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What did the working people of the 19th century do when they were not at work? This clip features descriptions of their leisure experiences. Charles Shaw introduces the viewer to the blood sports of cock-fighting, dog-baiting and boxing that occured on nearly every corner. The 1835 Cruelty to Animals Act put paid to most sports of this kind. Other sources of entertainment included fairs, festivals and travelling acts. Mary Russell Mitford provides vivid testimony of a village cricket match and May Fair, and at the end of the clip there is reference to the role of the pub.
This clip is from:
Britain 1750-1900 - Part 2
First broadcast:
28 May 2008

Classroom Ideas

This clip could be the basis of a homework activity. The teacher could write out cards, one for each of the leisure activities mentioned in the clip and these could be distributed, probably randomly, round the class. Each pupil has to create an A4 poster, hand drawn or using IT, advertising their allocated entertainment, with suitable illustration and factual information. The posters could be included as part of a whole wall display on 19th century daily life. The display might be arranged to reflect rich and poor or change over time, for example.