Industrial Victoria

Part of: Amica at Somerset House - Spring

Course description

Within recent memory Victoria was a major industrial city, boasting busy railways, docks and factories. Illustrations promoting the city featured smokestacks ringing the harbour, each sending a black plume into the sky. Today we might grumble about the noise and pollution they caused, but in the 1800s and early 1900s Victorians basked in the prosperity they hoped would result from such enterprises. Who were the captains of industry and what did they produce? Everything seemed to be manufactured here: lumber, shingles, textiles, rope, boots, carriages, iron products, coal gas, beer, wine, vinegar, paint, cigars and opium. What led to the growth of these firms and what caused their decline and disappearance? To answer these questions, historian John Adams has gathered pictures showing lost industries, the people who owned them and the workers who toiled for them. He will use them to illustrate his talk about this fascinating but often overlooked part of our history.

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