The weird and whacky world of the Victorians


Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
The Victorians definitely get a bad rap.
Were they really puritanical? by early 21st century standards, yes.
But the medievals and early moderns were too. And largely due to the influence of the Church.

But the Victorians made the developments, whether politically, socially, or culturally, that we rely on.
Sewers, public education, mass political suffrage, no child labour, no slavery, etc.

I agree that they weren't puritanical. Nonconformists though, maybe a bit, but in a civic minded 'stop going to the pub so much everyone' kind of way

Sewers and public education was toward the end of the Victorian age. If you class a child as under 16, then child labour continued into the Edwardian era, though some laws to protect children in the workplace were being put in place before that. Hours for example Slavery was abolished in the British colonies before the Victorian era.

The Post Mortem photos mentioned earlier are creepy but understandable. At first most people could not afford to have their photo taken but gradually it became less expensive. The PM photos were popular at a certain narrow time period and with a certain class who could just about afford it. This is why the decor in them looks a bit mid to lower middle class but not totally working class. Weird to us now, but they simply wanted to remember what their deceased relative looked like and it was probably the first family photo many of them owned.
Likes: Niobe


Forum Staff
Apr 2010
T'Republic of Yorkshire
The Victorian age is usually considered to coincide with the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. Frankenstein: or, the Modern Promethius was published in 1818, Michael Faraday was working on electricity from about 1812 to 1832, and Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922.
While you are correct with all those dates, the lives of all the people mentioned overlapped with the Victorian age, and can certainly be said to be contemporaneous with it.
Oct 2015
The Great Binge

Quite apart from porn and necrophiliac tendancies, the Victorians were also off their heads a lot of the time. They were doped up to the gills, abusing all kinds of narcotics. Mr. Sherlock Holmes famously used a 7& solution of cocaine to stimulate his mind when he was bored (of which his friend Dr. Watson disapproved). Laudanum, heroin, cocaine, opium and so on were widely available. Coca-Cola, as many people know, originally contained cocaine.

It was only in the early 1900s that laws came in to regulate narcotics.
That would certainly explain author Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll and his book Alice in Wonderland. During Victorian times, it was possible to visit a apothecary and buy a penny's worth of opium as an over the counter medicine.

Be thankful you never lived in Victorian times. They had some very peculiar reasons for admission to an asylum. Novel reading and fighting fire amongst others. inasnejgjgjgjjgjhg.jpg
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Likes: Nostromo


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
"Why was it necessary to hold children still for long periods of time when photography could be done quickly, though? "

the exposure time needed to imprint the image on the collodial solution of silver salts was initially nearly half an hour
due to better product preparation and the use of glass plates the process took from 6 to twelve seconds by 1850 depending on the light ,
outside pictures were preferred , there is nearly always more light ,
in a studio it would take longer especially if one wanted a fine detail

the list is a guide for interning women as mentally disturbed


Ad Honorem
Oct 2012

In 1898 Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild took a carriage pulled by one horse and three zebra to Buckingham Palace, in an attempt to prove that zebras could be domesticated.
Likes: notgivenaway


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
The bit about Opium addiction is not an aberration ,
the use of laudanum with 10% opium was commonly prescribed as a pain killer , cough medicine , anti depressant ........
it could be obtained without prescription and thousand of people , often women were addicted
since it was quite cheap and widely available this didn't lead to criminality usually ,
however some of the respectable matrons of society could be borderline delirious
Likes: Niobe
Feb 2019
Pennsylvania, US
Thing is, for a period just after pop photography, many people never had a photo of relatives . Then photos became popular / easier, old uncle Fred dies and ... " Oh, we dont have a photo of him , so ..... "

Did they drape the boys arm around the sister for the photo ?

I used to love to go through these huge galleries of 'memento mori' photographs and ask everyone to guess who was dead. Usually the ones with a sort of hazy, ghost-like quality were living (though you'd usually think they were the more ethereal ones in the photo) and the ones in perfect focus were dead. You could also look at the hands for discoloring or for facial swelling or for those eyes they would paint on someone's eyelids. The best was the "trick question" photo of a family - who's dead? They all are! Surprise! :oops:
Likes: Futurist


Forum Staff
Apr 2010
T'Republic of Yorkshire

The Victorian age gave rise to many of the things that have become the basis of modern spirituality. Despite the rise of rationalism and science, the age also saw personalities such as Madame Blavatsky, MacGregor Mathersm Aleister Crowley (just about) work their way into the upper levels of society. The esoteric Theosophical Society and Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn were formed during the Victorian era.

The Society for Psychical Research was also formed during this time, dedicated to "scholarly study of the paranormal".

In an era of gothic fiction and rapid scientific progress, as well as contact with other cultures, it perhaps isn;t surprising that the Victorians sought to make some sense of their world through spirituality.

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