Victorians Topic Guide for Teachers

Queen Victoria ruled Britain from 1837 to 1901. During her long reign, many objects and machines we still use today were first invented. These include the telephone, the electric light bulb and the toilet!

With the introduction of railways across the country, people and goods could be moved further and faster than ever before. The British Empire ruled many countries across the world, most of which are now part of the Commonwealth.

Teach your children about the Victorians using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Create a timeline of events in the Victorian era using this resource, which has lots of information to include.
  • Compare Victorian schools to modern ones using this PowerPoint presentation.
  • Use this cloze activity when learning about the Great Exhibition.
  • Research and create a fact file about an important Victorian, such as Florence Nightingale.
  • Compare a local map from Victorian times with a modern-day one, and look at photographs. What has remained, which has changed? UK maps can be found at old-maps and the Historic England site has a searchable photo archive. Many areas of the UK also have local archives online.
  • Explore the story of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Clifton suspension bridge using an image, with this lesson plan.


Victorians Knowledge Organiser

Victorians Knowledge Organiser

Members of Teaching Packs can download a comprehensive knowledge organiser to accompany this topic. It includes key information that your children can use for reference and research, along with a timeline of events and a glossary with useful vocabulary.

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Victorian Facts

  • Queen Victoria reigned Britain and the British Empire from 20th June 1837 until 22nd January 1901.
  • The Victorian Age was a time of invention; the telephone, car and photographs are just a few of the things invented during Victoria’s reign.
  • During the Victorian Age, there was a population shift, with more people than ever before living in cities. The conditions for the poor city dwellers were terrible, they often lived in slums.
  • The plight of the poor led to the setting up of many charities, including some that are still active today. One of these is Barnado’s, which supports vulnerable children.
  • Children as young as five years old were sent out to work during the Victorian era. They did jobs such as working in factories, or as servants. The 1844 Factory Act limited the hours a child could work; children between 8 and 13 could only work for six and a half hours a day!


Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

This original footage of the celebrations for Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee is a useful primary source.

Running time: 4:27

Horrible Histories: Vile Victorians

All of the Horrible Histories Victorian content in one video!

Running time: 1:04:15

The Unltimate Victorian: Queen Victoria

This short video is a good introduction to Victoria’s life.

Running time:5:15

Meet Victorian Cook Mrs Crocombe

Find out what it was like to work in the kitchen of a Lord Braybrooke’s house, Audley End.

Running time: 5:04


Street Child

This popular book for older primary children is based on the boy who inspired Dr Barnado.

The Black Crow Conspiracy

Penelope Tredwell needs a new story for her magazine, Penny Dreadful. When she receives an intriguingletter, she thinks that she has found it…

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ Chrismas classic.

Hetty Feather

Hetty is a foundling, left at the hospital when she was a baby. What happens when she has a chance to find her mother?

The Baker Street Boys: The Case of the Disappearing Detective

The first in a series of mysteries featuring The Baker Street Boys, as they help Sherlock Holmes solve hsi latest case.

Frozen Billy

An adventure set in the Victorian music hall.

The Bluest of Blues

A beautiful illustrated biography of photographer and botanist Anna Atkins, the first person to publish a book of photography.

What Mr Darwin Saw

Follow the voyage of the HMS Beagle.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Victorian Schoolchild

Follow the experiences of Victorian school children in this funny and fascinating book.

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