Amusing the Victorians
by Pamela Horn (Amberley, 416 pages, £9.99)
QueenQ Victoria once said: “We a re not amused,” but in fact, as th his book describes, it was the VictorianV era that saw the start ofo leisure time. Changing and more regulated working hours provided a more structured environment, in which people sought different ways of enjoyment and relaxation. This book looks at the reasons why leisure became available, where it could be enjoyed and how it developed in a wide variety of ways. It explains how this search for enjoyment gave rise to a number of opportunities for new enterprises to flourish, in both the long and short term.
The book explains how family life became more important, birthdays, weddings and funerals all were taken as a time for a family get together, sometimes ending in a visit to the park or other family pursuit. These pursuits vary, depending on one’s class, for example working class may go to a pub for drink and merriment, whereas members of the upper class might host a garden party or go to a theatre. It was an age of great change in lots of ways, wearing the latest ‘costume’ became essential for those that could afford it, travel, both in Britain and overseas also became more the thing to do. The book goes on to explain how different sporting events grew and how the theatres, music halls and other public entertainment became more popular.
This is a well-researched book which provides an insight into the way society grew and developed at a time of hardship for some and prosperity for others. However, the new era of leisure benefited everybody, no matter which class they came from.
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France Paul lives in France and has been researching his family tree for the past 20 years