Life in the Late Victorian Age
Society in the time of Oscar Wilde
Mr. Ambrose
English 10
Victorian Life
• Victorian life was relatively structured.
• Social classes were well-defined.
– Presumably all individuals accepted their
station in life and were happy within their
level of society.
– When an individual did move outside his/her
class, he/she was generally shunned.
– Even if you earned money, you would not
necessarily be accepted by upper social strata.
Victorian Society
• Victorian society was democratic, but
featured many more restrictions than
modern America.
• Lower classes actually had more freedom.
– People perceived the lower class as merely
existing to serve higher classes.
– Society frequently ignored them.
Young Men in the Victorian Age
• Young men in the upper classes received an
education, but spent much of their life in leisure
pursuits.
• First sons would inherit the family wealth, and
had little to worry about.
• Second and subsequent sons could choose to go
into the service (army) or to become a clergyman.
– These were respectable positions, but lower on the
social scale.
Young Women in the Victorian Age
• They were encouraged to marry.
• Sometimes had an inheritance, but rarely
controlled their own finances.
• Ladies were permitted to enjoy pleasurable
pursuits: parties, balls (galas), horseback riding,
croquet.
• They were allowed to go to the beach, but they
would need to wear very conservative bathing
suits…
Victorian Bathing Suits
Young Girls in the Victorian Age
• Young girls were taught to supervise a
household.
• Daily routine included consulting with
housekeeper and cook and planning meals.
• Free time activities:
– Painting china, needlework, music, literature
Four O’Clock Tea Time
• A daily routine that became a tradition.
• Everyone stopped all activities for tea time.
– Analogous to a siesta in Europe, South America, and
Central America.
• Tea was usually poured from a silver or china tea
pot.
• Sandwiches and sweets (biscuits, tarts) were
served.
• An important social interruption.
• Dinner was not usually served until 8:00 pm.
Tea Time in America
• Do you believe a tradition like this would
have any place or advantage in
contemporary America?
• Is tea time observed anywhere on this
continent?
• Do Americans have a substitute for this
custom?
Host your own Tea Time
• For extra credit, you can host your own tea
time!
• Bring in a photo and a short description of
your event.
• Good times!
Evening Entertainment
• In the evening, people
during the Victorian
era usually watched
Family Guy on their
televisions.
Evening Entertainment
• J/K
• Evenings included a formal dinner (8 PM).
• Families then might move into the Drawing
Room to enjoy musical entertainment, provided
by younger girls in the family.
• Gentlemen might retire to play billiards.
• On festive occasions, families might play games
or have dances at the country estate.
Homes in the Victorian Era
• Some members of the upper class kept an
apartment “in town” (London)
• If they did not own there, they rented
during the “season” so that the young girls
could be presented to society and the
young men could find brides.
• These apartments would be called “flats,”
which is the English word for “floor.”
After the Victorian Era
• For the upper classes, this style of living
continued until WWII.
• After WWII, social structures underwent
great changes and the balance of power
among nations shifted.
• Despite changes in home life and industry,
the Victorian tradition of tea time can still
be enjoyed in homes, hotels, and parks.
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Life in the Victorian Age PPT