Victorian Tour

1881 Willen Map

It is 1881, Queen Victoria is on the throne, Benjamin Disraeli is Prime Minister and the industrial revolution is in full swing. Britain has just fought two wars against the Zulus and the Boers in southern Africa. At home Electric street lighting and telephones are just being introduced into big cities like London. You can now send parcels by post and William Crookes has just developed the cathode ray tube, paving the way televisions, computer screens and the communication revolution.
Even in Willen there are some signs of these changes. There is a small post office in the front room of the Abbot's house, a spur of the Grand Junction Canal cuts across a corner of the parish and there is a school in the village. However, the appearance of the land has been transformed by enclosure. It has been divided up into a series of fields by hedgerows, planted in the 1600s when the Nichol family were lords of the manor. Now many more animals can be fattened on the lush pastures of the Ouzel valley.