I saw Victorian Farm with historians where some experts lived a full calender year in a Victorian style village using only tools and things from that age. It was a good period from the perspective of rural progress, but a huge amount of housework, no running water was still a problem and animals had to be taken care by hand. Pretty exhausting, but the good part was the fact that they still had Victorian technology which meant a lot o mechanical machinery that made labor easier. A period of order, well done routines and common sense when it came to family matters. I remember that Russian Empress Alexandra lived at Queen Victoria's court for many years after her German parents' death, a fact that had great influence on the style the young Empress designed her new home after marriage, the furniture, the language she spoke with her children, although she was a princess of Darmstadt and had actually become Orthodox as a Russian Empress had to be. I really love mixed cultures when the coming out is so fascinating.
How very interesting! I think Little House On The Prairie books also give a nice idea of the Victorian country life. I do like Victorian stuff, but I also like my modern appliances and medical care:)
Yes, medical care was very expensive, animals had the same treatment with natural remedies, in the movie a horse had to be cured with Victorian oils and balms and that was very risky, losing a horse could ruin a crop and the project required the team to do things well. Humans had it tough and these films can help us understand what a luxury we already have, running water, cities to go and buy and find whatever needed. We should stop complaining about not having enough, in that particular film people used to own and eat what they had been working during a year, bread had no yeast, you had to make sour bread from scratch with fermented flour, it took so much time to make life bearable. And now we go shopping and we choose the better part of everything, from a pig we choose only fine cutlets, from the cow we choose cartons of milk to buy or hamburgers, from the hen we only take the large eggs, but the work behind everything remains unknown to us. That is why nowadays we are so difficult to become happy and content, because we obtain food and housing very easy and we want more and more. The same team that worked for Victorian Farm had another project back in the 17th century where oxen did the work of horses. The workers noticed how difficult it was to make an ox keep a straight line as compared to a horse, houses in the 17th century were like caves, made of stone. Modern farmers have many appliances that are very good, but we should be more thankful and satisfied.
While I have no doubt about life being more difficult in the past (which fact also probably made people tough), I sometimes wonder if those historical TV shows don't exaggerate just a little bit, as the MSM are always prone to do. In The Little House series, she shows that they had to endure hardships, but also that life was in general more peaceful to some degree. With all this housework, Laura's mother still spent a lot of time just sitting quietly and knitting or sewing. It could also be because American men did everything possible to spare their wives hard labour, unlike the lower classes in Europe. As Laura Ingalls pointed out, only immigrant women went out into the fields, American women were above doing men's work.
Happy Mother's Day Sanne! I look at the pictures and how everything has changed! When women started driving, they also became much more independent. With most changes; there's good that comes and also bad. (I watched our television coverage yesterday of Canadian soldiers in Appeldoorn. It was moving and heartwarming. They got a royal reception from Holland and also from Princess Margriet. Holland has not forgotten!)
Thanks, Marietta, you too! Victorian style was somewhat kitschy, just a bit too much of ornaments of all sorts, of frills and lace, over-the-top sentimentality in arts, all this contrasted to the harsh realities of life; it was time of social upheavals and revolutions, when feminism first became prominent and, on the other hand, the cult of domesticity and the woman as the angel-in-the-home. This time period has a lot of charm. And no, we haven't forgotten.
Happy Mother's Day, I forgot to say in a hurry...The historical movies I watched split tasks between men and women very strictly. Women were busy with hard work around the fire place, garden, cow's milking, cheese making and they were really tired because they were actually modern people in real life. Men were building animal shelters, tree felling and jobs in the fields. But they were still very difficult to keep up with the food, modern food means eating meat, eggs and whatever you want on a daily basis, Victorian recipes were richer indeed, with cinnamon and sugar which was still expensive. The team respected the historical framework very good in every movie, 17th century village, Tudor feast, Victorian farm or Edwardian farm. I liked them very much. What I didn't like was Mannor House, a project in a luxurious Edwardian house with servants and masters where people downstairs had a really tough life during the experiment, hard work, real real hard work and not a single day off. Some of the maids quit the project because of so much work they weren't used to. Being a farmer's wife was much better than being a servant in a rich house.
Interesting. In The Little House Laura's father did the milking unless he wasn't home, than her mother had to do it. She did gardening and cheese making, but it's true that in general, housekeeping was more labour-intensive than now, to a degree. Just try washing clothes without a washing machine. On the other hand, at least, in Laura's situation, they mostly lived in small houses which were easy to clean and the children helped a lot.