History Lessons At Fyling Hall

A Touch of Georgian Elegance!

In the last half term of the school year, year 8 students took a deep-dive into British history and conducted project work on the Georgians. We take a look at what they learned. You may even discover some things you were unaware of here!

The Georgian era is perhaps one of the least well-known of the British historical eras, yet it was perhaps the most important period in British History. It witnessed some of the most significant cultural, political, social, technological and artistic developments of any age.

It was during the Georgian period that significant colonial expansion occurred, with the rapid growth in power and influence of the East India Company and the laying of the foundations of the British Empire as it was to develop in Queen Victoria’s reign.

Agricultural and Industrial Changes

This was also the era of the agricultural and industrial revolutions, which were to make Britain the most powerful and prosperous nation for much of the nineteenth century, and which saw the emergence of Britain as ‘the workshop of the world’. It is generally assumed that railways were a Victorian invention, but this is inaccurate! Railways were a Georgian invention, beginning in the collieries with the likes of Richard Trevithick and George and Robert Stephenson, culminating in the opening of the Stockton and Darlington and Liverpool and Manchester railways in 1825 and 1830.

Political Changes

The Georgian era also witnessed important political changes, with the gradual shifting of power from the monarch to Parliament and the accession of two German kings who hardly spoke any English and preferred to live in their homeland of Hanover!

In the arts, architecture, interior design and furniture, the Georgian age is generally regarded as marking the pinnacle of artistic excellence exemplified in the works Grinling Gibbons, Robert Adam, and Thomas Chippendale. Large fortunes were made, perhaps best expressed in the portraits and paintings of superb Georgian artists such as Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Romney, Constable and Turner.

Fashions and The Exotic

The Georgian age was also an era of excesses in fashion and a love for the exotic! As part of our in-depth study of the Georgians, Year 8 pupils have examined how the demand for fashionable new fabrics and exotic beverages such as tea, coffee and chocolate, brought expansion in commercial activity and industrial production. New fabrics such as cotton and muslin, products of increased trade links and the industrial revolution, brought about a further revolution in ladies and gentlemen’s fashions; but at the same time changes in fashion served to distinguish the wealthy and aristocratic from the humbler labouring classes, and the respectable gentry from those concerned with trade.

More attention is now being paid to the Georgians and the achievements of the Georgian age, as the recently opened ‘Style and Society Dressing the Georgians’ exhibition in London, and the series of wonderful exhibitions undertaken by the former director of Fairfax house and her team in York, bear witness.

History at Fyling Hall is taught in year 7 – 9 and is available at GSCE and A-Level.