Victorian farming


  • Intro

    Looking back on images of rural Victorian life, such as this photograph, 'Coming home from the marshes' by Peter Henry Emerson, it is easy to think of this era as an idyllic time for rural life. After the Great War (1914 – 1918), England created a nostalgic image of its rural past: quaint villages, lush fields, happy farming families. But life in the country had meant poverty, subsistence wages, and back-breaking manual work shared by men, women and children working long hours. Education came second: on market day, rural schools would empty.


    Through Victorian times, horses began to do some of the ploughing, doing in an hour what took a day by hand. The industrial revolution and free trade came too. Railways enabled better and faster access to markets - but also cheaper foreign imports, and quicker population drift from dead-end village to city opportunity. By the end of the 1800s, machinery began to replace horses and the centuries-old crafts of the saddler, farrier and blacksmith were in terminal decline.


    Shelfmark: C.141.dd.8

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