Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
 

Beautiful photos capture life in England during the Edwardian era

Ian Smith

A prolonged agricultural depression in Britain at the end of the 19th century, together with the introduction in the 20th century of increasingly heavy levels of taxation on inherited wealth, put an end to agricultural land as the primary source of wealth for the upper classes. Many estates were sold or broken up, and this trend was accelerated by the introduction of protection for agricultural tenancies, encouraging outright sales, from the mid-20th century.

Queen Victoria died in 1901 and her son Edward VII became king, inaugurating the Edwardian Era, which was characterised by great and ostentatious displays of wealth in contrast to the sombre Victorian Era. With the advent of the 20th century, things such as motion pictures, automobiles, and aeroplanes were coming into use. The new century was characterised by a feeling of great optimism. The social reforms of the last century continued into the 20th with the Labour Party being formed in 1900.

 

An old fisherman in Clovelly, Devon, 1904

An old fisherman in Clovelly, Devon, 1904

 

Blue Ball Inn, Countisbury, Lynmouth, Devon, 1904

Blue Ball Inn, Countisbury, Lynmouth, Devon, 1904

 

Cockington Forge, Devon, England, 1904

Cockington Forge, Devon, England, 1904

 

Eights crew at Keble College barge, Oxford, 1904

Eights crew at Keble College barge, Oxford, 1904

 

Eights Week, Oxford, 1904

Eights Week, Oxford, 1904

 

Horses, carts, and bobbies, England, 1904

Horses, carts, and bobbies, England, 1904

 

Ladies in the garden, London, 1904

Ladies in the garden, London, 1904

 

New Inn with donkeys, Clovelly, Devon, 1904

New Inn with donkeys, Clovelly, Devon, 1904

 

London was the financial centre of the world—far more efficient and wide-ranging than New York, Paris or Berlin. Britain had built up a vast reserve of overseas credits in its formal Empire, as well as in its informal empire in Latin America and other nations. It had huge financial holdings in the United States, especially in railways.

 

New Inn, Clovelly, Devon, 1904

New Inn, Clovelly, Devon, 1904

 

Omnibuses, London, 1904

Omnibuses, London, 1904

 

Organ grinder and daughter, London, England, 1904

Organ grinder and daughter, London, England, 1904

 

Oxford rowing club, Oxford, England, 1904

Oxford rowing club, Oxford, England, 1904

 

Oxford, England, 1904

Oxford, England, 1904

 

Punting at Magdalen Bridge, Oxford, 1904

Punting at Magdalen Bridge, Oxford, 1904

 

Quay, Clovelly, Devon, 1904

Quay, Clovelly, Devon, 1904

 

Spectators, Eights Week, Oxford, 1904

Spectators, Eights Week, Oxford, 1904

 

The 1834 Poor Law defined who could receive monetary relief. The act reflected and perpetuated prevailing gender conditions. In Edwardian society, men were the source of wealth. The law restricted relief for unemployed, able-bodied male workers, due to the prevailing view that they would find work in the absence of financial assistance. However, women were treated differently. After the Poor Law was passed, women and children received most of the aid. The law did not recognise single independent women, and lumped women and children into the same category. If a man was physically disabled, his wife was also treated as disabled under the law. Unmarried mothers were sent to the workhouse, receiving unfair social treatment such as being restricted from attending church on Sundays.During marriage disputes women often lost the rights to their children, even if their husbands were abusive.

At the time, single mothers were the poorest sector in society, disadvantaged for at least four reasons. First, women had longer lifespans, often leaving them widowed with children. Second, women’s work opportunities were few, and when they did find work, their wages were lower than male workers’ wages. Third, women were often less likely to marry or remarry after being widowed, leaving them as the main providers for the remaining family members. Finally, poor women had deficient diets, because their husbands and children received disproportionately large shares of food. Many women were malnourished and had limited access to health care.

 

Steep street, Clovelly, Devon, 1904..

Steep street, Clovelly, Devon, 1904.

 

Steep street, Clovelly, Devon, 1904

Steep street, Clovelly, Devon, 1904

 

Street scene in London, England, 1904..

Street scene in London, England, 1904

 

 

 

Street scene in London, England, 1904.

Street scene in London, England, 1904.

 

Street scene in London, England, 1904

Street scene in London, England, 1904

The boat crush, Eights Week, Oxford, 1904

The boat crush, Eights Week, Oxford, 1904

 

The quay at Clovelly, Devon, England, 1904

The quay at Clovelly, Devon, England, 1904

 

The Ship Inn, Porlock Weir, Somerset, England, 1904

The Ship Inn, Porlock Weir, Somerset, England, 1904

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News