Victorian Era London

Before taking the “Jack the Ripper’s London” course when I thought of the Victorian Era of England, I would think of gentlemen and top hats and men laying their coats down in a mud puddle for the women to walk across on.  I would also think of the “Sherlock Holmes” type of Victorian London.  The London where there were villains and heroes, but the heroes always won and everyone was happy go lucky.  I would think about the British Government and Parliament sitting in their chairs debating topics with the house of commons and everyone would be dressed up in their wigs and robes.  The picture I get of the gentlemen would be one of them all dressed up in suits and ties wearing spectacles, smoking a pipe, while reading the morning paper and commenting on the articles with things like, “`E was a good ‘ole chap, ‘e was” or “That’s top shelf, that is”.  I imagined the women in big fancy dresses attending fabulous balls and having a “top shelf” time.  Upon taking the class, though, I realized that there is a totally other different side to London during that time.  There was the East End side of the story where everyone was in a poverty stricken state and was barely able to survive with what they had.  There would be a family of 5 living in a one room house, with that one room being an average size of eight feet by twelve feet.  I realized that the whole gentlemen and top hat perspective did happen but on a much smaller scale than did the poor side of it.  This class has really opened my eyes to the truth of the Victorian Era.

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