Victorian Era

Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors in the 1800s

The forerunner to Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors was La Caverne des Grands Voleurs (The Cavern of the Great Thieves), founded by Madame Tussaud’s uncle and mentor, Philippe Mathé Curtius. At his Caverne visitors could linger and scrutinize the morbid and bloody details related to a murder, or they could view all the associated gruesomeness…

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Three Mid-nineteenth Century Royal Beauties and Their Beauty Secrets

Three mid-nineteenth century royal beauties served as the glamorous ideal for women in the Victorian Era. These three beauties were the Empress Eugénie (wife of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French), Princess Alexandra of Denmark (wife to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and heir apparent to Queen Victoria), and Elizabeth of Austria (wife to Franz…

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Silhouette Artist and Prosopographus Inventor Charles Samuel Hervé II

The silhouette artist and prosopographus inventor Charles Samuel Hervé II (hereafter referred to as Hervé) was christened on 28 February 1785 at the All Hallows London Wall. His father was a British-born French Huguenot merchant named Peter Daniel Hervé and his mother Margaret Russel. They had several sons Peter (born 1779), Henry (born 1783), Francis…

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Frisky Matrons of the Victorian Era

One reporter declared in 1863 that there were too many “frisky matrons” of the Victorian Era. He claimed that married women were become all too common a sight at London balls and at English country houses. To justify his position, he wrote the following piece that he titled “Frisky Matrons,” which is provided nearly verbatim:…

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Kensington Gardens in the 1700 and 1800s

Kensington Gardens sits west of Hyde Park, which it once adjoined. Kensington Gardens were created when they were cut off from Hyde Park by George II’s wife, Queen Caroline, in 1728. Henry Wise and Charles Bridgeman were tasked with the job of creating the gardens. Bridgeman created the recreational lake known as the Serpentine between…

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Victorian Four Penny Coffins or Penny Beds, Homelessness, and More

In the Victorian era, the homeless created a persistent problem for Londoners. Industrialization was one reason for an exploding homeless population. Part of the problem was that in order to accommodate the railroad, neighborhoods had to be demolished. That resulted in fewer houses, caused crowding in other neighborhoods, and drove up rents. In addition, workers…

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Victorian Beauty and How to Retain It

Victorian women were highly body conscious. They wore corsets to create tiny waistlines and bustles and petticoats to enhance and improve their buttocks. Victorian women were also idealized in paintings by popular nineteenth-century artists, such as James Tissot. These idealized images of body conscious Victorians, helped to contribute to Victorian women wondering what they could…

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English Miscellany in the 1860s

Sometime in the 1860s, a farmer in Scotland hooked a large pike, weighing twenty-one pounds. He left it for dead upon the bank of the river, opposite his house; but his dog happened to brush past it. The fish caught the dog by its tail, and despite the dog plunging into a river and swimming…

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Rules for Preserving Health in Victorian Times

Victorians considered themselves to be health conscious. Because of their concern for their health, one Victorian publication provided a list of rules for Victorians to help preserve their health. Here is that list almost verbatim: Habitual cheerfulness and composure of mind, arising from peace of conscience, constant reliance on the goodness of God, and the…

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