Human Cost of Empire Building (02:27)
Learn how the Crystal Palace was built for the 1851 London Exhibition. The Industrial Revolution fueled Britain’s superpower status but resulted in urban poverty, disease, crime and vice.
Victorian Sanitation Technology (03:03)
George Jennings unveiled the first public water closet at London's 1851 Exhibition, leading to the modern bathroom.
London's Cholera Epidemics (04:51)
Industrial urban expansion led to slums, unsanitary conditions, and disease. Learn how an 1854 outbreak began in the Soho district.
Public Health Breakthrough (06:10)
Learn how London physician John Snow proved the 1854 cholera outbreak was spread through water—an epidemiological milestone that led to improved public sanitation.
Improving London Sanitation (01:42)
After Snow's medical breakthrough, engineer Joseph Bazalgette built a sewer system that eradicated cholera. New reservoirs provided clean drinking water throughout Britain.
British Class Oppression (04:27)
London poverty increased crime. Victorians saw street children as a threat to society and imposed harsh punishments, including hanging and exile to Australian prisons.
British Social Justice Efforts (01:42)
Charles Dickens convinced Victorian upper classes to intervene in child poverty.
Victorian Investigative Reporting (08:12)
Learn how Josephine Butler and William Thomas Stead campaigned to end London child prostitution through a media sting, raising the age of consent from 13 to 16.
Victorian Social Institutions (01:57)
Wealthy residents took responsibility for public welfare through charities such as Ragged Schools and the Salvation Army.
Leisure Revolution (05:35)
Victorian cities built public libraries, museums, and parks; regulated work hours created a holiday culture. Learn how John Tasker introduced electric lights to a football pitch in 1878.
Modernizing Britain (02:12)
Victorian responses to industrial social issues of public health, sanitation, poverty and crime created the blueprint for urban living.
Credits: Tale of Two Cities: The British—An Epic Adventure Through the Ages (00:43)
Credits: Tale of Two Cities: The British—An Epic Adventure Through the Ages
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