Amus­ing the Vic­to­ri­ans

by Pamela Horn (Am­ber­ley, 416 pages, £9.99)

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE -

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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Paul Con­nor

France Paul lives in France and has been re­search­ing his fam­ily tree for the past 20 years

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