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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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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French Cooking Terms in the Victorian Era

French cooking terms in the Victorian Era had their origins in the Middle Ages. That was because 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…

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What are Wash-houses and Laundry-Related Rooms?

Because eighteenth and nineteenth century houses generated lots of laundry, laundry facilities were an important part of any home. Sometimes laundry facilities were completely separate from a house and located near the Stables, but it was a chore to move the entire laundry of household to an area far from the house. One reason laundry…

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What are Under-Servant Offices?

Under-servants, sometimes called lower-servants, performed the duties under the direction of upper-servants. Under-servants included scullery maids, kitchen maids, cooks, footmen, housemaids, and grooms. Special rooms designated for use by under-servants  included such rooms as the Cleaning rooms, Housemaid’s Closets, and Servants’ Halls. Cleaning-rooms: These rooms were used for specific types of cleaning. In large houses…

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What are State-Rooms?

In the 1700s, State-rooms were generally found in large European mansions or palaces. Admittance into these rooms was considered a privilege, and the further a person penetrated, the greater the honor. State-rooms also implied one of a suite of very grand rooms that were designed to impress guests, but at the same time State-rooms did…

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