Impact Case Study Data REF 2021

The following comprises anonymised data relative to the Creative Writing competition BLT19 ran in 2020 (“Trading Places“) .

The data on this page comprise four main components:

  1. explanations of (or, reflective commentaries on) the stories by the entrants themselves
  2. responses to what entrants learned from the activity of entering the competition
  3. aggregated demographic data
  4. discussion and visualisation of the most frequent words in the raw submitted short stories treated as an undifferentiated aggregate

The original data which allowed individual items to be linked to specific individual entrants was destroyed in December 2020 in accordance with data protection advice and the published rules of the competition. In accordance with the competition agreement, the raw submitted stories are not published and have been destroyed along with the personal data. Again in accordance with the competition agreement, only the 6 winning stories were published (see here) after a) having obtained explicit agreement with the entrant or the entrant’s parent/ guardian and b) having gone through an editorial conversation between Andrew King and the entrant or the entrant’s parent / guardian.

There were 50 entries, but one was almost empty and so discounted. Percentages below are rounded up or down to the nearest full integer.

1. The following comprises raw anonymised responses to the question: “Explain why you decided to write the story as you did.” Data which could be used to identify the entrant has been omitted. This includes 2 cases where entrants submitted their entries via a file sharing site: when the web address was deleted the information was lost. Hence the following comprises 47 responses when there were 49 valid entries.

I wanted to write a murder mystery story set on a nineteenth century building site. 
I was asked to write a creative story, so chose to use my creativity on a short story regarding a bakery. I have tried to express how bakeries have developed over the years with ingredients that have changed so I could create excellent cakes and bread for my customers. This also, hilights how the customer experience is important to ensure that repeat business continues. This has ensured that we have maintained a successful business for many years. 
I wrote this story to show and display how difficult and challenging times where back in the Victorian period. Especially large families from old to young. I thought this would seem like a nice way to get people from all ages reading to help understand all about this time in history.
I got inspired by the first volume of British Workman. On the front page, there is an article called ‘“OUR OWN COTTAGE”’. I decided to write a story like this as it tells you to be kind and generous.  
My inspiration for this story:    Looking at the list of magazines on the BLT19 website, the ‘Meat Trades Journal’ section appealed to me because my great grand-father was a butcher.   Reading the journals, many of the butchers mentioned appeared to be family businesses. This made me wonder what sort of butcher I would have made if that tradition of passing the business down had continued (particularly as I am not very good with blood!).   I then researched what Victorian butchers did and looked at some photographs, mostly of butchers standing outside their shops which were covered in dead animals!  It was also interesting to read how meat was an important part of the Victorian’s diet, the different types of meat Victorians ate and the gap between the rich and the poor.   I wondered if I would have been happy to be told that I was to be butcher.      My Grandad used to go and hunt wild rabbits with his Dad which is what made me think to mention these in the story.    167 words  
‘The British Workwoman’ inspired me because when I learnt about women in the Victorian era, I didn’t really earn about working and middle-class women, but only about rich ladies.    I found it inspiring that women in the Victorian era managed to have jobs and handle families even with all the discrimination Victorian men sent their way.    When I read chapter 1 of ‘The hen’s duckling’, page 339, I instantly thought, ‘music.’    I love music and when they start talking about the violin, I started thinking about how little I hear about female Victorian violinists.    Then, the fact that the rich lady offers to fund the poorer woman made me wonder if there was a way to avoid my characters having to pay to learn the violin, because they’re middle-class people and don’t really have the money to spare.    After some thought, I decided that if Penelope’s father is the violinist, then it would make sense that the theatre would accept him because he is a man, emphasising the fact they turned her down because she is a woman.    After that the story came together and I really enjoyed the experience of writing in a different era.
I chose to write a story based on the Naval magazine 203, which talks about a training day where Naval Trainees were staging a practice attack on Waymart. Marched on Weymouth for 6 hours and no men faltered. That is why I focused on the naval trainee in my story having hurdles to overcome, but he kept on fighting. Bullied by his ship mates because of his size and the fact that his dad is dead.      
I decided to write my story about becoming a lawyer due to my interest in law. I was inspired by looking at the Law Times, it was interesting to look at the newspapers, the style of writing and the images. It was a good experience to find out what it would be like being a lawyer in the Victorian era and how somebody could become one. After looking at the articles and taking in my interest in law I decided to find out more about how someone could become a lawyer in Victorian England and decided to base my main character on this.      There is currently no sequel story planned for a writing contest but there may be in the future. 
I used the image of the girl in the snow because I thought it would be interesting. She looked very sad and it shows what happens when you don’t have work.
I found the butchers more interesting and lots to uncover from the butchers periodical because I never see me or my family in what we do at school.
The business By Olivia Corley really intrigued me i know that my one is different but when reading her one the first words really got my mind going and thinking of a story and the first thing that came into my mind was a girl who didn’t want to be a gang leader but was forced by her father then my mind decided to make the story go deeper into her life and early years of childhood.    
My friend mainly helped me with what to write but the ideas are all mine. I wanted to imagine what it would be like to be like to have a job. The stories show you need a lot of commitment and I wanted to do that too.
I was inspired to write this story after reading Building World. In Victorian times, the construction of intricate and elaborate buildings required builders, carpenters, joiners, etc. Many of these workers were unable to have a good living themselves even thought they spent their whole day working on large and elaborate houses. Even though conditions for workers have improved in the UK, some other countries’ workers live in the same or similar conditions. One example is Qatar, which has come under scrutiny for its exploitation of migrant workers.
I chose to write my story about butcher’s life because ether seemed to be a lot to write about, and it is had a lot of context to refer back to (meat trades journal, etc…) Also, I looked at all of the jobs that were available and I instantly chose this one because it shows where our food comes from. I didn’t know about animals coming from Australia and Aerica!
The other pieces of writing inspired me to write this. Especially the Meat Trades Journal because my mother runs a corner shop and i never seen anything like it before. I asked my mother and she said she remembers her dad getting magazines liek this. She says she reads online now and that got me thinking about how you have to keep up to date
I was inspired to write this story because of what I had learned from BLT19 and the Law Times. I had learned about law and order in the 1900s and it inspired me to write a law story of my own. I very much enjoyed writing this story, and I learned a lot about Law, both in the 21st and 20th centuries. It was a brilliant opportunity to expand my knowledge, learn more about Law as a whole, and enter a competition to test my skills!
The Victorian working-class uncomplainingly accepted their poor conditions of life and work. Death always loomed. My story was inspired by two articles in The British Workman Vol 1 No 1 (1855). The first article ‘Our own cottage’ was a patronising story of a bricklayer who found the time and money to drink, whilst complaining that he had a hard life. His master encouraged him instead to save his money rather than drink alcohol, so after many years he could afford a cottage of his own. In reality, the only way some people could tolerate their bad living and working conditions was by drinking alcohol. Many working-class people could not afford to adequately feed or clothe their families let alone live long enough to save enough money to buy their own home. The second article, ‘The Two Weavers’ starts, “Away with discontent for it is mean cowardly and ungrateful.” The working class were encouraged to put up with their life the way it was, which suited the people that profited from their misery. I show that nobody is happy really. I decided to write a story about a chimney sweep as sweeps had some of the worst working conditions but there was nothing they could do about it.
I was inspired by issues of the magazine “The British Workman” which talked about the idea of “dignity through labour” and the idea that hard work is thought of almost like a religious duty.  Also there was an article in this magazine on insurance for workers in the event of death, accident and injury.  This reminded me of a story I had heard of a miller dying by falling into the grain when we visited the Tide Mill near to where I live.  I therefore had the idea to write about a Miller, inspired by my visit to the Tide Mill in Woodbridge and also inspired by “The British Workman” magazine and the idea that although the miller’s work is hard and dangerous, he sees his work as a valuable and important duty and part of who he is.
I was inspired by, from a collection of articles, the treatment of workers and how they must have felt. I then felt moved to write about a worker that is experiencing such emotions and happenings, to do them justice almost. Many articles in history give information about the happenings in the factories, but not the happenings inside the minds of those in the factories, and about what goes on in their lives.   I was also moved to write about the difference and discrimination between the classes, as many rich and well off people look down upon those that are not so fortunate, and consider them inferior. I was inspired by the articles to write about this as there were more sophisticated articles for jobs that were for those higher up, and less sophisticated ones for those that have less of a status in their job.
What inspired me: The magazine The Navy And Army Illustrated on the website inspired me because I have always sympathised with people who had gone to join the Army unknowing of the conditions, and ultimately felt betrayed. When looking at the magazines, I thought of the many children who would read them and want to join the Army, just to find it worse than expected. So I wanted to base my story around that feeling of betrayal as well as tying it into the feeling those magazines would have given a young boy.      
My short story was inspired by the short story on the BLT 19 website called ‘The Workwoman’ by Alexander Rose. This is because the story is about a woman who starts to defy expectations of society when so many things are seen as mandatory. This gave me the idea for the character Tom, who decides that he deserved a better life than the one he was born with.
This story is influenced the issue of building world published on March the 27th 1897. The character in my story is gifted the issue by his children and he uses it to his advantage in his career as a builder. I portray the day to day life of a Victorian builder and show how important it is to be up todate with information.
Two things in particular inspired me. The first was the periodicals. These really helped to deepen my understanding of what working life was like in the Victorian era as I previously had very little knowledge of this topic. It also helped me to build an idea of what sort of topic I would like to use in my story. The second thing that inspired me was the stories from past years. This really helped me to understand what sort of stories were expected. They also helped give me some inspiration on where to get started, as I was previously slightly unsure.    The main thing that inspired my story line was the topic of inequality amongst women.  This is something that I have always been very passionate about and it was amazing to put my feelings into words. I used the storyline of two women with similar dreams, one who lived in Victorian times and one who lived in the 21st century.  By comparing their lives I could highlight how much things have changed.
  I was mainly inspired by the Meat Trades Journal, where I found the story of Link, the butcher who was fined for selling bad meat. I looked at British Workwoman to explore conditions for female workers in later 19th century. To this, I added what I had already learnt about this period of history from the Crime and Punishment section of my history GCSE.  I got some details from a Five Women/ Jack the Ripper walk I went on recently.  I have some understanding of Spitalfields Market from a London project I did in primary school. I sourced photographs and lithographs to see how it would have looked in its glory days. To help to make my story more authentic, I found some good insults from the time online.   I wrote the story in this style to capture internal thoughts and the complications of human personality. I wanted to describe the unfair conditions for many working class people. But work is not the whole of someone’s life, though it plays an important role. I also wanted to give an insight into how news and gossip circulates in jobs. Furthermore, I aimed to show that not everyone knows how to change their situation.       
Some of my inspiration from BLT19.co.uk to write the story about a midwife in the Industrial Revolution came from the image for the story of ‘The Rich Merchant and The Poor Beggar Woman’. It looked to me like the Merchant woman was helping the Beggar woman with her baby and I decided a midwife would be in place of the Merchant woman and the Poor Beggar Woman would be the ladies to which she tended in the story. ‘The Secret of Brightness’ inspired the houses which the midwife Sarah visits. Sarah works away from home but in other people’s homes as I noticed the large and unique role home played in a ladies life from a number of stories in the British Workwoman. The Industrial Revolution has interested me since I learnt about it in school and I very much enjoyed writing about that period in time.    Word count: 145
On the BLT19 page, my short story was inspired by the ‘Stationary Trade Review’ section. I saw a source of a little boy who had written in a newspaper. It had resulted in me wondering what sort of life that boy would have lived. I wanted to add some realistic aspects to the story and so I attempted to use vocabulary the man would have been likely to use. I thought about what sort of inspirations the man at that time would be inspired by, what his inspirations would be. I discovered from the Stationary Trade Review what sort of sections would have been on a newspaper at that time, which led me to Florence’s current job writing the book reviews. I also wanted to write the story as though Florence is writing it for publication, documenting his experiences, for many readers.
The periodicals about the british workman inspired me to write my story. Reading about people’s experiences showed me how labour-intense the victorian men were in that era. It made me question how young the boys would start working from, which was when I decided to write from a young boys point of view. I discovered, after further research, that mining was an incredibly popular job for a young boy of that era and was soon indulged in the topic once reading the horror stories these boys would live through. I’m a fan of the book ‘The catcher in the rye’, which had a very casual and laid back narrative. I wanted to take this on in my writing, trying to make it informal and used victorian slang to reflect the status of the boy and his age. You gradually get to know the character throughout the story and, hopefully, the reader starts to take liking to the boy. The ending leaves the reader to speculate, even though they probably already know what has happened. The ending is a reflection on how it was for thousands of workers in the victorian era and how, even after dedicated manual work, they cannot escape the inevitable. 
After looking on the website, I decided that I wanted to mainly base my short story on ‘the British workwoman’. After looking into the single issues given, I decided to base my short story around No.232. This one gave me a lot of description which meant I would be able to easily interpret it in any way.  The whole issue No.232 is based around the idea of roses and even the photo given is of a Victorian era woman picking roses and putting them in her basket. I made the theme of roses appear quite a few times in the story and even included a small extract of the writing at the beginning.  I wanted the story to be true to the era yet still include empowering female characters. I gave the main characters realistic female jobs for the time period whilst still giving them inspiring dreams and aspirations.  The text also mentioned a woman being a tailor and making a blue dress and a waistcoat and so I made my main character have a job is making clothes and mentioned the clothes listed in the text.  I wrote the story from the pov of Rowena, yet the story begins with the description of adeline and ends being about how she has gone missing, letting you step in the ‘main characters’ shoes.  Not wanting to leave my story on a boring note, I ended the writing with a suspenseful and empowering cliff hanger.  I hope you enjoy what it.  
My story is set during the Crimean War, at the Battle of Balaclava. It outlines the failed military action; The Charge of the Light Brigade. I was inspired by an excerpt of a short story in ‘ The Navy and Army Illustrated’ which highlighted the intensity of war from the perspective of a common soldier. My story aims to capture the emotions men experience before facing an uncertain battle, and how they cope with the pressure.   I have written the story with little dialogue so as to predominantly focus on the character’s feelings. Since the charge of the Light Brigade was an unsuccessful battle for the Allies, I felt it was a powerful writing point for a short story.
   My story is based in the image in The British work woman vol no.254. In my chosen image there is a woman wear a long Woden dress and a scarf on her neck .she don’t have shoes to wear .she tied her hair as a plait. She looks like a housewife. There is three children,two little boys and a girl. The two little boys doesn’t have clothes to wear. The girl wear a jacket. They are looking at each other. They’re family lives in a hole. It’s cold and dark.There is no sunshine .It is really hard life.              The reason why I decided to write this story is because I think they are in a poor life. It’s only a woman to take care three children. I am curious about why the children doesn’t have father with them. It might be the father go for work in a faraway places . The look woman’s face in the images inspired  my writing idea for woman during that time has the main responsibilities to her children and many housework .        
My story is based on the image in volume 235 page 30 of The British Workwoman. In my chosen image there is two women walking along a forest path. One of these women is elderly she looks to be about sixty years old and looks melancholy while the young lady who looks to be in her twenties looks interested in what the elderly lady has to say. These women both are dressed in very plain clothes that looks to be made out of wool but the elderly lady looks haggard compared to the young lady, she is wearing a big shawl that looks like it has been worn for many years and has been loved by the elderly lady while the young lady is wearing a smaller better kept shale and a pair of brown leather gloves I imagine. The elderly lady walks with a wooden stick that looks to be just taken from the floor at that moment because I imagine she doesn’t have the finances to get a proper walking cane.  The area these women are strolling through seems to be very isolated bar a bungalow in the background but the nearest village it seems is very far back in the background. The day seems to be a cool autumn day as the trees look almost bare. I imagine brown, red and orange leaves scattered along the path they take to this elderly woman’s home. The young lady is holding a book in her hands whilst helping the elderly woman along I imagine the young lady to be an avid reader and loves stories of the past and the woman she is walking home is recounting tales from when she was young to the young lady.  The reason I decided to write this story is because the elderly lady looks upset and lonely and this young lady is speaking with her which brings the smallest bit of relief and joy to this woman’s face. This inspired me to write the story of an elderly women that no one in town knows about other than the fact she goes to the market every so often and has never been seen talking to someone, but one day the young lady sees the older woman struggling to walk home so she decides to help the elderly woman out. The small smile and interest on the young lady’s face encouraged me to write about the elderly lady telling her lives tale.  The overall theme of my story is hope and appreciation of out surroundings. I imagine the older woman clothes to be all dark colours, a majority of them black because she is a widow and as she tells the young lady her tale, she offers advice to always look for the good and life and always hope for the best whilst appreciating what you gave before its gone. My story will be an uplifting story and I was given this idea because I imagine the sky to be a bright baby blue and the sun shining brightly down on them with sparse clouds in the sky to help depict the joy speaking to the young lady brings the elder woman.    
IN THE MEAT TRADES JOURNAL THERE WERE 9 DIFFERENT COMPANIES WHO THOUGHT THAT THEY HAD GOOD WAYS OF SELLING THINGS. I CHOSE TO WRITE ABOUT THE MEAT TRADES BECAUSE I WANTED TO TELL A STORY TO PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT THE COW GOES THROUGH FOR US SO WE CAN EAT IT. 
The website inspired me about how badly people where treated in the victorians ages and hope that it will never happen again. It’s a lesson for us. I wrote my story as I did because I’m reading a book about murder and I wanted to write a story about murder. It was really interesting.
I decided to choose to write my story about a young lad who is on his first ever journey to the meat  market as reading the meat merchants journal, it seemed to be an exciting and informative place to  be. Also, the different ways they kept the meat fresh and sold all kinds of meat as well as intriguing  me to research about how they kept the meat fresh upon arrival to England.    Written by Cierran Biles of Royal Greenwich Trust School. (Form 8T). aged 12
BLT19.co.uk inspired me with the magazines with the different crime sin the Victorian era. I was surprised that even magazines about work are full of crime stories. I decided to write my story the way I did because I’m really interested in crime/murder investigations so I based my story in modern time of a mother keeping a secret from her son.
The picture “Cheer Up, My Lad!” “British Workman” 33 (Sept 1857): 132″ inspired me. There was a child who was injured by a printing machine. he was very hurt, so i decided to make my story about someone who was injured but then gets a chance meeting with the queen and eventually persuades her to sign the factory act of 1833.
The magazine on lawyers inspired me to write this as I want to be a lawyer when i grow up and it was interesting to find out about what being a lawyer was like in the past and i was able to even get a deeper understanding about what it was like to be lawyer from reading it.
BLT has inspired me as it made me realise we don’t know how much our parents works for us as we take many things for granted. We don’t know how much work people work as they always try to hide it by showing their kind side. I could see that in the British Workwoman and the British Workman. They always said to be kind.
BLT has inspired me so much. I have felt that this competition has changed my writing for the better. Before I mostly made stories, which were in this era, but now I feel more open to the choice of choosing a range of times. I also you to write complex sentences, but now I feel like it can always be a good story if you put enough passion into it. When I write it makes me feel happy as I am always trying to put my best in anything I write as I feel what you write represents you. It makes me feel happy and when I want to do something creative, writing is on the list. It clears and refreshes your mind. Writing is what makes your imagination comes true, no matter how weird or magical it is. Dragons will come alive, princess running to prince’s, dinosaurs are no longer extinct. Anything is possible! 
The articles collected for the BLT19 project provided so many engaging stories, materials, articles and images, all with their own hidden tales to tell. The one that caught my attention was a picture from The British Workwoman No.237, ‘One Moonlight Night – A Story of Great Peril.’ The story was intriguing alone, but what peaked my interest was the figure, resembling a girl, behind the fisherman and two boys, who had no mention in the text. Was she being ignored? Was she also trying to listen in, as an aspiring sailor? I developed this theory into a discussion of gender stereotypes within fields of work (partly inspired by the topic of ‘People’ and the teaching material ‘Women in the Nineteenth Century’); and at the end, compared it to the present day. We haven’t developed as much from Victorian times as we may think.  Secondly, after inspecting and researching further into the illustration, I noticed that it was based in Whitstable, somewhere I’d gone on holiday to a few months before; it’s fascinating knowing that a Victorian girl, similar to myself, was in my shoes back then, fictional or not!    Word count: 171
“This short story was inspired by No.252 page 95 of The British Workman . It was based on the story ‘Nothing to live for’ with changes such as giving the nanny a villainous persona and creating flashbacks to give my story a storytelling atmosphere.
I remember those two articles, page 372, issue no. 92 of The British Workman.     The first one was titled: “Only five minutes to live”. It was telling about a young man, a murderer, who has just been arrested. He has got only five minutes to live, and he tells his story with such emotion, that his voice keeps echoing long after he was executed. It is not what he says, but the context, that caught my attention.     The second article was very short: only a few lines. It was telling about the right use of talents, which is far more important than the talent itself.     I thought: “talking well, being able to convince, is a talent. How could it be used in a dystopian world?” Indeed, all periods of history have their defaults, but I wanted to write about the importance of words in a future where words have been forbidden.     In Victorian times, the majority of the population was poor and uneducated, and I imagined a world were reading is forbidden, because of the ideas that can grow in people’s minds. In a way, the characters of my story are not so different from poor people in Victorian times. 
I read many of the articles compiled on the website but 235 from women in the workplace inspired me particularly. I liked the way that although times had changed when she was telling her story it was still relevant. I tried to mirror this in my story as it too is read through the eyes of a woman looking back on her life. The cover showed a connection between generations, maybe the person to which she was telling her story, but it also could have been a connection between her and her younger self. I also took inspiration from the gallery where you could see in much more detail the circumstances of which inequality spread. As a girl myself I found these journeys captured in the magazines enlightening no matter and I hope my story portrays that. I tried to focus on, not only the work, but the context of which woman back push needed to work to survive. My story focuses on how far a young woman would go to feed her child as I wanted depth and consequence. So that people could see the pain and the desperation, how far she would go and how far she needed too because of her gender.
Through the inspiration of the drawing ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ I chose to portray an emphasised version of a Victorian woman’s internal monologue whilst in an oppressive and twisted relationship with her husband and God. The ‘good Christian’ woman believes that the purpose of her existence is to please both men in her life, and create for herself a worthy enough life in order to earn herself a place in heaven. We see that she forgets her own name and identity, through her devotion to ‘Him’, who alludes to God but is also referring to her husband as she believed that both are on the same supernatural and divine level. Then, we learn that the reason for her overwhelming need to please and satisfy is because she feels as though she is failing on her ultimate destiny as she cannot have a child and become a mother. Due to her unhealthy and self-imposed abusive relationship with God and ‘Mr Baker’, the woman sacrifices her whole life to repent and repay her sin to God and her husband, as she believes she is letting both men down, and still craves and needs a place in heaven, as that is her final destination and resting place. Finally, I have used long, complex and confusing at times syntax to show her limited literacy, as well as link to the Dickensian literary form.    230 words.
From the website, the “Meat Trades Journal” and “British Workman” were two magazines that interested me, I wanted to know more about how the average person would live, and what they thought they could achieve. In the British Workman, the section titled “Our own cottage” really inspired the base of my story, since it has the idea of being able to achieve something, in that example it was a cottage. But despite magazines advertising that it’s possible, I wanted to show that not everyone can truly achieve that, not all families can have all children being successful, especially in parts of Britain where poverty was highest. The “Meat Trades Journal” was a very good read also, it tells you about how manufacturing developed, and the idea of disease inspired me to include that in my story. The idea of cholera killing people is an underlying theme within my story, as I include hints of water and surroundings being vile. Legacy also has the idea that home cannot always be the best place to be successful. The family wants to be rich but their own environment is killing them; the main character’s sister and neighbour are both aware of this and provide warnings.    word count: 202
  This story was originally inspired by the ‘Working Woman’ magazine. I tried to take aspects of the magazine and integrate them into the life of a modern day working woman in the 21st century. One of the aims was to appreciate the struggles women faced in the workplace and at home in the Victorian era; but also, to appreciate the evolution of the struggles women face in today’s society. Although this part of my inspiration came from the issues women face, and have faced for countless years; I also used a personal approach, this being my Father, my Pappa. In my lifetime my Pappa has been my biggest role model. At only 19 he came to England, by himself, in search for a better life. With only one suitcase and almost no money in his pocket he worked his way up. Even when he was raising me life was a constant struggle, and he worked endlessly to ensure I had the best life, but the funny thing was, I never knew. No-one supported or praised him, and only now can I begin to appreciate what he had to do, with only my future as an incentive. From a forklift driver living in a one room apartment to a chartered architect and a multi-business owner, he worked his way up from the bottom. His hardships and his many life experiences were the inspiration to the story of Lilian Humphrey, a working mum. The world needs more hardworking people like her. The world needs more people like my Pappa.   
When browsing the periodicals on this website, I noticed that temperance was a common theme. Especially in the British Work Man, there were ads for the Temperance Society, who, among other things, acted as a sort of support group for alcoholics. In Victorian times, alcoholism was seen as a character flaw, rather than as an addiction and an illness. In reality, the horrid living and working conditions of the working poor are to blame. Life was hard, that’s why they drank. I empathized with the desire to drown one’s sorrows with a bottle of gin, but at the same time, I recognized the disfunction it brought with it.   These adverts were not just put into these work periodicals because their target audience was reading them, but because sinking into toxic habits ruins every aspect of your life; and most significantly, your work. Work was often the very reason these people became alcoholics. Like Benjamin, the poor rarely worked because it fulfilled them. Instead, they worked to feed their families. But what if life has taken so much from you, that you lose the motivation to do anything?  This is where Agnes comes into play. She’s an example of a person who grew up in the same tragic world as Benjamin, but somehow managed to use it to her advantage. By taking his children, she gives him the incentive to turn his life around. Because sometimes all you need is the help to help yourself.  

2. 98% of the 49 valid entries said writing a story based on the materials on BLT19 website helped them understand more about what work was, is and could be (1 did not, replacing it with the “witty” response given first below). The following comprises anonymised responses to the question how writing the story helped them understand more about what work was, is and could be. Not every entrant answered this question: hence the 44 answers when there were 49 valid entries.

I haven’t had the experience of being a victorian. 
Because it put me in there shoes and it shows me how hard they worked in the past. Also, it shows how much they had to do during this period .
Yes because it showed a lot of in depth   information about job’s 
I think that the website helped me understand more about work in that time, as their were some interesting articles which explained important details of Victorian work . Writing a  story made me feel like the character, who lived in Victorian times. This made me more aware of how hard the Victorian work circumstances were. It was a bit difficult as I have never wrote such a long story before and never a story on this subject.
Made me realise how much life was different and harder then such as there were very rich and poor people and long hours. I am glad I live now.
Before I read the BLT19 website I thought a job was just something you had. I didn’t really consider why you would have it, but I thought of it as something that just happens in life, and it didn’t really matter what it was.    Having read the BLT19 website I now understand that to be happy, you must have a job you enjoy and find interesting.    I also think now that you should go for the job you want, even if it is not the assumed thing to do.    You should always do the job which you like the most, rather than the job other peolpe think you should do.
because there are thing on here i haven’t learnt before. I never see jobs like this in class
Now i know how much work can affect someones life. It made me think how important it is to have a good attitude and not let yourself be ground down
it seemed important, each industry effected lives greatly, accommodating rich and poor differently.
I was aware the conditions in the Victorian workplace were bad, but I never thought they were that horrific.
It taught me about how law works in the victorian times, and the different processes to today
It made me do some further research as I found the Victorian articles difficult to read in terms of the print so I did my own research into what life was like.
In doing some reading and research for writing this story I was really intrigued by how hard some people’s working lives were.  By comparison our lives today seem relatively easy so my research really inspired my imagination.  It is strange to think how my ancestor’s lives would have been so different from mine and how some people had to really suffer to provide for their families.
Reading the magazines gave me an idea of how hard people worked and how hard their lives could be. Is it liek that now?
I already had some understanding, but this added more detail. Some of the stories are like what we hear in school about being good. I don’t know about that.
Looking through the magazines gave me some perspective on what kind of things people would read before, and how they learnt about jobs and professions, which is very different to today.
I think that I now have a little more understanding of what it means to have a job because the BLT 19 website gave me an understanding of the level of commitment needed for a job.
I hadn’t read Victorian magazines before so the website helped me. I never thought about stories about jobs before and writing the story helped me.
It helped me to understand the different types of experiences people gain in their jobs and how those experiences differ from role to role. It also helped me to understand how working life has changed over time.
it gave me a sense of what i wanted to write and how the scenes are set about what you have to do in a job.
It was interesting to put myself in the shoes of workers, especially in jobs that do not exist today,or are done very differently. It was good to see the details of trades and the ways in which they are talked about. 
I think writing my entry story helped me to further understand what it means to have a job as I learned about the stress, pressure and responsibility which comes with having a job but also how rewarding it is when something goes well.
The BLT19 website helped me to have more of an understanding of what jobs were like during the Victorian Times. It also informed me of the areas within a job, and a wider range of jobs people in the Victorian times classed as normal. It helped me to understand what the jobs involved, and it made me reflect on how different the jobs were like during the Victorian times compared to nowadays.
I had a small experience owrking in the past but it wasn’t a serious job. Writing my story and researching the topic made me realise the commitment needed for a job and how much dedication is required. It showed me that a job is what lets you live a nice life, a job can control almost anything in your life. 
it mainly gave me an insight as to what jobs were like back then. I knew there were some cases where women had more mainstream jobs but i thought that back then, women couldnt even have jobs like a tailor for example.
As somebody already fascinated with how the military functioned in the 19th century, there was little new information I could glean from writing this story.  However, I gained greater knowledge in a particular battle, The Battle of Balaclava, which is a battle I found to be very informative in military tactics in the 1800’s.
It helped me realise the dedication needed to have a job and how much of a commitment it is.
I learnt what people need to do for us to have things like food and clothes and water.
The website was very helpful, because I didn’t know anything about jobs in the Victorian era before reading the website and now I know loads just from reading the website.
it helped me to understand how the meats, were shipped all around the world keeping the meats fresh and how long and hard the men worked to put food on the tables then and now.
Because it explained what you do after college to get a job and explained it.
I didn’t know about the hardships that children had to undertake while working. It deeply saddens me and then i decided to make the story about the factory act in 1833.
I think this because it put me in the eyes of someone in the working world and as a visual learner this helped me understand what it is like to work a lot more.
Because we don’t understand the jobs our parents do and why they do that
Because we depend a lot on our parents and carers. We don’t know how much they do because they want you to feel happy.
My chosen image related to an article about a fisherman telling young children about one of his misfortunes after he’d gone fishing. The story was shown as factual, so knowing the hardships sailors and fishermen had gone through while at sea, with little technology compared to the present day, was highly interesting. Surviving at sea was a lot tougher than it is now.
I think that because it gave me an idea of how work was conducted in Victorian Times. It also gave examples of how work was conducted. For example, The Law Times included ongoing cases.
The website was very detailed and had a lot of periodicals and articles which helped me learn about how life was like with a certain job, back then.
Because I discovered what working situations were like, back then. Reading periodicals of that time made the people seem much more real than what we can find in many other sources. 
It displayed the struggles and hardships especially in women at the workplaces but also with men. i could see a clear idea of hierahy and that helped me to underdtand jobs even now but also the heratage of jobs. i feel for those women but we wouldnt be here now without them.
I was able to put myself into the shoes of a 19th century woman and I could experience the culture towards female stereotypes of the time and what it meant to have to work at home without being paid.
It gave me the context of what I was going to write. Since I didn’t study history, I felt as though it was necessary to improve my understanding of the Victorian era, especially since it is a key point in history. I was also motivated to to further research into details like what they wore, what factories were like so that I could include these in my short story
Sometimes this generation forgets the value of hard work and good employment, and I often find myself forgetting how privileged I am, but the articles helped me to ground myself and remember the extent to which people would have to go to survive, the effort and work people would have to support themselves and their families. 
In Victorian times, most people worked solely to be able to survive. I feel so privileged that I can chose my profession according to my interests and that I don’t have to work myself to death for an unlivable wage. Looking into our past helps me realize the opportunities that lie at my feet in this day and age.

3. Aggregated Demographic data

  • 50 entries (49 valid)
  • from 23 schools across England and Wales; 1 in Scotland; 1 in Switzerland; 2 in the Republic of Ireland. 18% of entries were from private schools; 82% from state schools (including 9% grammar; 8% comprehensive; 50% academy; 5% other)
  • Age: 60% were keystage 3, 22% keystage 4 and 18% keystage 5. This was an expected breakdown given the national curriculum in England and examination system which allows for more latitude at keystage 3. The age data includes the 4 entries from outside England and Wales.
  • Disability: 10% marked themselves as disabled, slightly higher than the national average of 8% for UK school pupils.
  • Ethnicity: 14% mixed race, 12% African, 56% White British and 6% as White other (the remainder did not answer). These figures that show the activity encouraged a much higher participation of ethnic minorities than national ethnicity demographics would suggest.
  • Gender: self-identified as 68% female; 32% male; 0% other.
  • Winners: We anonymised the entries for judging. The three winners of the younger age group were all male (12-15) while the three of the older age group (16-18) were all female. Of the 6 winners, 4 were from state schools (2 from grammar; 1 from an academy; 1 from other) and 2 were from private schools. Ethnicity data cannot be given here for reasons of data protection.

4. Numerical analysis of submitted short stories

125 most frequent words in the short stories. Word cloud generated by Voyant Tools .

The data in this section were generated by the open-source Voyant Tools software, a choice of software in line with BLT19’s commitment to transparency of process achieved through maximum returns for minimum costs. The stories were analysed in aggregate both for reasons of privacy and to enable a size of corpus amenable to quantitative analysis (50,000+ words in 6431 word forms). Analysis such as has been carried out here does not reveal narrative patterns but dominant topics across the submissions. Quantitative analysis of individual stories could not yield such results.

Pronouns, statives and auxiliaries in the list of words which occurred more than 50 times below are omitted. The contraction “I’m” is retained since it is a sign of conversation (unlike “she’s”, “he’s”, “they’ve,” etc, which can be used in narration as well as conversation). Even in narration “I’m” will retain a conversational, even confessional, resonance.

With the exception of one submission (which was a Gothic crime story), all the remaining 48 valid entries kept to the brief, concerned with various aspects of work, whether set in the workplace (which could be a market, someone else’s house, a workshop or worksite) or at home. “Work” and its variants (e.g. works, working, worked, etc – encapsulated by the asterisk as in work*) is the second commonest work after say/ said. It is safe to conclude therefore that following generalisations concern the dominant topic “work.”

High frequency of words concerned with conversation/ information exchange (say/ said, I’m), observation (eye*, look/ looked), knowledge (know/ knew), time discipline (day, time, years), and patriarchy and the patriarchal family (father*, child*, famil*, home* – mother* appears just 48 times, only slightly over half the frequency of father*) were expected and echo the Victorian source materials. Similar was the very considerable preponderance of man*/ men* over woman*/ women* despite the fact that 68% of entrants were female. This focus on men as the main sex associated with work again recalled the Victorian magazines (the only exception is the British Workwoman). Words associated with body parts involved in the expression of emotion (face, eye*) which includes words used to incite pathos (little, just – used exclusively in the sense of “only”) are also frequent, indicating the association of work with feeling, and betraying the influence of the Victorian sentimental tradition – markedly strong in the British Workwoman and British Workman – where these words figure very commonly. Words associated with moral and practical correctness are also unusually common (good, right), again mirroring the source materials.

The third commonest word, “like,” is used 15 times to indicate an example (= such as), 8 times as a verb, once as a filler, but 171 times as a marker of analogy. The frequency of analogy is again typical of the popular Victorian sentimental style, but, unlike the very probable conclusions in the previous paragraph, it is impossible to conclude that such a heavy use of simile is due solely to the Victorian source material: it might be due to teaching in school. It is the same with the unexpected emphasis on the liminal/ transitional (door, start*, come/ came, go/ went). It is possible that the frequency of transition is because entrants are already familiar with the idea of journeying to and from school rather than any influence from the source materials.

  • said/ say 229
  • work* 211
  • like 195
  • day* 170
  • know*/ knew 160
  • go*/ went 156
  • just 132
  • time 99
  • man* / men* 114
  • look* 114
  • come/ came 107
  • people 97
  • eye* 86 [includes eyebrow* 5; eyelids 2; one use of the verb form not counted here]
  • father* 84
  • start* 81
  • room* 79 [includes roommates 4]
  • woman*/ women* 77
  • door* 77
  • house* 72 [includes housekeeper 3; housewife 2; housework 2]
  • year* 70
  • life/ lives 69 [lives as noun; includes lovelives 1]
  • face* 67 [all referring to human faces]
  • famil* 65 [family/ families; familiar not counted here]
  • way* 62
  • home* 60 [includes homeless 2]
  • child* [includes childbirth 2; childhood 5]
  • right 54
  • I’m 51
  • away 50
  • good 50
  • little 50