Oh No They Didn’t: Victorian Scandals

In true fashion of the era, Victorian scandals were as prim as they were preposterous.

In true fashion of the era, Victorian scandals were as prim as they were preposterous.

The Queen was no exception.

Her reign nearly ended before it began thanks to an accusation. No doubt a ploy to discredit Sir John Conroy, Victoria made veiled accusations targeting a lady-in-waiting who’d recently presented a swollen abdomen. . . and had been most recently traveling alone with the manipulative controller.

Adamant of her purity, Lady Flora Hastings humbled herself to the court’s suspicions and, to her great humiliation, submitted to an examination by the royal doctor.

Her diagnosis of liver disease proved Lady Hastings was, in fact, not with child. Further, it confirmed to Queen Victoria’s adversaries that she still was one.

The “baby” scandal wasn’t the only plot that backfired. . .

Continue reading “Oh No They Didn’t: Victorian Scandals”

Treasured Victorian Easter Traditions

From Maundy coins to sugar eggs, have you knowledge of these treasured Victorian Easter traditions?

To tell of Easter is to speak of hope.

As well it should be. For the holiday celebrates a promise of new life and the resurrection of one—that of Jesus Christ. His story unfolds from each pulpit on Easter Sunday, but also the days leading up.

The Thursday before hosts what’s known in England as the Royal Maundy. Each sovereign tailors the event in some way. During Queen Victoria’s reign, she determined the event be held at Westminster Abbey.  It is there that she addressed the congregation and upheld the tradition of distributing something much more precious than candy. . .

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How Scrooge Sparked Christmas & More Yuletide Origins

You know Dasher & Dancer & Prancer & Vixen. But do you know where these yuletide traditions originated?

‘Twas a time before Christmas.

Unimaginable as it may seem, the holiday brought little more than a glad tiding or cup of good cheer. To unearth the origins of time-honored traditions held today requires a return to  Victorian Christmases.

. . . To precisely one in particular. . . that of Ebenezer Scrooge.

A little Christmas book.

Selling out in three days’ time, Charles Dicken’s “little Christmas book” became a classic straightaway. Of a myriad of Things You Might Not Know About A Christmas Carol, its message of giving fostered convictions in the rich and inspired the classes from merely observing the holiday to celebrating it.

Speaking of old Ebenezer. . . .

Continue reading “How Scrooge Sparked Christmas & More Yuletide Origins”

Merry Music Makers

The Music Box

For a person of means in the Victorian era, a music box was central to the parlor. In fact, unless blessed with a musically talented family member, a household’s primary source of musical entertainment was the music box.

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The bird box was a popular style of music box in the late 1800s.

These beautiful musical units, crafted by jewelers, were reminiscent of tinkling church bells.

Unfortunately, with the invention of Thomas Edison’s phonograph in 1910, production of revolving cylinder devices nearly ceased entirely, and the Victorian music box became a lost art.

The Gramophone

The first successful system of sound recording – the gramophone – was invented by Emile Berliner, a German immigrant working in Washington D.C., in 1887. Emile was the first inventor to begin recording on flat discs, or records. Continue reading “Merry Music Makers”

Wake Up!

Strange Professions of the Victorian Era: Before alarm clocks became affordable or reliable, there existed a profession in 1920s Britain and Ireland called the knocker-upper. The knocker-upper’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time. 

Knocker-up

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The Gibson Girl

The “Gibson Girl” was a pen-and-ink drawing by New York artist Charles Dana Gibson that first appeared in the 1890s. Characterized by her hourglass figure and soft hair piled into a chignon, the Gibson Girl represented the ideal American girl.

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Who’s Under There?

Guess who’s behind the floral print cloth?

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In the 19th century, the long exposure times of cameras meant that children had to stay perfectly still for a matter of minutes in order to have their image captured. As a result, many Victorian photographs contain hidden mothers trying to keep their squirmy little ones still enough to produce non-blurry picture!

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