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Victorian Voices

Teachers' notes

This resource looks at the working conditions of children in Victorian Sheffield.


Curriculum Links:

Key Stage 2 History

  • Unit 7 – Local history
  • Unit 11 – Victorian Britain

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’.


In the Victorian period Sheffield grew to be an industrial giant. The population rose from 9,365 in 1736 to 110,900 in 1841 and 409,000 by 1901. During this time the iron and steel industry changed from small-scale production, based on working at home, to huge factories employing thousands of men, women and children.


One of the major users of steel in Sheffield was the cutlery industry, but even by the end of the Victorian era it still had ‘Little Mesters’ in small workshops, often specialising in only part of the production sequence.



Document icon Learning article provided by: Sheffield Archives | 

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