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Famous Victorians

Published on 13/04/22

As part of our topic, Born Identity, we were studying British History. We looked at Primary and Secondary Sources and what these can tell us about the past. We focused on the Victorian period and chose one famous Victorian to research. Here is a sample of our work.


By Shawn

Darwin’s early life

Born in Shrewsbury England, 12th February 1809, Charles hated school. When Darwin was 9 years old, he went to the Shrewsbury School for boys. He found Greek and Latin especially hard compared to the other subjects. However, he enjoyed the spectacular world of science. Often, throughout the course of the subject, Science, he will ask many questions.


Why is Charles famous?

Charles Darwin is famous for his amazing discovery which transformed the way we think about evolution. On 1832, he was invited on a journey around the world on the great Beagle. He and the men on then ship had to fight through the sharp, icy winds and swallow filthy rats for lunch. In the voyage, he found countless types of species that evolved because of their environments and also shockingly found the fact that we, humans, evolved from monkeys!


Darwin’s theory 

Darwin said that at the beginning of a specie there will be many types. However, some would die because of how well they adapt to the environment, this is called ‘natural selection’. The environment keeps changing so either you evolve or you die.


Charles's end

On the 10th of April 1882, Charles tragically dies after a heart attack and seizures. He lay calmly in his grave in Westminster Abbey. But he isn’t forgotten…and never will…


How he affects our lives today

If Charle’s theory was never thought of we will never innovate in evolution of humans and animals like finches which he investigated in Africa. 

Charles Darwin

Basic facts about Darwin

Darwin was born on the 12th of February 1809, he was in western England in Shrewsbury. He died on the 19th of April 1882 at the age of 73 in Kent. His wife was called Emma Wedgwood and they had 10 children.

Early life

Darwin was the 5th of 6 children. When Darwin was 8 years old he had a taste of the nature of collecting. In Darwin's second year of university, he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural-history group featuring lively debates in which radical democratic students with materialistic views challenged orthodox religious concepts of science. Darwin studied in London.

Darwin's work

Continuing his research in London, Darwin's wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population, and on 28th September 1838, he noted its assertion that human "population, when unchecked goes on doubling itself every 25 years, or increases in a geometrical ratio", a population soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe.

Darwin's theories

One of Darwin's theories was the theory of evolution, this was the theory of birds beaks changing. Another one was the population increased as we adapted to our environment because it is easier to live.

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by Ellie C 

Florence Nightingale

By Ellie M



Florence was born on the 12th of May 1820 in Florence in Italy. Her parents were very lazy at naming and called her after were she was born. Also Florence had a sister called Parthenope.

Florence and Parthenope couldn’t go to school, but luckily their father homeschooled them.




From a young age Florence wanted to be a nurse, but her parents didn’t approve of it because at that time nurses were uneducated poor people who drunk alcohol. Florence trained to be a nurse secretly. Finally her parents let her be a nurse and went to a nursing school in Germany for 3 months.


Crimean war

In the Crimean war Florence went to help the  soldiers. On the boat journey she was seasick but eventually she got to the hospital. At the hospital the conditions were terrible, the loos were blocked and there was poo and wee all over the floor, there were rats and fleas everywhere and the soldiers slept on the floor. There were already doctors in the hospital and they were not very welcoming to Florence and her team of 38 nurses. They did not let them use the nursing tools until determined Florence knocked down the cupboard door with a hammer. After Florence and her nurses had been at the hospital the conditions became a lot better. The soldiers slept on beds, the rats and fleas had been kicked out and the loos were unblocked.  Florence worked for 20 hours everyday because when the nurses went to bed she walked round, with her lantern, the four miles of wounded soldiers and earned her nickname ‘lady of the lamp’.  

After war

After the war Florence suffered from Crimean flu. In the time she had it she wrote many books the most famous one was called ‘Notes on Nursing’ at the top is a quote from one Florence’s books. Finally Florence set up a nursing school in London and spent the rest of her life teaching. She was the first woman to get the Royal Red Cross, she was awarded it in 1904. Sadly Florence died on the 13th of August 1910 at the age of 90.


Isambard Kingdom Brunel

By Yibo


1806 - 1859

A celebratory £2 coin (left) and a picture of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (right)

Who was Isambard Kingdom Brunel?

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was an English civil engineer who is dubbed one of history’s best civil engineers and one of the key figures of the industrial revolution. People say that he changed British infrastructure with his revolutionary ideas. Brunel built the Great Western Railway (GWR), the first propeller powered transatlantic steamships and a myriad of bridges and tunnels.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s inventions

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Rotherhithe tunnel / Thames tunnel & The Great Western Railway.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is notably Brunel’s most famous invention, in 1830, he designed a 700 feet bridge to span across the Avon River. The bridge included two strong towers that soared 245 feet above the river. The revolutionary tension bridge cables used to support the road. These allowed the bridge to use drastically less material and so became much cheaper to construct. Despite the lower cost of production, the project had many funding problems. It was completed after Brunel's death in 1864. The bridge is still in use today with over 4 million vehicles passing over it every year.

Thames tunnel / Rotherhithe Tunnel

By the age of 20, Isambard had begun working with his father on the revolutionary tunnel between Rotherhithe and Wapping. This 1300 foot tunnel used a groundbreaking design developed by the pair. Using this system, they were able to protect workers from the dangers of tunnel collapse as they buried under 75 feet under the river. The Thames tunnel is still in use today.

The Great Western Railway

In 1833, Brunel was appointed as chief engineer of the Great Western Railway. This ambitious project aimed to link London to Bristol by railway. Brunel spent days researching and surveying the geography of the 200 km route. He chose the straight approach through Reading and Swindon, which at the time were only small villages. These later became major places in the railway industry, helped by the construction of this railway.