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Coal Mining and the Victorians

Teachers' notes

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This resource looks at the lives of children working in coal mines in Victorian England. Extracts from the 1842 Royal Commission into Children’s Employment (Mines) are used to highlight the working conditions faced by children working underground and to provide a source of primary evidence for pupils studying this topic.

On completion of this resource, students can test their knowledge by answering questions in the Victorian Coal Mining Quiz.

Curriculum Links:

KS2 History:

QCA Unit 11 - What was it like for children living in Victorian Britain?

QCA Unit 12 - How did life change in our locality in Victorian times?

Victorian Britain – the changing role and status of women

Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past

Historical interpretation

Historical enquiry using documents and printed sources

PSHE and Citizenship


Discussion and debate

The following curriculum areas are linked to specific pages or resources - use the hyperlinks to take you directly to the page concerned.


Databases: Health ; Statistical Information Worksheet


Speaking and listening: Children's Jobs ; Inquest Lesson Plan

Drama and role play: Children's Jobs ; Inquest Lesson Plan


Data Handling: Health

Money Problems: Wages

Learning Objectives:

  • Knowledge and understanding – Increased knowledge of what it was like for children living in Victorian Britain and understanding of the 1842 Commission.
  • Attitudes and values –The activities motivate pupils by using original materials, making it more real. The activities enhance empathy and understanding for different working conditions of children.
  • Enjoyment, inspiration and creativity – These activities will enrich and engage children in the learning of History, ICT, Literacy, Numeracy and PSHE.
  • Skills – Develop research skills for teachers and pupils. Through group work children will develop their social and communication skills.
  • Behaviour and progressionsThe activities give children the potential to study original archival material.

Document icon Learning article provided by: National Coal Mining Museum for England | 

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