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Life in Georgian Britain (1700-1837)

In 1700, as a new century dawned, few people in the British Isles felt optimistic about the future.
After Queen Anne’s Reign and Death, the crown duly passed to George of Hanover, thus began the Georgian
era. Since then, Georgian Britain grew in wealth and power economically and socially; trade, wars and voyages
of exploration. It was an age of high life and low life, an age that left an elegant and entertaining legacy.

An Age of Reason
It is named Georgian Britain because for most of that hundred years Britain was ruled by kings who were
named George. Georgian Britain was economically prosperous. William Blackstone described the British of his
time as “a polite and commercial people”, because education was highly valued. It was a time when life was
good for many people, a getting better for most.

In Safe Hands
Queen Anne’s Reign was marked by brilliant military success against France. But before her death, she failed to
produce a heir although being pregnant 17 times. Then, the Crown passed to her nearest Protestant relative,
George. Since then, a German dynasty came to reign in Britain. George I, George ll, and George lll.

Patronage and Principle

Political Activity in 18th-century Britain was intense and savage. The two ain political groupings, Whigs and
Tories, jostle each other for control of the source of political influence which is the right of make effective
appointments to profitable posts under the Crown. Those who could operate the system successfully held the
levers of powers, which allowed them to make decisions. In short, 18 th-century Britain was far from being a
democracy. Rather, it enjoyed a system of government. Which provided freedom and opportunity for

An Economic Explosion
The British Economy was transformed in 18th century, mainly because of the population growth. It began when
landowners are enriched by new sources of capital, which then allowed them to improve their farms. This
inflated demand for industrial produce which made possible a starling growth in national productivity.

Enterprise and Empire

The British Empire in the 18th century was based on sea-borne trade with many different countries such as
West Indies, Canada, China etc. Britain’s great rival in competition for world trade was France ; the victim was
Spain, an ailing power, which as a consequence caused several wars to happen.

Architecture and Fashion

18th Century Aristocrats had a passion for building. It started as Sir John Vanbrugh designed palaces of
Blenheim, Castle Howard for the Duke of Marlborough. To modern visitors, these houses seem lke museums,
but for first occupants they were family homes. Fashion in costume wa dominated by French influences.
Clothes for men had much of quality of uniform, hairstyle were ore or less elaborate for both sexes.

Nature and Growth of Towns

Natural elements of English countryside were creted by landowners and farmers. Rolling parks and streams
were designed to enhance the security of property and also to protect the Nature. Population of London grew
from 600000 to 950000 over the course of country. As a result of this population growth, terraces of houses
were set beside streets in order to meet their demands

Socialising, High Life and Low Life

Towns in 18th Century Britain were trading and meeting places. The houses of rich people were to be found at
rural places rather than in cities, and they spent a significant part of each year there when the weather was too
hot. As roads and carriages improved, more people came to visit the town either to attend theatre or concert
hall. The men also gathered to relax in the coffee house. However, it was a violent society, in which savage
crimes such as murder and rape were common, duelling and robbery was resort of the poor. Gambling and
alcohol was normal. In short, the rich are extremely rich, while the poor are extremely poor. In a sarcastic way,
Life in Georgian Britain can rarely have been dull!

By Enson Ng
By Enson Ng