If you zoom in, you will see the calendar is dated “March 1899.” This picture hails right back to 1899, inches before the new century began. Interestingly, this photo doesn’t really show a real Victorian office setting. In fact, it was a stereoscope card called “flirtation.” However, it does give us a clue about the expectations of the typical Victorian office.
We see a woman seated behind a typewriter in full Victorian garb. Her full-length dress is not only full in terms of length but width too. It balloons around her in crinoline hoops. The dress covers the woman up to her neck and wrists. Interestingly, the typewriter became quite commonplace from the 1870s onwards meaning women working in Victorian offices was not uncommon during this time.
Men Holding Hands
As surprising as it can be, Victorian men could display their intimacy and affection for one another in front of the camera lens. Here we have a photo taken during the 1880s that shows two men holding hands. In fact, these two Victorian men took handholding very seriously, as both hands are holding a hand.
Compared to these two men, we could really have a lesson on handholding because they do it on another level completely. The two men are also posed with cigars in their mouths (customary for the time), hats (even more customary for the time), and crossed legs. It is a very touching, but surprising photo for the Victorians.
A Soccer Player from Back in the Day
Did you know that association football – league soccer – goes back to Victorian times? That’s right. Some mega-famous soccer clubs like Manchester United F.C. and Liverpool F.C. formed at the tail end of the 19th century. The photo here is of a soccer player during the Victorian period. The uniform of this soccer player in 1896 bears some resemblance to current uniforms.
His long socks are the same color as his shirt, while his shorts are a contrasting color. He also is wearing soccer boots, although we imagine that no one could play soccer comfortably in this pair. The soccer ball itself has seen the most change. It is a much smaller, heavier, and darker ball than the one we currently play with.
The Infamous Mistletoe
When we think of Victorians, we generally think of a conservative culture that didn’t encourage intimacy. However, mistletoes were a whole other story. The Victorians were absolutely in love with mistletoes – and took the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe to heart. Interestingly, the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe began during the 18th century but grew in popularity during Victorian times.
Here, we see how popular the tradition was. We have two couples and some uncoupled ladies at a chic rendezvous in full-on Victorian garb. One of the couples is having a tender moment under the mistletoe. For what seems like an ultra-conservative period, we must compliment the Victorians on their romance.
A Victorian Christmas
We’re not the only ones who eagerly look forward to Christmas. From this photo, we see that the Victorians also made a big deal about Christmas. We see a Victorian family posing with their Christmas tree. What’s interesting is that we aren’t so different from our 19th-century counterparts. They too have decorated their big tree with bright, shiny decorations.
The Christmas decorations also extend beyond the tree so the whole living room has the Christmas spirit. What is different is the family’s wardrobe. No one is exempt from wearing a high collar. Even the two younger boys have their coats buttoned to the very last button. The women in the family too wear high collars accompanied by flared sleeves.