BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 13647

Workhouses and children's homes in Victorian times

Workhouses and children's homes in Victorian times
Key Info
  • Workhouses and children's homes in Victorian times
  • Duration: 18:56
  • Charles Dickens presents a topical chat show about workhouses in Victorian times. In 1861, 35,000 children under 12 lived and worked in workhouses in Britain. A workhouse boy, very like Charles Dickens's famous character Oliver Twist, reports on the living conditions for children. Conditions include work picking out old ropes, harsh discipline and punishment by whipping. We move on to meet a workhouse cook and find out about the typical diet of a workhouse child. Finally we meet the activist Dr Thomas Barnado. He tells us about his work to improve life for poor children, including opening the first children's homes. First broadcast on the Learning Zone on BBC2 in March 2012 as part of the programme The Charles Dickens Show.
  • Subject:



    Victorians: Child Labour

  • Keywords: workhouse, poor, poverty, Victorian, child, children, diet, punishment, labour, Oliver, Twist, Barnardo, welfare orphanage, orphan, family, children’s, home, TheCharlesDickensShow
Ideas for use in class
  • Write a diary entry about a day in the life of a workhouse child. Discuss the treatment of poor children in the workhouse. Why did poor children receive such treatment? What did a typical workhouse child eat in a week? Compare the foods with the diet of today's children. Discuss the effect of eating a diet like this on a child. Read more about Charles Dickens's character Oliver Twist. What were the children fed in the workhouse? Profile important Victorians such as the life and work of Dr Thomas Barnardo. Research child welfare reforms. Which changes helped poor children?
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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