Meals in the 19th Century

Amy, you haven't been in touch with me for days. Does this mean nothing of any real consequence has taken place in the 19th century? What about the guy you're interested in ... Barker or Sam? Or are you simply being mean by not telling me?

Nah, it's nothing like that. I've just been helping Charlotte a lot, you know, 'cause she's having a baby and everything.

It's like all she wants to do is eat. I even heard one of the maids complain 'cause Charlotte eats so much. Honestly, it's crazy how much she stuffs down.

And today she's makin' me go into town with her just to buy some candy!

But she told everybody she just wants me and her to go for a little ride.

Seriously, it's totally like she's totally eating for two.


In a wealthy home in the 1800s, such as the one you currently live in, eating is considered an important event to be savoured, both literally and figuratively. 

Steam locomotives are bringing in foods like diary products and fresh meat to all areas of North America, as well as imported foods such as unique teas and cheeses.

Canned products such as tuna and vegetables are arriving. Fruits are being preserved in bottles.

As the lady of the mansion, Charlotte has the right to plan the menus for each day, although it will be, of course, the hired domestic help who cook the meals. Perhaps she will choose roast turkey for the main course at dinner, normally served in the evening, with potatoes and vegetables. For dessert in the 19th century, cakes and fruit would be considered absolutely delectable. 

Breakfast, always an elegant affair for the wealthy, most likely consists of bacon, sausage, eggs and toast. 
Afternoon tea consists of crust-free sandwiches, scones with different jams, as well as cake and pastries.

And as for the candy in town, you will find treats such as candied fruit, stick of candies, sugar-covered nuts, ribbon candy, peppermint drops ...

Pregnancy in the 19th Century

Yes, Amy, I'm finally back from travelling. Yes, it was wonderful ... and I'm almost afraid to ask how things have been going with you in the 19th century. Are both Barker and Sam still staying in the mansion? 

Oh, okay. Both still there. They must be getting along better.
You've got another picture to show me?
Okay ... go ahead...



 Oh. It’s Charlotte.

 Charlotte is pregnant.

Ugh. Ya, it's Charlotte. But this is what you pictured, right?


Ya, nope.


This is me!

Whew. Still, I see you've been busy.

It's hard to tell if this is Sam or Barker.

Give me a break, will you?

And how do you know he's the better guy? 

In the 19th century, when you currently exist, childbirth is the most common cause of death in women.

Still, it is expected as the norm that a married woman will bear children, and that they will be her life's purpose ... a woman's place in society.

In the 1800s, multiple births of more than 8 children are not unusual, the average North American number of births being six.
Birth control is almost non-existent, although breastfeeding for an extended period of time helps to create a distance between each pregnancy.

It goes without saying that in the 1800s it is considered disgraceful if a young women becomes pregnant without being married. Often ostracized by their own families, it is felt necessary to send them away from the prying eyes of the community. If her father is wealthy, it is possible to live away comfortably until her baby is born under a guise of deceit. However, if her father is poor, resorting to prostitution may be her only means of survival. 

Most of the births in the 19th century are happening in the home, and midwifes are very popular in assisting with the deliveries.

In 1853, during the labour of her eighth child, Queen Victorian was given chloroform to assist with any pain, unusual for that time period when every birth was "natural".

Boxing in the 19th Century

No, I'm absolutely being serious, Amy. I'm not listening to another one of your tantrums. Calm down and then tell me what's happened this time in the 19th century.

Ya, well both Barker and Sam have been here the past coupla days. And we were all getting along pretty well, like, ya know, I think they were both into me.

Sounds like quite the understatement to me. Until? Might that be the next word you want to say? UNTIL?

I swear all we did was go for a friggin' walk around the mansion! And then Sam started sayin' nasty things to Barker, like, he was  from the lower class and should leave me alone 'cause he's poor and not good enough for me, and then he told him he smelled like a swine, whatever that is. And that's when the fight started.


A fight?!  Sam told Barker that he smells?

I thought guys in the 19th century were supposed to be dashing and refined.

Yeah, it was effing crazy. But then Barker started to push Sam around, so I got between them and tried to stop them from fighting.

And then?

Then, Charlotte and a coupla the women who are visiting here ran out of the mansion to see what all the yelling was about. 

Honestly, Amy, can't you just engage in a hobby in the 19th century like young women normally did back then?

How about needlepoint? There you go. Something to keep you out of trouble. 

I'm pretty sure that George isn't happy with you staying in his mansion at the moment with all the things going on since you've arrived. Let's see ... should we list them just for fun?

You've been thought of as a spy
You've told everyone you are can see the future 

Boxing became part of the Olympic games in about 688 B.C. and is currently both an Olympic and Commonwealth games sport. It also has its own World Championship competition.

The first rules of boxing, called Broughton's Rules, were introduced by Jack Broughton in 1743 for the protection of the fighters. These rules stipulated that if a man went down for 30 seconds, the fight would immediately be over.

In 1868 when you currently live, Jem Mace is a famous bare-knuckle boxer in England.

In 1869 he will relocate to the United States where he will tour with the celebrated American John C. Heenan to give exhibitions of boxing with gloves. Bare knuckle-boxing is about to be outlawed.

In 1910, in Southwark, England, a former church will be turned into a boxing arena called The Ring when Dick Burge and his wife, Bella, lease the property, intending to turn it into an arena catering to a working class audience. In 1914, Bella Burge will become the first woman to attend a boxing match, and soon her friends and other women will become regular attendees as well.

Bella will continue to oversee The Ring after her husband dies in 1918, and will run it until the building is destroyed in 1940 by a German bomb.

Victorian Grooming for Men


Well, Amy. it certainly looks like that's you holding hands with one of the two fellows you met at the Victorian mansion. Now I have to guess if it's Sam or Barker. Is that what you're making me do?

Or worse ... are you planning on keeping who it is from me altogether?

What?!  Yeah, no.
Inappropriate in the 19th century ... inappropriate ... inappropriate.
Did I forget to mention innappropriate?

Jeesh, relax, will ya? It was just a kiss in the sitting room of Charlotte's bedroom. I mean, he smelled so great, like he had on cologne or sumthin'. What was I suppos'd to do?
No wonder you're getting so much grey hair.

He smelled great? That's all he had to do? He just had to smell great for you to kiss him? And he was in the sitting room of Charlotte's bedroom? Why?

Oh, yeah, that. Well, I mighta said "sooo hot" when I bumped into him on the staircase cause he had a rilly cool stubble of beard on his face.

But then he followed me into Charlotte's room to open a window for us 'cause he thought I meant that the whole mansion was hot ... you know, like, hot 'cause of the sun and stuff. 

And that's when I mighta said he smelled good when he reached past me to open the window and we were, like, really close. Get it?

Yeah. I get it, Amy. Believe me, I get it much too well.

In the mid 1800s, when you currently exist, grooming products such as ointments and balms in woody scents are becoming very popular for men.

Beards, now more than ever, are taking centre stage as a fashion statement for the male population.

Even physicians at this time are suggesting that beards are beneficial for a man's health, perhaps holding the ability to prevent illnesses borne from foreign matters - the beard is felt to be a filter from unwanted impurities against the body. Also, beards are gaining acceptance as a means to warm a gentleman's neck area.

Extravagant tortoise shell moustache combs are favoured, costing as much as $3.00 in the mid-19th century, equivalent to approximately $80.00 today. 

In the mid-1800s, the sale of mens' toupees is growing as well, as aging men hope to appear younger.
By the end of the 1800s, physical appearance for a man will play an ever important role in his romantic attractiveness. 

A properly groomed and full beard or moustache will be considered a sign of strength and potency, and an indicator of fertility.

Gardens in the 19th Century

Okay, Amy. I'm giving you about one more second to communicate with me before I flip out. Remember, I'm the one with the power to remove you from the cushy 19th century mansion you've found yourself in.


Oh, there you are. I need an update. What's happening? 

Charlotte and I were out walking, is all, around the plants and stuff at the back of the mansion, which is one of the main things we do here 'cause the servants do most everything else.

So it got kinda boring ... until Charlotte got us lost. 

You were lost? Wow. How far did you wander away from the mansion? Must have been quite the long walk.


Nah, it's just that there's this maze thing the gardeners make outta shrubs and stuff, so we got stuck in it and just kept walking around lookin' for a way out. 

Charlotte got kinda worried but I thought it was sick. 

And then it must've been like, what, a coupla hours until we made it back to the mansion, cuz the sun was starting to go down.

And that's when I saw Sam. You know, one of the guys I met at the dance here a few weeks ago. He was reading in the library. I think he has a lot of money.

Good lord, who's Sam? Wasn't it supposed to be the guy who doesn't have much money coming to see you? Barker the brewer? (Hmm, just realized how funny that sounds - Barker the brewer.) But I digress. I thought you said Barker was going to be arriving soon. You said he sent you a letter telling you he was coming. I'm totally confused at this point.

It's nuthin' really. Sam's already here ... and Barker's on his way in his one-horse carriage. Ya wouldn't believe how long it takes to get anywhere with just one horse pullin' and everything. Ya hafta stop and give it water and let it rest or else it gets all sweaty and snorts and stuff.

So, the two guys you thought were both "hot" are going to be at the mansion together? Do I have this fact straight? And you think it's going to turn out fine? You actually think it's nothing?

In the 19th century, when you currently live, importance is placed on carefully laid out gardens ... if you are wealthy. Paths welcome visitors and aristocrats for a stroll to admire fountains, shrubs and flowers. Coined "the Gardenesque Style" (we would refer to it as Landscape Design today), it has become very popular in the mid-1800s, and focuses on the contrast between the open area around the house and striking varieties of bordering flowers, shrubs and statues. Geometric forms also play a large role in the gardens of the rich, as do ponds and bridges.


Also in the Victorian age, an effort is being made by jurisdictions to provide those without wealth to enjoy public gardens. It is felt at this time that gardens will exist as a healthy alternative for the lower class, on the assumption that those with a lower social standing will improve their manners in such a surrounding, as well as lessen their public discourse and overindulgent habits such as the consumption of too much alcohol.


In London, England, in the 19th century, squares of green space are being developed behind houses, especially for the children, in full view of watchful eyes. These squares are becoming an important aspect in close knit communities. Run by a committee governed by the community, the green spaces are being maintained financially by each family - every household puts in a small amount of funds for its upkeep. Notting Hill and Kensington are prime examples.