The Victorian Era of Britain is considered the height of the industrial revolution in Britain and the apex of the British Empire. It is often defined as the years from 1837 to 1901 when Victoria of the United Kingdom reigned.
Notable elements of the Victorian era include:
- The novels of Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Anne Bronte, Charlotte Bronte and Emily Bronte
- The operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan
- The constructions of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
- The Gothic revival movement in architecture
- The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
- The Franco-Prussian War
- The policies of New Imperialism
- The Irish Question
The term "Victorian" has acquired a range of connotations, including that of a particularly strict set of moral standards, often applied hypocritically. This stems from the impression that Queen Victoria herself (and her husband, Prince Albert, perhaps even more so) was an innocent, unaware of the private habits of many of her respectable subjects - this particularly relates to their sex lives. This impression is far from the truth. Victoria's attitude to sexual morality actually sprang from her knowledge of the corrosive effect which the loose morals of the aristocracy in earlier reigns had had on the public's respect for the nobility and the Crown.
Victorian prudery sometimes went so far as to deem it improper to say "leg" in mixed company (the prefered euphemism if such must be mentioned was "limb"). Those going for a dip in the sea at the beach would use a bathing machine.
See also: Victorian fashion