Children born in ages long forgotten by the modern media are yearning to be seen. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the forgotten kids of yesteryear. These kids were made from the stuff of magic: hard times, fewer resources than today, and plenty of life-threatening “errands into the wilderness” as a prerequisite.
There were children who had suffered from the loss of their siblings at an early age due to the severe conditions of the 1800s, including typhoid fever, overcrowding, and famine.
Did the beauty of Victorian era kids get salvaged, or did time rob them of their well-deserved representation through the ages?
Photography saved them, and thanks to the brilliant photographers from the 19th century, there are plenty of pictures that represent the long lost children from a tumultuous age wherein Queen Victoria reigned.
15. Creepy Masked Kids
Things were no less spooky in the 1800s when kids were ready for trick-or-treating. When it came to proving oneself worthy of the title of supreme costume wearer, the grim reality was that victors unwittingly resolved disputes of classism by surprising parents with twists on the appearance that only the innocence of children can bestow. In this photograph, which demonstrates a variety of hoods, drapery, satin/silk, wool, and everything from hollowed-out skeletal faces to galloping horses and open-mouthed jack-o-lantern impersonators, we see how much fun parents were giving children over 150 years ago come pumpkin time. Imagine greeting any of these kids with merriment and corn candy after seeing them at your front door.
14. Eerie Little Girl
This Victorian kid portrait makes for a great collectors item in terms of its elegance and refinement, especially as an antique! As many collectors might agree, one can consider themselves lucky for finding a photo more than 100 years old without any major problems from a technical standpoint. Also, the countenance of this little girl’s expression is almost reminiscent of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The look on the little girl’s face is hard to read, and it definitely leaves us feeling a little creeped out.
13. Two Children Drinking Tea In Creepy White Dresses
These two children are enjoying tea time together. Maybe the tea was getting cold since both girls seem engrossed with their china cups whilst their scones lay undisturbed. It’s no secret that the time it took for the photographers of the era to capture each image was excruciatingly long, yet no one seems to be throwing a tantrum in this gem of a photo. Waiting for a second serving of tea or just a chance to get out into the sun may have been on these toddlers minds while awaiting the final curtain call from the image-taker of their parents choosing; likely someone who had earned a good reputation considering the high quality of this photograph. However, we can’t help but feeling like this quiet but eerie moment could be from a scene in a horror movie.
12. Little Baby Staring Into Our Soul
This baby looks like a girl, but don’t be fooled, many of the boys from various parts of Europe wore dresses. The baby in this image was likely no older than 12-18 months and the look in this baby’s eyes is hard to place. Why is the baby looking so intently into our souls? The eyes draw perhaps the most attention, and we can’t help but feel that this little baby is wiser than most babies should be. Does this baby have a secret? We suppose we will never know.
11. Creepy Children Covered In Soot After Working In The Mines
During the 1800s, this is how young some of the miners were. No kid today can legally work before the age of 13, and that applies to everywhere in the entire world. Minors who helped bring about the industrial revolution during the 1800s were heroes, but they worked far too hard for such young children. These boys were all under the age of 13, that’s for sure. Maybe some of them had to work in order to support their family, afford education, or afford to eat. This image is disturbing, as it paints a portrait of what it was like to be a child in the Victorian era.
10. Wide-Eyed Ghostly Child
This little girl is dressed in pristine white clothing, and is staring at the photographer with a look that we can’t help but feel uncomfortable about. Although we are aware that smiling in photographs was not a convention in the Victorian era, we are still creeped out by this image, in which a little girl stares blank-eyed and serious. Why does this child make us feel a chill running up our spines?
9. Strange Child Holding Mysterious Object
In this image, we see a sad-looking boy looking mournfully at the photographer. His expression is definitely eerie, and his eyes have a certain strange quality that freaks us out. What is he holding in his hand? This boy is clutching his circular toy, adding another mysterious element to this already creepy photograph.
8. What Are These Orphan Children Looking At? Do We Want To Know?
Orphan trains are definitely serious. According to Fox News, a Victorian era hurricane that took place on September 8th, 1900 killed around 12,000 people including 90 children, and that was just from a category 4 storm! As a result of such natural disasters and a myriad of other reasons, orphanages took in countless child survivors, many of whom were rescued by volunteers and traveled via “orphan trains” to their new home. The kids in this photo are clearly distraught after becoming orphaned. With the help of community centers and urban resources, kids without parents received the support that they otherwise may not have had.
7. A Melancholy Look In This Child’s Eyes
There are many things that can be assessed here. For starters, the expression on this kid’s face seems slightly more mature than her counterparts from the era. This child seems to have lived a hard life, and it saddens us to think of what she must have gone through. This photo is definitely mysterious, and we are wondering why this child is looking so sad. No matter what the case, the brutal truth is that without more details, we’re simply left with this child’s sad eyes.
6. The Tragedy Of Children’s Lives During The Victorian Era
When hearts of any age are called to making a street plea for society’s attention, the media is sure to take notice. This child was forced to spread word of the horrible ailments that afflicted everyone during the Victorian era, especially children. Scarlet fever is one of the many diseases that continue to plague humanity, yet in its latest attack, scientists are armed and ready with their life-saving medicine which, thankfully, has managed to prevent the utter pandemonium that broke out in the Victorian era from occurring again. These children had no hope, however, of being spared from these horrible things.
5. Where Are The Parents Of This Sad Child?
This mysterious photo captures a young girl in elaborate clothing, standing in the snow. She is, for some reason, completely alone, and she is looking off into the distance with a mysterious look in her eye. She is clearly upset, and it creates an unsettling effect on the viewer. Why is this child standing outside all alone? Why wouldn’t she be photographed with her parents? Perhaps this child is an orphan, and that heartbreaking look in her eyes is a genuine expression of grief and loneliness. Regardless, this is certainly an emotionally affecting photograph.
4. Most Victorian Children Lived In Poverty
Although these children were living in slums, they still found ways to enjoy their childhood out in the streets. Tell-tell signs of mirth and good cheer can be seen in the expressions on these little ones faces, but we know that these children were facing horrible hardships at home, due to extreme poverty. Images like this remind us of how difficult life was for the majority of children living through the Victorian era.
3. The Disturbing Reality Of Victorian Children’s Existence
It is saddening to see these very young children smoking, and not looking as joyful or carefree as children should be looking. Whether or not it was legal for such young people to purchase cigarettes in the Victorian era, the image is still quite arresting for modern day people. The lives of children seemed to be bleak and rather depressing, and it helps provide insight into why so many Victorian children seem so miserable in photos.
2. Four Terrified-Looking Nigerian Children
This photo contains the likeness of children and one adult, obviously not blood-related and perhaps not even from the same country. The kids were all Nigerian and the adult was likely from Europe, judging by the writing beneath the antique image. The children here appear to be all 8 years old and younger, with the youngest just barely out of infancy and adorned in a white ruffled gown that matches its older siblings. This is one of the rare photos we have of African people during the 19th century, and it makes us wonder why these four children are looking so terrified.
1. Mysterious Woman With Baby
The mystery of what the mother and daughter seen in this photo were doing when they took this picture is puzzling us. Where they are and what they are doing is unclear. Were they off to visit a royal associate? Why does the woman seem to be smiling mysteriously at the photographer? Who knows. The resulting image is unsettling and mysterious enough to give us the creeps, that’s for sure.
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