The Georgian and Regency period lasted 123 years.
It began in 1714, with George I, and ended in 1837, when the young Queen Victoria ascended the throne. More
The early Georgian period was more peaceful and stable than the Stuart era.
Government had reached the point where struggles between groups were generally carried out in the Houses of Parliament, rather than on the battlefield. More
The Agricultural Revolution was well under way.
New farming techniques, crops and machinery saw more food produced. The enclosure of common land resulted in bigger, more productive farms but many poor people lost their rights to village land. More
Abroad it was a time of dramatic expansion in British commerce, territory and power.
By the end of the era, Britain was the undisputed superpower of the day with a vast empire. More
There was great rivalry with France and other nations for overseas trade.
Ships of the merchant navy carried commerce as far as South America and China. London’s influence stretched far wider than the British Empire: it was the commercial and industrial capital of the world. More
In mid-Georgian England, most towns were still small but new buildings were changing the character of many.
Large areas of London were developed in the classic Georgian style. Towns such as Bath and Bewdley took on their modern appearance, with buildings characterized by proportion, balance and symmetry.
The British Transatlantic Slave Trade grew rapidly during the period.
Slave ships left ports in Britain for West Africa, carrying goods that were exchanged for enslaved Africans, who were shipped across the Atlantic to labour in plantations in the Caribbean and America. More
The profits gained from slavery helped to finance the Industrial Revolution.
Wealth flowed into Britain and saw the development of financial institutions and the factories and technologies that underpinned the industrial revolution. More
The start of the Industrial Revolution brought great changes.
The way in which millions of people lived and worked was transformed. New technologies based on water and steam power created new ways of working, and destroyed old ones. More
Some parts of Britain became transformed by the arrival of large, machine-driven factories.
After the invention of the efficient steam engine, these great buildings started belching out smoke whilst creating huge wealth for the nation as a whole. More
However, Georgian society was still dominated by about 200 immensely wealthy landowning families.
Each of these families owned thousands of acres. They had many servants and lived in stately homes surrounded by well-laid out grounds. Most belonged to the hereditary nobility and had seats in the House of Lords. More
Below them were several thousand lesser landowners, the gentry.
Gentry families usually owned several hundred acres and lived in houses that reflected the tastes of the time. They also had lots of influence, particuarly in the House of Commons. More
The rise in wealth saw British society re-shaped with the rise of a large, urban middle class.
The middle classes consisted of merchants, lawyers and doctors and below them were the artisans and craftsmen. More
Many of the newly prosperous merchants wanted to become part of the ruling aristocracy.
These people were using their new-found wealth to buy large amounts of land and build grand houses. More
Further down the social scale came the farm labourers, domestic servants, workmen, soldiers and sailors.
For these people, their only income was their wages. Usually there was enough work for them to do – until they fell into ill-health or old age. More
At the bottom of the social heap were the paupers.
Paupers depended on handouts from the Parish to live. This class included criminal elements as well as those who had fallen into permanent poverty. Criminal gangs were common and there was a growing fear of crime as the era progressed. Punishments, if caught, were harsh. More
For the rich, the most important part of the year was the 'London Season'.
It began with the opening of Parliament in March and lasted until late June, when the rich returned to their country homes. More
Rich Georgian houses were show-pieces for entertaining.
Airiness, space and light were desirable features in the Georgian home. Rooms were decorated with intricate mouldings, decorative objects, elegant fireplaces, chandeliers made from glass and delicate furniture. More
The Georgians paid great attention to fashion, art, sport and music.
A Georgian gentleman was meant to display his wealth elegantly and provide lavish entertainments for his guests. He was also meant to be skilled with a weapon, an excellent horse-rider, good at driving a carriage, and dancing. A gentlewoman should be accomplished at both art and music. More
The Georgian period was also known as the 'Age of Reason' or the 'Enlightenment'
A new way of thinking arose around the concept that authority, behaviour and beliefs should be based on reason and rational scientific explanations. People were eager to explore new ideas, without fear of being accused of treason or heresy. More
Improvements in printing techniques saw the spread of written information.
Printing became quicker and cheaper. The first successful English daily newspaper, The Daily Courant, published from 1702 to 1735, was soon followed by others. The contents of these publications were debated in the coffee houses across the country. More
The American war of Independence was followed by the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.
The Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, fought with France, cast a shadow over the end of the 18th century. The rich and powerful were afraid that a revolution would also happen in Britain. More
At the end of the 18th century, areas of slums were springing up in the towns.
The miserable conditions in the slums were just like those described by Dickens, in the later Victorian times. Work in the factories did not require much skill and children often provided cheaper labour than adults. More
The Industrial Revolution made many people rich but, for many poor families, life was worse than it had been for a long time.
Towns and cities grew very quickly, as more people moved from the countryside to find work. In the worst slums, the poorest people suffered awful poverty and crippling diseases. More
The late 18th century and early 19th century saw protests and riots.
The harsh economic climate, due to the Napoleonic Wars, and the degrading working conditions in the new factories caused much unrest, with uprisings against the new machines and the government. More
Ordinary people wanted more say in the running of the country and were pressing for political reform.
Reform finally came in 1832 with ‘The Great Reform Act'. The Act granted seats in the House of Commons to large cities that had grown up during the Industrial Revolution, and increased the number of people who could vote to one in five of the population. More
In the last years of the Georgian era, railways were being built through the length and breadth of Britain.
These would soon bring the industrial age to all corners of our islands. By the end of the Georgian period, although new industries and technologies were changing everyday life, most of the population was still living in the pre-industrial age. This would soon change. More