Victorian Voices

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

This resource looks at the working conditions of children in Victorian Sheffield. Thousands of children were employed in the steel and cutlery industries and in 1862 a Royal Commission investigated the conditions in the factories where children worked.


The resource uses extracts from the employment commission interviews. These transcriptions are the exact words and phrases that the children used – so we can really hear ‘Victorian voices’.


Curriculum links:

KS2 History - Local history; Victorian Britain

Aims of resource:

To reveal the history of Victorian children's work in an accessible way, drawing on original accounts from child workers in Sheffield.


Learning objectives:

Knowledge of the type of work children did during the 19th century.

Understanding of the reasons why children worked, what they did, and how they felt using the examples from 19th century Sheffield.

Skills to contrast social conditions in the past and present and understand the perspectives of historical individuals.

Discussion ideas:

  • Would you have liked to live in Sheffield in the 1860s?
  • Why or why not?
  • How do you think children's lives today are different from how children lived in the 19th century?
  • Which people do you think would want the Commission to investigate and report?
  • Who do you think would not want the Commission to investigate and report?
  • If you were on the Commission, what would you want to see happen afterwards?

View other relevant My Learning resources or scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic. 

Document icon Learning article provided by: Sheffield Archives | 
This content is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA

Accessibility Statement | Terms of Use | Site Map

Copyright © My Learning 2018. All Rights Reserved

Website by: Grapple