Edwardian period

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Edwardian period
King Edward VII of England
King Edward VII, after whom the Edwardian period is named.


Preceded by Victorian era
Followed by Britain in World War I

The Edwardian era in the United Kingdom is the period which included the reign of King Edward VII (1901–1910). The "Edwardian era" usually includes some years before and after his reign, up to the First World War.

King Edward VII was very different from Queen Victoria. Victoria had become almost a recluse after her husband died, but Edward was an important leader. Edward and his fashionable friends followed the art and fashions of other European countries. Edward enjoyed travelling, and his visits to Paris improved relations between the two countries.

The United Kingdom was a powerful nation in the nineteenth century. There was progress in British science and industry at this time. The British Empire was large and the Royal Navy was the most powerful navy in the world.[1]

The prosperity of the Edwardian era was built on trade and manufacturing. These were the main industries at the time:

  1. Mining, especially coal, the main source of power
  2. Manufacture of iron and steel
  3. Shipbuilding
  4. Manufacturing cloth and other fabrics from cotton and wool .
  5. Manufacture household goods and equipment (such as ceramics and cutlery).

The extent of this trade was huge. Railways all over the world were built by the British, and equipped with machinery made in Britain. Germany also became a powerful nation, and the United States was already becoming an industrial giant. By Edward VII's time. both of these countries were as industrially advanced as Britain.

Most British people in the "Edwardian era" were sure that British progress would continue. They were certain that the United Kingdom would continue to be very powerful. [2] The era came to an unexpected end with the First World War. Economically and in human terms, this was a disaster for most of the European nations.[3]

There was a lot of inequality in society in the United Kingdom in the Edwardian era, as there always had been. Rich people and poor people had very different living standards at this time.[4] Most adult men could vote, but women could not. Suffragettes were fighting for the right to vote.

In the Edwardian era there was a law which said that children had to go to primary school. More children could also go to secondary school.

References[change | change source]

  1. Black, Mark. 2012. Edwardian Britain: a very brief history. (Kindle) [1]
  2. Tracy, Michael. The world of the Edwardian child. Hermitage. ISBN 978 2 9600047 55 .
  3. Jean-Dormois, Pierre and Dintenfass, Michael (eds) 1999. The British industrial decline.
  4. Hattersley, Roy (2004). The Edwardians. London: Little, Brown. ISBN 0 316 72537 4 .

Further reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]