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18 September 2014
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Victorian Britain

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Earning a Living: Go Further


British Regional Employment Statistics, 1841-1971 by CH Lee (Cambridge University Press, 1979). A particularly useful book that attempts to classify occupational data given in printed census returns in a standardised way.

The Victorian Economy by F Crouzet (Methuen, 1982). A readable account, which contains some useful discussion in chapter four on the changing occupational distribution in the British economy during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Labour in British Society, 1830-1914 by DM MacRaild and DE Martin (Palgrave, 2000). The first chapter deals with varieties of work in Victorian Britain, considering the variety of occupational groups and the changes that occurred in their importance over time.

Working Children in Nineteenth-Century Lancashire edited by M Winstanley (Lancashire County Books, 1995). Based on a project undertaken by the editor with a group of his students, this book deals with various aspects of child labour in a major industrial region.

A Clearer Sense of the Census: The Victorian Census and Historical Research by E Higgs (Stationery Office Books, 1996). An extremely useful book in understanding how the census can be used in historical work and the problems that arise.

Women's Work, 1840-1940 by E Roberts (Cambridge University Press, 1995). A short book dealing with various aspects of female employment, including discussion on the inadequacies of census data in assessing the extent to which women took paid employment.

Children's Work and Welfare, 1780-1880s by P Horn (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Another short book, this time containing useful discussion of the nature and extent of child employment up to the late Victorian period.


Monuments and Dust: The Culture of Victorian London: One of the most interesting websites devoted to Victorian London.

The Victorian Web: A comprehensive resource for information on Victorian society in general.

The National Archives: A wide selection of sources relating to society, welfare and the economic reforms of the Victorian age.

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Places to visit

Printed census returns and census enumerators' schedules are widely available in reference libraries and at record offices. Additionally, useful insights into Victorian working conditions can be gained from visiting industrial museums. Examples include: Styal Mill, near Wilmslow in Cheshire; Helmshore Textile Museums, Rossendale, Lancashire; and Armley Mills, Leeds.

Published: 02-11-2004

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