Entertainment in the victorian era

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Leisure or Free Time

Is a period of time spent out of work and essential domestic activity. It is also the period of recreational and discretionary time before or after compulsory activities such as eating and sleeping, going to work or running a business, attending school and doing homework, household chores, and day-to-day stress.

The word “leisure” comes from the Latin word “licere”,meaning “to be permitted” or “to be free”. It first appeared in the early fourteenth century. The notions of leisure time are thought to have emerged in Victorian Britain in the late nineteenth century, late in the industrial revolution.

The Victorian Era (1837 - 1901)

The Victorian age in British history is named after Queen Victoria, who was Britain's queen from 1837 until 1901.

It was atremendously exciting period when many artistic styles, literary schools, as well as, social, political and religious movements flourished. It was a time of prosperity, broad imperial expansion, and great political reform.

Victorian prosperity for the elite was built on the development of new machinery, new work methods and an underpaid workforce consisting of adults and children living inwretched poverty. Many people previously rural became urbanized by the new rail transport.

Early factories required workers to perform long shifts, often up to eighteen hours per day, with only Sundays off work. By the 1870s though, more efficient machinery and the emergence of trade unions resulted in decreases in working hours per day, and allowed industrialists to give their workers Saturdays aswell as Sundays off work.

Affordable and reliable transport in the form of railways allowed urban workers to travel on their days off, with the first package holidays to seaside resorts appearing in the 1870s, a trend which spread to industrial nations in Europe and North America. As workers channeled their wages into leisure activities, the modern entertainment industry emerged inindustrialized nations, catering to entertain workers on their days off. This Victorian concept - the weekend - heralded the beginning of leisure time as it is known today.

“Entertainment in the Victorian Era”

There were big differences in homes, schools, toys and entertainments.
No TV, no computers, no central heating, no cars, no air travel - unless you went up in a balloon! Many children went towork, not to school.

Welcome to the Victorian world!

Rich and poor families

In a Victorian town, it was easy to tell who was rich and who was poor.

Children from richer homes were well fed, wore warm clothes and had shoes on their feet. They did not work, but went to school or had lessons at home.

Poor children looked thin and hungry, wore ragged clothes, and some had noshoes. Poor children had to work. They were lucky if they went to school.

Where did Victorian children play?

Although many children worked in Victorian times, they still had time to play.

Street fun: In street games, children shared toys like hoops, marbles and skipping ropes, with friends in the street, or in the school playground. They played chasing games such as tag and played catchwith balls. If they hadn't got a proper ball, they made balls from old rags, and bats from pieces of wood. They also played hopscotch. Victorian children were able to play out in the street as there was less traffic than today. There were no cars until the 1880s. They crowded around street musicians, wheeling a barrel organ, which played tunes when the handle was turned.Fun at home: Victorians made their own entertainment at home. They had no radio or TV. They enjoyed singing, and a rich family would sing around the piano, while poorer families enjoyed tunes on a pipe or a fiddle. Families played card games and board games, and acted out charades. At birthday parties, a special treat was a magic lantern show. An oil or gas lamp...
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