Political Timeline

1832 Reform Act 

The reform act took over a year to become finalized and is considered one of the factors that almost led Britain into a revolution. The 1832 Reform Act allowed people who did not own property in the form of land to participate in franchises.

1834 Poor Law Amendment Act

The Poor Law Amendment Act came two years after the first Reform Act. This law was created to reduce the rates of poor people, however, it had an adverse affect on those who were already poor. Poor people were treated as criminals and sent to “poor law bastilles” where they would work in government created workhouses under terrible conditions (Bloy, Marjie. 2014).

1844 The Companies Act

This act required all companies to be officially registered businesses in order to prevent illegitimate companies from being established.

1848 Public Health Act 

This act allowed populations to organize a Public Health Board if more than ten percent of the population wanted one.

1850 Factory Act 

The Factory Act referred to textile factories and required that women and children between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, only work in factories between 6am and 6pm or 7am and 7pm. They were allowed only to work 10 1/2 hours a day, raised from the previous 10 hours a day.

1859 Molestation of Workmen Act 

This act allowed for peaceful picketing in the event of  a strike. However, if one were to attempt in any form; direct or indirect, to persuade others to join the strike, they would be considered to be molesting the workers and guilty of obstruction.

1866 Sanitary Act

This act is based on the 1848 Public Health Act. Legislators found the  compulsory aspect of the previous act to be insufficient for improving conditions. The Sanitary Act made required the role of Sanitary Inspectors to be created, the use of basements as living areas to be limited, health hazards to be removed, sewer systems to be improved and united, street cleaning as well as a strict definition of “overcrowding” in dwellings.

1867 The Second Reform Act

This act is a continuation of the first reform act to include most urban working men.

1871 University Test Act

This act opened universities such as Oxford to all with academic abilities, regardless of religion.

1872 Ballot Act 

This act promoted the use of secret ballots in elections in order to prevent corruption and make voters less likely to succumb to bribes.

1882 The Married Women’s Property Act

Women are now allowed to be separate owners and administrators of their own property even after getting married.

1884 Third Reform Act

A continuation of the first and second, expanding to include most men.

1891 The Fee Grant Act 

Elementary education is free for all.

1897 Workman’s Compensation Act 

For all trades considered dangerous, employers are to compensate workers who are injured on the job, or in the case of death, compensation will go to the dependents of the worker.


Bloy, Marjie, (2014). Victorian Legislation: A Timeline. The Victorian Web; Economics. Web. Dec. 1, 2014. http://victorianweb.org/history/legistl.html

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