Poor Victorian children

Children with apple, 1867 (COPY 1/13)
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What was life like for poor children in the 1840s?

This workshop begins with pupils investigating a painting of people queuing for parish relief to establish a context for understanding the Victorian period and what life was like for poor people at this time.

For the main activity, pupils are divided up into groups. Each group is given a Victorian child from the 1840s to investigate. Their task is to research the life of that child using copies of original documents in our collection, with an opportunity to see the original documents on display in the room.

The documents relate to Victorian child criminals, and children in workhouses, mines and factories. Each group must select the documents they think provide the most useful and reliable evidence for telling us about their child, and prepare an exhibition and presentation that they will give to the rest of the class on the results of their research.

This session is delivered as a workshop. Find out more about the types of session we offer.

Session options

This session is delivered as a:


at The National Archives

2 hours

Available: All year

Cost: Free to UK schools

Suitability: Key stage 2

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Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202

Contact the education team