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Ideas for victorian day please!

(17 Posts)
catnipkitty Tue 18-Sep-12 21:16:19

The girls have decided to live a day like the Victorians - we've done lots of research...I'm thinking no electricity, candles, domestic chores, going shopping to buy our daily food from the high street...only playing with wooden toys, board games, jigsaws, no plastic, no car, no processed food! Don't really have the resources for victorian dressing up. Any ideas for other ways to make things 'come alive'? What should we eat?

Thank you!
C x

Emandlu Tue 18-Sep-12 21:23:21

I would think it would depend on the time of year. In the wintertimes they would have eaten a lot of pickles and jams, and possibly dried meats.
It would also have depended on social status I'd have thought.

chocolatecrispies Tue 18-Sep-12 22:21:40

I guess you've watched that programme '1900 house'? That would have loads of ideas. Can't remember if you thought of washing clothes by hand on a board? And I know it's HE but how about a ragged school or similar? We have a ragged school museum near us, they may have some resources online. Or they could have a governess I suppose. They could find out what and how Victorian children were taught. Maps of the British Empire? And writing letters with sealing wax and ink pens. Sewing samplers? It sounds like a lot of fun, I wish mine were older! You could make pinafores from a old sheet or similar and wear those over a long skirt or dress? Are they planning to be the aristocracy or middle class or poor? - it would make a huge difference to the day!

flussymummy Tue 18-Sep-12 23:38:59

Oh my DD would live to join in! I'd explore the social class idea too- try one day as upper class, the next as a very poor family. If you live anywhere near York, the York Museum has a Victorian schoolroom that my DDs love to play at schools in (oh the irony!)
Maybe just finding some long brown dresses in a charity shop would be novelty enough clothing-wise?
How about finding an old copy of Mrs Beeton's recipe book and trying some?
"How we used to live" was a great TV series that we loved at school, I wonder if it's still available?

MrsBovary Tue 18-Sep-12 23:49:53

Toy theatres were popular, you could even make one of those. www.bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas/activity/toy-theatre.shtml#instructions

scrapbooks and scrapbooking was popular pastime too

Paper flowers the-rustic-victorian.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/easy-paper-flowers.html

I've a historical cookery book somewhere, I'll look at the Victorian section for you.

lisad123 Tue 18-Sep-12 23:54:09

If your anywhere near there is a wonderful place called kentwell.
It's like going back in time to the Tudor period, it's great fun. www.kentwell.co.uk

Brandnewbrighttomorrow Tue 18-Sep-12 23:59:12

If you have a museum or stately home nearby they might loan dressing up clothes - our local English heritage site did for a Victorian day at school. I just put my DD in a longish (pink!) dress and tied a shawl around her shoulders - add a straw hat and basket and voila one Victorian flower girl grin

MrsBovary Wed 19-Sep-12 00:04:44

This is some Victorian and Edwardian food (National Trust book). Not sure how inspiring or useful it might be.

Something called Felbrigg sponge cake (is that just a version of Victoria sponge cake? Not sure)

Victoria sponge cake (if not the same as above)

Mulligatawny soup (a fashionable Victorian soup)

Florence Nightingale Kedgeree (originally from an 1862 cookery book)

Mutton was popular too, apparently

Apparently 'tea' became fashionable as a meal. "At five o' clock with lots of cakes and biscuits"

Saracen Wed 19-Sep-12 05:11:01

My family has been enjoying the BBC series "If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home" on iPlayer. The episode currently available is The Kitchen. I don't remember all the details of the Victorian period - we watched it last year - but I do remember how they separated all their rubbish in order to sell what they could, eg to the rag and bone man.

From the other episodes, I remember an entire family of five sleeping in one double bed (called "pigging"). Even in a wealthy family I think it was usual for people to sleep together. Quite likely your girls would have shared a bed.

Don't forget the chamberpot!! Also, heat water on the cooker (or use cold water) to take to a basin for a wash. Wash yourselves in the kitchen or bedroom, because the bathroom as such didn't exist until late Victorian times or later.

If there aren't any typical Victorian children's books in your library, you could print some off from Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Category:Children%27s_Bookshelf , not forgetting to serve up a large dose of moral instruction, LOL.

Tinuviel Wed 19-Sep-12 15:11:30

The Crown of Success was a very popular book in Victorian times.

For middle/upper class how about reading aloud (taking it in turns) or you reading aloud while your DDs do some sewing/embroidery?

chocolatecrispies Wed 19-Sep-12 19:37:17

Blist's Hill in Ironbridge is a living museum going back to the industrial revolution, it is so good that when we went there we went back the next day!

catnipkitty Wed 19-Sep-12 20:48:38

THANK YOU! Such fabulous ideas smile and of course Victoria sponge cake. Yes, planning middle-ish class (with lots of reminders about what an easy life we all have now compared to then!). We'll be starting the day by 'going back in time' as we come downstairs and sticking 'out of bounds' notices on things! Plus they'll be paying me a penny for the privilage of chanting their times tables!!!

take3 Thu 20-Sep-12 18:27:10

I did this with our children and the day included a victorian past times session. I taught the girls to sew some basic stitches...cross stitch and a running stitch, using embroidery thread. They made a little bookmark. We also sang nursery rhymes and I put a plant in the middle of the floor - they skipped around singing 'Here we go round the Mulberry bush'. They loved it!

Saracen Fri 21-Sep-12 08:58:09

If they usually wear pajamas, you could put them in nightdresses for the night - perhaps a shirt belonging to an adult could substitute.

My dd tried a nightdress for the first time last night. I explained to her that men, women and children all used to wear nightdresses because there was no elastic and fastenings such as belts or braces were not comfortable at night.

Saracen Fri 21-Sep-12 09:00:25

Oh, you might throw the windows open at the start of the day to get it authentically cold in the house! (Just turning the heating off at the beginning of the day might not allow the temperature to drop quickly enough for a proper experience, LOL.)

maggi Fri 21-Sep-12 18:11:00

If you live near Hampshire....
Manor Farm outside Southampton is brilliant. It has a victorian schoolroom and lots of Victorian farm equipment plus a Victorian farm which they have featured on a tv programme. They do events and school trips.

To help put Victorian life in context you could also visit Butser Ancient farm near Portsmouth. This is a bronze age (I think, or it might be iron age). So has rudimentary mud and wood buildings and ancient animal breeds.

Weald and Downland museum near Chichester has a range of buildings, some barren, some fitted out fully to show daily life and some half constructed so you can see how they were made. Their buildings cover a large time span

All of these museums are living museums, where the staff dress and act as if living thier daily lives in different eras.

Tinuviel Fri 21-Sep-12 19:16:12

Deportment was very important for middle/upper class girls - so walking up and down stairs balancing a book on their head might be fun.

If you are the north-east, Beamish is supposed to be really good (must get round to going myself!)

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