County Durham exhibition focusses on Victorian childhood

Date Posted: 12/06/2014

Victorian Childhood at The Bowes Museum in County Durham aims to offer insight to the lives of children - rich and poor - during the reign of Queen Victoria.

The exhibition is divided into themes including home life, school and work life, clothes, play and leisure.

Emphasis will be placed on how young lives were lived during this era depending on the social class they were born into. Using items from the museum collection it will focus on the ephemera of pieces from daily life.

Comparing Victorian school life to today

Pupils may be particularly interested in comparing their own school day to that of Victorian children.

At the start of the Victorian era there were no laws forcing children to attend school, with education seen as a privilege for the rich, particularly boys.

In 1891 education became compulsory and free for those aged between five and ten. Class sizes could comprise up to 80 pupils, while the children of the wealthy were tutored at home by governesses.

Arranging a school trip

The exhibition runs from 21st June to 7th September, and is therefore suitable for teachers arranging an end of term trip or a visit at the start of the new school year.

The Bowes Museum also offers a practical workshop titled Local Victorians, suitable for Key Stages one and two, which can be combined with a visit to the exhibition.

For more school trip information contact:


School Travel Organiser's Guide