This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

What was life like for Victorian children?  Did it get any better?

This photograph shows a mining memorial in Yorkshire. On the 4th of July 1838 26 children were drowned when the Huskar Pit (mine) flooded. The report on the accident highlighted the conditions in which children worked in mines. The public outcry that followed caused the government to stop boys under 10, and all girls, from working underground.

Memorial to victims of the Huskar Pit mining disaster, in which 26 chiildren drowned on the 4th July 1838.
Memorial to victims of the Huskar Pit mining disaster, in which 26 chiildren drowned on the 4th July 1838. © Crown copyright. Historic England Archive. Ref: AA93/01061

Teaching idea

Look at the photograph of the mining memorial. On 4 July 1838 26 children were drowned when the Huskar Pit (mine) in South Yorkshire flooded. Ask pupils to read the list of names and write them down in order of their age - oldest to youngest. Use this list to start a discussion about being a child during Victorian times. Also point out that the "Females are deposited in the Graves at the feet of the Males", ask what this might tell us about Victorian society? Then using the list below look at the different laws that were passed during the reign of Queen Victoria and how these affected the lives of Victorian children. Pupils could summarise their thoughts/findings in a short piece of writing.

Learning aims and outcomes

  • Suggest what life was like for children living in the past
  • Present information showing knowledge and an appreciation of the Victorian period
  • Make comparisons between lifestyles today and in the past
  • Produce a simple narrative to illustrate what they know about the work done by Victorian children

Prior knowledge

  • A concept of when the Victorian period was would be helpful

Extended learning and useful links

Was this page helpful?