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  • Public health acts 1848 - 1875

    As a result of a growing Sanitary Reform Movement, parliament passed a series of acts in an attempt to improve sanitary conditions in the thriving urban areas. The act of 1848 (the first of its kind) provided for a Central Board of Health with powers to supervise street cleaning, refuse collection, water supply and sewerage disposal. The later acts passed responsibility to local boards of health and extended their powers to include drainage and s ...


  • Factory act and industrial growth 1850

    Factory legislation had first passed parliament in 1819 - limiting those aged nine and above to a twelve hour day. Further legislation in 1833 prohibited the employment of under nines in mills and further restricted the time over nines could work. An act of 1844 moved the position further but, in 1850, the Factory Act restricted all women and young people to no more than ten-and-a-half hours work a day.From the 1850s, Britain was the leading indu ...


  • The great exhibition 1851

    Conceived by prince Albert, this celebration of British imperial and industrial might was held in Hyde Park in London in the specially constructed Crystal Palace. Over 13,000 exhibits were viewed by over 6,200,000 visitors to the exhibition. The profits from the event allowed for the foundation of public works such as the Albert Hall, the Science Museum, the National History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. ...


  • The crimean war 1854 - 1856

    In 1853, Russia sent troops to defend Christians within the Ottoman Empire. Within months, Russian troops had occupied parts of the Ottoman Empire and the Turks declared war. On 28 March 1854, looking to prevent Russian expansion, Britain and France (with Austrian backing) also declared war on Russia. In September 1854, Allied troops invaded the Crimea and within a month were besieging the Russian held city of Sebastopol.On 25 October 1854, the R ...


  • Limited liabilities act 1855

    This allowed companies to limit the liability of their individual investors to the value of their shares. Prior to this, investors in a company stood to lose all their wealth if economic circumstances forced the company they had invested in out of business. The curtailing of risk as a result of the act is credited with being the basis for the increased investment in trade and industry, although most of the evidence for this is apocryphal. ...


  • The indian mutiny 1857 - 1858

    In 1857, Indian soldiers - Hindu and Muslim - opposed their British commanders following a series of insensitive military demands which disrespected traditional beliefs. The opposition mutated into rebellion and several communities in northern India and Bengal were attacked and their populations killed. In some areas, the military revolt was supported by peasant uprisings. The rebels even managed to seize Delhi (although the British rega ...


  • The second reform act 1867

    The 1867 Reform Act attempted to redistribute parliamentary seats in a more equitable manner. Virtually all men living in urban areas were enfranchised (renting or owning property valued over £10) and some males with long leases in the countryside were also included in the reform. Reform of the franchise was not the only social change in the Victorian era. The last public hangings took place in 1868; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first li ...


  • Foundation of trades union congress 1868

    In May 1868, thirty-four union representatives from the north and midlands of England met in Manchester for the first Trades Union Congress. At their second annual meeting a year later, also in Manchester, forty representatives attended - speaking for over a quarter of a million workers. ...


  • Education act 1870

    A watershed in education provision, this act provided for genuine mass education on a scale not seen before. The State became more interventionist and encouraged voluntary action assisted by local authorities. Elected school boards were permitted to levy money for fees and given powers to enforce attendance of most children below the age of thirteen. By 1874, over 5,000 new schools had been founded. ...


  • The third reform act 1884

    The act extended the 1867 concessions from the boroughs to the countryside. All men paying an annual rental of £10 or all those holding land valued at £10 now had the vote. The British electorate now totalled over 5,500,000. An act a year later redistributed constituencies, giving more representation to urban areas (especially London). Gordon of Khartoum 1885 Administrator of the Sudan between 1874 and 1880, General Charles Gordon was instrumen ...


  • Irish home rule crisis 1886

    Following the Potato Famine, a number of organisations were formed to agitate for Home Rule.In 1848, a rising led by the Young Ireland Movement was violently suppressed in Tipperary. Twenty years later, there was still strong feeling on the issue with a campaign of violence co-ordinated by the Fenian Movement. Despite efforts by the Gladstone government to allay tensions, in 1877, Charles Parnell became leader of the Irish Home Rule party and und ...


  • Jack the ripper 1888

    Between 8 August and 9 November, five prostitutes were murdered in the Whitechapel area of London. The murderer was never found and has haunted the popular imagination since as \'Jack the Ripper\'. Several theories abound as to the identity of the killer(including one claim that it was a member of the royal family) but, despite a plethora of evidence, the case has never been solved. ...


  • Independent labour party founded 1893

    In 1893, Keir Hardie founded an Independent Labour Party with the intention of gaining the election of members of the working class to parliament.In 1900, the Labour Representation Committee was formed by a number of unions, the Independent Labour Party, the Fabian Society (founded 1884) and the Social Democratic Federation (founded in 1881 as a Marxist party), with the objective of promoting a separate parliamentary labour party. While these gro ...


  • Victoria's diamond jubilee 1897

    Following the death of Albert in 1861, Victoria had increasingly withdrawn from national affairs. It took until the later 1870s for her Prime Minister, Disraeli to encourage her active participation in public life. Criticism of the Queen lessened and she resumed her interest in constitutional and imperial affairs - being created Empress of India in 1877. Victoria\'s Golden (1887) and Diamond (1897) Jubilees were excuses for massive outpourings of ...


  • The boer war 1899 - 1902

    In 1877, Britain annexed the (bankrupt) Transvaal Republic in southern Africa. This annexation was followed by successful military expansion in Natal (the Zulu War). In December 1880, the Boers of the Transvaal revolted against British rule, defeated an imperial force and forced the British government, under Gladstone, to recognise their independence. Gold was found in Transvaal in 1886 and, ten years later Cecil Rhodes backed the abortive Jameso ...


  • Science and achievement 1901 - 1939

    In 1901, Marconi made his first transatlantic airwave transmission of a message in Morse code, and the subsequent development of radio led to the British Broadcasting Company being established in 1922. This became a corporation (the BBC) in 1927 and was given a Royal Charter requiring news programmes to be impartial. Television was developed by the EMI-Marconi Corporation and by John Logie Baird, with the first continuous television service sta ...


  • The early 20th century 1901 - 1945

    After a century of almost unchallenged political security, Britain perceived the aggressive militarisation of the new German state and empire as a threat. Britain (and her empire) lost a large part of a generation of young men in the First World War; Britain\'s civilian population found themselves under severe domestic restrictions, and occasionally bombing, during the Second World War.Conflict accelerated many social and political developments a ...


  • The campaign for women's suffrage 1903

    In 1903, the campaign for women\'s suffrage was intensified by the founding of the Women\'s Social and Political Union. The WSPU, associated particularly with Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, was far more militant than the National Union of Women\'s Suffrage Societies, led by Milicent Garrett Fawcett.WSPU members, known as \'suffragettes\', became increasingly violent in the years before the First World War, as suc ...


  • Liberal reforms 1906 - 1914

    After a General Election victory in 1906, the Liberals began a series of ambitious social reforms such as medical examinations for school children, free meals for the poorest students and a programme for slum clearance. Other reforms involved the setting up of Labour exchanges and the introduction of a basic old age pension scheme.Additionally, they reversed the 1901 Taff Vale judgement, which had made trade unions liable for employer\'s losses d ...


  • World war one 1914 - 1918

    On 28th June 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. One month later Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This was rapidly followed by other declarations of war, as the system of alliances which had formed in an effort to maintain the balance of power in Europe followed its inevitable course. Germany\'s decision to invade France through neutral Belgium led to the Brit ...



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