Middle and Lower Classes: The Definition of Apples and Oranges
One of the biggest characteristics of the Victorian era was the evidence of obvious class separation. One of direct results of the Industrial Revolution was the emergence of the upper or middle class and the vast difference in their lifestyle as opposed to the lifestyle of the working, or lower class. Arguably the most definitive way to show your class was by the leisurely activities you chose to participate in, and how you looked and acted while you were there. This paper will attempt to demonstrate the differences in the social lifestyles of these two groups.
Money was obviously more of a concern for the working class than it was for the middle class. So when it came time to spend it they had to exercise more frugality. Unfortunately the negative aspect of cheap entertainment was that the facilities were less than satisfactory. For example many of the working class attended “penny gaffs” (Picard p.197). These were places of little or no class and could be very dangerous at times, “there were filthy songs, clumsy dancing, and filthy dances by men and women. The true penny gaff was a place where juvenile poverty meets juvenile crime, the foulest dingiest place of public entertainment” (Picard p.198).
Although penny gaffs were replaced by theaters and music halls in 1860 (Picard p.198), some of them such as Alhambra were not considered to be much better. While the working class who frequented these venues were also rather strapped for money, so were some of the employees that worked there which led to behavior that was viewed as less than respectable. “In 1859 a ballet dancer was prosecuted for for trying to supplement her wage, 9s a week, by petty crime, most proffered part time prostitution. No wonder Alhambra was not, in respectable circles”(Picard p.201).However, in terms of a career women had very reputable opportunities many, “led a generally miserable life until being rescued by marriage”...