Victorian Era

Victorian Era Ragged Schools

Victorian era Ragged Schools were charitable organizations established around the 1840s and dedicated to the free education of society’s most destitute children in Britain. The schools combined a free education, food, clothing, lodging, religious instruction, and other home missionary services as required for poor children. The idea of ragged schools was to educate children and…

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Massarti the Lion Tamer Killed in 1872 by His Lions

Manders’ Menagerie was a traveling circus that relied on Massarti the Lion Tamer for one of their most famous acts. Massarti, who was born Thomas Macarte* in Cork around 1838, had been hired by Mr. Manders in 1871 to replace the African lion tamer, Martini Maccomo,** allegedly a native of Angola who had arrived in…

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Jack the Ripper’s Canonical Victims

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly are considered Jack the Ripper’s canonical victims, so-called because their murders had the same pattern with the same modus operandi, and these five women are considered to be his officially accepted victims. The murders also happened in a relatively short period in…

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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 Electric Traps for Rats and Cats

Victorians had all sorts of problems and rats and cats were one of their biggest problems. For instance, on an island off Cornwall, known as Looe or St. George Island, one Victorian gentleman found rats overrunning the island. They were so bothersome that no matter how much effort people put into exterminating them, they reappeared.…

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Manners and Customs of the French According to Punch

Punch, or The London Charivari, was established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells. It was a British weekly filled with humorous and satirical stories and illustrations, and Punch not only poked fun at the English but also the French. Here is one article published in 1851 that is related to the manners…

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Fattening Fowl in the Mid to Late 1800s

Fattened fowl were an extremely desirable commodity in England and France in the mid to late 1800s. Many attempts were made to fatten fowl not only because consumers wanted better meat but also because sellers found fattened fowl a highly profitable business. But it was not always easy to fatten fowl, even if they were…

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French Cooking Terms in the Victorian Era

In the Middle Ages, French food was similar to Moorish cuisine and it did not change until Catherine de Medici married Henry duc d’Orléans (who later became Henry II of France). When Catherine came to France in 1533, Italy was the leader in cuisine, and she brought with her numerous Italian chefs, who were busy…

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Five Interesting Crimes in 1843

The year 1843 was a year of exciting events in the United Kingdom. William Wordsworth accepted the office of Poet Laureate on April 4th. In November, the statue of the inspirational British flag officer of the Royal Navy, Horatio Nelson, was placed atop Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square in London, and Charles Dickens publication,  A…

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