I have been looking into flat web design, which I think would strike an interesting balance with the VIctorian subject matter, and research functionality of the website being redesigned.
I found this interesting article that has 12 interesting examples of flat design: https://creativemarket.com/blog/2013/07/31/12-creative-examples-of-flat-web-design
Some great flat-style infographic sites can be seen at http://blog.karachicorner.com/2013/05/best-flat-ui-kits-for-web-and-app-ui-design/
Palace http://palace.co/ are a design agency based in Bristol who are creating some really inspiring responsive ‘flat-style’ web sites.
I hope to make the content the main focus of attention on the victoriaweb.org site by employing this type of design.
However, I may find that the modern design contrasts too heavily with the subject matter when it comes to actually viewing the articles on the redesigned site. I may be able reduce the sense of juxtaposition by introducing additional Victorian references.