too smarmy looking for my taste but there you are, is helping the charming young lady over a stile. She's showing a bit more ankle than she really ought, but that's quite handy for us, as it reveals her button fastened boot. Here's a close-up to see just how it fastened.
help over stile Button Boot

Return To Home Page link to topReturn to top of this page.

Copyright ©: 2004, Richard York
This page last updated: 6/12/04
Site URL: