This was a time of rapid growth in Britain’s wealth, and the expansion of its empire in Africa and Asia. New inventions like steam ships, railways, telegraphs and photography appeared, which made the world feel a smaller place. There were no major wars in Europe until the Crimean War in 1853.
At home, many people enjoyed increased leisure and prosperity, though many of the working class worked long hours and lived in very poor homes. Many people moved away from the countryside and into cities.
The Kent-based author Charles Dickens wrote many books about what life was like in these times, for example Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist.