Welcome to Victorian Page-

Conducted by Barbara Onslow

The site, originally designed for my students, especially the part-timers, and adults attending a one-off lecture, aims to reflect the eclectic style of popular Victorian magazines, as well as drawing on their rich content. I post, not the solid course material appropriate to internal university websites, but those "Tit-Bits" of information which make studying Victorian literature and culture such fun. I am not attempting to publish a new issue every month. Instead there will be additions and alterations to existing pages, new pages added and, occasionally others withdrawn, according to their seasonal topicality, and the current emphasis of my work. Some of this material is held in the Archive pages, which also contains notes on any items that have been withdrawn from the site. There is some emphasis on Victorian women's magazines and the work of Victorian women journalists.
In one respect I am unashamedly "un-Victorian" in sticking to sans-serif fonts which are easier on the eye on a screen.
VIEWING ON MOBILES : Phones,Tablets, Laptops
I know from statistical analysis of this site that a sizeable number of visitors arrive via mobile devices. I am therefore in the process of creating a compatible version of Victorian Page, giving details of what this website offers, and "taster" pages with samples of what you may find, as well as a link via this Home Page to the whole site, and links to many of the individual pages -useful if you are interested in one specific topic. This should now appear on most popular phones and tablets in a reader-friendly format. Some of the taster pages I intend to create will include material additional to what is currently available here. 

P.S. If you are among the many visitors from all over the world who arrived here by search engine,  or even "by accident" looking for something else - a warm welcome too!  I hope you leave us either edified or entertained, or both, and plan to visit again; and do feel free to contact me with any relevant question whether or not you are a student.


Detail from an illustration to a humorous essay in The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine (1862)
See Victorian Agony Aunts Page (under Editor's Mailbag Page)

Since I set up Victorian Page in late June 2007, the number of additional pages made the length of this Home Page unwieldy. The separate Contents Page now shows in detail the topics on each page. An important feature is the list of links to incidental paragraphs. For instance, although I have not yet set up a page dealing with the magazine genres Competitions and Promotions, there are two paragraphs illustrating different kinds of magazine competitions on two separate pages. Among topics included in the list are the "New Woman" (4 items) "Needlework" (3) and "Crime" (2 items). Previous visitors to this site can also check on the Contents Page what has been moved into the Archive. 
You can get an overview of pages from the Menu Bar on the left-hand side of each page of this site. Some Menu items have sub-pages which appear when you click the button. For example by clicking "Ladies' Page" you are taken to that page and the sub-menu then reveals buttons for other pages, currently covering Victorian advice on beautiful hair and cosmetics, and some aspects of Victorian fashions.

Most pages in the main menu contain an introduction to the genre or topic as it features in Victorian magazines. See the Contents Page for further details, and the  Jottings Page for further background to new pages and additions.
CONTENTS PAGE - List of articles and topics on each page
EDITOR'S JOTTINGS - Notes, Comments and Snippets
FEATURES PAGES - Material of general interest
LADIES' PAGE - Fashion, Beauty, Home and Domestic concerns
LADIES' FEATURE PAGE - Variable - on any Ladies' Page topic
CHILDREN'S PAGE - Material aimed at Children
LITERATURE PAGE - Fiction, Poetry and Criticism
ADVERTISING PAGE- Victorian Advertisements
EDITOR'S MAILBAG - Readers' Correspondence
CONTACT THE EDITOR - How to get in touch with me
ARCHIVE PAGES - Access to "out-of-date" seasonal pages


The new Children's Page will give a flavour of the aims and content of both magazines for children and pages in women's and family magazines designed for the young. The illustration is taken from a late Victorian magazine The Happy Home

The first of a new Series of Pages on Victorian Travel in the Features Section begins with a look at how the nineteenth century celebrated its industry and commerce. The design above uses a detail from the early nineteenth century engraving of a Lancashire steam engine factory and ironworks 
I have just added further text on Liverpool's ports to this page. See Editor's Jottings for details of the aims of this new page.

THE CHRISTMAS SUPPLEMENT  Christmas Fare, with its Victorian recipes for Christmas Puddings and Mince pies is now available in the Archive, along with all the other pages from this seasonal section, including Victorian Christmas and Christmas Crackers. So you can still read about pantomime and Christmas entertainments via the Archive. Note that some of the Supplement Pages make reference to Annuals and thus offer some contextual information on the Annual referred to in the developing Travel Page. Don't forget to look at the New Puzzles which have been added to the Christmas Crackers page.

The Archive retains the Victorian New Year which contains substantial extracts from a women's magazine editorial on the custom of present-giving over the festive season. 

 A page focusing on The Crinoline and petticoats was added to the Fashion section. See  Contents and Editor's Jottings for more information.  

The Introduction to the Victorian Agony Aunts page has been expanded. This page, covering answers to readers' worries, currently including a question of Victorian courtship and etiquette, was created as the Editor's Mailbag  filled up. The Mailbag itself has an introduction to Victorian Readers' Letters to the Editor.
The Editor's Jottings page now includes any material directly addressed to present and former students, as well as other short items. The introductory article on "Editorial Columns in Women's Magazines" has  been further expanded.

The Victorian Advertising page has some new material on colour in magazine advertisements. You might be surprised to see what this Blue Nun was promoting.

Garden lovers interested in Victorian bulb-growing -especially hyacinths- will find information on that together with some examples of the Language of Flowers in  Late Summer Gardeningwhich is now listed as a subpage of Features - Gardens  where Mary Mitford's complaints about the vagaries of British weather still seem remarkably relevant. Most recently I have also included - especially for flower arrangers - the rather complicated instructions for using Mr Tye's Hyacinth Bottle (see Ladies' page feature on Gardens). 


The Victorian journalist W T Stead The year 1912 witnessed a number of academic and more popular, tourism–related initiatives to celebrate the bi-centenary of the birth of Charles Dickens (February 6th 1812). Apart from his work as a novelist, Dickens was a distinguished journalist, publishing in his magazines the work of a number of aspiring women journalists and novelists.

But 1912 also marked the centenary of the death of another innovative Victorian journalist and editor, less well- known than Dickens today, but in his own day a household name. I hope therefore to add a short piece on the remarkable W T Stead who is quoted on the Journalism Page.


Since it was first set up the most visited pages on this site have been the Victorian Beauty and Fashion pages with their emphasis on magazine journalism and advertising. In addition to Sam and Isabella Beeton's  pioneering  work in bringing  high fashion to the British middle classes  on the Ladies' Page - Fashion I have now included material on the treatment of fashion in the cheap weekly papers of the 1890s. The article on Rational Dress for sporting activities,  focusing on the increasing popularity of "knickerbockers", has now been completed.

The image above shows a detail from one of the illustrations on the Victorian Fashion page - a plate from the 1870s. Others are taken from the previous two decades. 
There are also additions to the article on Victorian hairstyles and hair treatments, and that on Victorian Cosmetics.


A solecism on the web - but an academic prop  - so I'll compromise by leaving out the numbers.

"Conducted by" was the term used by some Victorian magazines
rather than "Edited by". In referring to correspondence, however, "Editor" was almost always preferred.
Tit-Bits was the title of a highly popular magazine run by Alfred Harmsworth (Lord Northcliffe).

"Victorian" for my purposes is used to refer to what some historians term "the long nineteenth century" approx 1790-1914. The majority of the content will fall strictly within the years of Queen Victoria's reign, but for certain topics those dates are too restrictive.


IMAGES: This is a personal free website, not a subscription one, so if you know my slide lectures please don't expect the same high quality reproduction of images!  The slides are produced professionally; and whilst I may occasionally use one here, my aims on Victorian Page are simply to offer additional material which adequately illustrates particular points in the articles, and to add a bit of Victorian decoration to break up the text. Should you, however, for any reason make use of an image from this site please follow the guidelines under the COPYRIGHT note below.

REFERENCES: Students working on essays or dissertations may be surprised to see that I haven't included detailed references to my primary sources. This is because of my concern about inadvertent plagiarism from websites which contain short quotations and extracts, as this one does. If you read an entire essay on line and find an appropriate quotation  for yourself that is one thing; but, if  detailed references are included in a collection of short extracts it is all too easy to "lift"  a telling sentence or paragraph which  cost the author much time and trouble to find, and pass it off as the result of your own library researches. So if you do happen upon something useful for your assignment here you should find a guideline to my source for you to follow up, or alternatively you may cite this website. If neither of these is appropriate feel free to ask for more details via the link given at the bottom of this page. See also COPYRIGHT NOTE below.

Although Victorian Page does not have a Links Page, the Editor's Jottings  now includes links to certain other websites that have particular relevance to material this one. In many cases there will also be a link to the site at an appropriate point elsewhere on Victorian Page.

I do not knowingly publish on this site any material in copyright for which I have  not obtained permission. Should I have done so inadvertently please inform me so that the material can be removed.See CONTACT link below.

Unless otherwise stated Barbara Onslow is the author of and holds the copyright of the articles published on this site. Readers are free to use  material for personal and private, but not commercial, uses on the following conditions.
Use of it in digital, typed, printout or written forms should be acknowledged by quoting the author, date accessed and website.
Use of it on a non-commercial website should give a link to this page.
Thank you for respecting the work of others.

Barbara Onslow is a writer and lecturer. She began her career as a journalist but has taught in the college and university sector for many years, latterly at the University of Reading. She is the author of Women of the Press in Nineteenth Century Britain (Macmillan/Palgrave 2000) and numerous articles, reviews and encyclopedia entries on subjects in her specialist field - Victorian magazines and their women contributors. She contributed a substantial number of entries to the Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism (Academia Press and the British Library, 2008). Her current research project focuses on the early nineteenth century illustrated annuals and their legacy to publishing, and she has contributed a chapter “Gendered production: annuals and gift books” to the recently published essay collection Journalism and the Periodical Press in Nineteenth-Century Britain (e.d. Joanne Shattock for Cambridge University Press).  She is a member of the Society of Authors, and details of lecturing, writing and research she undertakes are included in her profile on their listing of authors.

Via this link : Editor Victorian Page

The design at the top of this page is taken from an engraving of the New Printing Press at the office of The Times newspaper c. 1860; the caption-free images here are usually based on images on the relevant page. All are taken from illustrations in nineteenth century magazines.

©  The contents of this website Barbara Onslow June 2007 -2016          

  This page last updated April 25th.  2017
  This website last updated April 25th. 2017           Visitors to this Home Page