It’s been the “Summer of Hell” for New Yorkers just trying to get around the damn city as every element of our public transportation system seemingly breaks down simultaneously. Maybe it’s some small comfort to know there’s historical resonance in our distress, specifically with London’s 1858 “Great Stink,” when a…
Here’s a good one for the “history stinks” files: one of the earliest artificial ice skating rinks was made of pig fat and salts and it reeked.
Here’s a suggestion for sometime in the next few hours, as your strained attention span finally collapses under the weight of world events: Spend some time crawling through London’s Victorian sewer system.
Let’s all spook ourselves silly Victorian-style, shall we?
The government of the United Kingdom is by God not going to let Queen Victoria’s historically significant diamond and sapphire coronet, designed by Prince Albert himself, just waltz out of the country with some foreign buyer. No indeed, my good man!
What you are seeing is not some fancy theater or place of worship, but rather the Crossness Pumping Station, part of London’s ambitious Victorian-era sewer system, which is now open to visitors. Only the finest, most ornate repositories for the turds of the Victorians!
Look at these two. Get a room, already!
The people of the Victorian era had a very specific fear: poison murder.
The world is full of opportunities to live like a Victorian, if you look hard enough. For instance: The U.K. is worried about rising rates of scarlet fever.
Here we have a cartoon, circa 1855, apparently meant to illustrate the topsy-turvy effect of bloomers on relations between the sexes. Clearly the artist was rather appalled, but frankly I see a woman after my own heart.
I would not relocate to the nineteenth century for love or money. However, they were very good at one thing, and that’s greeting cards. Good God the Victorians loved wacky greeting cards, especially at Christmas.
Clothing in nineteenth-century Europe and America was so thoroughly dangerous, it’s amazing anyone survived.
Only if you had computer games! Test your 19th century acumen with this nifty site. (I was batting .1000 until I wore a low-cut gown to a dinner party.)
"Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage," an amazing exhibit that just showed at the Metropolitan Museum, illuminates a bizarre, fascinating art form. The Victorian ladies making these surreal photo-scrap-books were not kidding around - except when they were:
"Madalene and Louisa Pasley used their imagination in the 1850s to create a fantasy world where humans interacted with giant insects." Yes, please!