Queen Victoria, after whom the Victorian Era is named.

Queen Victoria, after whom the Victorian Era is named.


The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria‘s reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901.

Britain had become the world’s first industrial superpower, with a vast and expanding empire  bringing trade and goods from all over the globe.  Internally it was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence for Britain.

In other fields such as science, technology and exploration it was also a time of advancement with visionaries such as the naturalist Charles Darwin and the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel helping to make the Victorian era one of the most progressive eras of discovery and development.

In the fields of literature the poet Alfred Tennyson and the writer Charles Dickens were the embodiment of his age, both to contemporaries and to modern readers.

The Victorian era was also a time of unprecedented demographic increase in Britain. The population rose from 13.9 million in 1831 to 32.5 million in 1901. However the growth would lead to social consequences and reforms introduced to alleviate them.



Key events of the Victorian era.


1837 (20 June). Victoria comes to the throne.

1838 (1 August). Slavery abolished in the British empire.

1838 (17 September). London-Birmingham rail line opens.

1840 (10 January). Uniform postage rate of one penny introduced.

1845 (September). Irish potato famine begins.

1851 (1 May). Great Exhibition opens.

1854 (28 March). Britain and France declare war on Russia entering the Crimean War.

1859 (24 November). Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ is published.

1861 (14 December). Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, dies aged 42.

1872 (18 July). Voting by secret ballot introduced.

1880 (2 August). Education becomes compulsory for children under ten.

1889 (1 April). New local government authorities.

1901 (22 January). Victoria dies.