Nineteenth-Century Business, Labour, & Trade Periodicals

The BLT19 Project is concerned to help us understand the history of how we think of “work” – what it is, what values we associate with it (and what we don’t), and where our ideas about come from.

Work comprises a central preoccupation of the news media today: employment figures, gender, class and ethnic inequalities, job losses and job creation are constant features. In the fictions of films and television, the intersection of work and private life often forms the core of the drama, from Casuality to Star Trek.  Under the guise of “employability,” work is a core preoccupation of universities and schools. There is a great deal of academic research on work in sociology and business studies, as well as in history, but there has been almost none on how conceptions of work and its practices were formulated and disseminated through the Victorian periodical press.

While this site is open to everyone, we are particularly concerned to address teachers, those interested in digitisation and the gallery-going public.

The site therefore encourages teachers to use digitised historical periodicals in the classroom. The website provides lesson plans, digitised publications, case studies, and contextual materials suitable for secondary and undergraduate students.

The periodicals digitised by the BLT19 Project contain a variety of content well-suited to the classroom both in terms of subject matter and length: nonfiction articles, short stories, serial fiction, poetry, advertising, and illustrations. We identify a number of possible themes to use either as stand-alone lessons or in conjunction with existing literature, history or media-studies modules.

We have put on several exhibitions mobilising materials from the website both on their own and in dialogue with specially commissioned art works. Records of these exhibitions are also to be found on this website.

British Workman 1.15 (1856): 60.