Segments in this Video

Introduction: The History of Britain: Episode 2 (02:05)


Tony Robinson will examine life in Britain during the rule of various monarchs. This film focuses on the Victorian era.

Victorian Factory Workers (06:56)

Sarah Chapman lived with her parents and six siblings, and was a match girl at the Bryant and May Match Factory. White phosphorus put workers at risk of phossy jaw. Chapman and her fellow workers went on strike against unsafe working conditions in 1888.

Victorian Navvies (06:24)

Angus Ennis was a manual laborer from Glasgow. Disease was rife in the unclean city and navvies built a sewage system; navvies had the highest accident and death rates. Ennis lived in a camp and helped build a tunnel for clean drinking water.

Coal Mining (07:05)

Nearly 220,000 people worked the mines in 1841. Betty Harris and her family lived in a cottage. She worked 14-hour shifts in the pit and witnessed many counts of domestic violence. A colliery flood in 1838 led to the prohibition of women working underground.

London Cabbies (06:45)

By the 1850s, London was the world's largest city. John Cockram lived in Hoban and drove a horse and cab six days a week; cabbies often spent hours in a pub. The first cab shelter opened in 1875.

Victorian Shopkeepers (06:41)

Esther Brown grew up in Manchester. She got a job as a shopgirl at Michael Marks' penny bazaar; money handling was done by men. Brown worked 90 hours a week for a pay of 25 pounds a year.

Railway Excursions (07:17)

In his diary, Edwin War records aspects of his life and a train journey to Blackpool. Steam trains ferried thousands of day trippers to various seaside places. The Victorian period was a crucial part of British history.

Credits: The History of Britain: Episode 2 (00:40)

Credits: The History of Britain: Episode 2

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The History of Britain: Episode 2

Part of the Series : The History of Britain
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



In this episode, Tony travels back to the 1800s, to Victorian times. In London’s East End, Tony encounters thirteen-year-old Sarah Chapman, a ‘Match Girl’, who worked fourteen-hour shifts, six days a week in the ‘Bryant & May’ factory. But the worst thing was constant exposure to the chemical phosphorous. So Sarah took part in one of the first workers’ marches to improve conditions. Angus Innes was a Scottish navvy who blasted tons of rock from the highlands to Glasgow, to construct an ambitious water channel. Tony discovers his secret: a hearty breakfast of six slices of bacon, a loaf of bread, a can of condensed milk and two pints of beer. The Victorian Age was powered by coal, but amongst its miners were 5,000 women and children. Betty Harris worked for her husband underground at Knowles Pitt near Bolton, pulling coal trucks. He’d regularly beat her for ‘being too slow’. But Betty did have one person on her side: Queen Victoria! The increasing demand from busy Victorians to get around town faster led to the rise of the London cabby and the Hansom cab. Victorian cabbies were often drunk in the pub but some, like John Cockram, made use of new ‘cab shelters’ which served up tea, steak and the morning papers. Tony meets Esther Brown, one of the first employees of ‘Michael Marks’ Penny Bazaar’, effectively the very first ‘Marks & Spencer.’ Esther tutored her customers in the modern art of ‘browsing’, although – as a woman – she may not have been trusted to handle their money. And finally, there’s Edwin Waugh, a man, miserable with his job and his wife. His only therapy was drink until, in the 1840s, a new phenomenon appears: He takes the train on a day trip to Blackpool, along with 2000 others.

Length: 44 minutes

Item#: BVL239514

ISBN: 978-1-63722-377-2

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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