Monday Start-Up: The Working Women of the Victorian Era

by Rachel Yeomans | February 14th, 2011   

This past weekend was one of those amazing weekends that was wrapped up in a cozy blanket – literally. Propped up on the couch, tea within reach, laptop on my lap, I amazed myself with being fantastically productive all the while with Masterpiece Theatre movies rotating in the background. While mooning over the ever-so-handsome Mr. Rochester from the Masterpiece version of Jane Eyre (an all-time favorite of mine), I naturally became inspired to write about the fashions of the working governess of back-in-the-day.

Picture 20 Monday Start Up: The Working Women of the Victorian Era

I came across this article published by PBS on the Victorian governess, in which I learned that there were approximately 21,000 governesses in England in 1850. In fact there were more applicants than positions! How did this working woman’s fashion fare may one ask? Well it made its way to to actually term a fall 2005 trend of ‘governess chic’. After all, this working woman did marry Mr. Rochester.

Picture 19 Monday Start Up: The Working Women of the Victorian Era


Hi Elizabeth,

I actually own it on DVD, but Masterpiece Classic airs the re-runs sometimes too. Make sure to check your local listings to make sure! Thanks for the comment!