From Georgian to Victorian
Nicholas Dixon asks whether there was a radical transition between the two eras.
St Hugh’s College, Oxford and History Review
The Principal and Fellows of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, in association with History Review, offer the Prize, worth up to £500, for the best historical essay submitted by a schoolboy or girl who, at the closing date, has been in the Sixth Form of any school or college for not more than two years.
This year there were 108 entries. The overall standard was good, and the competition at the upper end was severe. Exceptionally, the prize was awarded to a candidate who is still in the Lower Sixth: Nicholas Dixon of Chigwell School. A version of his essay, entitled ‘From Georgian to Victorian: A Radical Transition?’, is published below.
Two further awards were made: to Olivia Elder, of Oxford High School, for an essay on the dying days of the Protectorate in England; and to Robert Wilson, of the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, for an essay on the sack of Rome by Alaric the Goth.
The transition between what are commonly termed the Georgian and Victorian eras is one of the great turning points of British history. The dividing line is often considered to be either 1830 (the death of George IV) or 1837 (the accession of Queen Victoria), but there is no real consensus, for alterations to an entire mindset were beyond the mere dates of a monarch’s reign. I intend to assess the cultural, intellectual and religious factors which represented what can be considered a significant change, and then to evaluate the wider consequences of the transition. Less emphasis will be placed on political, social or economic factors.