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Victorian Children in Victorian Times
Life for Victorian Children in Victorian times (1830 to 1900) was nothing like childhood in today’s world. For the wealthy there was an overwhelming sense of boredom. For the poor Victorian Children life was much different. The poor children had to work public jobs for their families to survive. Toys were nothing more than homemade dolls or wooden blocks.
Wealthy Victorian Children While the wealthy children may have been spoiled and had a much better life than the poor children, they also had what would seem to be a sad and boring. Children were mostly raised by a nanny who would teach the child what was proper and what was not. Day to day living was nothing more than a lonely monotonous routine and very formal. Wealthy Victorian Children rarely communicated with their parents except for a specified time each day.
Poor Victorian Children The poor Victorian Children lived a very different life than the children of wealthier families. They didn’t have the nice houses to live in or the extravagant toys, clothes or fine foods that the rich kids had. They lived in much smaller houses or even single rooms. Living in these tight quarters caused the family to be much closer. Without the presence of a nanny the parents raised the children and were the guiding force in their lives. This did not always translate to a more loving atmosphere though. Since a large part of the poor children had to work public jobs to help support their families many parents thought of children as income, and having more children who worked raised the income of the home. Many parents had 10 or 12 or even more children for this reason alone.
How old did children have to be to work in Victorian Times? Victorian children would be made to go to work at a very young age. As unbelievable as it sounds, sometimes even 4 or 5 years old. Actually this was not unique only to the Victorian age, children had been expected to work for centuries before this. They worked very hard and for long hours every day. On the job safety was not a major concern and they were expected to work in filthy conditions many times. They really had no choice in the matter. Their parents made them work to help pay the bills at home.
What types of jobs did they do? Because they were considered cheap labor Victorian children were in high demand for many types of jobs including mining, factory work, street sweepers, clothing and hat makers, chimney sweeps, farming, textile mills, servants, and sadly, prostitution. As you may have already noticed, the British had very little regard for children.
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