-The 19th Century-

-The importance of social class-

~The middle class~

Victorians worship success and money. The dream ...
• high-paid labour
• regular standard earners
• small regular earners
• intermittent earners
• casual earners
• 'the lowes...
interesting paper about women in 19th Century society.

                                  Postcard published in 1906.

([Mrs. Jameson], "Condition of the Women and the Female Children," The Athenaeum, 16
(March 18, 1843). Unlike painting or ...
There were three main kinds of dances or Formal Balls of 19th century England as
noted in Jane Austen's novels, and they p...
couples, were involved with the dancing, the more couples involved with the dance, the
longer a set lasted. This was good ...
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Research on the 19th Century


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Research on the 19th Century

  1. 1. -The 19th Century- -The importance of social class- ~The middle class~ Victorians worship success and money. The dream of businessmen is to join the aristocracy, but first they aspire to send their children to public schools, to acquire country houses and to marry into the landed gentry. In 1850, the middle class is a fairly small group of professionals, factory owners, businessmen, merchants and bankers. There is a deep gulf between this group and the working classes. As Mrs Isabella Beeton's 1861 Book of Household Management shows, you need lots of servants to prepare lavish meals, clean houses heated by filthy coal and generally work with few labour-saving devices. Over the next 50 years, the middle class not only expands very rapidly, it also splits into two different layers. ~The upper middle class~ This is divided between professionals and industrialists. The professionals – doctors, lawyers, clergy and top civil servants – are educated at public school and university. They live in suburban villas and their ethos is hard work and no play. By contrast, the industrialists usually send their children to be 'educated' in the family firm, or train them to become engineers, although some now prefer public schools. A few end up working in banking rather than running factories. Others go abroad and run the empire. Some old aristocrats fear the 'monarchy of the middle classes', but in practice, they tame 'trade' by marrying into it. ~The lower middle class~ After the 1850s, the bosses of industry are less likely to be self-made men who pass on the business to their families, and more likely to be part of the new class of professional managers. As government passes more laws, civil servants – working in both central and local government – multiply. The growth of shopping offers women more chances of employment. In London, especially, there comes into being a whole army of city clerks, who are trained at the new polytechnics, read the Daily Mail, founded in 1896 by the Harmsworth brothers, and commute to work by train and the newer tube, which links central London to the even newer suburbs where the clerks live in neat terraced houses. ~The working classes~ Victorians always use the plural 'working classes' when they talk about labouring folk. The social reformer Charles Booth (1840-1916) – who devotes 18 years to the preparation of his great survey The Life and Labour of the People in London, which is eventually published in 1903 – finds six categories of workers:
  2. 2. • high-paid labour • regular standard earners • small regular earners • intermittent earners • casual earners • 'the lowest class' (see The poor below). Regular standard earners make up the largest group (more than the total of the other five categories combined). These are the people who benefit most from the booming Victorian economy – their wages rise. From 1860 to 1900, the real wages of the employed working classes almost double. At the same time, they have fewer kids – thus defeating all the pessimistic predictions of the Malthusians. The combination of more money and smaller families means that the respectable working classes have more time for leisure (see Customs below). ~The poor~ But while life is getting better for the solid working classes, who are popularly known as the 'deserving poor' and get charity when they fall on hard times, the poor are as desperate – and numerous – as ever. The 'lowest class' comprises about a quarter of urban populations. In York in 1901, for example, 27% of the people are in deep poverty and living in squalid, even deadly slum conditions, according to an investigation by Quaker philanthropist and chocolate manufacturer Seebohm Rowntree (1871-1954), published as Poverty: A study of town life. Some of these people are unemployed, some are criminals, all live a precarious existence. Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor (1851-62) is crammed with examples of poor people begging, hawking all manner of goods or even collecting and selling dog droppings. In his novel Bleak House (1853), Charles Dickens portrays Jo the ragged crossing-sweeper, a familiar figure in Victorian cities. Many have no pleasures except for drink. By 1889, Charles Booth is arguing that the poor are a menace: 'Their life is the life of savages.' Many end up in the workhouse. Rural poverty is even worse. Poor crofters in the Scottish Highlands try to survive on as little as £8 a year. On the great farms of southern England, most workers have to join a gang, led by a task-master. Child labour and poverty are common. Women are forced to give their children opium so they won't make any noise while their mothers labour in the fields. When times are bad and work runs out – as it does when the importing of cheap wheat (following the repeal of the Corn Laws) and of cheap wool destroys traditional agriculture in the 1880s – these people have no choice. They must leave the land and migrate to the booming cities or starve. By 1901, the number of men working on farms has dropped by a third. From: http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/guide19/part05.html#middleclass -Education for young women in the 19th Century- http://www.teachushistory.org/detocqueville-visit-united-states/articles/early-19th- century-attitudes-toward-women-their-roles
  3. 3. interesting paper about women in 19th Century society. Postcard published in 1906. -Which jobs were available to women?- Barred from all well-paid work women were forced into a very small range of occupations. Half were in domestic service and most of the rest were unskilled factory hands or agricultural labourers. Almost the only skilled work for women was in the bespoke clothing trade, but even that was ill-paid and low-status. Seamstresses became a cause célèbre in the 1840s. Prostitution was rife in Victorian England, the majority being "casual", resorted to only when there was no alternative. Without the safety-net of a welfare system and with all wealth in the hands of men, it was to individual men that women were forced to turn and to sell themselves when desperate for subsistence. from: http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/history/19/overview.htm "Slaves of the Needle:" The Seamstress in the 1840s by Beth Harris Assistant Professor, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York In the early 1840s, lower middle-class, middle-class, and even upper-class women ("distressed gentlewomen") were increasingly put in the position of having to support themselves. Mrs. Jameson noted that "attorneys and apothecaries, tradesmen and shopkeepers, banker's clerks &c, in this class more than two-thirds of the women are now obliged to earn their own bread"
  4. 4. ([Mrs. Jameson], "Condition of the Women and the Female Children," The Athenaeum, 16 (March 18, 1843). Unlike painting or writing, which some middle-class women were taking up as professions, needlework and teaching were seen as "natural" professions for women, and so would have been appropriate for those from the middle- and upper-classes. Whereas only some women had the education to be a governess, virtually all women had the necessary experience for needlework. Millinery and dressmaking constituted the higher end of female employment with the needle; they were "respectable" occupations for young women from middle-class or lower middle-class families. The number of women involved in dressmaking alone in the early 1840s was estimated to be 15,000 (House of Commons, Reports from Commissioners: Children's Employment, Trade and Manufactures, Sessional Papers XIV (1843) 555). Milliners and dressmakers came from families who had enough money to pay for them to be apprenticed to learn the trade. This type of employment was part of an old, established apprenticeship system (like tailoring among men), and it was one of only a few occupations open to women which offered a skill and a sense of belonging to a trade, and which promised, at least after the apprenticeship period was served, a decent and respectable living. From: http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/history/19/seamstress.htm Large numbers of people (especially women) would have worked in domestic service. nearly everyone who could afford it employed at least one servant, even quite a humble person like a shopkeeper or clerk would have been able to employ at least a maid-of-all-work (the girl as she was known) and wealthy people would employ many. Many people, men and women, would have worked in factories. a lot of women would work in 'sweatshops' sewing clothes, very poorly paid work with very long hours. Laundries were another source of employment for poor women, anyone who could afford it would send their clothes to be washed rather than going through the laborious business of washing them by hand at home. People might keep shops or public houses. Men might be employed in clerical work in offices, and during the later part of the 19th century women also began to be employed in offices. The invention of the typewriter led to more women being employed, as women had smaller, nimbler fingers which made them better typists than men. From: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081016191629AAnzCLn -What was a ball in the 19th Century? What did it consist of? What role did dance play in early nineteenth century England as a whole? Formal Balls in Jane Austen and Regency England Dancing Ettiquette in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice © Sandra Causey Oct 15, 2008
  5. 5. There were three main kinds of dances or Formal Balls of 19th century England as noted in Jane Austen's novels, and they played a significant role in people's lives. These balls included: Assembly Room dances that occurred in town, smaller dances thrown at country inns, and private balls given at a country home by a private citizen. These social events were used as ways to network as well as give young people an opportunity to catch a future spouse. ~The Assembly Room Balls~ Assembly Rooms were public venues specifically built for public balls. In his book What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, Daniel Pool talks about the Master of Ceremonies, whose responsibility was to know the background of the young men and women present, and then introduce them so they could dance, as it was improper for men and women of the day to introduce themselves. The Master of ceremonies also made sure that the attendees maintained their propriety and proper etiquette. Dances at country inns were similar to this, but on a much smaller scale. They were usually held in smaller communities, organized by locals, and consisted of dancing and dining. ~The Private Balls~ The smallest gatherings were balls thrown at private estates by individuals.These balls would also consist of dining as well as dancing. The dinner was held very late (around midnight) and could consist of a few courses to sometimes even eight or ten. According to Maggie Lane's book Jane Austen's World, the menu consisted of things such as soup, pigeon pie, veal, cheese, oysters, and trifles, and was typically served with wine or negus, which was a mixture of boiling water, wine, lemon, spices, and calves-foot jelly. Mr. Bingley throws one of these balls at Netherfield Park in Pride and Prejudice. ~The Style of Dancing~ As for the actual dances, they were not the dances of couples as we know in the modern sense. According to Janet Todd's Jane Austen in Context,, the “ladies and gentlemen [would be] standing opposite each other in a line or a circle." These dances could have as few as three couples, and upwards of twenty. Because all of the dancers, not just the
  6. 6. couples, were involved with the dancing, the more couples involved with the dance, the longer a set lasted. This was good for the couples, because if there were a lot of people dancing, they may have to wait their turn to dance, so they could flirt with their partner. This is seen at the Netherfield Ball in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth converse throughout their dance. An average dance would last around thirty minutes, giving the couple ample opportunity to talk. ~The Etiquette of Dancing~ As for the dancing, it was improper etiquette for a woman to dance more than two dances with the same partner, and if two people did dance more than two dances together, they were assumed engaged. This is seen in Sense and Sensibility when Marianne and Willoughby are “partners for half the time” and “were careful to stand together and scarcely spoke a word to anybody else." According to Pool, ladies would also carry dance cards to mark the names of men who they had promised dances to, so as to keep it all in order. All of these circumstances provided the perfect opportunity to have fun, and if they were lucky, make a life match. The copyright of the article Formal Balls in Jane Austen and Regency England in 18th & 19th Century British Fiction is owned by Sandra Causey. Permission to republish Formal Balls in Jane Austen and Regency England in print or online must be granted by the author in writing. Read more: http://victorian- fiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_ball_in_jane_austen#ixzz0RqyAwOOV From: http://victorian-fiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_ball_in_jane_austen Another good website- (more directed at American dances, but very similar) http://www.victoriana.com/Etiquette/ballroomdancing.htm