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Life in 18th Century London

By Rachel Didericksen

     To the right is a picture of syallbub, a popular drink in 18th century London.

      Meat, aside from what you may have previously believed was the main food that people in the 18th century ate. They usually ate their meat cold, unless they had visitors over then they would eat it hot. Fruits, on the other hand were mainly available for a select few people who were wealthy. However towards the end of the 1700s citrus fruits became realy important to England's navy because they prevented scurvey. They even decided that salors should be issued a fixed amount of lemon juice daily.

     Pudding was a popular dessert that was usualy cooked alongside a meat of some kind. Another popular dish was gruel that was made of boiled oatmeal with a bit of butter and it often contained alcoholic beverages, mainly wine. They also had a popular drink called syallbub that was made of cider or wine that was sweetend and flavored with nutmeg, milk and cream.


     wealthy men at the begining of the 18th century wore extravegant and well made clothes that showed off their wealth with bright colors, facnydecorations, and padding or boned supports to hold the skirts of the waistcoats away from their hips. While working men wore simpler clothes that weren't as well made or flashy. However twords the end of the century wealthy men started wearing darker clothes and it was harder to tell it apart from the working man's clothes. Children at the begining of the century usualy wore mini versions of the adult clothes until later in the century when people started thinking that children should be more free and they started wearing simple loose cotton dresses.

     Wealthy woman at the begining of the 18th century tword the middle wore huge dresses with yards of decoration with leyars of ruffles and ribons. They also had bright colors and were mad of silk. Their waists were cinched by corsetts and revialed their breasts so much that some of them wore lace scarves called modesty pieces to cover them. However by the end of the century woman got rid of thier huge dresses and started wearing simpler dresses that were not as elaborate.

     Below is an example of an 18th century ball gown.


     To the right is a picture of an 18th century family playing checkers.

     In the 18th century your wealth and status depended on the amount of land you owned. However merchents and professional men were very wealthy as well. Wealthy people lived in great country houses while other people lived in two to three rooms or in severe cases one room. To entertain themselves they read books, played chess, gambled, or went to theaters.

     England had charity schools in many towns and the children that went to those schools usualy wore blue uniforms. Boys that lived in familys that could aford it went to grammer schools and girls in well financialy stable homes went to school to. There was not much religious enthusiasm in the begining of the 17oos however people became more religios.

Daily Life

     Ther were about eighty workhouses in London during the 1700s and between one and two percent of the population ocupied them with an estimated total of 16,000 people. Workhouses were institutions that housed, fed, and worked the poor, they became the most common relief available. They varied in size from small houses containing twenty to thirty people to massive institutions holding hundreds of people.

     The employees  other than the master included clerks, matrons, assistant matrons, laundry maids, porters, schoolmistresses, and general maid servants. However along with these paid servants there were positions filled by the poor to. They were informed when it was meal time by a bell. The master gave punishments and rewards, the punishments usualy included being confined in a dark hole or denial of food privileges. The master also read prayers in the morning and everyone except children under four and the bedridden had to attend and the master could also give people permishion to enter or leave the home.

     Above is a picture of women at a workhouse gathered in the dining area to eat.