Victorian Houses Rich and Poor. A Rare Look Inside Victorian Houses From The 1800s (13 Photos) Dusty Old Thing. The nineteenth century saw a huge growth in the population of Great Britain. Share on Facebook Pin . It was the general opinion of many of the wealthy Victorian families that the slums were brought on because of laziness, sin and lack of principle and self-discipline among the people who lived there. Victorian Child Labor and the Conditions They Worked In, Victorian Houses and Where Victorians Lived, Victorian Dress and Victorian Style Clothing. The result was one institution to house all the indigent. Victorian Housing (built between 1837 and 1901) Millions of houses were built in the Victorian era thanks to the industrial revolution and the consequent housing booms. Public outhouses were used by everyone that lived within the block. Critics charged the Commission with inflating the number of able-bodied poor to incense the public and garner support for the New Poor Law. No single historically-accurate image of the poorhouse remains, however, as each poorhouse has its own history. The applicant next met with medical examiners who determined whether he or she was able-bodied or infirm. The surviving image, although not entirely accurate, is a grim reminder that not everyone flourished during an era whose very touchstones were progress and prosperity. Census returns for 1801 and 1851 show the population almost doubling during those years; between 1801 and 1911 it almost quadrupled, rising from about 9 million people to 36 million by 1911 (Long 2). So most poor children learnt their letters and number at a local dame school, but by the time they were seven or eight years old, they were expected to start earning some money. Photograph of the interior of a Victorian drawing room, c1890. In a time when the poor flocked to the cities from the country, the factory owners needed to house their new workers. Sexual Violence Prevention & Response (Title IX). Some books on hygiene and beauty towards the end of the Victorian era suggested that people with oily hair should wash their hair every two weeks or so and those with normal hair should wash it once per month. Crowther, M.A. With the advent of the Poor Law system, Victorian workhouses, designed to deal with the issue of pauperism, in fact became prison systems detaining the most vulnerable in society. East London had the most well-known slums of that time. All Rights Reserved. Despite the premise that no "outdoor" relief was to be granted, many rural unions subverted this rule. The poor did not live in houses since property was next to impossible to acquire and the rich were the only ones who could afford to buy it. Some families had as many as eight to twelve children or more. This rule was later relaxed to allow married people at least 60 years of age to live together if they wished. Sloppy and two other orphans, the "Minders," operate a mangle (a machine for smoothing cloth) for her. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1981. Credit Find My Past. The Victorian Houses that are so popular today with all their splendor and decorative trimmings only tell a small part of how Victorian children lived. For example, at the start of Queen Victoria’s’ reign, only the rich had running water and boilers, however, by the end of the Victorian era, they had become fairly common for all. A subtle shift in public perception of the deserving poor also contributed to their obscurity. Many worked as chimney sweeps as they were small enough to fit up the chimneys. Construction and maintenance of four separate buildings was likely to be too costly or too complicated. In retrospect, admittance to the House resembled admittance to a penal institution. Victorian London - Houses and Housing - Housing of the Poor - Almshouses, list of Westminster contains several of these munificent foundations as the Red Lion Almshouses, in York-street, founded in 1577, for eight poor women, by Cornelius Van Dun, of Brabant, a soldier who nerved under King Henry VIII., at Tournay. The family was then separated, and in some cases the children and infirm were sent to other institutions, perhaps not even in the same locale. Abuses in the House were widespread and well-documented, although regulations were revised frequently throughout the nineteenth century. As the twentieth century approached, the poorhouse became a more humane place. They could never dream of living in a nice big Victorian house. A basement with a cellar for the storage of coal, required for open fires and to heat water. Perhaps the indigent elderly should have been more provident. Gruel, a thin porridge, was diluted at will. Most poor families lived in small apartments. The houses would share toilets and water, which they could get from a pump or a well. The rendering to the left is an artists first hand impression of what a Victorian slum looked like. They usually had servants that performed all the duties including cleaning the house, washing clothes and cooking supper. As time went by the national press caught hold of the story of the slums and the dismal life and existence of the people and brought widespread awareness and public sympathy to the problem. Most of the harsh measures suffered by inmates before 1850 had been remedied. (Some exterior house photos are examples of Victorian style architecture and not actually from the Victorian era.). In the late Victorian era London's East End became a popular destination for slumming, a new phenomenon which emerged in the 1880s on an unprecedented scale. Some also had their hair closely cropped as well. Home / London 1865 / The Victorian City / The Victorian Poorhouse. Each facility differed dramatically from others depending on location and time period. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978. While reading Oliver Twist, the one thing that really stuck out to me was Dickens’ criticisms of the poor laws of the Victorian era. The Victorian Era. By the end of the Victorian era, many houses had gas. The difference between upper class and lower class was vastly greater than it is today. An ugly idea took root that perhaps all the poor were undeserving. Initially, meals were held in silence, and the diet was sparse at best. If the applicant declined, the board was absolved of any further responsibility. If the applicant had children or dependant parents, the entire family was presented for admittance if relief was accepted. Digby, Anne. senaterace2012.com - Browse photos of victorian era houses poor bbc primary history britain with resolution 787x465 pixel, filesize 0 KB (Photo ID #66232), you are viewing image #13 of 15 photos gallery. The more children they had the more bodies there were to go to work and earn money. The wealthy Victorian Children and their families lived a much more elegant and privileged life than the poor families lived. When readers first encounter Betty in the novel, she has her own little home and garden, models of cleanliness and industry. The squalid and unsanitary conditions that were brought on by immense overcrowding made life very dismal for poor Victorian children and their families. A minimum guaranteed income plan was adopted. The homes of the working-classes were very different. The basic characteristics of Victorian houses were- Bay Windows, iron railings, no garages, roofs made of slate, Flemish brick bonding could be seen, patterns in the brickwork made from colored bricks, etc. Everyone except the feeble and children less than seven years of age performed the same work for the same number of hours and ate the same basic meals. In another poorhouse, an official inspection revealed that as many as seven people shared a bed because of overcrowded conditions. Eventually, in response to the poor living conditions of the working class and poor segment of the Victorian Age English population, Parliament passed laws in 1848 that allowed the city councils to improve the streets and housing of England. At the time, much of the prosperous English populace viewed the poor as social and moral outcasts. At the helm of the Victorian era, the number of rich people was small. The upper crust of society referred to the east side as the “darkest London”. In this and other instances, the local board of guardians was often more humane than Poor Law legislation deemed necessary. The one principle virtually everyone agreed upon was the need for reform. The ensuing policies reflected an almost-obsessive focus on morality while ignoring economic and social factors causing poverty. Less money spent on food and coal meant more money in the administrative pocket. Women received slightly less, and children under age nine were fed at the discretion of the union master. Charles Dickens’ second book, Oliver Twist (1838) contained the classic Victorian themes of grinding poverty, menacing characters, injustice and punishment. Rich Victorians favoured villas ( not the same as Roman villas), whilst the emerging middle classes of Victorian England lived in superior terraces with gardens back and front and a … Betty supports the sole surviving member of her family, a young great-grandson. The most prevalent problem was lack of uniform implementation. The reason for this increase is not altogether clear. The poor Victorian Children lived in much smaller accommodations than the rich children did. The working-class Victorian home A row of Victorian terraces. Read on to find out more about the homes of poor families . Many people scorned the poor rather than pitying them. Sash windows but with larger panes of glass, from the 1850s, than the characteristic 6 plus 6 smaller panes seen in Georgian and Regency architecture. The very poorest families had to make do with even less - some houses were home to two, three or even four families. The recommended weekly menu for men had little variation. Three days a week male inmates were served a pint and a half of broth, a pint and a half of gruel, five ounces of cooked meat, twelve ounces of bread, and eight ounces of potato. A poor Victorian family would have lived in a very small house with only a couple of rooms on each floor. These apartment buildings were not like the attractive apartments we have today. There were missionaries, social workers, charity workers and others who would visit the slums to help in any way they could. Sewage ran down the street since there was no underground sewage pipes. Sometimes two or more families would share an apartment. They would actually put on their “common clothes” and go down to the slums for sight seeing trips. Huge numbers of new homes were built in the Victorian era — hardly surprising in view of the demographics of the time. But a surprising aspect of society in the late 1800’s is that the wealthy upper class had their own curiosities about how the poor lower class lived. The harsh system of the workhouse became synonymous with the Victorian era, an institution which became known for its terrible conditions, forced child labour, long hours, malnutrition, beatings and neglect. In the early Victorian era (see Poor Law), poverty was seen as a dishonorable state. These were the houses that the wealthy children lived in. The servants life was not anything to dream about but the servants quarters were still better than the poor families homes. Cities filled to overflowing and London was particularly bad. Work, although it was not necessarily designed as punishment, was often grueling and sometimes even dangerous. Rooms were rented to whole families or perhaps several families. For some slumming was a peculiar form of tourism motivated by curiosity, excitement and thrill, others were motivated by moral, religious and altruistic reasons. Many people during the Victorian years moved into the cities and towns to find work in the factories. The officer had refused her admittance despite a surgeon's recommendation that she be admitted. Many of the elderly poor dreaded the poorhouse just as Betty did, doing their all to avoid admittance, because once admitted, they rarely left it except for burial in the pauper cemetery. Many adults died due to the terrible conditions and as a result their children would have to live in orphanages. Fears of rising numbers of paupers materialized as increased industrialization and the enclosure acts forced many people to seek relief. The prevailing literary image of the poorhouse as a place of gross inhumanity, enforced deprivation, and unspeakable insensitivity, like many stereotypes, has some basis in fact, but certainly not all Victorian poorhouses fit that description. During that time period the Victorians came up with this idea to keep the poor and other disable/mentally ill people off the streets. These scandals were not isolated incidences. Neither Whigs nor Tories wholeheartedly endorsed it, and every major urban newspaper denounced it. (The workhouse soon abandoned bone grinding, finding it caused disease). Inmates were disinfected, their clothes were taken away, and they put on the House uniform. Still other sources recommended washing the hair and scalp one or two times per week.Before shampoo was common, people just used soap, which often left the scalp and hair very dry. This mingling of the classes actually helped to lessen the upper and lower class barriers as time went by. Inmates led a regimented life in the House, especially in the early years of the New Poor Law. Married couples initially were not allowed to live together regardless of their ages, as the Commission wanted to prevent pregnancy for obvious reasons. The Commission's findings resulted in the New Poor Law of 1834, legislation which created the now-infamous image of the poorhouse. The meager menu was divided into three meals daily. Workhouses had offered accommodation and employment to those too poor to support themselves since the 17th-century. Many public figures openly attacked the bill, and Dickens's comments in the postscript to Our Mutual Friend express the contempt many Victorians shared about the Poor Law. By the end of the century there were thre… Often parents were not allowed to speak to their children. In the Andover workhouse in 1845, inmates assigned to bone grinding were observed gnawing the bones they were to grind. Further complications arose over who qualified as the "deserving poor" and who did not, although the initial policy of separate facilities suggests an obvious delineation. These apartments could be found in the very “ran down” part of town. Victorian era, the period between about 1820 and 1914, corresponding roughly to the period of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837–1901) and characterized by a class-based society, a growing number of people able to vote, a growing state and economy, and Britain’s status as the most powerful empire in the world. The Workhouse System 1834-1929. Separate buildings were initially recommended: one for the aged and infirm; one for children, with provisions for schooling; one for able-bodied females; and one for able-bodied males. Workers receiving low wages received supplemental income through parish funds, the stipend calculated by family size as well as wages. The fictional image actually exemplifies the nineteenth-century workhouse more than the poorhouse, and the two terms became synonymous. The problem with this theory, of course, was that many of the poor deserved help and could not work even if jobs were available or make enough money to save anything. Oliver Twist must have been very hungry indeed to request another cup of gruel, the unappetizing and unsatisfying dietary staple of the poorhouse. She breaks up housekeeping and trudges from place to place, selling handiwork to stay alive. These popular sentiments were supported by Malthusian philosophy, which dictated that money spent on the poor was money permanently removed from the wage pool, and Pauline doctrine, which stressed that the problem of poverty was omnipresent. In fact, several houses would share a single water pump installed outside. In some cases, unscrupulous officers who trimmed expenses siphoned the savings for themselves. Sometimes more than one family would live in an apartment to split the costs. The Victorian home design was primarily determined by the owner of the home. Nevertheless, the restrictive and often punitive measures associated with the Poor Law soon earned the House the unflattering nickname of the "Poor Law Bastille.". Overburdened parishes called on Parliament for help, and Parliament responded by appointing a commission headed by Edwin Chadwick to investigate the situation. In January 1850, the Times mentions a pregnant woman who died on the steps of the Southampton poorhouse from exhaustion and starvation. The one marked difference between the House and a prison was that inmates in the House could check themselves out, but doing so was a complicated process as well. On Fridays, they were served twelve ounces of bread, a pint and a half of gruel, fourteen ounces of suet or rice pudding, and two ounces of cheese. Medieval architecture and the great cathedrals of the Gothic age inspired all sorts of flourishes during the Victorian era. If you look closely at some of the houses on the Baileys in Durham you can see the basements and attics. The ambiguous image of the poorhouse, or "The House" as it was frequently called (or the more ironic "The House of Industry"), reflects the ambiguous position of the poor, especially in the first half of the 19th century. W. S. Pendleton House, 1855, Staten Island, New York. I touched upon this a little bit in my last blog post, when I wrote about his use of satire to criticize those poor laws, but I thought it would be interesting (for myself and my blog) to do a little more in-depth research of those laws. Other than potatoes, the diet was entirely devoid of vegetables, fruit, milk, or eggs. Betty Higden, of Our Mutual Friend, was one of these. Public grumbling soon arose, however, about poor families and unmarried women having children just to increase their income. One example is found with the Bowlers, an adventurous family who volunteered to spend three months in a Victorian townhouse for a British television series, The 1900 House. Watch the slide show below to get a more vivid idea of a rich Victorian child’s home. I believe there has been in England, since the days of the STUARTS, no law so often infamously administered, no law so often openly violated, no law habitually so ill-supervised." Victorian Houses of the Wealthy. At the start of the Victorian era, educating a child was still an expensive business and only for the wealthy. Poor Houses in the Victorian Era When the first British Empire was established, there was a profitable trading system aimed to expand the empire. Keep in mind that families were large in Victorian times, especially poor families. Poverty stricken families living during the Victorian Era likely lived in crowded, unkempt, slum houses, or were homeless, endured poor sanitary conditions and often were forced to subject their children to work in harsh conditions. In some unions, unmarried mothers were forced to wear yellow gowns, branding them immoral as surely as if a scarlet "A" had been on their foreheads. The different slums were given names such as Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green and Old Nichol. Learning Objectives: To investigate the differences between the lives of Rich and Poor Victorians. Otherwise, the Victorian poor houses did not have running water, indoor bathrooms or toilets and water from the pumps would always be polluted. Some no bigger than one room. And, indeed, one premise of the New Poor Law supported the idea that the workhouse was the last resort. With progression in many areas, housing not excluded, the following are some of the main features developed and introduced in Victorian … It was 1866, and 10-year-old Annie was a blind child living in abject poverty. Victorian sentiment remained mixed about how to address the problem. The workhouse needed to be as unattractive as possible to give the poor an incentive to work and save. Hence, applying for relief was a tacit admission of defeat and moral degradation. Wealthy families lived in large Victorian houses three and sometimes four stories high with several rooms. After conducting its investigation, the Poor Law Commission created several policies, including that of the workhouse system. Married women of good character were housed with the aged; loose women were housed separately. Smoking was prohibited, as was reading -- even of the Bible. A nanny was hired to fulfill the children’s needs and was in many cases responsible for raising the children. We’ve always lived in and been fascinated by old houses. The staggering cost of maintaining the poor soon became critical. The difference between upper class and lower class was vastly greater than it is today. At the time, much of the prosperous English populace viewed the poor as social and moral outcasts. Perhaps the unmarried mother should have made better moral choices. Inmates broke rock, ground corn by hand, picked oakum (fibers of old ropes, used for caulking ship seams), and ground animal bones for fertilizer and manufacturing. The Commission contended that different regulations for these groups necessitated separate housing and staff. The new legislation was very unpopular. People crowded into already crowded houses. While Victorians may not have agreed on institutionalizing the poor or on how to dispense relief equitably, most agreed that the New Poor Law of 1834 was poorly conceived and wretchedly implemented. Wealthy families lived in large Victorian houses three and sometimes four stories high with several rooms. In towns poor people lived in back-to-back houses called terraced houses. Diet was only one of many problems with the Poor Law regulations, however. Well, by the Victorian era, things hadn’t changed much. On three alternating days of the week, men consumed twelve ounces of bread, a pint and a half of gruel, a pint and a half of soup, and two ounces of cheese. Last modified: April 3, 2012 220.127.116.11, UC Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, Ca 95064. When Britain defeated the Dutch, French, and the Spanish in the American Revolutionary War (1775—1783), Britain managed to get possession of the East Coast of North America as well. Victorian houses may be beautiful, but living in a genuine Victorian might be harder than you think. These were all live issues at the time Dickens was writing the novel, especially with the introduction of the1834 New Poor Law – an Act which, for many liberal Victorians, appeared to criminalise the poor. Victorian London - Houses and Housing - Housing of the Poor - Slums. Teachers' Notes Workers' Housing in the Victorian Era Upper Class Homes An Artist's Vision of a Victorian Home Story resources, links 6 & downloads 11 Workers' Housing in the Victorian Era There were great differences in living standards between rich and poor during in the Victorian period. If the board decided the applicant were sufficiently indigent, he or she was "offered" a place in the institution. The possibility of being forced into the poorhouse keeps her trudging until she dies, the money for her burial hidden in her clothing. They would be in buildings that were very close to or connected to another set of apartments. Family goods were confiscated as the law decreed that all inmates must be totally without resources for admittance to the House. A comprehensive Victorian Children history guide with facts and information on how the Victorian times impacted children in work, play, education and home life. Victorian poor children worked in the cities factories, working around dangerous machinery. Other rules were likewise bent, and treatment of inmates varied from union to union and board to board. There was no plumbing or bathrooms much less flushing toilets. Instead of each parish being responsible for its poor as in the past, the Commission formed unions comprised of several parishes, each union having a local board of guardians to implement the new regulations. The poor Victorian children lived in dwellings much different. The symbol of this moralistic, short-sighted legislation remains: the image of the poorhouse -- a gaunt, grim building offering meager food and shelter at the expense of human dignity and hope. As I’ve stated before the differences between the rich and the poor classes were vast. The Commission had neglected to conduct a thorough investigation of the causes of poverty, especially in urban areas. Many criticized the philosophy behind the law as well as the harshness of its measures. The accommodation provided was cheap, and quick to build. Terraced Houses . The wealthy Victorian Children and their families lived a much more elegant and privileged life than the poor families lived. Victorian Durham: the homes of the poor. But in 1834, the government, eager to slash spending on the rising number of paupers, passed the Poor Law Amendment Act, declaring that poor relief would now only be offered in the workhouse. In some workhouses, officers were very humane and high-principled; officers in other workhouses more closely resembled the officious Mr. Bumble of Oliver Twist. The able-bodied poor received a disproportionate share of attention. Pauper Palaces. “Slumming” became the name for this form of tourism. The problem of charity and how to best meet the needs of the poor remained, however, because poverty had not been eradicated as the Poor Law Commission had planned. Visits from "outsiders" were closely monitored. They had more than one bathroom and even had flushing toilets. Once a week, inmates bathed and male inmates shaved -- all in the presence of workhouse staff. Various ideas have been put forward; larger families; more children surviving infancy; people living longer; immigration, especially large numbers of immigrants coming from Ireland fleeing the potato famine and the unemployment situation in their own country. 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