How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman
How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman

How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman

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Written by Ruth Goodman, who has presented and consulted on several highly successful BBC Two television series including The Victorian Farm as well as presenting a variety of films for The One Show and Coast. Drawing on Ruth's unique first-hand experience, gained from living on a Victorian farm for a year, this book will teach you everything you need to know about 19th century living.

'Before reading this book, I had a general sense about the Victorian era, but nothing very detailed. The author guides us through a day in the life of a Victorian, presenting context to situations and customs so it is easier for the contemporary reader to understand and imagine them.

What makes this book exceptional is that it's a personal perspective of Victorian life experienced by the author. She not only shares with us her vast historical knowledge about the era but also describes her first-hand impressions of Victorian reality. So, we get to know how it feels to wear long and multi-layered dresses, why you would need a brick dust in the kitchen, is it possible to breathe with a torso squeezed by a corset, what were the alternatives for the use of water for hygienic purposes, why laundry day would be a nervous day or tips for the most effective use and cleaning of the chamber pot.

Thanks to this kind of narrative and detailed description of the everyday activities, it is easy to step into Victorian shoes. After reading the book, you'll appreciate today's facilities! I must admit it was a fascinating read, both informative and enormously entertaining.'
- Ewa, Gunnersbury Archives Assistant & Volunteer