19th century advice for single women: ‘Sexual indulgences should be kept to a minimum’

British Broadcasting Corporation Home. It’s hard to imagine now, but at the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated. Many businesses did not even consider it a holiday. However by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form that we recognise today. Many attribute the change to Queen Victoria, and it was her marriage to the German-born Prince Albert that introduced some of the most prominent aspects of Christmas. In the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was reminiscent of Prince Albert’s childhood in Germany. Soon every home in Britain had a tree bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts. In Henry Cole commissioned an artist to design a card for Christmas. The illustration showed a group of people around a dinner table and a Christmas message. At one shilling each, these were pricey for ordinary Victorians and so were not immediately accessible.

5 Things Victorian Women Didn’t Do (Much)

Download documents and transcripts. This collection of documents relating to the lives of the Victorians is aimed at any teacher or student engaged in a local study of the Victorian period. The sources could be used to help provide a sense of period and show pupils the type of sources they may encounter when looking at material in their local archive, museum or record office.

The collection includes pictures, drawings, maps, photographs, advertisements, reports, census pages, letters and newspaper extracts. Others may wish to introduce pupils to these documents to create a wider enquiry question of their own, for example on the role of women, the lives of rich and poor or childhood in Victorian times.

Ladies should be up to date on current events but should never discuss matters that they have no knowledge of. Gossip and whispering should be avoided at all​.

Where would we be without romance? What was courtship and marriage like for our distant ancestors? Beginning with the ancient Greeks’ recognition of the need to describe more than one kind of love, inventing the word eros to describe carnal love, and agape to mean a spiritual love, take a stroll back through romantic heritage with this timeline of romantic customs, dating rituals, and tokens of love.

In ancient times, many of the first marriages were by capture, not choice — when there was a scarcity of nubile women, men raided other villages for wives. Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her, and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered. According to an old French custom, as the moon went through all its phases the couple drank a brew called metheglin, which was made from honey.

Hence, we get the word, honeymoon. From buying a woman dinner to opening a door for her, many of today’s courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry. During medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions. Suitors wooed their intended with serenades and flowery poetry, following the lead of lovelorn characters on stage and in verse.

Chastity and honor were highly regarded virtues. In , it is said by many that women first gained the right to propose marriage in Scotland, a legal right that then slowly spread through Europe.

10 Strange Dating Tips From the Victorian Era

The Victorians have a reputation for being prim, proper and persnickety. As a member of the upper class in Victorian England during the reign of Queen Victoria , , one had to know the exhaustive rules of etiquette that went along with one’s position. Today, many of these rules seem arbitrary and silly: Does it really matter the order in which dinner party guests enter the dining room? At the time it did, because such social niceties constituted basic manners and politeness.

The excess that characterized the Victorian era continued with increasing exuberance during the s. Skirts and bodices boasted ruffles, trim, flounces, lace.

Instead, access to the passage had remained hidden in plain sight for about 70 years. The passage, created for a procession to the 17th-century coronation banquet of Charles II, was then used for about years for other coronations and by lawmakers to gain access from the hall through to the original House of Commons chamber. Benjamin Franklin would also have passed through it on visits to the House of Commons during his time living in London.

The passage leading through to Westminster Hall was blocked up on both sides in the midth century as part of renovation works after a fire in Parliament. The route lay untouched for close to a century until it was found by workers carrying out repairs after the building was bombed in World War II. With the passing of time, the door was forgotten and historians thought that the s repair job had blocked access entirely. After a key was made to fit the keyhole, the team discovered that it led to a small room, inside which they found the original hinges for two wooden doors — 11 feet tall and 6 feet wide — that would have opened into Westminster Hall.

The discovery of the passage was not the only surprise for the team of historians: They also found graffiti dating to on one of the walls. When the door was blocked up in the 19th century, the Victorian laborers who laid the bricks left behind a personal mark. Westminster Hall dates to the 11th century, though most of the Houses of Parliament, also called the Palace of Westminster, was constructed in the mids.

The passing decades have taken their toll. In a report , the building was labeled a fire risk, and last year a leak sent water gushing into the Commons debate chamber, halting proceedings.

Victoria and Albert Museum

There’s no question that modern society expects everyone to have a general understanding of manners. But back in Victorian times, the gravity of propriety went much deeper than knowing the proper etiquette for shaking hands or which fork to use during the dessert course. I wanted to find out just how serious social norms were during the 19th century, so I picked up The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook of Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen , a popular English manual that dates back to After reading it through, I couldn’t believe how compulsively detailed the expectations were.

Manners dictated every faction of life to an almost laughable degree— from when it was acceptable to smoke to the protocol for sending out invitations.

There were many rules in respect of dating which were to be complied with. SOME OF THE RULES OF VICTORIAN COURTING. 1. A single woman never.

The shape of the dress changed significantly during the s, and the bustle was most distinguishing feature of the new 70s fashion. This high protuberance at the back of the skirt carried on the s trend toward flat fronts with extra material gathered in the back. The excess that characterized the Victorian era continued with increasing exuberance during the s. Skirts and bodices boasted ruffles, trim, flounces, lace, and other frills, a number of different materials, and a variety of deep colors.

The introduction of the bustle in the early s changed the shape of the entire dress, not just the back. The sides of the skirt were drawn further back, creating a narrower front. By , bustles were set quite high. Later, bustles were lower, and by , the bustle disappeared. Even after the bustle fell out of favor, dresses were still gathered and accentuated in the back. The woman in the image on the left wears a large, high bustle at the back of her dress.

The woman’s dress in the image on the right is drawn back from the sides.

Courtship & Marriage In Victorian England

Whether you were marrying lavishly like the royals or eloping in secret, Rebecca Probert offers six tips for the perfect Victorian wedding. For Victorians, finding someone of the right status and temperament was crucial. Love often came afterwards. Choosing a suitable spouse was essential at a time when it was difficult to get out of a marriage. Before , divorce was only available by private Act of Parliament; even after that date, adultery was the only basis for divorce, and wives had to prove additional aggravating factors, such as desertion or cruelty.

The white wedding gown caught on in Victorian times – but for many, wearing a dress just once was Set the right date for the big day.

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The Victorian period is also regarded as the era of Romanticism. In those days, courtship was considered to be a tradition and was very popular. Queen Victoria and her family were the idols of the Victorian society, even in the case of courtship.

Explore the history of fashion in the mid- to lateth century, decade by decade, through garments and photographs in the V&A collections.

Ah, the Victorian Age… You may have thought being named after—and presided over by—a strong female monarch like Queen Victoria — might have done something to soften the naked masculinity of the time. This was the age of muscular Christianity, the age in which the western male came to dominate and subjugate through industry and empire; the age, in short, in which men were real men, women were real men; even the children were real men.

But brute masculinity was only one side of the coin. The Victorians were also romantics, albeit in a rigidly regulated way. Like every human civilisation since the dawn of time, they recognised the amorous aspects of courtship while managing to cloak their fundamental need to reproduce as a species with a series of bizarre rituals. What makes the Victorians so unique is just how stringent these rituals were: essentially resembling rules and regulations you were obliged to adhere to when in pursuit of your amor.

As you can imagine, for the middle and upper classes this made dating a minefield. Restrictive formality dictated every interaction you had with your potential match, meaning you really had to watch what you said and how you said it.

Dating in victorian england

In fact, the buttoned-up repression we often associate with the Victorian era misses the fact that Victorians were pretty creative when it came to inventing ways to get around sexual restraint, especially in the sphere of dating. In the Victorian era, many saw marriage as an economic arrangement from which the families of both the bride and groom — though often the groom — would benefit. And typically, an event known as The Season precipitated all the upper-crust matches that would lead to these arrangements.

Families who took part in the event had one goal in mind: To find their daughter a suitor. No matter where they lived, the Victorian elite would send their daughters — in their mid teens and early twenties — to London for the sake of encountering a potential match. The most important element of The Season took place in the Coming Out , or the presentation of young women before the King and Queen by their mothers, aunts, or other female relative.

During the Victorian Age, the English prided themselves on being more liberal than the This practice was a bitter and ironic pill for Victorians to swallow. Keep up to date on: Latest Buzz · Stuff Shows & Podcasts · Tours · Weird & Wacky​.

Her reign over Great Britain and Ireland set a stricter moral tone for much of European and American society. Because of this, courtship was an extremely codified affair. Women of the middle and upper classes were expected to conform to the sentimental idealization promoted by the literature and art of the time. Even the fashions of the day, like tight corsets and hoop skirts, symbolized the rigid structure women were expected to live within.

Maintaining a spotless reputation was essential for both men and women, and once each was of marriageable age, there was a timetable and script to follow to matrimony. Once a young woman was done with her schooling, she would be presented to society to show she was in the market for a husband. Wealthy families might hold a series of parties, middle-class families generally held one private party or dance, and girls from working class families usually did without a celebration and simply signaled they were of age by wearing their hair up, dressing in long skirts and joining the adults for dinner and on social calls.

Valentine’s Day: The product of Victorian courtship in England?

This book examines the popular publications of the Victorian period, illuminating the intricacies of courtship and marriage from the differing perspectives of the working, middle, and upper classes. In contemporary culture, the near obsessive pursuit of love and monogamous bliss is considered “normal,” as evidenced by a wide range of online dating sites, television shows such as Sex in the City and The Bachelorette , and an endless stream of Hollywood romantic comedies.

Ironically, when it comes to love and marriage, we still wrestle with many of the same emotional and social challenges as our 19th-century predecessors did over years ago. Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England draws on little-known conduct books, letter-writing manuals, domestic guidebooks, periodical articles, letters, and novels to reveal what the period equivalents of “dating” and “tying the knot” were like in the Victorian era. By addressing topics such as the etiquette of introductions and home visits, the roles of parents and chaperones, the events of the London season, model love letters, and the specific challenges facing domestic servants seeking spouses, author Jennifer Phegley provides a fascinating examination of British courtship and marriage rituals among the working, middle, and upper classes from the s to the s.

Phegley’s lucid discussion of the Victorian marriage market does indeed illustrate the consistent rhetorical focus on the companionate ideal, despite the plethora of ways in which Victorians sought partnership.

The Victorian era began with Queen Victoria’s coronation in and ended with her death in Her reign over Great Britain and Ireland set a stricter moral.

The Victorian period began on the 20th of June , when Princess Victoria became Queen at the age of She reigned as Queen of Great Britain for 64 years and seven months, until her death on the 22nd of January The latter part of the Victorian era coincides with the Belle Epoque era meaning beautiful era of mainland Europe and the Gilded Age of the United States. This was a period of prolonged peace and prosperity in the UK, with the standard of living increasing greatly.

Which lead to an increase in demand for luxury goods, such as jewellery which were now being mass-produced as part of the industrial revolution. She not only wore it but designed it and gave it as gifts throughout the British Empire. Although the Victorian Jewellery period spanned 64 years, it is divided into three sections, early, mid and late Victorian.

Reflected the great romance between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

A Guide to Early Victorian Romantic Period Jewelry

The rules and suggestions for courtship and romance occupy most of the space in Victorian etiquette and letter writing books. There are usually flowery forms for written proposals from the suitor as well as a plethora of gushing acceptances from the bride-elect. Near the end of the section there is generally one curt letter of refusal to a marriage proposal. Usually the tone of the letter is vague and contains assurances that the honored lady thanks the gentleman for his offer but she cannot accept his proposal.

The Victorian precept that a lady “never explains or complains” is followed rigidly.

People lived to an average age of just 40 in 19th-century England, but that number is deceiving. Certainly, infants and children died of disease.

This lava stone cameo depicts Cupid in a Neo-Classical design set in a silver mounting. She ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom in and died in Those sixty-four years witnessed enormous changes in industry, society, fashion, and, of course, jewelry. For example, it started with horse-drawn carriages and candlelight and ended with automobiles and electricity. However, some elements endured and saw transformations, some of which can help date a piece. For example, hair jewelry was worn in the Romantic Period, but its popularity reached its zenith during the Grand Period.

On the other hand, a large, imposing brooch showcasing a dark gemstone, framed with braided hair, would most likely fall into the Grand Period. The Romantic Period reflected the love of a nation for its young queen and her love for her husband, Prince Albert. His death in marked the end of the Early Victorian Period and the beginning of the Grand Period. This 9k yellow gold ring features a center garnet surrounded by old mine-cut chrysoberyls in claw style settings.

During the Early Victorian period, the Industrial Revolution surged ahead.

Here’s How People Got Laid In The 1800s


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