Valentine’s Day: The product of Victorian courtship in England?

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In fact, the buttoned-up repression we often associate with the Victorian era misses the fact that Victorians were pretty creative when it came to inventing ways to get around sexual restraint, especially in the sphere of dating. In the Victorian era, many saw marriage as an economic arrangement from which the families of both the bride and groom — though often the groom — would benefit. And typically, an event known as The Season precipitated all the upper-crust matches that would lead to these arrangements. Families who took part in the event had one goal in mind: To find their daughter a suitor. No matter where they lived, the Victorian elite would send their daughters — in their mid teens and early twenties — to London for the sake of encountering a potential match. The most important element of The Season took place in the Coming Out , or the presentation of young women before the King and Queen by their mothers, aunts, or other female relative. Even though the actual presentation only lasted a few moments for each girl, the planning would start months, if not years, prior. Once a young woman had come out socially as a debutante, she could then attend parties and social gatherings.

Victorian era courtship rules and marriage facts

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The excess that characterized the Victorian era continued with increasing exuberance during the s. Skirts and bodices boasted ruffles, trim, flounces, lace.

If you have a pre-World War II home and you’re not sure when it was built, knowing some history can help you date it. There’ve been a lot of revivals, especially of colonial and Victorian era designs. And Americans have always loved changing their houses, seeking to make each one more distinctive. The generic term for late nineteenth century houses is Victorian, and the predominant characteristic is surface ornament, lots of it. By the s, simplicity was becoming fashionable.

There’s just one kind of shingles here, and they’re all plain. They were mass-produced to look handmade, so if your house has shingles like these, it could have been built at the turn of the 20th century. Uniformity is sometimes hard to see at first. Look around your house- if others on the block are pretty much the same size and shape, but they suggest a variety of far away, romantic times and places, like the Spanish colonies, a French village, yours and theirs were probably built in the s.

A similar approach to architectural design was used in the vast expansion of suburbia after World War II. So if you live in the suburbs and your house has simple geometries, some exposed structure, and large plate-glass windows, it was probably built in the s. To determine the age of a house built in the last 50 years, look at local property records, which provide the date of construction and major renovations.

Whatever methods you choose, you’ll get a deeper appreciation of your home by learning more about its history. All rights reserved.

Courtship & Marriage In Victorian England

The rules and suggestions for courtship and romance occupy most of the space in Victorian etiquette and letter writing books. There are usually flowery forms for written proposals from the suitor as well as a plethora of gushing acceptances from the bride-elect. Near the end of the section there is generally one curt letter of refusal to a marriage proposal. Usually the tone of the letter is vague and contains assurances that the honored lady thanks the gentleman for his offer but she cannot accept his proposal.

Ok, so obviously it would be naive to glorify any era that included repressive I moved on to the Victorians and their funny ways with “tussie.

All rights reserved. And say a charming bachelor catches your eye across the dance floor and wants to get to know you. He could a. Even if some of the cards were meant as jokes, not everyone was laughing. But absent from this concern was whether a woman might want to receive a card from someone she fancied, or even give one herself to a man—or a woman. But some were more ambiguous about who was doing the sending and who the receiving. Some cards had a space for the giver to write his or her name, and Mays has found two examples in which that name is female.

The other appears to be given to a woman by a woman. The need for escort cards faded along with chaperones and other societal norms of the time. Victorian social conventions began to break down at the turn of the century, around the time that women started riding bicycles with other young people—unsupervised. As the century marched on, social life for young people only continued to evolve the Model T Ford, for example, allowed men and women to get even further away from chaperones.

Manufacturers still sold acquaintance cards until at least the midth century, but by that point they were likely viewed as novelties.

Dating from the Victorian era, this stunning house has been beautifully restored

The Victorian period is also regarded as the era of Romanticism. In those days, courtship was considered to be a tradition and was very popular. Queen Victoria and her family were the idols of the Victorian society, even in the case of courtship. The society had laid down some stringent rules for courting and these had to be followed.

The primary method of knowing prospective suitors were Balls and dances.

Dating in the Victorian era in America and in Britain meant navigating through a fog of modesty, prudence, ritual, corsets, top hats, calling cards.

Instead, access to the passage had remained hidden in plain sight for about 70 years. The passage, created for a procession to the 17th-century coronation banquet of Charles II, was then used for about years for other coronations and by lawmakers to gain access from the hall through to the original House of Commons chamber. Benjamin Franklin would also have passed through it on visits to the House of Commons during his time living in London.

The passage leading through to Westminster Hall was blocked up on both sides in the midth century as part of renovation works after a fire in Parliament. The route lay untouched for close to a century until it was found by workers carrying out repairs after the building was bombed in World War II. With the passing of time, the door was forgotten and historians thought that the s repair job had blocked access entirely. After a key was made to fit the keyhole, the team discovered that it led to a small room, inside which they found the original hinges for two wooden doors — 11 feet tall and 6 feet wide — that would have opened into Westminster Hall.

The discovery of the passage was not the only surprise for the team of historians: They also found graffiti dating to on one of the walls. When the door was blocked up in the 19th century, the Victorian laborers who laid the bricks left behind a personal mark. Westminster Hall dates to the 11th century, though most of the Houses of Parliament, also called the Palace of Westminster, was constructed in the mids.

The passing decades have taken their toll.

The Dating Traditions During the Victorian Period

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Knowing how to identify Victorian era female hairstyles can be one of the most surefire ways of dating old family photos. Remember, however, that the.

In the s dating was quite a bit different to how things are done today. People would court for a time and then marry, often times knowing little about relationships or even the opposite sex in general. But, towards the end of the 19th century, newspaper advertisements were one way that lonely singles could potentially find love in what were early dating service schemes. Sadly, not all of these schemes were above board.

The singletons who fell for this scheme then had their matches -fake heiresses and lords supplied by the association- fall out of contact. Then the association would match them with other working class people who had next to no money at all. The Matrimonial Herald and Fashionable Marriage Gazette then published these want ads, column after column of people looking to marry.

At the time many marriages were based on money, with matches made to satisfy spending habits or family wishes as often as those made for love. Men in particular were keen to benefit from heiresses, whose fortunes would become their property once they were wedded. For the unlucky applicants the closest they would come to someone of wealth might be a potential betrothal to a servant in a wealthy household.

My Dearest: Love and Courtship in the Gilded Age

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GQHF Visitor Services Coordinator, delve into the intricate customs and traditions surrounding dating, marriage, and love in the Victorian Era.

The Victorians have a reputation for being prim, proper and persnickety. As a member of the upper class in Victorian England during the reign of Queen Victoria , , one had to know the exhaustive rules of etiquette that went along with one’s position. Today, many of these rules seem arbitrary and silly: Does it really matter the order in which dinner party guests enter the dining room?

At the time it did, because such social niceties constituted basic manners and politeness. Of course, some etiquette rules were arbitrary, but they were nonetheless functional. Every society has such rules — like whether to drive on the right or left side of the street — to establish expectations and keep things running smoothly.

Women’s Clothing

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There were many rules in respect of dating which were to be complied with. SOME OF THE RULES OF VICTORIAN COURTING. 1. A single woman never.

Ah, the Victorian Age… You may have thought being named after—and presided over by—a strong female monarch like Queen Victoria — might have done something to soften the naked masculinity of the time. This was the age of muscular Christianity, the age in which the western male came to dominate and subjugate through industry and empire; the age, in short, in which men were real men, women were real men; even the children were real men.

But brute masculinity was only one side of the coin. The Victorians were also romantics, albeit in a rigidly regulated way. Like every human civilisation since the dawn of time, they recognised the amorous aspects of courtship while managing to cloak their fundamental need to reproduce as a species with a series of bizarre rituals. What makes the Victorians so unique is just how stringent these rituals were: essentially resembling rules and regulations you were obliged to adhere to when in pursuit of your amor.

As you can imagine, for the middle and upper classes this made dating a minefield. Restrictive formality dictated every interaction you had with your potential match, meaning you really had to watch what you said and how you said it. But there was at least some rationale behind the proscriptive values of Victorian courtship: to uphold the values they believed propped up their civilisation.

In photos: Holmewood Gardens – a triangular Brixton park dating back to the Victorian era

The shape of the dress changed significantly during the s, and the bustle was most distinguishing feature of the new 70s fashion. This high protuberance at the back of the skirt carried on the s trend toward flat fronts with extra material gathered in the back. The excess that characterized the Victorian era continued with increasing exuberance during the s.

Victorian-era “calling” was specifically structured towards the goal of marriage, but dating triggered a cultural shift in socializing between the.

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Secret Passage Dating to 1660 Is Found Inside U.K. Parliament

Holmewood Gardens is a small triangular park off Brixton Hill dating back to the s, when it originally formed a communal garden at the centre of a private development of Victorian houses. The London Gardens website details its past:. It originally fell within LB Wandsworth prior to borough boundary changes. Restoration works in included new railings and the intervening roadway was closed off.

The year Victoria became queen of England was the official beginning of the Victorian Era. Courtship was the dating period that occurred before marriage.

Victorian courtship and online dating may seem unrelated, but English Department Chair and Professor of English Language and Literature Jennifer Phegley has related the two together. Paying particular attention to matrimonial dating notices in the Victorian era, Phelgey puts a modern spin on the topic by referencing the surging popularity of dating websites like eHarmony and Match.

As a result, people were matched based on how their profiles advertised themselves to the unknown public. The model for this newly-developing marriage came from an unusual source, the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Nevertheless, popularity grew, giving rise to private matchmakers, and eventually, the modern-day dating industry.

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Dating and Marriage in the Victorian Era


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