The Victorian Era: An Explosion of Change

On June 20, 1837, a beautiful woman took the throne of Britain and forever changed the course of history and culture.  Known as the longest reigning British monarch and the longest reigning female monarch with a rule of 63 years and 7 months, this woman was none other than the renowned Queen Victoria.  The time of her position in power was called the Victorian era and was a period of serenity, prosperity, refinement and confidence for the British Empire.  It was also marked by cultural, industrial, scientific, political, and military change.

Victorian Boot:

Victorian Boot

As the Victorian era boasted of cultural sensitivities, it was full of opportunities for those of creative fervor.  The arts were where the action was at.  From literature to music to drama to opera, artistry was at a high.  It was from this period that the famous musical theatre composers, Gilbert and Sullivan, produced their comic operettas and left their legacy.  In the realm of literature, beloved authors like Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, rose to fame as they wrote about social class distinctions of the day.  On the music scene, this is the era in which brass bands grew in popularity, as well as the development of the “bandstand”.  In addition to the arts, there were other ways to entertain one’s self.  For example, gentlemen were frequent patrons to dining clubs and casinos for recreational drinking and gambling.  In fact, it was this activity that propelled evangelists and reform groups to come after such establishment in efforts to stop the “sinful” activities.

Another significant contribution from the Victorian era was in the arena of technology.  During this time, transportation was greatly improved on, with modes of travel such as stagecoaches, steam ships, canals, railways, and trains.  These modes of mobility saved people a good chunk of time in travel and expedited trade.  As a result, industries were strengthened and grew in success.  Aside from advancements in transportation, there were also major developments in engineering.  One of the most notable of these was the construction of the sewer system in London.  This drastically made water quality better and water networks were expanded in the 1880s.  Alongside water networks, gas networks for lighting and heating were created.

Victorian Top Hat – Black:

Victorian Top Hat - Black

With the changing culture and technological advances in the Victorian era, it also brought about changing fashions.  One of the biggest effects of the time on clothing was a shift from home sewn and custom made clothes to mass produced factory made apparel, due to new machinery and materials.  The invention of the lock-stitch sewing machine and lace machinery enabled dress making to have a more lavish look with trim and lace.  Materials, such as rubber and chemical dyes, also allowed for greater strength and colors in clothing styles.  With many options for clothing construction during this period, the fashions of the Victorian era were elaborate and sophisticated.

The Victorian era was a truly special time in history and without its influence, culture and technology wouldn’t be the same today.  As the era’s legacy lives on, why not take a moment to check out our Victorian collection and other attire at: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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