Victorian Era

The History of Goody Two-Shoes

The History of Goody Two-Shoes (with or without a hyphen) was a children’s story written anonymously in 1765, published by John Newbery, and a variation of the story of Cinderella. Goody Two-Shoes was the nickname of a poor orphan named Margery Meanwell who goes through life with one shoe until a rich gentleman gives her…

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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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Christmas Crime in the Victorian Era

The holidays of the late 1900s were often thought of as a time of cheer, but along with that cheer came Christmas crime in the Victorian Era. It was plentiful and resulted in anything but peace on earth. Perhaps, that was why the following Christmas card, although wishing Christmas cheer, displays a dead bird.

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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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Thirteen Tales of Murder and Death in the Victorian Era

The Victorian Era is often remembered for its morality with women’s buttoned-up collars and high boots that prevented even the slightest hint of skin beneath. However, there were also many tales of murder and death during that era that captured the public’s imagination. Here are thirteen stories for Halloween. One unusual death happened in May…

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Prince Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens

On 14 December 1861, Queen Victoria’s beloved husband and consort, Prince Albert, died of typhoid at Windsor Castle. Albert was diagnosed with the disease by William Jenner, who, at the time was the world’s acknowledged expert on typhoid fever. Jenner noted that Albert’s abdomen displayed the characteristic purplish-pink or rose spots associated with the fever.…

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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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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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