Welcome to Mostly-Victorian.com!
How did the Victorians live? Was their attitude toward life truly “positively Victorian”? How did they view the rest of the world — including America? What challenges faced Victorian women? And how did one handle the ever-present servant problem?
Who could answer these questions better than the Victorians themselves? This site offers thousands of pages from Victorian periodicals and books (plus a few that stray a few years to one side or the other of that period). We now have more than 500 articles on the site, and plan to add more than 100 more each month. The majority of the articles on this site come from The Strand (of Sherlock Holmes fame) and The Girl’s Own Paper, but we’ll also be posting pieces from a variety of other publications, including Chatterbox, Ladies’ Realm, Woman’s Own, Little Folks, Leisure Hour, and many more.
So whether you’re looking for reference material on the Victorian period, or some just plain entertaining reading, you’ve come to the right place!
What You’ll Find…
Some up-close, personal looks at how Victorians lived and worked, as well as the problems they faced. Catch a glimpse of Victorian weddings, fetes, holidays, and celebrations; learn the secrets of Victorian etiquette; view some of the oddities received by the Royal Mail!
Etiquette, Manners and Morals
Why is it vulgar to scrape excess butter from one’s knife onto the side of the plate? Why should one refrain from speaking loudly? Why should expectoration and the use of the handkerchief be confined to one’s room? Actually, there were often excellent reasons for what might seem to us a quintessentially “Victorian” code of “etiquette.”
The Working Life
Everything to do with jobs, work, careers, and the working life — from the plight of London working girls to some unusual careers “suitable” for the Victorian lady!
London was the heart of the Victorian world. In this section you’ll find articles on every aspect of London life, from its palaces to its opium dens. Follow the Thames Police in action, visit the Home for Lost Dogs, find out how London street-children earn their living… and so much more!
Fashion and Costume
Most Victorian “costume pages” give pictures and little more; the articles on this site offer not only fabulous images but detailed discussions of fabrics, colours, and instructions on how to create “the latest look.” This section also offers articles on hats, bonnets, and hairstyles — as well as glimpses of “historical” fashion (from the Victorian perspective).
Articles on topics considered “historical” by their Victorian readership — such as the story of a 16th-century “Princess of Thule,” Marie Antoinette, the violin-making town of Mittenwald, and more… This section also includes contemporary archaeological accounts and military history (past and contemporary).
Lore and Legend
Victorians adored folklore. Discover the lore of flowers, birds and beasts; meet the Egyptian model for “Cinderella.”
Royalty Then and… Well, Then…
This section offers some interesting and often personal glimpses of Victorian royalty, contemporary royalty in other countries, and royals throughout history.
Arts, Crafts and Needlework
Victorian magazines were chock-full of “how-to” pieces that can often be followed just as easily today This section provides a selection of articles on knitting, crochet, embroidery, other forms of needlework, and some slightly more unusual crafts such as screen painting, smoke painting, book-binding and more.
The Victorian Home
The Victorian period is famous for, well, being Victorian! We’ve all heard about such eccentricities as putting skirts on tables and pianos to hide their “limbs.” But the Victorian home wasn’t necessarily a just pile of overwrought clutter. Here are some tips for Victorians on how to furnish, decorate, and care for their home and household (including tips on how to manage the household servants).
Cooking and Dining
Looking for the ideal Victorian menu for a winter feast? Searching for a historic delicacy or two? This section offers an array of articles on Victorian cookery that should tantalize the tastebuds — plus tips on how to arrange an attractive table, how to serve a meal, and more.
Health and Medicine
A section presented for its historical value only!
Animals, Nature, Gardens and Country
Stroll through Britain’s idyllic (and idealized) countryside; gather a bouquet of wildflowers; meet some unusual and even exotic pets; discover how to plant “an old-fashioned garden”… This section offers articles and gorgeous illustions by naturalists and others who sought to preserve as well as praise the countryside and its beauties.
Objects and Antiquities
From figureheads to smugglers’ devices, from furniture to oddities from the lost and found, this section deals with “things” and their history.
Travel and World Cultures
The well bred Victorian was a well traveled Victorian. Here are some glimpses of Britain and the world through Victorian eyes — including that upstart country, America! Plus, Victorian views of world cultures.
Fiction and Poetry
Sit back and relax with a Victorian tale of mystery (yes, we have Sherlock Holmes!) or adventure (try Bret Harte or Alexander Pushkin). Here you’ll find a host of classic tales from The Strand and other magazines.
Just for Kids!
Tales and articles for children from The Strand, Chatterbox, Little Folks and others.
Coming Soon… Victorian Image Gallery!
A beautiful collection of high-resolution images that can be downloaded for framing, use in greeting cards, or whatever captures your fancy.
Especially for Writers:
Victorian Girls’ and Women’s Names
I’ve compiled pages from various issues of Girls’ Own Paper that list the names of competition winners – it’s a great source of information on Victorian girls’ names! (Who could resist writing about Jemima Muir or Catherine Snowball?) Eventually I’ll try to retype this list as a single Word file, but for now…
Names – 1880
Names – 1881-1882
To explore this site by magazine rather than by topic, go to our Magazine Index page. Click on a title to view that volume’s table of contents, with links to all the articles that are archived on this site. (Later we hope to add a topical index that will make it easier to look up very specific subjects, such as “Victorian Cross” or “Royal Mail.”)
If you have a website that is related to Victoriana, please let us know so that we can add a link to your site. If you offer a product that is somehow Victorian in nature, why not consider advertising on our site? For more information, please contact Moira Allen, Editor.
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