Great Britain witnessed great strides in the economy, society, politics, literature, science etc during the Victorian era (1837 1901). This was a time of opportunity as new ideas emerged and the old economic order was replaced by a new order created by industrialization. A great contribution was made in art, architecture, literature, science etc.
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Victorian era influence on the economy
The Victorian era saw the emergence of modern industries. The emphasis shifted from agriculture to manufacturing. Modern industries based on the steam engine made their appearance. Quantity and quality of goods improved with mass production. Worldwide trade increased. This was largely due to the vast improvements in the transport industry.
The first commercial steam engine drawn rail was designed by Brunel to ply between London and Bristol. They gradually became the most reliable mode of transporting industrial raw material. The application of the steam technology to maritime transport greatly accelerated the pace of industrialization.
Victorian era influence on the society
A sharp distinction emerged between the factory owners and the industrial labourers. This was the era when labour laws were introduced for the first time and their influence can be seen even today. At the same time, the rigid class distinctions were slowly relaxed. With Queen Victoria on the throne, the idea of women’s liberty achieved greater popularity Yet the strong sense of morality and etiquette kept the society under a tight rein.
Victorian period contribution to Literature
Great strides were made in English literature in this era. The writings of Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Karol and Kipling still continue to captivate the world. Poets like Shelly, Wordsworth, Tennyson and Browning created several gems of contemporary poetry.
Victorian era contribution to Science
The Victorian era was also the era of Inventions. The telephone (Alexander Graham Bell), the light bulb and the phonograph (Edison), the modern theories of light and sound (Lord Rayleigh), the link between chemistry and electricity (Faraday), the electron (Thompson) etc are some of the groundbreaking inventions which were made during this era.
Darwin’s theory of evolution was also published in this period. His concepts of struggle for survival and the survival of the fittest have affected the modern thinking in all brunches of science.
Victorian contribution in Medicine
The base for modern medicine was laid when Joseph Lister introduced the thorough cleanliness of medical instruments and personnel before carrying out any medical procedure to reduce the risk of infection. However it was the contribution of Florence Nightingale which gave a fresh perspective on nursing.
Victorian influence on Art
Grace, beauty, elegance and refinement characterized the art of the Victorian era. Artists like Disraeli and Gladstone left their mark during this period. The technique of photography evolved which revolutionized the visual arts.
Influence on Architecture
The Victorian era saw the emergence of large grand buildings. They were elaborate with large decorations but generally inconvenient. Towards the end of the era, the emphasis was on simpler structures affordable by the common man. Use of new building materials like iron and glass was introduced at this time.
The Victorian era is best remembered for its stern morality, tempered by an innate grace and beauty. However, great strides were made on various fronts and the contribution of the Victorian era to human history far exceeds this view.