When Queen Victoria was on the throne (the Victorian period), Britain changed extremely quickly.

Queen Victorian ruled over lots of other countries in the “British Empire” including India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong. In fact, the British Empire covered more than a quarter of the whole world at the time so Britain was a very powerful country.

The “Industrial Revolution” took place, with machinery being developed that made things much easier to produce. This led to lots of factories being built and more houses were needed for the people who worked in them.

It was partly due to the Industrial Revolution that so many things that we take for granted today were invented. Some of those include:

  • Cameras & Photographs
  • Postage Stamps & Post Boxes
  • Flushing Toilets
  • Telephones
  • X-Rays
  • Moving Pictures (what turned into the cinema)
  • Electric Lights
  • Cars (& Rubber Tyres)
  • Radio

  • Try using a book or the internet to find out more Victorian inventions.

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    The Castle

    Cardiff Castle changed dramatically during the Victorian period. People usually talk about what the 3rd Marquess of Bute (John Patrick Crichton Stuart) did to change Cardiff Castle during the Victorian period but it’s important to remember that 2 Marquesses owned Cardiff Castle during that time.

    The first was John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess’s father. He had already started changing Cardiff Castle in the 19th century but when he died his son (the 3rd Marquess) became famous for what he changed at Cardiff Castle.

    The 3rd Marquess employed an architect called William Burges. They both loved the medieval times and together they changed the inside and outside of the Castle. They built extra towers (like the famous Clock Tower) and inside they decorated lots of the rooms so that they looked like rooms in a medieval castle. It is these rooms that you can visit today if you come to the Castle.

    See how the castle has changed over time

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    Who ruled at the time

    Queen Victoria – 1837-1901

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    If you walked around the town during the Victorian period, you would have seen a very lively, busy place with narrow roads, lots of shops and masses of new buildings appearing.

    The area outside the Castle looked very different. The Animal Wall which is now further down the road was just outside the entrance to the Castle. The driveway to the main entrance was a different shape - it curved so that people in their horse drawn carriages could come straight across the road from High Street which is opposite. Trams and “Trolley Buses” took people around the town and ran in front of the Castle.

    One of the main differences outside the Castle was that houses were built right against the wall from the entrance up towards Queen Street. Those were there until the 1920s.

    The 2nd Marquess of Bute had started to build the docks in Cardiff (now part of Cardiff Bay) and it was mainly because of the money that he made from the Docks that his son (the 3rd Marquess) could afford to change Cardiff Castle so much.

    There would have been a big difference between the rich people who were making money from the Industrial Revolution and developments in Cardiff and the poor people who had come to Cardiff to work in places like Cardiff Docks.

    In the town, more and more houses were being built so that all the workers who came to Cardiff had somewhere to live but many of them lived in horrible conditions.

    If you walk around Cardiff today, you will see a lot of the homes that were built during the Victorian time.

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