Some appalling social conditions existed during these times, and the gap between the powerful wealthy and the working class, was most evident with one major setback; women could not vote.
Much inequality was evident, but the industrial revolution made never-ending changes; from novelties to clothing, kid’s toys, dinner services, and cutlery.
This was almost like an era of sudden grandeur bursting forth.
The previous dullness of the middle classes changed, and a greater number of domestic workers were employed, previously unheard of.
Women were now included in less tedious chores and could partake in their husband’s business interests.
Though the industrial revolution brought about huge changes, socially, life was strictly regulated with never-ending rules of etiquette.
Freedom arrived in the mid-1800s, allowing for access to parks, libraries, and halls. Indoor activities became the rage in the form of singing and performing at social gatherings.
The piano was an emblem of social status, influencing music and dancing, but dignity was adhered to. To greet someone like “hi there old fellow” displayed ill-breeding conversation, forbade “ small talk” and gossip as could lead to a discussion!
On the home front, a chubby person was encouraged to marry a thin person, one with bright red hair, and a black-headed one. Though genetics was in its infancy, their choices made good sense.
As for beauty, there was a fear of exterior cosmetics, as the white transparent skin revealed “class” and painted ladies viewed as prostitutes.
However, every 2-3 months, a teaspoon of powdered charcoal would be added to sweetened water or milk, allowing for a transparent complexion.
Arsenic wafers and ammonia would bleach the skin. As for hair, curls were all the fashion, but because the curling iron had to be heated in a fire, the delightful locks often ended up on the floor!
In closing, their fashion, etiquette, and politics are bizarre in today’s lifestyle, but we have even greater challenges in understanding the future.