Sunday 25 December 2022

Merry Christmas

 For the Canadian troops in England in 1918, Christmas Day was a good day for food!

May your Christmas Feast be a merry and fulsome one too!

The Victoran Society of Alberta.

Saturday 17 December 2022

December Fashion Friday

 Since it is likely that our feasting this season will force some adjustments in our waistlines I thought it might be interesting to link to this article...

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Once Upon a Christmas Ramble 2022

 Last weekend we had our annual winter ramble through Heritage Park in Calgary.

It was a gorgeous Calgary Winter day, bright sunshine, cloudless sky, no wind and a crisp snowy -3C.

Here are some pictures of our day.


The Victorian Society of Alberta

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Friday 18 November 2022

November Fashion Friday

This month it is all about MONICLES!

Very posh what?


The Victorian Society of Alberta

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Louis Riel Day


 From Wikipedia

Louis Riel (/ˈli riˈɛl/; French: [lwi ʁjɛl]; 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political leader of the Métis people. He led two resistance movements against the Government of Canada and its first prime minister John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to defend Métis rights and identity as the Northwest Territories came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence.

The first resistance movement led by Riel was the Red River Resistance of 1869–1870. The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the new province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation. However, while carrying out the resistance, Riel had a Canadian nationalist, Thomas Scott, executed. Riel soon fled to the United States to escape prosecution. He was elected three times as member of the House of Commons, but, fearing for his life, he could never take his seat. During these years in exile he came to believe that he was a divinely chosen leader and prophet. He married in 1881 while in exile in the Montana Territory.

In 1884 Riel was called upon by the Métis leaders in Saskatchewan to help resolve longstanding grievances with the Canadian government, which led to an armed conflict with government forces: the North-West Rebellion of 1885. Defeated at the Battle of Batoche, Riel was imprisoned in Regina where he was convicted at trial of high treason. Despite protests, popular appeals and the jury's call for clemency, Riel was executed by hanging. Riel was seen as a heroic victim by French Canadians; his execution had a lasting negative impact on Canada, polarizing the new nation along ethno-religious lines. The Métis were marginalized in the Prairie provinces by the increasingly English-dominated majority. A long-term impact was the bitter alienation Francophones across Canada felt, and anger against the repression by their countrymen.[1]

Riel's historical reputation has long been polarized between portrayals as a dangerous religious fanatic and rebel opposed to the Canadian nation, and, by contrast, as a charismatic leader intent on defending his Métis people from the unfair encroachments by the federal government eager to give Orangemen-dominated Ontario settlers priority access to land. Arguably, Riel has received more formal organizational and academic scrutiny than any other figure in Canadian history.[2] The trial and conviction of Louis Riel has been the subject of historical comment and criticism for over one hundred years.

Friday 11 November 2022

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day...

Lest we forget.

Photo by Neil Zeller

It is important to note that today as we remember those who sacrificed themselves in service to Empire and in response to the commands of their Kings and countries, that we must also remember that ALL the men and women who participated in WWI were "Victorians" and those who served in WWII were mostly "Edwardians".

These two titanic conflicts changed the worlds of these people in unimaginable ways. For the world of neither the Victorians nor the Edwardians, as we tend to study and re-create it, remained when the smoke and dust settled.

Not only did hundreds of thousands of them die, but the very cultural structures in which they had grown up were swept away.

In 1914 a farmer in Western Canada, a fisherman on the Coasts, a labourer in the factories of Eastern Canada, or a miner in the far north, went when their King called because that was what one did.
104 years ago when the guns fell silent at 11:00 am on November 11th, 1918, they did not know that everything had changed forever but they hoped that at least war was done with.

Alas their children found that was not true.

There are none alive now who remember the world of WWI and few indeed that remember WWII.
We owe it to them that WE remember, we also owe their World, the Victorian and Edwardian World we celebrate, that it not be forgotten either.

Lest we forget.
God Save the King!


Tuesday 8 November 2022

November Book Tuesday

This month's Book Tuesday* is a series of annual collections of the British "Boy's Own Paper". This paper came out on Saturdays and cost one penny. Filled with adventure stories, games, puzzles, projects and articles of interest for "Boys", which seems to include anyone from age 5 to young adults!

The papers were collected and published in "Annuals" thick hardbound volumes. These are gold mines of information on late 19th Century Britain. The first annual was published for the papers in 1879. Weighing in at 618 pages it is a densely packed time capsule.

Hathitrust has online scans of all the annuals from 1879 to 1896.

The Internet archive has many full scans available for download as well. 

To give you a taste the 1891=92 edition of the annual is available for down load here.  It is a hefty PDF file clocking in at almost 490 MB of dense text.  

The Victorian Society of Alberta

*Well technically last Tuesday was the first Tuesday of November but I was recovering from Halloween 😁


Friday 14 October 2022

Tuesday 4 October 2022

October Book Tuesday

 Although in Western Canada the season is quickly turning towards late autumn this month's book is a wonderful wander through the countryside of Warwickshire for the year of 1906.

The book is a reproduction of  the illustrated diary of naturalist Edith Holden and is filled with her watercolour mages and the text is in her own hand.

Born in 1871, she lived in Olton Warwickshire, she tragically died in 1920 by drowning in the Thames while gathering buds from chestnut trees.

A treasure indeed!

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
by Edith Holden

"This is a really cool book. Great for inspiring children in making a nature journal. My daughter has loved tracing the pictures for her nature journal and using it as inspiration in her journal."
"This nature journal has such beautiful illustrations, poems and quotes to inspire the budding nature journalist. It also includes many of the common and scientific names of various plants and wildlife found in the area the author studied."
"I sent this (from England) to a Canadian friend going through a tough time as a cheer-up gift. She has fallen absolutely in love with it and phoned me to rave about the exquisite illustrations. She says she'd like to lend it to all her friends, but isn't yet ready to let it out of her sight.

"Some books provide enduring pleasures - this is one of them."

The Victorian Society of Alberta



Friday 30 September 2022

National Truth and Reconciliation Day


Today is Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada.

Also known as Orange Shirt Day in honour of the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad's treatment on her first day of Residential School when she was six.

I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6 years old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school!

When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.

You can read more of her story here.

More information on Truth an Reconciliation Day is here.

The 94 Calls to Action are here.

This day is a day to remember those children lost, the damage done to the diverse cultures and communities across this land, and to pledge to do better for our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters.


Friday 16 September 2022

September Fashion Friday

 As the Autumn begins I thought a simple discussion of suspenders (braces for you Brits) might be of interest.

Specifically the debate about clip-on or button fastened ones. This debate has raged in re-enactor circles quite a bit.


The Victorian Society of Alberta

Clip-On vs. Button-Hole Suspenders Is it okay to wear clip-on suspenders?

 From the Gentlemanual

 Are clip-on suspenders hopelessly tacky? If a man is going to wear suspenders, should he stick exclusively to suspenders with button-hole tabs? These are good questions, and they deserve good answers.

Clip-Ons Aren’t Traditional… Or Are They?

Clip-on suspenders have been around since 1894, and the argument “One shouldn’t wear clip-on suspenders because they’re not traditional” is difficult to sustain. With over a century’s worth of history, they’re as classic as any “classic” could be. Scroll through collections of old photos and you’ll see clip-on suspenders in abundance, from the Millennials of 1900 to the ruffians of original punk rock. Heritage isn’t the issue. The real problem with clip-ons these days is two-fold.

First, many of the big stores that sell everything from fertilizer to frozen french fries sell clip-on suspenders in their menswear departments. Marketplace ubiquity, affordability, and ease of use are the main virtues of mass-produced clip-on suspenders, most of which are made of semi-elasticated material. It is precisely this wide-distribution of low price clip-ons which gives rise to concerns about their street-cred.

When belts (and buckles) returned to the forefront of fashion, clip-on suspenders continued to appeal chiefly to three sorts of men: those who were accustomed to suspenders but never got on board with button-fastened ones; those who didn’t give a damn about actively presenting “a look;” and those whose style-sense tended to be at odds with trending notions of what counted as fashionable. Today the situation is a little dire. To put it bluntly, too many men wear clip-on suspenders with get-ups that make fashion police wish they were packing more than disapproving grimaces.

Clip-on Suspenders are old-school. That’s not the problem.

And that’s the second issue: all clip-on suspenders suffer a bit from guilt-by-association. It’s unfair, perhaps, but that’s just how it is, and a man wearing clip-on suspenders risks finding himself in the same situation as the man who wears a clip-on bow tie: if you’re going to wear a bow tie (argues the purist), you should take the time and make the effort to learn how to tie one; and if you’re going to wear suspenders, accept the extra expense and hassle involved with adding buttons to the inside of the waistband of your trousers and wear button-tab suspenders. This is one school of thought.

 Continued at this link 


Sunday 21 August 2022

Days of Yore 2022!

The first in person Days of Yore festival since 2019 was held on July 30 and 31 2022.

The event took place at its traditional location in Rosebud Park, Didsbury Alberta and was attended by almost 2000 people across the two days. There were eight reenactor groups from Alberta covering over a 1000 years of history from Viking times to WWII.


Our encampment was the second largest this year, the largest camp being that of the Sons of Fenrir, a Viking reenactor group.

We arrived on site on a very hot Friday afternoon, and began setting up watching a threatening sky building in the West.. Typical thunderstorm conditions for Summers in Alberta. The storm turned out to be part of a major storm system that brought heavy rain and large hail to many areas around us, luckily all we got was some nasty wind gusts and rain. Our camp was mostly setup and squared away before the storm broke so we just waited it out under a couple of large sunshades.


Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, with a sky that promised lots of sunshine and heat for the day.

Events kicked off around 10:00 am when the gates opened for a flood of people coming to view battle displays, Civil War cannon fire, fur traders, Viking displays, WWI and WWII camps, WWII Military vehicles, and us!

Our displays included your editor's "Victorian Internet" a working telegraph office, a display tent with information on the First Nations Treaties, games, some period books and our lovely Ladies working on hand crafts, a hard working young man doing laundry, a WWI Nurse and her camp and a small display of Boer War items. A continuous croquet game was running as well.


The sunshade over the telegraph office was a popular place to escape the sun.

 Our camp was a place of calm and industry amongst the clash of swords and axes on shields, cannon blasts, muskets and machine gun fire.

A brief thunderstorm arrived during dinner Saturday night which cooled things off nicely.

Sunday was another bright, sunny, and very hot day.

The Vikings decided to liven things up in the afternoon by kidnapping our croquet master and his mallets. This necessitated some tricky negotiations by our president but the croquet mallets, and him, were returned with only minor casualties on both sides.


A fun event indeed.

Thanks to  the Mountain View Arts Society of Didsbury for a great Days of Yore!

Looking forward to next year!

Thanks for reading.

The Victorian Society of Alberta.


Saturday 13 August 2022

August Fashion Friday

This month we a have a YouTube video on Shopkeeper wear from the "Olde West".

Would be pretty much the same in any shop in the Empire frankly.😀


The Victorian Society of Alberta

Wednesday 3 August 2022

August Book Tuesday

 This month we have a collection of "best sellers" from the 19th Century.

This post from Sea of has a list to check out!


The Victorian Society of Alberta 

Here is the introduction (So as not to steal their thunder you'll have to visit the site to get the list 😁)

5 Mega Best Sellers from the 19th Century

I started putting together the figures for this post more than two years ago, when we were in the early stages of compiling our list of works that we wanted to look at on the project.  Back then, I sat down at my desk with the thought of looking into what I naively assumed at the time was a simple question: which 19th-century novels were the biggest bestsellers in their own time?

the essays of leigh hunt - writing
“When I glance up at Christian Grey, he’s watching us like a hawk, 
his eyes hooded and questioning… no.  
Thoughtful?  I know, speculative!”

It turns out this is NOT a simple question.

Many people have compiled lists of “the most popular 19th-century novels”, but these tend to include data from their entire lifespans – from their time of writing to the present day.  Generally these lists are more reflective of what we think of the novels now, after years of varying-quality reprints, screen adaptations, and ham-fisted literary allusions, rather than what was popular in its own time.

In order to find some info on what your average Scrooge really had on his nightstand, or what volume Lady Audley would keep in her reticule for a bit of light reading on the coach, I went looking for contemporary sales figures.  The main source of information that I found was contained in a series of articles by the scholar Richard Altick, which were compiled from his extensive research into author biographies over a lifetime of scholarship.  (References at the end!)  Making sense of these figures often involves comparing apples to oranges, though; if Alice In Wonderland sold 180,000 copies over its first 33 years of publication, does that it make it more or less of a bestseller than H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain, which sold 1700 copies in its first ten days?*

A number of factors would have affected the sales of a novel in 19th century Britain.  Literacy rates varied greatly at different times, from as low as 50% (by some estimates) in 1800, to near 100% by the late 1890s.  So, J. M. Barrie’s Margaret Ogilvy would have had a far larger potential audience when it came out in 1896 (selling 40,000 copies “almost at once”) than Hannah Moore’s Coelebs in Search of a Wife, published in 1809 (“14,000 in eight months”).

As well as this, the introduction of cheap and penny editions, the appearance of novels in serial format in magazines, and the rise and fall of subscription libraries such as Mudie’s all meant that as time went on, fiction – in various forms – could be consumed by a wider cross-section of the public.  A person in Victorian England would not necessarily have had to own a book to enjoy it, or even been literate themselves; books could have been shared between friends or borrowed from a circulating library (or later on, a public one), and reading aloud to a group was still a common pastime.  Sales figures, then, aren’t an entirely reliable indicator of how popular a novel was in the 19th century.  In fact, early in the century, books were so difficult for anyone except the extremely rich (who could, and often did, buy them solely for decorative purposes) to afford, that most of the reading population relied entirely on libraries for their reading material.  As the poet Robert Southey stated in 1814, “they who buy books do not read them, and … they who read them do not buy them.”

All that being said, we can fairly safely say that these works were among the Dan Browns of their time, if not the Harry Potters.

Continued at the link above.

Friday 29 July 2022

Days of Yore 2022!

 This is it!

The weekend everyone has been waiting for over the last 2 years!

Come out to Rosebud Park in Didsbury AB on both Saturday and Sunday and stroll through history from Viking times to WWII.

The Victorian Society will have its largest camp ever and a working replica of the Dominion Telegraph of 1876.

Come by and say "Hi"!

See you there.

The Victorian Society of Alberta

Saturday 16 July 2022

July Fashion Friday

 It's time for another instalment of Fashion Friday!

This month we are featuring a website in the USA that has a ton of outfits suitable for your Old West and Victorian (esque) needs.

Hstorical Emporium

They have a couple of fascinating Victorian Style Guides (the mens one is at the link) that go with their complete outfits.

I have not purchased anything from them but the reviews seem good so YMMV.

 Their blog  is here:

Lots of fun products some that look fairly accurate others that are just that...FUN

Definitely worth checking out.

The Victorian Society of Alberta

Thursday 14 July 2022

Tuesday 5 July 2022

July Book Tuesday

 For this month's Book Tuesday we have a classic "eye witness" account of the ordinary people of London in the middle of the 19th Century.

First published in 1851 as "London Labour and London Poor" by Henry Mayhew and expanded to a giant three volume epic treatise of the same name in 1861. This book is the quintessential look at how ordinary people lived and worked in the very center of the Empire. 

Dickens referenced it frequently while writing his stories.

This condensed version published in 1951 is still 590 pages of dense text, a slow slog to be honest if one was to read it through, but incredibly fascinating to peruse on a nice Summer day.

It is also a good background on why people would leave "civilized" places like London for the "wilds" of Western Canada.

The Victorian Society of Alberta

Mayhew's London
Edited by Peter Quennel

Mayhew's London being selections from 'London labour and the London poor' which was first published in 1851. This book, "Mayhew's London", by Henry Mayhew, is a replication of a book originally published before 1851. It has been restored by human beings, page by page, so that you may enjoy it in a form as close to the original as possible.


Friday 1 July 2022

Saturday 18 June 2022

June Fashion Friday

 As we prepare for our summer outings I thought it might be worthwhile to look at some ways to 'beat the heat", for men's outfits at least.

So for this month's Fashion Friday here is a video from the Antique Menswear channel on YouTube.
Lots of good information on that channel.

This is actually his first video, so a bit rambling and disjointed, BUT the idea of being well dressed WITHOUT a shirt during the summer is a great idea.

Victorian Society of Alberta

Tuesday 7 June 2022

June Book Tuesday

 For this month's book Tuesday we have a lovely reproduction catalogue from Peck and Snyder in 1886.

A delightful collection of intriguing, fun, dangerous, and obscure items.

Victorian Society of Alberta

Nineteenth century games & sporting goods

From the dust jacket:

This book is a secret attic on a rainy day, a gentle reminder of the days when baseball was two words and a bicycle was $12.50. Whatever those days were like, they could boast Peck & Snyder's Electro Radiant Megascopes, ventilated lunch satchels, nose amputation knives, battery operated scarf pins, electric sleeve buttons and magic bolognas.


Friday 20 May 2022

Saturday 14 May 2022

May Fashion Friday

Happy Friday!
For this months Fashion Friday we have a page full of fascinating info on just how one shopped for clothing during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Obviously for people living in the West during that time things were far more complicated and until after the arrival of the railroad most clothing was locally and self made!

Victorian Society of Alberta

Shopping in the Past - Edwardian and Victorian Clothes

Shopping in the Victorian and Edwardian Eras

Today ordinary people all over the world obtain clothes from a very wide variety of global sources. We shop from the Internet, from mail order, from TV Channels, from the High Street or nearby outlet mall a few miles away. In the past shopping was more difficult. It was not until the start of the nineteenth century that a form of mass produced clothing developed. It was of a simple basic style, mainly for ordinary men and women and unsuitable for the high fashion market of the upper classes. It could not compete with high class tailoring and it was not until the 1850s that standards of making began to gradually improve as the century wore on. The only acceptable ready made items for the wealthy were free size garments like mantles, cloaks and shawls.

Partially Made Clothes

Until the 1850s all sewn clothes were entirely stitched by hand. In Britain partly made clothes were made by London firms and these were sold on to country dressmakers and drapers. The partially completed bodices or partly made clothes were then completed to ensure a good fashion fit. This was usually done by dressmakers or the customer herself. From early Victorian times this was very common and evolved into the skirt being fully made and the matching bodice fabric being sold for individual styling. Short notice mourning clothes had been sold in this manner since the 1860s and led the way for the concept of ready made women's garments.  

The Sewing Machine and Butterick Paper Patterns

Although sewing could be a sweat trade it was also considered a gentle art and a skilled refinement for women. The customer or her maid was often quite experienced at making up garments. The mid 19th century mass marketing of the domestic sewing machine by Singer successfully introduced the concept of hire purchase. Then the introduction of paper patterns by Butterick and later the McCall's Pattern Company, helped make home dressmaking more successful.

Continued at the site.
You are reading an original 'Shopping in the Past', fashion history article by Pauline Weston Thomas at ©.   

Sunday 8 May 2022

Victoria Day Picnic!


As we approach a day most dear to our Imperial hearts, Our beloved Queen's birthday in May! we invite you all to come and join us to celebrate Victoria Day out in Calgary's beautiful Riley Park / Senator Burns Formal Park.
We will be gathering starting at 1pm on Monday May 23rd. 
Period costumes and outfits (Victorian/Edwardian) are encouraged, and we will be enjoying a picnic lunch, weather allowing. 
 Just look for the Queen's Colours, bring yourselves and maybe a picnic basket, and enjoy what we hope to be a beautiful and sunny day! 
Hope to see you there!!!
Victorian Society of Alberta


Saturday 16 April 2022

April Fashion Friday

This months Fashion Friday is all about Corsets.

Even way out here in the West corsets were worn by ladies of all ages and social status. 

This excellent discussion of the Myths about Victorian and Edwardian Corsets at A Damsel in This Dress from 2014 by Izabella of Prior Attire covers many of the common Myths. 

Here is a taste of the article.


Victorian Society of Alberta


Corsetted Victorians and others – myths and reality

1851-60 blue ribbed silk corset,
Museum of London Prints.
Image Number 002188

“Oh my, this must hurt – how do you breathe in this?!” –  Many re-enactors, (and modern corset wearers), will recognize that remark, whether as a comment under a picture or spoken at an event.  I have heard my fill over the last few years, when dressed in Victorian kit, and the discussions that followed were equally interesting and illuminating for both parties.

Recently I have been browsing through Pinterest boards looking for images  of 1895 corsets, and noticed several nice pictures – yet it was not the pictures that captured my attention, rather the comments and descriptions below that were even more arresting…..

Just a few examples:

* ‘They are lovely, but so uncomfortable’ ( on this pin )

* ‘This is a victorian corset which was used to create the perfect hourglasss figure. This is gorgeous but I can’t imagine wearing it. No wonder Victorian women passed out all the time! …They couldn’t breathe ‘ ( on this )

*’Vintage 1910-1918 Fashion Corsets….women used to be laced up so tight in these corsets that they sometimes endured cracked ribs…..can’t imagine! All for the sake of having a tiny waist….’ ( on this pin)

*’how many ribs do you think had to be removed so the ladies could wear this torture device?’ ( on this pin)

*Talk about taking appearance to extremes! In the 18th – 19th century, it was fashionable to either surgically remove smaller rib bones or crush the waistline into an impossibly small size in order to achieve a “waspish” waist. Incredibly dumb!’  ( on this)

There are more, but no doubt you get the idea…

Well,  I have been wearing corsets for work and for going out for the last 7 years – and earlier-period stays for even longer…. I have also been making Victorian, Edwardian and modern corsets for the last 7  years ( I think I’ve made about 200  altogether)  so have managed to learn a bit about the history of corsets and their day-to-day use….

Let us have a look at a few popular myths.


1898 Print Victorian Woman Spring Toilette Fashion Clothing Costume Dress Hat

 ‘Their waists were tiny!’

Some of them, probably yes – there are always people with  smaller waists, especially when tight-lacing,  but by no means was that the norm.

*Extant corsets have  waist measurements from roughly 18″ to 30″ or more – and considering that they were not meant to be worn closed but with 2″ gap, and allowing 2-4″ tissue displacement (the so-called “squish” factor), the original waist circumference could be anything from 22″ to 40″ or more. Jennifer  from Historical Sewing explains it very well in her own blog.

*optical illusion factor – crinolines, bustles, hip pads, bug sleeves, sloping shoulders and V-shaped blouse cut and decoration – with these, it was easier to emphasize the waist, which looked smaller when contrasted with hide hips and/or shoulders.

*extant clothing and corsets are usually small –  this is true, but again, there may be several explanations for the fact that it is the smaller items that have survived to the present day:

primo –  people did tend to be just a tad shorter than nowadays – so different proportions…

secundo – and that is just my theory – it seems to me that a lot of surviving clothes belonged to teenagers and very your ladies. I have owned, handled and seen a great deal of the clothing  with labels pronouncing that they belonged to ‘Miss Smith’ or ‘Miss Brown’ – so at that time mostly unmarried, young women  (of course there were exceptions). Since they were only worn for a limited time, once young miss outgrew them, (or got married and had babies etc), they were stored ready to be handed down as necessary to the next generation. Clothes that were worn by grown-ups don’t seem to survive that well – mostly because they were worn much more thoroughly, but also because they were remodeled, restyled, etc, so that the original gown could be used for many years.
This is  just a theory, discussed with a few fellow costumiers, but there might be a little truth to it too – I would be interested in other people’s opinions!

*photoshop. No, really –  at least the Victorian/Edwardian version of it.  Most of the fashion plates from that era are drawings. It is easy to draw a tiny waist…. The reality however is a bit different.  A quick search on Pinterest of Google images will show just as much – or better still, a book I happen to have here – Victorian Costume for Ladies 1860-1900, with over 350 original photographs. Yes, there were  a few tiny waists in evidence (  and let us bear in mind that early attempts at editing was already done – by taking the photograph, concealing unwanted bits and taking the photograph of the  retouched original – an excellent blog post on Victorian/edwardian photo shopping by Cynthia from Redthreaded   here), but looking at the photographs  from the era you will find that the majority of ladies are far from willowy. They look natural, with comfortable sizes of 10-18 or more….. the book is amazing, and recommended! Below a few snaps from the book:

IMG_20141219_180838 IMG_20141219_181011 IMG_20141219_180635 IMG_20141219_180756

Also, interestingly enough, have a look at  the  Victorian burlesque dancers –  the lovely ladies are definitely  much more substantial than our “size 0” models…..

Definitely worth a read.
Izabella posts lots of great information on her blog at Prior Attire and her FB page.

These two screenshots from Twitter address a couple of the myths as well.