The lifestyles of women of Victorian England depended entirely upon their social class.

There has been a tendency in the past to teach children that all Victorian women were either kept by their husbands or were domestic servants. This is very far from the truth.

In 1851, for example, 43% of British women over 20 had no husband. 30% were single and 13% widowed. Of these, only 10% lived on personal or family wealth. The remaining 90% had nobody to support then and had to make their own living. In 1851 about thirty percent of the workforce was female.

In Hastings in 1861, of the 6675 women over 20, 54% were listed as 'dependent on relatives'. Of the remainder, just under 8% had private incomes and 38% (3059) were self-supporting.

As everywhere, women of Victorian Hastings & St Leonards were divided into four economic categories: women with inherited wealth; business owners; employees; women of the underclass. Read more by following the links

The wealthy women The business women The employed women

Women in the underclass

Home life