Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by:  Harris Museum

This resource looks at the home lives of Victorian people in Preston, focusing on the houses they lived in, using contemporary documents, paintings and photographs.  It encourages historical enquiry, thinking skills and group collaboration.


Curriculum Links

  • KS2 History:  A study of an aspect or theme in British history after 1066

Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of what people's homes were like in Victorian Britain
  • Understanding of how life differed according to economic conditions
  • Skills to collect information from a range of sources and draw conclusions about the Victorian period

Discussion Ideas

  • Are all the pictures in this resource equally reliable as historical evidence? 
  • Do you think the paintings show things as they really were?
  • What sort of similarities and differences can you spot between the different types of houses? 
  • Why might there be many photographs of upper class Victorian homes but very few of those belonging to working people?


Activity Ideas

  • Examine the images of Victorian houses pictured throughout this resource (and in the download pack) and use them as starting points for discussion.

    Give the children 2 minutes to discuss one of the photographs. Ask them to note down the following:

    - What can you see in the picture?
    - What words can you think of to describe the houses?
    - What sort of people would have lived in these houses and what evidence in the picture suggests this?
    - Where the house might be located?
    - What clues show us if these are rich or poor people's homes ?
  • Analyse census information to find out how people from different social classes lived. Download the  Activities and Document packs for further details. 
  • Read Edwin Waugh's description of a widow's house in Hope Street (document 10 in the downloadable document pack). This was written in 1862, during the Cotton Famine.
    - Can you find out more about the Cotton Famine?
    - What was it and what sort of impact did it have on the cotton workers of Preston?
  • Use the advertisement for Whingate House (document 7 in the downloadable document pack) to write a ‘to let’ ad for the worker’s cottage in Hope Street.