Her Day

What was a typical day for a suburban Victorian housewife of 1890? What did she wear, what did she do, who did she see?

Julia wakes as her husband Sidney rises. He tries to be quiet, but Florence's activities make some clattering.

A little later, she hears Sidney leaving for the railway station. She rises and visits the children to see that they are Mary, the nanny, has got them ready for the day.

At about 8am, Florence brings in some hot water. She helps Julia to dress. Julia tells her about the schedule for the day. She will be visiting in the afternoon and guests are coming for dinner in the evening.

Today, Julia is wearing a white cotton chemise and drawers, corset, black woollen stockings with black boots, her plain underskirt, bustle, a plain yellow blouse, and a dark blue skirt.

At 8:30, she is ready and goes downstairs. Florence brings her breakfast in the dining room. Today she is having cold meats and some bacon. Sometimes she has kippers or bloaters, or cooks herself a boiled egg.

By 9 she is finished, and the family, maid and nanny assemble for morning prayers.

Like most wives, Julia does at least some of the cooking and baking. Florence is proving quite competent but Julia tends to do the fancy items such as sweetmeats. While Florence is out on some errands, Julia makes the tarts for this evening.

She spends the rest of the morning writing some letters before having her lunch at 1:00.

After lunch, Florence helps her prepare for a short rest, and later returns to dress her for the afternoon.

At 2:30, she departs for her calls. Today she is visiting a friend and then calling on a variety of sick parishioners.

She returns at about 5:30. She assists in the kitchen for half an hour, sets the table, and then Florence helps her to change for the evening. Tonight she wears her best underskirt, and her dark green dress over a lacy blouse.

She has a few moments to spend with Sidney before their guests arrive at 6:30.

The evening is very enjoyable; after eating, Julia and Mrs Browne move to the drawing room.

Their guests leave at about 9:30. Florence helps Julia prepare for bed at about 10pm.