Guide Clothing the Poor in Nineteenth-Century England

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May 4, at pm. Victorian women had to conform to the latest fashion as illustrated in a host of magazines. Illustration shows women modelling fashionable hats and gowns of the time, c The most celebrated redeemer of prostitutes was the Prime Minister, W E Gladstone, whose reputation was saved from unsavoury innuendoes only by his well-known personal integrity. It was becoming clear that the new Poor Law Act was not succeeding in its aim, despite successive tightening of the screws. Nor could private charities stem the tide of the destitute. Very gradually, the idea took root that the relief of poverty should cease to be an individual, local duty and become a national responsibility.

Article in the Liverpool Mercury about a meeting of the 'Fallen Women', Share this page Print this page Please consider the environment before printing. The working classes and the poor. Article written by: Liza Picard Published: 14 Oct Liza Picard examines the social and economic lives of the Victorian working classes and the poor.

Usage terms Public Domain. Street Incidents : photographs Photograph of omnibus coachmen by John Thomson, Costermongers During the late s there were probably about 30, street sellers known as costermongers in London, each selling his or her particular wares from a barrow or donkey-cart.

On the streets Men could earn pennies as porters, as long as they stayed clear of the associations which had a monopoly of porterage in London. Workhouses When you have no prospect of a living wage, or sickness or disability or market forces prevent you from working, what are you to do? The workhouse itself would provide the work. Comic song about the workhouse Illustration for a song about the workhouse contrasting a miserly and well-fed overseer with starving, ragged clothed inmates, estimated Workhouse food was just enough to keep the inmates from starvation.

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Images Dinner at a cheap lodging house, Casual labour The shipbuilding yards and the new docks in London and the north east required huge labour forces, but demand was unpredictable. Prostitution It was no wonder that so many women took to prostitution, when the alternatives were so grim.

Philanthrophy A number of charitable individuals and societies attempted to 'save' prostitutes, who were mostly outcast and desperate. Share this page. Others sewed at home to earn cash by making or renovating garments for local customers. Theft played its part in the provision of clothes for use or resale, and in the eighteenth century there are numerous records of vanished household servants who took quantities of clothing with them to pawn or sell. Peddlers traveled around selling clothing, accessories, and cloth to individual households in the eighteenth century before communications and transport improved.

Many working people continued to clothe themselves and their families in ways more suited to their circumstances than traveling to expensive shops. Local or workplace clothing clubs and, by the mid-nineteenth century, mail order with payment by installments played an important part in enabling them to be adequately and fashionably clothed. Huge markets for slops and utilitarian clothing, including uniforms for the military, led to the development of the mass manufacture of ready-mades from the eighteenth century onward.

In America the manufacture of jeans for men demonstrates the growth of factory-based specialist clothing companies.

Victorian Era Poor Relief Outside the Workhouse

As urbanization coupled with expanding markets during the nineteenth century, new jobs grew up in service industries such as banking and insurance, which resulted in large numbers of low-paid white collar jobs for men and women. A big manufacturing sector developed for affordable clothes for this work, such as suits, blouses, collars, and shoes, which could be widely distributed through growth in urban retailing.

The common utilitarian dress for laboring men before the twentieth century was made up of breeches or trousers, jackets, and waistcoats of hard-wearing materials such as moleskin, fustian, or corduroy. In some situations, working women were the first women to don breeches or trousers. This occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century in Britain in pits and mines, in work associated with fishing, and in brickworks , and in the United States where women did agricultural work , and in some utopian communities.

In many manual occupations, until shorter skirts were widely accepted, women simply hitched up long skirts in various ways. Commonly, in many countries, they wore aprons and woolen shawls. In eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century Britain, the red woolen, hooded cloak was commonly worn by rural women. Women used boots instead of shoes; pattens and then clogs were valuable assets for workingmen and -women on dirt roads and later in factories and mills.

Stout and durable footwear has always been a major investment for those undertaking physical labor. Similarly in the United States, denim became widely used by the second half of the nineteenth century for tough work by cattlemen, on the railways and in the mines. Roomy and rugged work shirts accompanied these. Leather and suede have been used in working garments for centuries and persists to the present day, providing hard-wearing and durable covering in the form of aprons for blacksmiths and chaps, gaiters, gloves, and various specialist items and outerwear for other occupations.

Although Britain differed from continental Europe in having no recognizable regional folk dress, two agricultural garments stand out as characteristic of rural workers, and these were worn either at work or as Sunday best. These were smocks for men, from the eighteenth century onwards, which provided a measure of protection and warmth; and the cotton sunbonnet for women, which was decorated with tucks and piping and had strikingly long panels to protect the neck.

Fishermen have always had special clothing needs to protect them against the elements.

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Clothing the Poor in Nineteenth-Century England

In this context, oilskin was developed in the nineteenth century, and the woolen hand-knitted, close-fitting and ornamented upper garment for fishermen known variously as a gansy, jersey, Guernsey, knitfrock, and later sweater or jumper, became associated with the island fishing communities of Britain. Versions of it were later widely adopted as warm, informal attire for both sexes. Occupational dress evolves as new occupations emerge, and innovative protective elements are introduced as new risks appear. In the industrializing period, boiler suits accompanied the use of steam power, and since the advent of forms of power that propel us into alien environments, special forms of clothing have been developed for, among others, pilots, divers, and astronauts.

To an extent, occupational dress has often represented social and local or regional identities. In this sense, it has shown more style and commanded more loyalty than is strictly utilitarian.

Clothing the Poor in Nineteenth-Century England - Vivienne Richmond - Google книги

In in northern England a local bus driver was fired for refusing to exchange his habitual cloth cap for a baseball-style company cap. The dramatic fantail hats of the garbage collectors of early nineteenth century England or the intricate patterning on fishermen's knitwear have all testified to expressive and creative elements in occupational dress.

Crane, Diana. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, De Marly, Diana. London: B. Victorian Children. They would repeat this every week. Life in the Victorian Age. Search this site. Navigation Home. Weathly Clothing. Poor Clothing. Social Gatherings.

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