Making a Living in Victorian England

For the respectable classes, work is the order of the day. One visiting England during this period could easily compare it to the hustle and bustle of New York 100 years later. Men and women young and old as well as children work and work and work. It wasn't until 1874, however that children under the age of 9 were barred from all forms of wage-earning labor.Making a Living in Victorian England

Women working in industrial situations is waning, but the 1871 census still showed 26% of women over 15 working as many hours as they could. Hours on the job for working men were also going down and the fear of losing one's job was always on one's mind. There were always more applicants than positions available whatever the job to be filled. Jobs were so scarce that it wasn't uncommon for clerical staff being made responsible for the cleaning of the office as well.

Unskilled laborers were most at risk and if one earned a bad name as a troublemaker, they were usually blacklisted and had to find work in another district. The skilled laborer fared better as he wasn't as easy to replace. However in times when it cost more to educate sons, and daughters still had no respectable marriage prospect, the death of a professional father could destroy his family.

With the construction of the docks on the East End, the population consisting of mostly working class people began to grow along with the establishment of its own entertainment network not unvisited and unrecognized by the rest of London.

In the following sections, you'll learn what the Victorians worked at, average wages for different jobs and the value of the British Pound Sterling.

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