The Edwardian era – a time of social and technological change

the Edwardian era in England (1901 – 1910) is rooted in the last decade of the reign of Queen Victoria and captures trends in the development of the British Empire until the First world war or even later.

Behind the facade of a Victorian time

a Window into history we will open the book of E. Cauty, which describes in detail the eve of the reign of Edward VII. The Edwardian era immediately broke up with the dark pages in the life of the British. Everyday life of the poor took place in the slums and bleak workhouses and dramatically different from the life of the middle and wealthy class. Go into the house in the East end and go up the stinking staircase with rickety railings and rotten steps. The door is unlocked – to steal nothing. Winter, and the fireplace stoked for a few days. On the walls are growing mold.

In the corner sits a mother cradles a child, wrapped in a shawl. She turned to incoming, and we see a bruise, half the size of a person. On the bed (they live in prosperity) snoring man covered with a ragged blanket. Yesterday he went to the workhouse, hoping to get paid for sweeping the streets though a few shillings or loaves, but he refused. With grief he went to the pub and drank away the money. The Edwardian era will be able to part with the slums, which are perfectly described by C. Dickens with their filth, stench and poverty? “Union Jack" fun flying in the sun.

Minor the winds of change

the Edwardian era is often regarded with nostalgia. It is called "Gilded age”. But it is for wealthy people. Rich was not ashamed to exhibit their wealth in public. It was a time of great inequality. Conventions classes were sharply defined and everyone knew their place.

Personality of Edward VII

It has been too long Prince of Wales came to power in 59 years. At 34, he visited the principal colonies and European countries. Did a lot for diplomacy. Prince, and later king was fond of running, hunting and women. Among his passions was Alice Keppel. Her great-granddaughter. It is a passion and the current wife of Prince Charles-Camilla Parker Bowles. His life Edward had lived easily. Free time allowed him to spend the morning horseback riding, day visits, dancing and gambling at night. The Edwardian era assumed that the season begins after Easter and ends the races in Ascot. It was the time the bride shows and outfits ladies and gentlemen of the highest class.

the Edwardian era: fashion

the Lady continued for some time to wear corset and twice a year visited the popular couturier in Paris. Chosen underwear, then morning clothing. Day wear for lunch - definitely pastel colours. Five o'clock tea demanded free, not constraining movements clothes without a corset. In the evening to travel to the light again lady wore a corset under the dress.

Only in 1910 was removed the corset and in Vogue dresses in the Empire style with a raised hem. The shoes were lace-up high heels-boots or shoes. We can not say about big hats that keep hair pins and were decorated with feathers of exotic birds. A must-have addition was the boa and capes. No one forgot about the umbrella, as gorgeous jewelry, ribbons, lace and beads. Model of the Edwardian era – Queen Alexandra, which was created at Redfern Patriotic fashion. However, she visited Paris.

Menu poor English

the city they were interrupted from potatoes for tea. The bread was not enough money. Rickety children grow up with crooked bones. Peasants ate bread, potatoes, cheese, bacon, drinking tea and beer. Instead of butter used margarine. Winter “tighten their belts”. Eaten in the house only breadwinner, and the wife and children drank tea with a thin slice of bread.


those “blessed” the times had to look to all products. In flour could be chalk, gypsum, aluminum alum, tea – the leaves of elderberry or ash, coffee – acorns, fodder beet, in cognac for color – copper. Milk diluted with water. If the sugar is too crunched on the teeth, then it is added simple river sand. The Edwardian era demanded that the buyer be on his guard.


the city's middle class held usually the cook, nanny and housekeeper, who worked for 18 hours. In the villages they were hired at the fairs, and the city – through the stock exchange or acquaintances. The servants ate in the kitchen. In wealthier families they got something from the table of hosts, but often they have never eaten their fill. Servants were required to take a bath once a week. In the morning they were required to wash, to wash your legs and armpits before starting to get dressed.

If it was discovered, that an unmarried maid is pregnant, she immediately dumped on the street. After that she had a one way – to engage in prostitution. From the time of king Edward VII it became customary to give servants a day off. They were never considered equal owners and the Church occupied the last place, and the gentlemen sat in the front seat.

Sexual relations

the King loved women, and the Queen is simply closed my eyes. In high society, adultery on the part of women and men was the norm.

the Pair met in special homes. The room doors were marked with the names “guests” that men could easily find his lady. At 6am the bell rang, so the Lord woke up and managed to get into their bedrooms, before they even got the maids to light the fire in the fireplace.

women's rights

a Woman in England had no rights. Her dowry belonged entirely to the husband. If it has not worked, and it worked, the husband took away every last penny, leaving her children hungry. In a divorce money and children remained with the husband and only if he allowed, she could occasionally visit them. In the end, women began to fight for their rights.

They put forward economic and political demands. Women were put in prison, they chained themselves to railings, threw eggs at the police, died under the hoofs of the horses. Only in 1918, they achieved the desired voting rights.
Not enough space to describe the education of children in schools and homes, the political life inside and outside the country. Hard was the Edwardian era, the life of which we are only partially described.