Victorian Recreational Activities

Recreational activities were very much dependent on the class bracket that the Victorian fell into to dictate what hobbies would be done. The prospect of socialising was considered overly important to the Victorians and this depending on to the class brackets as the upper and middle classes would be unlikely to socialise with the lower classes due to the pride of reputation and prejudice. Therefore, activities were often divided up between classes as the working classes not only would be segregated from the upper and middle classes but also had less money and less time for recreational activities. Therefore, recreational activities, although considered important to a Victorian era society, were often segregated and many Victorians would never participate in any socialisation due to the demands of work and the lack of money gained by the poor and the working classes.

The working class had little money and little spare time, meaning that they often spent time drinking in pubs and socialising with people of a similar class. Sports were popular with the working classes as well as the higher classes as it required little money to play, meaning that sports such as football took off during this era and professional football clubs as we know them today were quickly developed due to the high interest in the sport. Other sports such as cricket were also popular and had been growing in popularity since the early 18th century. Board games, when affordable, also became popular pastimes for both adults and children and allowed families to convene and socialise, which was common during the nineteenth century in the lower classes.

Middle and upper-class Victorians, however, had different forms of recreational actions. The Music Hall was a popular recreational activity that involved a plethora of different activities from music to mime artists, which was not only an opportunity for the Victorian’s to socialise, but also to enjoy new forms of entertainment that had not been seen before this time period. Furthermore, the theatre was also a popular socialising and entertainment leisure activity for the Victorians. Shakespeare and Wilde were popular and renowned for their impressive plays, meaning the theatre was seen as an exciting and interesting place to spend extra time in order to be entertained in the nineteenth century. Sports also quickly became popular in the Victorian era specifically, and games like football and cycling were becoming favourable past times for men who had finished working for the day. This contributed to the impeccable diet of many Victorian people as sport and exercise was frequented and helped most Victorians to stay fit and healthy, as well as entertained. Excursions were also popular to visit the seaside when available due to the improved technology, meaning that the holiday business quickly began to boom with the wealthier Victorians.

Children also spent much of their time committed to recreational activities if their parents were in the middle or upper classes. Hobbies such as learning instruments, learning extra languages and sports would have been popular with children outside of school. However, similar to adults, the working class, and poor children would have been much less likely to spend time doing recreational activities as many poorer children would be working from a young age or unable to afford any extra events. As such a large proportion of children during the Victorian era abstained from going to school due to the demand to work to support the family, this meant that middle and upper classes established the privilege of recreational activities and created almost an exclusive group, meaning that life for less fortunate children in the Victorian era was often hard and dull, as they were thrown straight into adulthood with no extra time for hobbies or to enjoy themselves.

From, The Victorian Blogger


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