Lighting in the 19th century

Yes, I'm listening, Amy - what choice do I have? You haven't communicated this much since I stuck you in the 19th century last year.


You've decided to confront the lady of the house about how much work the new maid, Charlotte, has been doing? You think it's way too much? Like, she cooks, cleans, scrubs and does the laundry during the day and she's been staying up until midnight sewing? 

Oh, right. She's sewing a gown for the lady of the house to wear to the upcoming ball.

By the way, you still haven't told me what kind of ball this is. I mean, there's normally a reason someone holds a ball in the 19th century.

You'll find out? Okay, I'll be waiting to hear.

Yeah, yeah, back to the matter at hand. I'm not so sure you should get confrontational with anyone in the family you're living with in the mid 1800s. You aren't used to how different things are in the past. Whatever you say will definitely stir things up. It's taking a risk.


It's dark in her room at night whenever you go in to keep her company while she hand sews the gown? Does the lady of the house know you're doing this? I think she's already asked you not to become too friendly with the maid, right?
Haven't they even insisted that she only use the back door? 
Doesn't sound to me like they want her mingling too much with the family. 

No. No one in the world has electricity or light bulbs yet, although it's all coming soon. 

The nights, as you mentioned, have very little lighting in the 19th century. 
Throughout the Victoria era, the 63 years of Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901, candlelight is used for most activities, from cooking in the winter and eating dinner, to family activities in the evening.

It won't be until 1879 when Thomas Edison will invent the first usable incandescent light bulb.
In 1880, one year later, a house in England will be the first home in the world to be lighted electrically. Built in 1863, it is called Cragside, named after Cragend Hill.

By Queen Victoria's death in 1901, lighting in homes using electricity will still be in its infancy. 
At the beginning of the Victorian era, most homes used candles and oil lamps, just as the home you live in is still doing. By the end of this era as the century wraps up, gas lighting will be common in urban houses, and incandescent bulbs will be introduced to many. 
Still a long wait for you ... I mean, for the family you live with. Of course you'll be back home in the 21st century soon.