Victorian Etiquette



Rules of Victorian etiquette came to the middle classes due to the rise of the Industrial revolution and merchants. So such proper behavior was not just for the upper classes but spread to the middle classes and even on the edge to lower classes. Such etiquette rules were during the 1800s and some into the early 1900s.

For example to meet a new person you had to be introduced by a mutual friend or family member. Even in businesses, a letter of introduction was very important as a voucher of the character and good standing of a person.

Men were not to smoke or drink liquor in front of ladies. So at a dinner party, the men went to a separate room to smoke and have a drink and the ladies went to the parlor to talk. Many men even had a smoking jackets so the smell of the smoke was not carried to other parts of the house. Even while out in public in the streets and man did not approach a woman while smoking.

The chairs for men and ladies were different. Men had very comfortable chairs with arms to relax with. A lady’s chair was high-backed with no arms so she could sit up straight. This was almost needed because of the bustle and corset worn by ladies.

Victorian ladies of the upper and middle class had to run everything related to the home. If guests were invited, that including having a fine dinner and even parlor games to entertain the guests.

Decorating of Victorian homes inside always appeared to be filled with furniture and items on the walls and various collections of knick-knacks and artworks.

Visiting or calling on friends was very common and done in the afternoons.

Many books and magazine articles were done to help people to know what was expected in proper behavior.

This does give you an appreciation of how your great grandparents lived.

Photo: Inside a filled Victorian room from 1895.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Victorian Homes

Victorian Kitchens

Victorian Letter Writing

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