The Victorian era
spanned the reign of Queen Victorian, from 1837-1901 & it was a
period of great industrial growth & prosperity.
changing rapidly, it was a time of political & social reform. The
upper classes who were once mainly established aristocracy, were
growing in number as the new wealthy commercial class emerged & whilst
the middle classes were steadily growing there were still large
numbers of working class and for them life was hard and child labour
was the norm.
It was an exciting
period of scientific & technical progress, also a period of great
advances in medicine. In 1851 huge numbers of Victorians flocked to
the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in London, eager
to marvel at the new inventions of the age. Novels and poetry
were popular and the authors of the day are as well known today as
they were then, The Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll
and Rudyard Kipling to name but a few.
For the well to do
there was leisure time in abundance, picnics by the river, afternoon
tea with friends, opera, theatre and more food than was necessary.
At the other end of the scale the poor lived in squalor, wearing
hand me down clothes and living off a meagre and limited diet.
The poor worked long hours and had little spare money to do anything
with what bit of spare time they did have. Life was hard
for the poor and once they'd outlived there usefulness, most were
packed off to the workhouse to live out the rest of their days
changed several times throughout Queen Victorias reign, the longest
reign of any English monarch to date and it is one of the most
popular eras for costume. From crinolines to bustles, leg of mutton
sleeves and petticoats and corsets that almost squeezed the breath
out of the wearer.
The Victorian era
paved the way for the way way we live in the modern world today, I
wonder what Queen Victoria would think of life today. Would she
approve or would she say " we are not amused"
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