Having built a Victorian train, I now have to think about providing some passengers. Since I know far less about 19th-century styles of dress than I did about 19th-century railways, when I started, I decided it was time for some reading.
As I pointed out in a previous post, I have found the Internet Archive ( http://archive.org/ ) to be a very useful resource. Old 'out of copyright' books can either be read on-line or downloaded in formats such as PDF. In my current search, I found 'Godey's Lady's Book' for 1880 and 'Dame Fashion- Paris-London (1786-1912)' by Julius M.Price. Both books have copious illustrations so, with the help of these, I am well on the way to becoming an 'instant expert'.
Dame Fashion 1889
It has become clear that the late-Victorian period saw great changes in social behaviour. Whereas, to our eyes, it seems to have been as stuffily formal as before, they saw things rather differently. The view from the 1890s was that "The type of the woman of fashion has altered beyond recognition during the past twenty-four years. She has emancipated herself from all the silly narrow mindedness which was the life burden of her grandmother when a girl. Class prejudice still exists, but it is becoming yearly less noticeable."
Two factors are worth mentioning:
1.Before 1887 London fashionable life was the life one led at home but the opening of the Savoy Hotel in 1887 may be said to have commenced a new era when ladies could now go out and mix in wider company.
2. The rage for bicycling, which was the feature of the London season of 1896 and included all the ladies of smart society in England, was epoch-making in the history of feminine fashion.
There was no place for the crinoline of the 1860s in this new world and even the bustle had to give way to practicality.
Dame Fashion 1892-1893
I have some Langley "Vic/Edw. Upper Class figures". As my photo shows, these will need a fair bit of cleaning up but I shall now have to start practising with a small paint-brush. The porter with the trolley seems to have suffered some head injury but not enough to keep him off work
Langley Vic/Edw 00-scale Figures