Well ... I think they're fun, anyway.  Beta-readers for my Past Lives Trilogy will recognize some of these.


Pollution:  Most homes burned coal in their fireplaces, not wood.  And in the grander houses, virtually every room had a fireplace.  This is why London fog was usually yellow. And sometimes it was so thick, a lady could arrive home after a day of shopping to find her dress "grayed" by a fine layer of coal dust.  Therefore the average man wore black, day in and day out.  Inside even the finest homes, the wallpaper had to be washed at least once a year (after a long winter of burning fires daily, spring cleaning was essential).  The ceiling plaster was frequently black.


 

Bathrooms: By the 1870s, most fine houses had indoor toilets, or "water closets."  Because the most common version was designed by a man named Thomas J. Crapper, toilets and what went in them got a new name.  Tub baths, however, were still a luxury.  By the time the maid schlepped enough hot water upstairs to fill the tub, it was already going cold, and virtually everyone believed exposure to cold could make you sick, if not literally kill you.  So sponge-bathing and perfume often ruled the day.

 
Hair: Blonde was considered the ideal color; lady's magazines of the time declared blondes were the only true beauties.  Red hair was the worst.  As someone famously said, referring to a lady as "red-haired" was tantamount to social assassination.  A woman with short hair was shocking; a man with long hair, eccentric.  By mid-century, going clean-shaven was out of style, so every man wore a beard, or at least "side-whiskers."  (Think Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.)


Vermin: Most people won't be surprised to hear rats were a big problem in middle and lower class homes.  But they were just as common in upper class houses.  Sometimes when nursemaids heard the baby crying, they found it bleeding from fresh rat bites. 



Coming Out: The phrase meant something different back then.  Girls too young for courtship were referred to as "in the schoolroom"; to "come out to society" meant to enter the marriage market.  Often these girls were presented to the Queen at St. James -- the Victorian equivalent of a Senior Prom spotlight dance.  The girls had to make the most of their first season.  After two or three "failed seasons" -- no engagement -- they could be considered an old maid.  By the mid-Victorian era, there were approximately 10 single women for every single man (statistics vary, but it was definitely lopsided due to disease, crime, and especially war) so the risk of being left an old maid was quite real. 



Professional Mourners: The upper classes wanted everything to look just so.  Therefore, a good undertaker offered premium services, including the rental of attractive blonde "mutes" whose only function was to stand prominently by the graveside looking inconsolable.  After the service, the female mourners could purchase "tear bottles" to store their tears in and keep as a reminder of the deceased.



More facts to come!

Visit Stephanie's Blog

 


Views: 3280

Tags: abbott, books, ebooks, fearful, fiction, punk, steam, stephanie, symmetry, victorian

Comment by Stephanie Abbott on April 9, 2011 at 1:48pm
Wow, love the PICTURES!  I need to get myself some awesome clip art like that!!!  More later, and thanks.
Comment by Lia Keyes on April 9, 2011 at 2:28pm
Pictures make a blog post come to life, there's no doubt, but the article itself is fascinating! Thank you for the terrific contribution and I hope you'll keep them coming! :)

Comment

You need to be a member of S.W.A.G to add comments!

Join S.W.A.G

SWAG Support Fund

Visit us on:

TWITTER                          TUMBLR

FACEBOOK                 

GOOGLE+                       

Latest Activity

Adam J. Whitlatch posted a status
"Steampunk author Beth Cato interviewed me about my recent "War of the Worlds: Goliath" novelization. http://tinyurl.com/pb6475c"
Wednesday
Philip Allan Brian Drew added a discussion to the group GASLIGHT ROMANCE
Thumbnail

Who is your favourite gaslight character?

Who is your favourite gaslight romance / gaslamp fantasy character? Is it Sherlock Holmes? Or do you prefer somebody a bit more obscure like Dr Nikola?See More
Monday
Christopher J. Valin is now a member of S.W.A.G
Dec 13
Nick Valentino posted a status
"Blog Post: Christmas Trees, Suicide Girls No Smoking…"
Dec 13
Siena Burns is now a member of S.W.A.G
Dec 12
Samuel Keystone Sprocket and Aidana WillowRaven are now friends
Dec 12
David Lee is now friends with Admiral Binary Dorsett and Samuel Keystone Sprocket
Dec 12
Aidana WillowRaven posted a blog post

'Dark Dining' ~ cover art & design for James R Lord, III (@KhoTheMinotaur)

For Dark Dining, James already had a good design concept; it just needed a few tweaks. Blurb: VAMPIRE ARE MADE. VAMPYR ARE BORN.   Vampires. They used to walk among the humans of the world, feeding on them. They were feared of in tales and legends told throughout the centuries.   Then they died out.   All except Lincoln, a Vampyr, one of the upper echelon of the vampire society.   After waking from a twenty…See More
Dec 11

MEMBERS' BOOK COVERS

Small Press, Indie & Anthology Covers


#STEAMPUNKCHAT TRANSCRIPTS

Click here for SWAG badges for websites

Badge

Loading…

© 2014   Created by Lia Keyes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service