Tonight on BBC Four, The Children Who Built Victorian Britain

Tonight on BBC Four at 9pm is The Children Who Built Victorian Britain. This moving and unsettling documentary looks at the Industrial Revolution through the eyes of working children.

It is presented by Jane Humphries, a fellow of All Soul Souls College, a Professor of Economic History at Oxford University and the author of Childhood And Child Labour In The British Industrial Revolution.

The documentary uses biographies, letters, diaries and documents of hundreds of working children to tell the story of the Industrial Revolution from their perspective.

Professor Jane Humphries

Professor Humphries also reveals in the documentary how the social conditions created a population boom amongst the poor - one which was exploited by the early industrialists. New factories were built in sparsely populated areas and their workforce was provided through the trafficking of orphans from the cities.

These children, aged eight and sometimes younger, were handed over by the Parish authorities and signed up to work for free until they reached adulthood. Without this available slave labour many businesses would never have got off the ground.

The documentary, produced by BBC Cymru Wales, uses animation created by artists from the BBC Wales graphics department and by current and former students of the Newport Animation School.

Animator: Helen Dallat, student, International Film School Wales

Animator: Dave Freeman BBC Cymru Wales Graphic Design

Animation: Sinead Oram, International Film School, Wales International Film School, Wales

You can find out more about the programme and watch clips of the animations on The Children Who Built Victorian Britain programme page.

The Children Who Built Victorian Britian, Tuesday 1 February, 9pm, BBC Four.


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