Victorian Vices

DATED: 24.05.15

Like those of any era, the Victorians undoubtedly had their vices and, what we would now consider to be flaws on a societal level. Though it’s true we can’t be official judges, a few of the habits the Victorians picked up during the 19th century were more than peculiar, some even crossing the bridge to disturbing.

From literally keeping the dead alive through photographs to holding séances, we’re sure to have captured your attention by this point. And don’t worry; it only gets stranger by the word… Read on with

In fairness, taxidermy is still around today though it isn’t as prominent as we suspect it might have been during the Victorian era. This isn’t to say the Victorians fully approved of this… hobby, but more that quite a few of them chose to collect.

During this time, there was a specific type of taxidermy that became increasingly popular, known as anthropomorphic taxidermy. This refers to the practice of performing taxidermy on a dead animal. A notable taxidermist, Walter Potter, created scenes using animals such as kittens and guinea pigs, often turning them into sporting champions.

Eclectic Collections

From botanical specimens to ‘evidence’ of mythical creatures, such as the Feejee Mermaid, the Victorians built up a strange portfolio of eclectic collections over the years, to say the least. It is thought that their anthologies consisted of zoological and geological samples, as well as other odd objects like shrunken heads.

Mummification Fascination

Last but certainly not least, an atypical trend unfolded during this era associated with mummification. It is said that auctions would be held for mummies and that, following the purchase, the bodies would be cut into. In addition, travellers would supposedly bring home a ‘gift’ of sorts following a trip to Egypt; mummified bodies.

These are just three Victorian vices. Of course, this isn’t forgetting infamous figures that stalked the cobbled streets at night, most notably Jack the Ripper. In fact,  Jack the Ripper has become somewhat of a historical figure, with walks in place for those who want to learn more.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this notorious Victorian, feel free to sign up for one of our tours. Expert guides will lead you, teaching you the ins and outs of this mysterious case.


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The Jack the Ripper Casebook