Competition 2021

We are delighted to announce this year’s winners!

Huge thanks to all the students who took part in our 2021 short-story and collage ‘trading places’ competition. We are bowled over by the quality of the stories and collages!

The competition is called ‘Trading Places’ because we ask entrants to imagine any one of the many work situations described on this website. We had a wonderful response from students who recreated written and visual interpretations of the images, articles and stories from the digitised nineteenth-century magazines on this website.

The quality of the short-story entries exceeded our expectations – so much so that we awarded three third prize winners for the 12-15 year category, and two third prize winners for the 16-18 year age group.

The nine prize-winning stories and the three prize-winning collages are published on this website, the links can be found below. The winners have each been awarded vouchers to spend: 1st Prize £100; 2nd Prize £75; 3rd Prize £50.  

Short-Story Winners 12-15 Years Category

1st Prize

The winner in this age group is Madison Bouchta, whose story Thread the Cotton was inspired by Mrs Leach’s Fancy Work Basket magazine. It explores the restrictive work choices for women in the nineteenth century.

2nd Prize

The second prize goes to Britney Zhao with a story called In a Sea of Top Hats about a troupe of Chinese magicians performing in London at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, inspired by The Wizard magazine.

3rd Prize

We awarded three third prizes in this age category, reflecting the high quality of entries:

  • Sophie Orledge for her story The Hidden Brutality of Our ‘Progressing’ World which considers the ethics of child labour, inspired by the many work magazines featured on the BLT19 website.
  • Charlotte Rozier for her story Ruminations of Reality which explores the brutality of child labour. The story was inspired by a variety of magazines on this website.
  • James Taplin for It’s Hard to be a Confectioner inspired by The Baker and Confectioner periodical. His story explores the difficult life of a nineteenth-century confectioner.

Short-Story Winners 16-18 Years Category

1st Prize

The winner in this category is Emily Gorton whose story The Radnors explores the impact that the lack of work had on people, particularly women, during the nineteenth century, as well as during the Covid pandemic. It was inspired by the British Workwoman magazine.

2nd Prize

Holly Bullock is awarded second prize for The Utterly Unflappable Mrs Jones, a lawyer’s appointment of his wife as his clerk raises questions about women’s work and responsibilities in and out of the home. It was inspired by The Law Times and the British Workwoman.

3rd Prize

We awarded two third prizes in this age category, reflecting the high standard of entries:

  • Sophie Fernandes for her story A Working Woman’s Woes; A Silent Soliloquy which describes the perpetual hard work involved in a woman’s struggle with an eating disorder, particularly during the pandemic. It was inspired by a piece on ‘mental diseases’ in the British Workman, reflecting the lack of understanding of mental health conditions in the nineteenth century.
  • James Hurley for his story If God Should Permit this Fearful Mutiny which explores British colonialism in India through the eyes of British soldiers. The tale was inspired by an article in the British Workman magazine.

Collage Winners 12-15 Years Category

1st prize

The winner in this category is Hannah Pillemer for her collage inspired by the illusions created and described in The Wizard magazine.

2nd prize

Goes to Skanda Ravindra for his collage inspired by the variety of work depicted in the many magazines on this website.

Collage Winner 16-18 Years Category

1st prize

The winner in this category is Mary Demirova for her collage which is a front-page mock up of a British Workwoman magazine, depicting nineteenth-century working women from two different cultural backgrounds.


All other entrants receive a ‘certificate of achievement’ to say thank you for entering and to confirm their participation in the competition.

We are planning another short-story competition for 2022. If you have any ideas to share with us about the themes of our next competition please contact us at

Professor Andrew King, University of Greenwich 

Dr Deborah Canavan, Research Fellow, BLT19 University of Greenwich