Category Archives: Leisure and Recreation

Vicars and Tarts!! Well almost

Tom Hughes Clerical Errors: A Victorian Series, Volume 1, (Kindle edition), £3.86 The behaviour of public figures has always been subject to scrutiny from an often prurient public. This has been particularly the case with clergymen especially those who pronounce … Continue reading

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Posted in Books, Class, Leisure and Recreation, Middle Class, Nineteenth century society, Nineteenth century women, Religion, Women and Legal Rights, Working Class | Tagged , , , ,

Sir Richard Tangye 1833-1906

For the past year or so I’ve been helping Stephen Roberts to publish his work on Victorian Birmingham. This includes biographical studies of A. J. Langford and Sir Benjamin Stone, MP and pioneering photographer, as well a Mocking Men of … Continue reading

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Posted in Books, Economic developments, Leisure and Recreation, Nineteenth century society | Tagged , , , , ,

Other suppliers of leisure

There was much self-made leisure, whether communal or associational on the one hand or personal and family based on the other.  In its communal or associational forms it was a major means of supply of leisure for the middle-class urban … Continue reading

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Posted in Class, Leisure and Recreation, Nineteenth century society, Urbanisation | Tagged , ,

Leisure and the state

Leisure activities were made available in four main ways and as a result provided employment in leisure.  First, the state, whether at local or national level, both created a legal framework and acted as a direct supplier. In the first … Continue reading

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Posted in Government and reform, Leisure and Recreation, Nineteenth century society | Tagged , ,

Holidays, pubs and popular culture

The seaside holiday may be a dubious contender for inclusion in urban popular culture for it represented escape from the city.  But the manner of that escape suggests that urban popular culture was transposed to the coast.  The history of … Continue reading

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Posted in Class, Leisure and Recreation, Nineteenth century society, Urbanisation | Tagged , , ,

Developing urban popular culture

Urban popular culture in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries developed three important dimensions. First, it was a mass culture that permeated across communities. There were activities that people paid to attend as spectators, audience or readers. This included theatres, circuses … Continue reading

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Posted in Leisure and Recreation, Nineteenth century society, Urbanisation, Working Class | Tagged , , ,

Artisan leisure culture

Artisan leisure culture was based on a particular type of work and its rise and decline paralleled that of the artisans. In the first half of the nineteenth century it flourished, but as the artisans themselves became more absorbed into … Continue reading

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Middle-class urban culture?

By contrast, urban middle-class culture, in its origins, was distinctively provincial. Until 1800, it was a culture that was more obviously urban than middle-class, expressing many of the values of the urban gentry, who themselves, may be considered as part … Continue reading

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A leisured class?

How did people spend their leisure time? Leisure time can be seen as free time, time in which the individual is relieved from the pressures of work and other obligations, the choice of how to spend leisure time can be … Continue reading

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Reforming or re-forming leisure?

There was a strong impression among some contemporaries that the attempt to abolish certain pastimes had done more harm than good because it had resulted in the working-classes being left with very few outlets for leisure, other than those of … Continue reading

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Popular culture: Case Study 3: The ‘opium eaters’

The importance and impact of drug taking across social boundaries in the nineteenth century has only recently become a subject of serious historical study. [1] Opium or opiate compounds were used widely in the first half of the nineteenth century … Continue reading

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Posted in Leisure and Recreation, Nineteenth century society, Poverty, Working Class | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Popular Culture: Case Study 2: Temperance

In the early-nineteenth century ale, wine and spirits were cheap and consumed in large quantities. [1] With the dangers of disease from untreated water it was natural for town-dwellers to rely increasingly on alcohol and on water that had been … Continue reading

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Popular culture: Case Study 1: Cruelty to animals

The emergence of ‘respectability’ as the defining characteristic of acceptable forms of behaviour was a major feature of the changed attitudes to traditional forms of social behaviour. This can be seen in the cases of cruelty to animals, temperance and … Continue reading

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What was popular culture in 1830?

In 1830, popular culture was public, robust and gregarious, largely masculine and involved spectacle and gambling with an undercurrent of disorder and physical violence. The distinction between high and popular culture, between opera and drama on the one hand and … Continue reading

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Attacking cultural experience

The late-eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century saw two major changes in the cultural experience of English society. [1] First, there was erosion of the older popular culture as a result of the withdrawal of patronage by the … Continue reading

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