Social classes of the Victorian Era

Research project by Chloe Henry


The victorian era was known for the reigning of Queen Victoria lasting from 1837 to 1901. During the Victorian era Great Britain experienced great increase in economic, political, and cultural power. "...Historians have characterized the mid-Victorian era, (1850-1870) as Britains 'golden years...'" (Bernard Porter, Britiannia's Burden: The political Evolution of Modern Britain 1851-1890 (1994) ch 3) "...There was a spirit of libertarianism, says Porte, as people felt they were free. Taxes were very low and government restrictions were minimal..." (porter, ch 1-3; K Theodore Hoppen, The mid-Victorian Generation: 1846-1886, ch 1 to 3, 9-11) As amazing as this era was was, it could not escape the social class system.

There were a total of 4 classes, each being subdivided into certain parts. The upper class had the more richer people whose work was mainly fulfilled by those of the lower class. The middle class were people who worked to live. Divided into two, the higher and lower middle class. The third of the four classes is the working class, the skilled and unskilled workers. The last and the least is the under class, people who depended on others charity to live. For example, The poor, like orphans and homeless people.

Connection to present day

With such an early introduction to social classes, Great Britain simply built off of them. Social classes today are extremely common. Practically every country today has them, of course, each one differs. For example, Great Britain still has the royalty class yet America has never had anything like it. Every person you see everyday belongs to a certain class.


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"Eye Opening Facts about Life in the Victorian Era (24 Photos)." TheCHIVE RSS. N.p., 06 Apr. 2015. Web. 19 May 2016. <>.

"10 Facts About Living In Victorian England That Will Make Your Skin Crawl." OMG Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2016. <>.


Without social classes everyone would be seen equal. Social classes are unescapeable. Judgement is simply in human nature; the levels and classes fuel it. Many of the classes you were born in and couldn't get out of. For example, if you were born into royalty, you had no choice but to take responsibility for an entire nation. Another angle would be the poorer class, it was of course not impossible to flee the poverty, just extremely difficult.

Five Fun Facts

1) One popular form of entertainment in this era came in vignettes, would literally just dress in costumes and pose.

2) Often, churches would store dead bodies; the horrible smell forced worshippers to wear handkerchiefs over their faces.

3) With the lack of anesthesia in the beginning of the era, surgeons had to work fast. Some amputations procedures lasted as little as 30 seconds.

4) Many surgeons took pride in frock coats, still coated with blood.

5) At the time, going to a freak show was just as common as going to the movies


I the mid 19th century Britain had a huge population increase. Many people were looking for housing, which jolted the price and housing became became super expensive. Today, many people live in poverty for the same reason. America has a huge population and there's simply not the right job for everyone. It would suck to hate your job and 1 room apartment and not have enough money to feed your family. Luckily, this is the 21st century and there's constant opportunitys to better your life.