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17 Facts About The Victorian Era That You Genuinely Won't Believe


1. Women's underwear was crotchless. No, really.

2. Which is one of several reasons that periods were a bloody nightmare at that time.

3. Oh, and women were thoroughly hairy, everywhere.

4. The Thames was so full of sewage and dead animals that you could pretty much walk across it.

5. And the streets were unbelievably disgusting, too.

6. In the 1860s, dresses became so wide that women would frequently get stuck in doorways.

7. Contaminated and adulterated food was rife.

8. Queen Victoria had her chefs cook a vat of curry daily, even though she couldn't stand it.

9. She enjoyed most other foods, though, and ate them at the speed of light.

10. Toothpaste was made from charcoal and honey.

11. And women tied meat to their faces.

12. "The Dog-Faced Boy" was one of the most popular attractions in London and Liverpool in the 1870s.

13. Boys wore dresses until they reached school age.

14. Almost 50% of children died before the age of 5.

15. Grieving families would commission portraits of children's corpses, often posed as if they were still alive.

16. Wealthy people ate calf's ear fritters for some reason.

17. And Darwin was addicted to scoffing weird animals.


Victorian doctors did not treat women’s “hysteria” with sexual devices. An earlier version of this post relied on a historical misconception on this point, and that item has been removed from the list. H/T @vagina_museum.