historic london

There’s over 300 languages spoken in London

Less than half of the population is white british

There are large areas with little to no white population

so if your show is set in London and has an all white cast you’re not even being remotely accurate

10th February 1840 - Queen Victoria's Wedding Dress

As many people know, it is said that Victoria started the trend of wearing a white coloured dress on your wedding day. However, not many know  how complicated the journey was that had it come to be.

In the early of planning her wedding, Lord Melbourne suggested that she might wear her royal robes of state, as she mentions in her diary -


They talked about me wearing my robes, but I thought not.


She made it clear that her wedding was not like others of the time, where it was all for advancement and gain, with no thought of romantic preference. Her wedding was a personal affair; she was marrying for love.

In the end, Victoria would design her own dress, as well as her bridesmaids’ dresses. She had her dress made entirely of British materials, as was well publicised at the time. This was a political move, as she was showing to foreign powers just what her country had to offer and that she was still representing Britain.  The silk was woven in Spitalfields, East London and the lace was handmade in Devon.  Finally, the outfit was sewed together by Victoria’s own dressmaker, a Mrs Bettans, with the pattern being destroyed afterwards to prevent the dress being replicated.

The finished garment would include a bodice, the waist pointed over a full, pleated skirt with full puffed sleeves and a round neck, all made of Spitalfields white silk satin. The train was immense, measuring 18 feet and edged with orange blossom spays (orange blossom being a symbol of fertility). Orange blossom would feature a lot on her person, as her wreath above her veil (which was 12 feet long) was made of it and it trimmed her dress.  She also wore matching satin shoes (see two above), and a blue sapphire brooch at her breast which was a wedding gift from Albert. In her diary, on her wedding day of the tenth of February 1840, she described her whole outfit as thus -


I wore a white satin dress, with a deep flounce of Honiton lace, an imitation of an old design. My jewels were my Turkish diamond necklace & earrings & dear Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch


Victoria did not wear her actual wedding dress for the whole day, as when she returned to Buckingham Palace after the service and wedding breakfast she withdrew to change into ‘a white silk gown trimmed with swansdown and a white bonnet with orange flowers’, an outfit very similar to her original ensemble.
Years later, Victoria would allow her favourite daughter Beatrice (who would be one of the queens few close companions in her widowhood) to wear her wedding veil at her own wedding in 1885 (see photograph below). She would be the only daughter of Victoria allowed this special privilege. In addition later still, Victoria would be buried wearing her lace veil, in 1901

Featured Image Emily Blunt as Victoria on her wedding day, The Young Victoria 2009
Sources -
Becoming Queen, Kate Williams
Historic Royal Places
Photograph #3 by Daily Mail

London and the Culture of Homosexuality -- Masterpost

I’ve finished the book London and the Culture of Homosexuality, 1885-1914 by Matt Cook. We’ve learned a lot along the way and now that it’s finished, I thought I’d compile everything into one post for easier access.

1) Empty train carriages, Molly houses, and moustaches on trial

2) “That’s not a sentence you hear every day” - how modern Sherlock incorporates Victorian-era facial hair code

3) Gay lit is gay, the Criterion bar is gay, Turkish baths are gay, green carnations are gay, button holes are gay

4) Homosexual men loved to liaise at the Criterion Bar

5) TJLC is Real: Carefully-Chosen Words and Public Opinion

6) Sherlock fits a case study of a period-relevant homosexual man

7) Anal violins

8) Gay graffiti worth writing about in your memoirs

9) Cabs were helpful, Gothic romance was queer, literary gay subtext was criminal evidence, the male-on-male gaze was a stand-in for sex, and idealised male nudes were all the rage

10) Every Great Cause Has Martyrs - how language used in the TAB trailer mirrors that used by Victorian homosexual men

11) Did Victorian-Era Gay Men Think Sherlock Holmes Was Gay?

12) The closest thing I’ve ever written to a personal TJLC manifesto

Discussions/asks/misc with other people about the book: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Buy the book online

Thank you to everyone who read/commented/liked/reblogged posts from my little readalong liveblog. I loved doing it and I hope you liked it too.

Up next:

Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century by Graham Robb

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A Robe a la Française from the Museum of London. At first glance I thought it was maybe a costume from the movie “Dangerous Liaisons”, using a green version of the Wishing fabric. But this is an extant 1770s creation showing the type of fabrics the Wishing one was inspired by.

From https://instagram.com/p/BTEWKm7AbIt/

Victorian Era Masterpost

B O O K S

  • Flanders, Judith - The Victorian City
  • Hughes, Kristina - Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England
  • Jackson, Lee - Daily Life in Victorian London
  • Mayhew, Henry et al - The London Underworld in the Victorian Period
  • Mitchell, Sally - Daily Life In Victorian England
  • Pool, Daniel - What Jane Austin Ate and Charles Dickens Knew
  • Stevens, Mark - Life in the Victorian Assylum

E V E R Y D A Y   L I F E

  • Popular Names in the Victorian Era
  • Cassel’s Household Guide (1869) - basically an instruction manual from 1869 telling you how to do everything from making tea to picking a job.
  • Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management: A Guide to Cookery In All Branches (1907) -  Lots of period recipes, plus information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and under house-maids, Lady’s-maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid, Nurse and nurse-maid, Monthly, wet, and sick nurses, etc.
  • The Victorian Era-Society
  • Appendix D: English Society in the 1840s
  • Class Structure of Victorian England
  • Victorian England Social Hierarchy
  • Social Restrictions in the Victorian Era
  • (Excerpts From) Promises Broken: Courtship, Class, and Gender in Victorian England (Regarding Broken Engagements and Premarital Sex)
  • Five Filthy Things About Victorian England
  • 1841: A window on Victorian Britain
  • The Demography of Victorian England and Wales
  • What was life like for children in Victorian London?
  • Historical Essays: The Victorian Child
  • The Life of Infants and Children in Victorian London
  • The Inequality Between Genders During the Victorian Era in England
  • Women as “the Sex” During the Victorian Era
  • Writers Dreamtools - Decades - 1840
  • Victorianisms – Adventures in Victorian Slang
  • 56 Delightful Victorian Slang Terms You Should Be Using
  • A Dictionary of modern slang, cant and vulgar words (1859)
  • Victorian slang - a guide to sexual Victorian terms
  • A Glossary of Provincial and Local Words Used in England: To which is Now First Incorporated the Supplement, by Samuel Pegge (1839)
  • Anecdotes of the English Language: Chiefly Regarding the Local Dialect of London and Its Environs (1844)
  • British Slang - Lower Class and Underworld
  • Lee Jackson - Dictionary of Victorian London 
  • Domestic Violence in Victorian England
  • The Victorian wife-beating epidemic
  • How to Survive and Thrive in the Victorian Era
  • 19th-century Radiators and Heating Systems
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray; a mirror of the Victorian Era, era of Hypocrisy
  • The Victorian Supernatural
  • Politics of Victorian England
  • Dualism & Dualities - The Victorian Age
  • Black Victorians: History we’ve been taught claims we’ve only ever been slaves
  • Video: Mini-lecture - London’s Black history
  • Flowers - Victorian Bazaar (The Language Of Flowers)
  • Victorian Funeral Customs and Superstitions
  • Racism and Anti-Irish Prejudice in Victorian England

M E D I C I N E  &  I L L N E S S 

  • Victorian Health
  • Medical Developments In Britain During The Nineteenth Century
  • Hospitals
  • The Entire Case Records from a Victorian Asylum Are Now Online
  • Victorian psychiatric patients’ grim fate in hellish 1800s hospitals
  • Locating Convalescence in Victorian England
  • Sanitation and Disease in Rich and Poor
  • 19th Century Diseases
  • Death & Childhood in Victorian England
  • Health and hygiene in the 19th century
  • Disease in the Victorian city: extended version
  • Musing on Illness in the Victorian Era
  • Female hysteria / Vapours
  • Sent to the asylum: The Victorian women locked up because they were suffering from stress, post natal depression and anxiety
  • The History of Women’s Mental Illness
  • Anorexia: It’s Not A New Disease
  • Rebel Girls: How Victorian Girls Used Anorexia to Conform and Revolt
  • Warburg’s tincture
  • Apothecaries and Medicine in the Victorian Era
  • The Creepy Factor in Victorian Medicine
  • Medical Advancements: Victorian Era Prosthetics
  • The Victorian Anti-Vaccination Movement
  • food poisoning in the Victorian era
  • Typhus (Gaol Fever)

L A W ,  G O V E R N M E N T  &  C R I M E

  • Crime in Victorian England
  • The 222 Victorian crimes that would get a man hanged
  • Juvenile crime in the 19th century
  • Victorian women criminals’ records show harsh justice of 19th century
  • Organised Crime in “The Mysteries of London” (1844)
  • Dickens and the ‘Criminal Class’
  • Victorian prisons and punishments
  • Victorian Prison Conditions
  • The Development of a Police Force
  • Life in Nineteenth-Century Prisons as a Context for Great Expectations
  • Gaols
  • Sentences and Punishments
  • Courtroom Experience in Victorian England at the time of Great Expectations
  • Courts of Justice - Victorian Crime and Punishment
  • Victorian Criminal Laws: Barbarism and Progress
  • Child prisoners in Victorian times and the heroes of change
  • Victorian Legislation: a Timeline
  • Women and the Law in Victorian England
  • The Corn Laws
  • The Corn Laws in Victorian England
  • The Anti-Corn-Law League
  • The Corn Laws and their Repeal 1815-1846
  • The Poor Laws During the Victorian Era
  • Private Property and Abuse of Rights in Victorian England
  • Bastardy and Baby Farming in Victorian England
  • Baby Farmers and Angelmakers: Childcare in 19th Century

C L I M A T E ,  W E A T H E R   &   E N V I R O N M E N T

  • The Climate of London (Luke Howard, 1810-1820 - PDF)
  • The Illustrated London Almanack 1847
  • Victorian London - Weather - Fog

F A S H I O N

  • Victorian Fashion Terms A-M
  • Victorian Fashion Terms N-Z
  • Early Victorian Undergarments; an introduction, and about silk
  • Early Victorian Undergarments; Part 1
  • Early Victorian Undergarments; Part 2
  • Early Victorian Undergarments; Part 3
  • 1830s-1840s Underpinnings
  • A Look at an Original 1840s Corded Petticoat
  • Lingerie Guide : Crinoline - Petticoat
  • 1840s Stays
  • Exploring the Myths of Corsets I
  • Exploring the Myths of Corsets II
  • How to Dress a Victorian Lady
  • Pre-Hoop Era 1840-1855
  • 1840s Fashion (Pinterest Board)
  • 1840-1848 - Early Victorian (Pinterest Board)
  • 1840’s fashion (Pinterest Board)
  • 1840’s fashion: men (Pinterest Board)
  • 1840s Fashion (Pinterest Board)
  • 1840s Fashion (Nineteenth Century) (Pinterest Board)
  • 1840’s fashion (Pinterest Board)
  • Mourning Dress During the Early Victorian Era
  • Victoriana Magazine’s Victorian Fashion
  • Early Victorian Women’s Hats; Part 1, concerning bonnets
  • Early Victorian Women’s Hats; Part 2, for sun & riding
  • Early Victorian Women’s Hats; Part 3, wear whatever you like
  • Empire of Shadows - Clothing (Includes very basic information about upper & lower class fashion, military uniforms & undergarments)
  • Women’s Costume - Dickens Fair
  • Victorian Prudes and their Bizarre Beachside Bathing
  • Victorian Feminine Ideal; about the perfect silhouette, hygiene, grooming, & body sculpting
  • Fatal Victorian Fashion and the Allure of the Poison Garment
  • 1840’s Men’s Fashion
  • Gentlemen |  Early & Mid Victorian Era: A Universal Uniform

T R A N S P O R T A T I O N

  • Public transport in Victorian London: Part One: Overground
  • Victorian Public Transport: The Omnibus
  • Omnibus
  • THE HANSOM CAB - A Visitor’s Guide to Victorian England
  • “Growler” and the Handsome Hansom
  • Regency Travel (Earlier than the Victorian era, but still relevant for the earlier years)
  • A Regency Era Carriage Primer
  • The Victorian Thames - River Thames Society [PDF]
  • Nineteenth-Century Ships, Boats, and Naval Architecture (dozens of links to relevant articles)
  • Early Victorian Rail Travel
  • Catching a Train in the Early 1840s
  • HORSES: Matching a Team — Color is Only the Beginning

M O N E Y   A N D   F I N A N C E S

  • British Currency During The Victorian Era
  • Victorian Economics: An Overview
  • Wages, the Cost of Living, Contemporary Equivalents to Victorian Money
  • Victorian Economics: a Sitemap
  • The Cost of Living in 1888
  • Pride and Prejudice Economics: Or Why a Single Man with a Fortune of £4,000 Per Year is a Desirable Husband
  • The Price of Bread: Poverty, Purchasing Power, and The Victorian Laborer’s Standard of Living
  • How a weekly grocery shop would have cost £1,254 in 1862
  • Costs of dying in Victorian and Edwardian England
  • 18th Century Wages (Earlier than the Victorian era, but good reference)
  • Cost of Items 18th Century  (Also earlier than the Victorian era, but good reference)

F O O D  (A N D   L A C K   T H E R E OF)

  • Victorian Dining
  • The Victorian Pantry, Authentic Vintage Recipies
  • Victorian cooking: upperclass dinner
  • For Rich or Poor: Creepy Victorian Food
  • Victorian History: A Fast Food Generation
  • 10 Weird Foods Sold By Victorian Street Vendors
  • Victorian Food For The Rich & Poor Children
  • Dictionary of Victorian London - Food
  • The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse
  • Victorian England: a nation of coffee drinkers
  • London Life: Victorian Coffee Sellers
  • Victorian street food imagined
  • What the Poor Ate
  • Adulteration and Contamination of Food in Victorian England
  • Workhouse Food
  • An Overview of food in 19th Century Gaols
  • Food and Famine in Victorian Literature
  • Milk teeth of Irish famine’s youngest victims reveal secrets of malnutrition

D R U G S   &   D R I N K

  • The Temperance Movement and Class Struggle in Victorian England
  • Gin Palaces - The Victorian Dictionary
  • Alcohol and Alcoholism in Victorian England
  • Drugs in Victorian Britain
  • Cannabis Britannica: The rise and demise of a Victorian wonder-drug
  • Laudanum Use in the 19th Century
  • Victorian Women on Drugs, Part 1: Queen Victoria
  • Victorian Women on Drugs, Part 2: Female Writers
  • Substance Abuse in the Victorian Era
  • Opium Dens and Opium Usage in Victorian England
  • Chinese Opium Trade; as it was in the mid 1800s
  • Poetry, Pain, and Opium in Victorian England

L E I S U R E   &   E N T E R T A I N M E N T

  • Victorian Entertainments: We Are Amused
  • Entertainment in Victorian London
  • Leisure, An Extensive study of the Victorian Era
  • Vauxhall Gardens | Jane Austen’s World
  • Theatre - Victorian Era 1837-1901
  • Almack’s Assembly Rooms
  • The Cannibal Club: Racism and Rabble-Rousing in Victorian England
  • Restaurants - The Victorian Dictionary
  • The Story of Music Hall
  • Sex, Drugs and Music Hall
  • Victorian and Edwardian Public Houses (List, links to relevant articles about each listed pub)
  • Victorian London Taverns, Inns and Public Houses
  • Gambling in Historic England
  • Gambling in London’s Most Ruinous Gentlemen’s Clubs
  • Victorian Sport: Playing by the Rules
  • Seven singular sports from the Victorian era
  • Penny Dreadfuls; the Victorian era adventures for the masses
  • Romantic Era Songs

H O L I D A Y S & C E L E B R A T I O N S

  • A Victorian New Year
  • Fortune Telling for the Victorian New Year
  • Hogmanay: New Year’s Eve, the Scottish Way
  • Victorian Valentine
  • Valentines Day - The Complete Victorian
  • Easter Traditions During the Victorian Era
  • halloween - The Complete Victorian
  • the traditions of halloween
  • Victorian Christmas - History of Christmas
  • Christmas in the Victorian Era

W E A P O N R Y  &  V I O L E N C E

  • The Victorian Gentleman’s Self-Defense Toolkit
  • Early Victorian attitudes towards violent crime
  • Victorian Violence: Repelling Ruffians (Part One)
  • Victorian Violence: Repelling Ruffians (Part Two)
  • Victorian Violence: Repelling Ruffians (Part Three)
  • Victorian Violence, Part Four ~ Elegant Brutality for Ladies and Gentlemen of Discernment
  • 10 Deadly Street Gangs Of The Victorian Era
  • Early Victorian Handguns; Part 1
  • Early Victorian Handguns; Part 2
  • Early Victorian Handguns; Part 3
  • Pistol Duelling during the Early Victorian Era
  • Cane Guns: Victorian Concealed Firearms of Gentlemen & Cads

M A N N E R S   &   E T T I Q U E T T E

  • Manners & Tone of Good Society (This is a Victorian book on manners, written by an unnamed ‘Member Of The Aristocracy,’ and is available in full to read and covers a ton of ground, everything from leaving cards and morning calls to introductions and titles, and etiquette for many different types of parties and events).
  • The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness: A Complete Hand Book for the Use of the Lady in Polite Society (1875)
  • Manners for the Victorian Gentleman
  • Victorian Dancing Etiquette
  • A Checklist of 19th Century Etiquette
  • Social Rituals During The Victorian Era
  • An Online Dating Guide to Courting in the Victorian Era
  • Calling Cards and the Etiquette of Paying Calls
  • Morning Calls and Formal Visits
  • A Time Traveller’s Guide to Victorian Era Tea Etiquette
  • Traveling Etiquette and Tips for Victorian Women
  • Equestrian Etiquette and Attire in the Victorian Era
  • Etiquette Faux Pas and Other Misconceptions About Afternoon Tea
  • Victorian Table Etiquette
  • Victorian London - Publications - Etiquette and Household Advice Manuals
  • Etiquette Rules for Dinner Parties from a Victorian Magazine
  • The Etiquette of Proper Introductions in Victorian Times
  • Forms Of Introductions And Salutations. Etiquette Of Introductions
  • Etiquette for the Victorian Child
  • Victorian and Edwardian Mourning Etiquette
  • Etiquette Of Carriage-Riding
  • Victorian Etiquette - Shopping

U P P E R C L A S S   &   N O B I L I T Y

  • Royalty, Nobility, Gentry, & Titles; A Matter of Victorian Ranks & Precedence
  • Order of Precedence in England and Wales
  • The Victorian Era - The Debutante Tradition
  • The Gentleman - The Victorian Web 
  • “Coming Out” During the Early Victorian Era; about debutantes
  • The London Season
  • The London Season - The History Box

T H E  M I D D L E C L A S S

  • The middle classes: etiquette and upward mobility
  • The Rise of the Victorian Middle Class
  • The Victorian Man and the Middle Class Household - Domesticity as an Ideal
  • Middle Class Life in the Late 19th Century
  • A Woman ’s World: How Afternoon Tea Defined and Hindered Victorian Middle Class Women
  • Working Women in the Victorian Middle-Class
  • The ASBO teens of Victorian Britain: How middle-class children terrorized parks by shouting at old ladies, chasing sheep and vandalizing trees
  • “A Dangerous Kind:” Domestic Violence and The Victorian Middle Class [PDF]
  • Eligible Bachelors: Suitors and Courtship in the Lower Middle Class

T H E   W O R K I N G C L A S S

  • The working classes and the poor
  • Poverty and the working classes (links to relevant articles)
  • Dirty Jobs of the Victorian Era …
  • The Working-Class Peace Movement in Victorian England
  • Victorian Child Labor and the Conditions They Worked In
  • History of Working Class Mothers in Victorian England
  • Income vs Expenditure in Working-Class Victorian England
  • What about the Workers? - 1830s - 1840s

T H E   S E R V A N T   C L A S S

  • Household management and Servants of the Victorian Era
  • Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy and Wages
  • Domestic Servants
  • Serving the house: The cost of Victorian domestic servants
  • Domestic Servants and their Duties
  • Precedence in the Servants Hall
  • The Servant’s Quarters in 19th Century Country Houses Like Downton Abbey
  • The REAL story of Britain’s servant class
  • Servants: A life below stairs
  • The Green Baize Door: Dividing Line Between Servant and Master
  • The Victorian Domestic Servant by Trevor May: A Review

T H E   U N D E R C L A S S  (T H E  P O O R) 

  • The Underclass (or the Submerged Class)
  • Poverty in Victorian England: Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist
  • Down and Out in Victorian London
  • Poverty and the Poor | Dickens & the Victorian City
  • The Victorian Poorhouse
  • Poorhouses
  • Victorian Workhouses
  • Entering and Leaving the Workhouse
  • The Poor Law
  • The Poor Law Amendment Act
  • The New Poor Law - Victorian Crime and Punishment
  • London’s Ragamuffins

I N T E R S E C T I O N A L I T Y (Of Class, Gender, Race, and Ability)

  • Class, Gender, and the Asylum
  • The Impact of Social Class Divisions on the Women of Victorian England
  • The Daily Life of Disabled People in Victorian England

W O R K &

  • Early and Mid-Victorian Attitudes towards Victorian Working-Class Prostitution, with a Special Focus on London
  • Prostitution and the Nineteenth Century: In Search of the 'Great Social Evil’
  • Attitudes toward sexuality and sexual identity
  • Victorian slang - a guide to sexual Victorian terms

O T H E R   M A S T E R P O S T S

  • Writing Research - Victorian Era by ghostflowerdreams
  • How to Roleplay in the Victorian Era by keir-reviews
  • Legit’s Historical Fashion Masterpost by legit-writing-tips
  • Susanna Ives - Many Research Links (covers Regency Era - Victorian Era)
4

Sebastian Harding, Illustrator & Modelmaker

20 Cock Lane - Poltergeists in the Panelling - The name of this street can be traced to its proximity to the market, where poultry would once have been traded, but it also serves also as a risqué innuendo, since for hundreds of years it was the preferred haunt of prostitutes. It was on this street that fraud, haunting, murder and sex were all intertwined in one story.

Mother Clapp’s Molly House, Field Lane - An Unusual Coffee House - his was not a coffee house as we would know it, but rather a private club for gay gentlemen, where they could meet and form relationships without fear of discovery. The discretion of fellow members was crucial and entry was only permitted to those who knew a password. There were even gay marriage ceremonies conducted in locked rooms between men, with one donning a bride’s dress and the other a groom’s jacket. Mother Clapp herself presided over all, only leaving to get refreshments from the pub across the street. 

John Aston’s House, Charterhouse Lane - An Unfair Execution - John Aston was a priest in the parish of Smithfield, arrested at the same time as the influential protestant leader John Rogers. Queen Mary’s secret police randomly inspected any priests who had been advocates of protestantism before her ascension to the throne in 1553.

The Fortunes Of War Public Tavern, Cock Lane - A Sinister Sidetrade - Smithfield Market’s proximity to St Bartholomew’s Hospital betrays a lot about the British public’s distrust of the medical trade. It is fitting therefore to focus on one building that catered to both trades – The Fortunes Of War Public Tavern.

Illustrations copyright © Sebastian Harding.