Inside the Victorian Home

Judith Flanders


If you ever wondered what it would be like to be a Victorian woman, this book will answer your questions. I say woman, because the home was peculiarly her domain. Designed for a man’s comfort and ease, it was the woman’s responsibility to make it  a place of retreat and refreshment for him. To this end, the women worked endlessly, day after day.

Every aspect of the home, from the bedroom to the street outside, was a constant battle with dirt and dust. Hours every day were spent washing, dusting and cleaning in an effort to combat soot and dust. Hampered by up to 37 pounds of clothing, the woman battled against her foe. The kitchen was especially dirty, and the war on bugs and rats was a losing one.

I can’t imagine having my whole life revolve around cleaning the way a Victorian woman did, even though she did very little of herself, delegating the tasks to her servants. She had to supervise, train, hire and fire an endless troop of servants. All this effort must, of course, be hidden from her husband. Not a word of complaint must pass her lips to upset him.

Her life was an endless round of toil, and she spent the greatest proportion of it at home, especially once the children arrived. Reading this book made me so thankful I live when and where I do.


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