Art and Culture/British - Hanoverians 2
Victoria (1837 – 1901)
Victoria (b. Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India.
She was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate, surviving children.
She was raised largely isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy.
She had a King Charles spaniel, Dash.
Victoria received the news of her accession from Lord Conyngham and the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the time of her accession, the government was led by the Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne, who at once became a powerful influence on the politically inexperienced Queen, who relied on him for advice.
Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children (Victoria (b. 1840), Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (b. 1841), Alice (b. 1843), Alfred (b. 1844), Helena (b. 1846), Louise (b. 1848), Arthur (b. 1850), Leopold (b. 1853) and Beatrice (b. 1857)) married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe".
Assassination attempts - Edward Oxford (1840), John Francis (1842), John William Bean (1842), William Hamilton (1849), Robert Pate (1850), Arthur O'Connor (1872), Roderick Maclean (1882). Victoria said it was "worth being shot at—to see how much one is loved".
Victoria’s Prime Ministers
1835 Viscount Melbourne (Whig)
1841 Sir Robert Peel (Conservative)
1846 Lord John Russell (W)
1852 (Feb.) Earl of Derby (C)
1852 (Dec.) Earl of Aberdeen (Peelite)
1855 Viscount Palmerston (Liberal)
1858 Earl of Derby (C)
1859 Viscount Palmerston (L)
1865 Earl Russell (L)
1866 Earl of Derby (C)
1868 (Feb.) Benjamin Disraeli (C)
1868 (Dec.) William Gladstone (L)
1874 Benjamin Disraeli (C)
1880 William Gladstone (L)
1885 Marquess of Salisbury (C)
1886 (Feb.) William Gladstone (L)
1886 (July) Marquess of Salisbury (C)
1892 William Gladstone (L)
1894 Earl of Rosebery (L)
1895 Marquess of Salisbury (C)
Grace Darling was an English lighthouse keeper's daughter, famed for participating in the rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked “Forfarshire” in 1838. The paddlesteamer ran aground on the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland in northeast England; nine members of her crew were saved. Grace Darling died of tuberculosis in October 1842, aged 26.
Chartism - was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain which existed from 1838 to 1858. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838.
In 1838, the 'People's Charter' was drafted by William Lovett, one of the founders of the London Working Men's Association. The resulting movement was at the centre of the demands for parliamentary reform during the late 1830s and throughout the 1840s. A riot in Newport in 1839 was followed by several “risings”. In 1840 Samuel Holberry led an abortive rising in Sheffield and Robert Peddie attempted similar action in Bradford.
The main movement was led by Feargus O'Connor, who was elected MP for Nottingham in 1847. The Great Chartist Meeting took place on Kennington Common, London in 1848. After 1848, as the movement faded, its demands appeared less threatening and were gradually enacted by other reformers.
People's Charter called for six basic reforms to make the political system more democratic: a vote for every man over the age of 21; a secret ballot; no property qualification for MPs; payment for MPs (so poor men could serve); constituencies of equal size; annual elections for Parliament.
Chartism did not directly generate any reforms. It was not until 1867 that urban working men were admitted to the franchise under the Reform Act 1867, and not until 1918 that full manhood suffrage was achieved. Slowly the other points of the People's Charter were granted: secret voting was introduced in 1872 and the payment of MPs in 1911.[
The Rebecca Riots happened between 1839 and 1842 in South and Mid Wales. They were a series of protests undertaken by local farmers and agricultural workers in response to perceived unfair taxation. The rioters, often men dressed as women, took their actions against toll-gates, as they were tangible representations of high taxes and tolls.
Penny post was introduced in 1840 by Rowland Hill. In May 1840 the World's first adhesive postage stamps were distributed. Known as the Penny Black it carried an engraving of the young Queen Victoria (whose 21st birthday was celebrated that month).
In 1841 Daniel O’Connell argued for the re-creation of an independent Kingdom of Ireland to govern itself, with Queen Victoria as the Queen of Ireland. To push for this, he held a series of Monster Meetings throughout much of Ireland outside the Protestant and Unionist-dominated province of Ulster.
Irish potato famine (1845 - 1852) - two-fifths of the population was solely reliant on this cheap crop for a number of historical reasons. During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the population to fall by between 20% and 25%. The major cause of famine was a disease commonly known as potato blight, which ravaged crops throughout Europe but the impact in Ireland was disproportionate as one third of the population was dependent on the potato. Land acquisition, absentee landlords and the Corn Laws all contributed to the disaster to varying degrees.
The Corn Laws were measures including bounties and tariffs on imported grain starting in 1689 and throughout the 1800s designed to keep grain prices high to favour producers in Great Britain. The latest Act (1815) was repealed in 1846 after the beginning of the Irish potato famine.
The Great Exhibition (1851) - organised by Henry Cole and Prince Albert. Held in Hyde Park. The main building was designed by Joseph Paxton, which Punch dubbed ‘the Crystal Palace’. There were six million paying visitors.
Window tax - introduced in England and Wales in 1696 under King William III and was designed to impose tax relative to the prosperity of the taxpayer. The tax was unpopular, because it was seen by some as a tax on "light and air". It was abolished in 1851.
In 1843 and 1845, she and Albert visited King Louis Philippe I. She was the first British or English monarch to visit a French one since the meeting of Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France on the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. When Louis Philippe made a reciprocal trip in 1844, he became the first French king to visit a British sovereign. She visited Ireland in 1849.
Crimean War (aka to the Russians as the Eastern War of 1853–1856) - was a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. A long-term cause of the war was the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and the unwillingness of Britain and France to allow Russia to gain territory and power at Ottoman expense. The war was largely fought in and near Crimea, with smaller campaigns in eastern Anatolia, Caucasus, the Baltic Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the White Sea.
In July 1853, the Tsar sent his troops into the Danubian Principalities. Britain sent a fleet to the Dardanelles, where it joined another fleet sent by France. In the Battle of Sinop on 30 November 1853 the Russians destroyed a patrol squadron of Ottoman frigates and corvettes while they were anchored in port. Sinop provided Britain and France with the casus belli for declaring war against Russia. Britain and France formally declared war on Russia on 28 March 1854.
The Crimean campaign opened in September 1854 with the landing of the allied expeditionary force in Calamita Bay on the south west coast of the Crimean Peninsula. Their main strategic goal was to capture the Russian fortresses at Sevastopol.
The Battle of Balaclava is remembered in Britain for the actions of two British units. The 93rd Highlanders, which held out against repeated attacks by a larger Russian force (the "Thin Red Line") and the Light Cavalry Brigade under the command of the Earl of Cardigan, where an ambiguous order sent the brigade on the near suicidal charge of the Light Brigade into the north Valley of the Balaclava battlefield.
The failure of the British and French to follow up on the Battle of Balaclava led directly to another and much more bloody battle—the Battle of Inkerman. On 5 November 1854, the Russians attempted to raise the siege at Sevastopol with an attack against the allies which resulted in another allied victory.
Tsar Nicholas I died in March 1855. Sevastopol fell on 9 September 1855 after a year-long siege.
Dissatisfaction in Britain with the course of the war was signified by a "snowball riot" in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, 21 January 1855, in which 1,500 people gathered to protest the war by pelting buses, cabs, and pedestrians with snow balls. The riot was finally put down by troops and police acting with truncheons. Lord Aberdeen resigned as prime minister on 30 January 1855 and was replaced by Lord Palmerston.
Peace negotiations at the Congress of Paris resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 30 March 1856. Great Powers pledged to respect the independence and territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
Florence Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organised the tending to wounded soldiers. She became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.
In October 1854, she and the staff of 38 women volunteer nurses that she trained, including her aunt Mai Smith, and 15 Catholic nuns were sent to the Crimea, and arrived early in November 1854 at Selimiye Barracks in Scutari (modern-day Üsküdar in Istanbul). Her team found that poor care for wounded soldiers was being delivered by overworked medical staff in the face of official indifference. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was being neglected, and mass infections were common, many of them fatal. There was no equipment to process food for the patients.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was commissioned to design a prefabricated hospital that could be built in England and shipped to the Dardanelles. The result was Renkioi Hospital, a civilian facility which, under the management of Dr. Edmund Alexander Parkes, had a death rate less than 1/10th that of Scutari.
In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, now part of King's College London. The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses was named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.
Nightingale became a pioneer in the visual presentation of information and statistical graphics. She used methods such as the pie chart, which had first been developed by William Playfair in 1801. She is credited with developing a form of the pie chart now known as the polar area diagram, or occasionally the Nightingale rose diagram, equivalent to a modern circular histogram, to illustrate seasonal sources of patient mortality in the military field hospital she managed. In 1859, Nightingale was elected the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society. She later became an honorary member of the American Statistical Association.
In the 1870s, Nightingale mentored Linda Richards, "America's first trained nurse", and enabled her to return to the USA with adequate training and knowledge to establish high-quality nursing schools. Linda Richards went on to become a great nursing pioneer in the USA and Japan.
India's First War for Independence (aka Indian Mutiny of 1857) - began as a mutiny of sepoys of the East India Company's army in 1857, in the cantonment of the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India. The rebellion was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858. An early incident was the case of Mangal Pandey, who shot at Lt. Henry Baugh at Barrackpore parade ground, near Calcutta. Pandey is widely regarded as a freedom fighter in modern India. In 1984, the Indian government issued a postage stamp to commemorate him.
Prince Albert died in 1861 at the early age of 42, plunging the Queen into a deep mourning that lasted for the rest of her life. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.
She did undertake her official government duties, yet chose to remain secluded in her royal residences—Windsor Castle, Osborne House, and Balmoral Castle. Through the 1860s, Victoria relied increasingly on a manservant, John Brown. A painting by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer depicting the Queen with Brown was exhibited at the Royal Academy, and Victoria published a book, “Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands”, which featured Brown prominently and in which the Queen praised him highly. In 1871, she was seriously ill with an abscess in her arm, which Joseph Lister successfully lanced and treated with his new antiseptic carbolic acid spray. In 1884, Victoria published “More Leaves from a Journal of a Life in the Highlands”, which she dedicated to her "devoted personal attendant and faithful friend John Brown", who had died a year earlier.
The last public hanging took place in Britain in 1868 - Michael Barrett, a member of the Fenians, who was convicted for his part in the Clerkenwell bombing in December 1867. The bombing killed 12 bystanders and severely injured many more.
Penal transportation from Britain and Ireland to Australia officially ended in 1868 although it had become uncommon several years earlier.
Irish Land Act (1870) - tenants unprotected by custom (the vast majority) gained increased security by: a) compensation for improvements made to a farm if they surrendered their lease (these had previously been accredited to the landlord, hence no incentive to the tenant); b) compensation for 'disturbance', i.e. damages, for tenants evicted for causes other than non-payment of rent. The 'John Bright Clauses', allowed tenants to borrow from the government two-thirds of the cost of buying their holding, at 5% interest repayable over 35 years, provided the landlord was willing to sell (no compulsory powers).
Victoria took the title "Empress of India" from 1 May 1876. The new title was proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1 January 1877.
Channel Tunnel - in 1881, British railway entrepreneur Sir William Watkin and French Suez Canal contractor Alexandre Lavalley were in the Anglo-French Submarine Railway Company that conducted exploratory work on both sides of the Channel. On the English side a 7 ft diameter Beaumont-English boring machine dug a 6211 ft pilot tunnel from Shakespeare Cliff. On the French side, a similar machine dug 5476 ft from Sangatte. The project was abandoned in May 1882, owing to British political and press campaigns advocating that a tunnel would compromise Britain's national defences.
In 1887, Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee, marking the fiftieth anniversary of her accession. She held a banquet to which 50 kings and princes were invited and the following day, she participated in a procession and attended a thanksgiving service in Westminster Abbey.
Matchgirls strike - a strike in 1888 of the women and teenage girls working at the Bryant and May Factory in Bow, London. It was organised by Herbert Burrows and Annie Besant. The strike was caused by the poor working conditions in the match factory, including 14-hour work days, poor pay, excessive fines and the severe health complications of working with white phosphorus, such as phossy jaw, but was sparked by the dismissal of one of the workers on or about 2 July 1888.
On 23 September 1896, Victoria surpassed her grandfather George III as the longest-reigning monarch in English, Scottish, and British history. The Queen requested that any special celebrations be delayed until 1897, to coincide with her Diamond Jubilee.
The prime ministers of all the self-governing dominions were invited, and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee procession through London included troops from all over the empire. The parade paused for an open-air service of thanksgiving held outside St Paul's Cathedral, throughout which Victoria sat in her open carriage.
In 1889, during a stay in Biarritz, Victoria became the first reigning monarch from Britain to set foot in Spain when she crossed the border for a brief visit.
Victoria died on 22 January 1901 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Her son Edward and her eldest grandson, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, were at her deathbed. Mementos were laid in the coffin with her. One of Albert's dressing gowns was placed by her side, with a plaster cast of his hand, while a lock of John Brown's hair, along with a picture of him, was placed in her left hand concealed from the view of the family by a carefully positioned bunch of flowers. Items of jewellery placed on Victoria included the wedding ring of John Brown's mother, given to her by Brown in 1883. Her funeral was held on 2 February, in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park.
With a reign of 63 years, 7 months and 2 days, Victoria is the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant in world history (as at March 2015). She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father.