The life of a society lady is not for the faint of heart. A high social position demands innumerable responsibilities, contacts and activities to fill the day. She may be self indulgent, but she can't be lazy as play is almost as demanding as actual work.
As a lady of Society, you are an early riser, riding your horse in the Park at 9:00 a.m., dressed in a straw hat, loose coat, white shirt and light-weight skirt after having dined on a breakfast of a cup of tea and a slice of bread and butter. After a few rounds in the Park with friends, you're back at home at 10:00 a.m. ready to begin your day's work. You go through your correspondence, send replies to invitations, take care of your children, make arrangements, and plan dinners and luncheons. Depending on your wealth, you may have a ladies maid or secretary to help you with these tasks. (Picture: Rotten Row, Hyde Park by Thomas Blinks)
Next, donned in a morning dress of linen or pique, you go shopping, take an appointment at the dressmaker and visit your most intimate of friends at noon. You return home around 2:00 pm to change yet again into an afternoon gown and then you are off to host or attend a luncheon or garden party. By 4:00 pm everyone has departed leaving you with some time to read, clip an article from a book or magazine that you will discuss at dinner and quite possibly greet friends who have come to visit you. Then you're off to the park for another ride or stroll and leaving your calling cards at your friends residences.
It is now around 8:00 or 9:00 pm and you're sitting down to dinner at a friend's home and a game of cards. Then it's off to a party, concert or a ball at which time you arrive home at around 3:00 am.
Your calendar on Monday through Friday appears like this:
|8:00 am||Get up if planning to go riding. Have a cup of tea and slice of bread.|
|9:00 am||Ride or stroll in the park; if not riding, get up.|
|10:00 am||Return from ride or stroll, have breakfast. Attend to correspondence, business, planning the day's activities, future engagements.|
|11:00 am||Attend a breakfast party, go shopping. Instruct servants.|
|12:00 noon||Go riding in the park, sopping or call on intimate friends. Visit art galleries and exhibitions.|
|3:30 pm||Afternoon concert, an outing to Hurlingham, Richmond or making formal calls.|
|4:00 pm||Attend/host a garden or tea party. Attend a charity bazaar, pay afternoon calls. Men at clubs.|
|5:00 pm||Riding or strolling through the park again and paying informal calls.|
|7:00 pm||Have dinner if going to the theatre or the opera.|
|8:00 pm||Attend/host a dinner party, attend the theatre or the opera.|
|10:00 pm||Attend receptions and soirees.|
|11:00 pm||Go to a ball or dance.|
|11:30 pm||Have supper after the theatre or opera.|
|1:00 am||Have supper at the ball or dance.|
|3:00 am||Leave ball or arrive at home after attending a ball.|
Sundays are a little less hectic. You attend church services and then go for a walk in the Park (with bible in hand). Lunches and parties are still held, but less formal and departure significantly earlier than the rest of the week. (Picture: "A Fashionable Parade" by Alan Maley)
As you've probably observed, many of the activities we described pertain mainly to the women; however, the men are also expected to pay afternoon calls, attend breakfast or garden parties in addition to going to dinner, the theatre, opera and balls. The most popular male activity, however, is to retreat at one's club or clubs. Here he can participate in gaming, drinking, and yes, gossiping.
The most popular of these are the political clubs (Carlton, Junior Carlton, the Conservative, the Constitutional, the Junior Constitutional, St. Stephens, Devonshire, Eighty, National Liberal and New Reform); the service clubs (United Service, the Army and Navy, East India United Service, Calvary and the Guards); and the sportsman's clubs (The Turf, National Sporting Club, and the Traveler's Club).
You also have the social clubs (St. James, Savile, Arundel, the Arts, the Burlington, the Green Room and the Old Playgoers) as well as the less distinctive clubs (Arthur's, Boodles, the New Lyric and the Athenaeum).
These clubs are not considered as part of the season, but rather a way the men can escape from it.
|Locale||The Daily Schedule||The Park|
|The Dining||Evening Parties||Theatre and Opera|
|The Races||Sporting Occasions||Presentation at Court|
|| Family Gallery | Servants Parlour | Tour Home | Typical Day | Etiquette | Shopping Trip ||
|| Victorian Christmas | Victorian England Fun and Games | Ashton Library | Victorian Wedding ||
|| Victorian England Overview | Guest Registry | Honorary Victorian | Tours ||
|| Awards Received | Bibliography ||
|| 1876 Victorian England Home ||
Credits below copyright information
All Rights Reserved - B. Malheiro
May not be reproduced in any way without express written permission of webmaster.
Background and buttons are the creation of webmaster, B. Malheiro. These images are digitally watermarked and not for use on another site. The other images are from cd's and various newsgroups.