Do teenagers work in your country? What jobs do they do?
The pictures show English children in Victorian times. What do you think their lives were like? Listen and read to find out.
CHILDREN IN VICTORIAN TIMES
VICTORIA was the Queen of England, from 1837 to 1901. During early Victorian times, children from poor families worked from the age of five to feed themselves and their families. These jobs weren’t easy and were often dangerous.
MANY CHILDREN worked as chimney sweeps because they were small and thin. They climbed up narrow chimneys to clean them. Street children or orphans usually did this job.
A LOT OF CHILDREN also worked in cotton factories. When the cotton threads broke, children went into the machines to fix them. This was very dangerous.
OTHER CHILDREN worked in coal mines. They pushed trucks of coal or they opened and closed doors to let air through tunnels.
THE MASTERS were often cruel. Children worked long hours for very low wages. A lot of children had health problems and accidents.
LORD SHAFTESBURY helped to stop adults from using young children at work. He started free schools for poor children. By the end of Victorian times all children went to school until the age of 10.
Read the text and complete the sentences.
1.Children’s work in cotton factories was ….. .
2. Chimney sweeps had to be ….. .
3. Children in mines pushed ….. .
4. Masters made children work ….. .
5. Lord Shaftesbury started ….. .
Explain the words in bold.
Make notes under the headings. Then talk about children’s lives in Victorian times.
• working conditions
• working hours
Discuss the following.
1. Do you think it was right for children to do these kinds of jobs?
2. Why do you think children did these jobs? How did they feel?
3. Would you do any of these jobs? Why (not)?
Portfolio: Work in groups. Did children work in your country in the 19th century? Use your history books or the Internet to find out. Write a short text about what kind of jobs they did and what their lives were like.