Charming is a Victorian Era Harry Potter roleplay set primarily in the village of Hogsmeade, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the non-canon village of Irvingly. Characters of all classes, both magical and muggle — and even non-human! — are welcome.

With a member driven story line, monthly games and events, and a friendly and drama-free community focused on quality over quantity, the only thing you can be sure of is fun!
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    01.11 I've got a bit of a reputation...
    01.06 AC underway, and a puzzle to solve!
    01.01 Happy new year! Have some announcements of varying importance.
    12.31 Enter the Winter Labyrinth if you dare!
    12.23 Professional Quidditch things...
    12.21 New stamp!
    12.20 Concerning immortality
    12.16 A heads up that the Secret Swap deadline is fast approaching!
    12.14 Introducing our new Minister of Magic!
    12.13 On the first day of Charming, Kayte gave to me...
    12.11 Some quick reminders!
    12.08 Another peek at what's to come...
    12.05 It's election day! OOC, at least.
    12.04 We have our PW winners for November!
    12.02 New Skins! In less exciting news, the AC is underway.
    11.27 AC Saturday and election next week!
    11.21 A glimpse at post-move changes.
    11.13 This news is not at all big. Do not bother with it.
    Roleplaying Victorian 101
    Wizarding Fashion
    Fashion in the Wizarding World is primarily static -- that is to say, the changes are in things like trim and color, rather than any real change being present in cut or the actual pieces of clothing. Because of the heavy emphasis on tradition that many pureblooded families posses, there is an official dress of the Wizarding World which has not changed significantly within memory: the robe. The robe is a closed, single piece which varies in cut and fabric based on what it is meant for. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire the movie-created misconception that Wizarding robes are opened in the front with "normal" clothes worn underneath is dispelled when a wizard named Archie at the World Cup refuses to put on trousers instead of his women's nightdress, saying that he "like[s] a healthy breeze 'round [his] privates, thanks." Functionally, robes are like shapeless unisex dresses. They are not particularly fashionable, but because the robe is so traditional no one will be looked down on for wearing one.

    Aside from the robe, other staples of Wizarding fashion include tall pointed hats, cloaks, and capes. Hats can be seen both with and without brim and sometimes with decorations such as feathers or stuffed animals on top. Cloaks vary in length, but have hoods; capes are similar to cloaks but without hoods. Cloaks are generally considered to be more practical than capes and are used both for summer and winter wear depending on the weight. Some cloaks have slits for the arms so that one can keep his cloak closed and still use his hands.

    The Hogwarts Uniform
    The Hogwarts uniform is a good example of the basics of wizarding fashion. The details of the uniform are in Harry's Hogwarts Acceptance Letter, which can be found in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone:
    1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)

    2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear

    3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)

    4. One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)
    It should be noted that because everyone has an identical uniform, it is required that students have their names on the tags of their clothing so things do not git mixed up. There are no House indicators of any kind on the uniform. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry and Ron (disguised as Crabbe and Goyle by Polyjuice Potion) see Penelope Clearwater and mistake her for a Slytherin, which would have been impossible if House affiliation was clearly marked on the uniform.
    "Excuse me," said Ron, hurrying up to her. "We've forgotten the way to our common room."

    "I beg your pardon." said the girl stiffly. "Our common room. I'm a Ravenclaw." She walked away, looking suspiciously back at them.

    Muggle Fashion
    Paris was the fashion capital of the Western World, and England was close enough to France that what was new in France hit England almost immediately. Locations that were farther from France, such as the Americas, tended to be behind on the current trend because of the time that it took for fashion to cross the Atlantic; figures on how behind vary from a few months to about a year. A character recently arrived from across the Pond might be initially behind on the current fashion trends as well. Catching up would mostly be a matter of having the funding to replace ones wardrobe or redo older dresses with currently fashionable trims. Charles Franklin Worth, an Englishman who relocated to Paris in 1845, was both the first designer to include his name on a label in his designs and the premiere fashion designer up to his death in 1895.

    Muggle clothes are fashionable, the current trend. The fashion-conscious watched Parisian Fashion and followed if avidly. However, some more traditional witches and wizards may look down on people who wear "Muggle clothes." Despite this fact, fashion is too prevalent for those few extreme traditionalists to have any real effect.

    Women's Fashion 1881 to 1889
    In 1881 and 1882, the Muggle world is in the midst of the Natural Form Era. Hoop skirts had been out of style for over a decade, and the flowing empire gowns of the Regency Era even longer than that. A slim silhouette was in style, and the most popular style was the polonaise dress. The following description from Lady LaSalle captures the feel of the Natural Form Era perfectly:
    The dresses were form fitting, and were sometimes worn so close to the body that it actually "hobbled" the wearer preventing them from walking with a normal gait and canter. There were no bustles worn under the dresses but if a lady suffered from a lack of fullness in her posterior, she sometimes may have worn a small bustle pillow or even lined her skirts with net tulle to give the desired illusion.
    Examples of Natrual Form Era fashion plates: 1, 2, 3, 4.

    In 1883, bustles come back with a vengeance as the world moved into the Late Bustle Period. Bustles were larger than they ever had been, and they would stay in fashion until 1889. Lady LaSalle has the following to say on the topic:

    The Late Bustle Era is ... characterized by a silouhette with a full posterior, only this time they did it on a grand scale. The Grand bustle was much more pronounced that its cousin in the Early Bustle period. In some images that I have come across, the bustle portion of the skirt sticks out a full 18" from the ladies waist. Yes, you could put a whole tea service back there and still have room! Another fashion tidbit that sets the Late Bustle Era apart from any other is the Flower Pot hats that they ladies wore on their heads. They were formed, literally, by placing a soaked straw or felt hat frame over a flower pot with another pot placed on top to sandwich the frame in between.
    Examples of Late Bustle Period fashion plates: 1, 2, 3.

    Men's Fashion in the 1880s
    Men's fashion changed more slowly than women's, and stayed primarily the same throughout the 1880s. Three piece suits (also called ditto suits) were popular, consisting of a sack coat, waistcoat/vest, and trousers for informal occasions. For more formal occasions, a frock coat would replace the sack coat. Dark suits with tails were popular on such occasions. During the day men would wear morning coats. During the winter men wore knee length topcoats or calf-length overcoats, which might be decorated with fur or velvet collars that stood out against the dark background of the coat.

    Shirts were stiff, starched, and had folded or wing collars. They would sometimes be decorated with shirt studs on the front as they frequently buttoned in the back. Neckties with the four-in-hand knot and ascots were popular for more casual occasions, but bow ties were a must if things were more formal. White was the most formal color for a bow tie, and sometimes considered to be the only appropriate color for one.

    When participating in sporting events or hunting, a man might replace his usual coat with a Norfolk Coat and his long trousers with knickerbockers, which were knee-length and gathered around the top of a man's stockings.

    Top hats were popular throughout the entire decade, especially for formal occasions. Other popular hats included the bowler hat, the homburg hat, the deerstalker cap, straw boater hats, and Panama planter's hats.

    Examples of Early 1880s fashion plates with men: 1, 2.

    Dressing Your Character
    If your character is extremely traditional or ignorant of fashion, robes are always a safe choice. Since they range from serviceable work robes (such as the ones in the Hogwarts student uniform) to fancy dress robes, there is one for every occasion. If your character is extremely fashion-conscious, she should always be dressed in the current cuts and colors of Muggle fashion unless a robe is required. For characters who are not at one extreme or the other, mixing Wizarding and Muggle fashion is ideal ... and for the truly eccentric, styles that have been long forgotten are always an option, although they might get ridiculed on both sides for their choices.

    Documentation written by Emily exclusively for Charming.

    Many thanks to the following sources:
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    The LaSalle Library
    History in the Making
    and 1880s in fashion from Wikipedia
    The Victorian Era was a very strict time for women and men alike. There were rules of etiquette for nearly everything. A proper young lady was expected to own at least one etiquette manual and have it thoroughly memorized. A courtship between a gentleman and a lady had its own rules and expectations. Breaches of etiquette would have brought disgrace to the young lady involved and would have compromised her status in society. A courtship was often slow to start and would hopefully end in a marriage proposal.

    Courtship Etiquette for Women
    • A proper upper class young lady was required to have a chaperone with her whenever she left the house. She was not allowed to walk about alone. Depending upon the reputation of the family, there were some middle class girls who were able to get around the rules. The lower class girls were never required to have a chaperone and often went out alone - in a sense, they had much more freedom regarding courtship than the young women of higher rank.

    • Unless a woman was introduced to a higher ranking individual by a mutual friend, she was not allowed to approach them. Those of higher rank had to give permission to the mutual friend before the introduction took place.

    • Women were not allowed to ride in a carriage alone with a man unless he was a relative.

    • A single woman was never supposed to address a gentleman without first having been introduced.

    • They were never allowed to call upon an unmarried man at his home, nor were they allowed to accept a gentleman into their home without another family member present.

    • It was considered improper to allow a man to believe she was interested in him when she was not.

    • A proper lady should remain reserved. Attention from a man should not have been accepted too readily, though most negative responses were considered as teasing.

    • Impure conversations could not be held with a single woman present.

    Courtship Etiquette for Men
    • Higher ranking men who were introduced to those of lower status than they were able to decide to whether to "cut" the relationship or keep the acquaintance.

    • Gentleman were expected to act chivalrously toward women.

    • It was considered rude to remain seated when a woman came into a room for the first time and left for the last time.

    • He should never shower a single woman with attention unless he planned to marry her.

    • He was expected to take relationships slowly and not propose to a woman too soon into it.

    • A gentleman should never be in the presence of a lady and remove his coat, nor should he ask her to dance if he is not wearing it. He should not wear his hat when speaking to a woman.

    • He could never hold a woman's arm unless helping her over a rough spot.

    The beginning of a courtship
    • A young woman was only considered "courtable" after her Coming Out.

    • The very first stage of a courtship was with the couple speaking to each other. Often times, this took place at social events. However, if a man meets a woman for the purpose of a dance, he cannot resume their acquaintanceship without being reintroduced by a mutual friend and with permission from the lady. For example - if he were to see her again on the street, he would not be able to greet her as if he has already met her. He would need to be reintroduced.

    • If the couple are strangers/have not been introduced and the gentleman is attracted to her, the gentleman can try to speak of her with her friends/mutual acquaintances in order to get an introduction. The young lady's name should never be spoken during these conversations. If, for whatever reason, an introduction from a mutual friend fails, the gentleman can try to learn about her as much as he can and then frequent the public places that she visits. He could come upon her doing her morning walk. There would be no speaking to her, though he should be able to judge from her reaction of their frequent passing-bys whether his attentions are wanted. A smile, a glance and even a whisper are able to confirm his hopes.

    • Letter writing was a common way for new/beginning couples to express themselves where conversation did not allow it. The messages were often cryptic in case the letter was read by someone other than who it was meant for.

    • During the first part of the courtship, a lady must pay close attention to the behavior's of the gentleman. "His habits and his conduct must awaken her vigilant attention before it is too late. Should he come to visit her at irregular hours; should he exhibit a vague or wandering attention, give proofs of a want of punctuality, show disrespect for age, sneer at things sacred, or absent himself from regular attendance at divine service, or evince an inclination to expensive pleasures beyond his means or to low and vulgar amusements; should he be foppish, eccentric, or even slovenly in his dress; or display a frivolity of mind, and an absence of well-directed energy in his worldly pursuits: let the young lady, we say, while there is yet time, eschew that gentleman's acquaintance, and allow it gently to drop." (Robin Lee Hatcher)

    The continuing of a courtship
    • If all goes well and both parties are interested in continuing the relationship, the gentleman must first write a letter to the lady's father and ask for permission to court her.

    • It would then progress to the lady receiving the gentleman into her home under the watchful eyes of her family. The visits should be no more than fifteen to twenty minutes in length nor should they be too often. The gentleman was to continue to wear his gloves during the visit as well as hold his hat in his lap. During the visit, the gentleman was able to bring the lady a small gift of flowers, candy or a book. It was improper for a lady to accept anything more without first having a marriage proposal. She also was not able to give the gentleman a gift without first receiving a gift from him.

    • The secret messages of flowers was also very popular. The number of leaves on the branch of the flower could tell the receiver a date and time of the next rendezvous. The type of flower could reveal even more information about how the sender felt. It was considered a parlor game for those in the upper class to try to discern the message of the sender through the flowers that were sent. A list of flowers and their meanings can be found here.

    • If all continues to go well, the couple could move their visits out onto the front porch. It offered a little more privacy, though it was still public enough for neighbors and family members to keep an eye on them.

    • Physical contact was extremely intimate. Courting couples could not hold hands or embrace. Some couples were able to get around this rule by partaking in certain activities that would allow them to appropriately touch: roller skating and ice skating allowed them to hold hands and piano duets allowed them to share a bench together and occasionally brush hands as they reached for the keys.

    • As things progressed, couples were able to take walks together, though still under the distant supervision of an older family member. The chaperone might trail behind them a ways or the couple might go out in a group, but they were hardly ever allowed alone together.

    The Engagement
    • The gentleman must speak to the lady's father before issuing a proposal. If he does not accept, the gentleman can either propose to the lady and have her decide to either honor her father's wishes or go against them. The gentleman can also work harder to gain the approval of the father. Once he is given permission, he can then propose marriage to the lady. A proposal was preferred to be in person, although there was also an option of doing so through a letter.

    • If the lady accepts the proposal, it is a binding contract. It was a promise that they would wed each other and forsake all others.

    • The news of the engagement was often kept quiet for a few days before being announced to allow any paperwork and agreements to be worked out. This was a time where the gentleman could address any shortcomings in his fiancee so that she might fix them before she became his wife.

    • Upon becoming betrothed, a couple was given more privacy. They were able to visit in the lady's family's parlor without supervision. They could go on walks alone together, though they were to always be separated by night fall. "In private, the slightest approach to indecorous familiarity must be avoided; he must remember that she is a gentlewoman first and becomes a woman only after the "I will;" indeed, it is pretty certain to be resented by every woman who deserves to be a bride. The lady's honour ... is now in her lover's hands, and he should never forget this assumption in his demeanour to, before and when left alone with her." (Robin Lee Hatcher)

    • Even though they were engaged, the couple was still not allowed to have premarital sex. The upper class lady risked her social standing and reputation and the gentleman would be viewed poorly upon having seduced her.

    • If an engagement was broken, it was considered dishonorable on the woman, especially if she had spent a lot of time alone with the gentleman. It could be assumed that her innocence had been compromised and would make it difficult for her to gain the attentions of another gentleman.

    • A wedding date should be fixed not long after the engagement. The couple was able to spend even more time together with talk of wedding plans, visiting homes that the groom might purchase for them, etc.

    Premarital Intimacy
    It was extremely frowned upon and should a woman's innocence be compromised, her reputation was often besmirched. It was also very difficult for a couple to be left alone together long enough for anything intimate to happen, though it was not impossible. Sex before marriage was never acceptable for the upper class women. Should they allow themselves to "be seduced by the gentleman," they risked their reputation and social standing. The article below speaks of break of promise (the choice to break the engagement off) as well as premarital sex —

    "The notion that Victorians were straitlaced prudes, both obsessed and repulsed by sex at the same time, has largely been exploded in the past several years. Sexuality was openly discussed in Parliament, newspapers, and journals; furthermore, only a fraction of the population could stay ignorant of the facts of life. The evidence from breach-of-promise cases also indicates a wider participation in sexual activity than the stereotypical view allowed. About 25 percent of the 875 breach-of-promise cases under study involved sexual activity between the couple, and the true figure is probably somewhat larger since there is little information on many cases. Barret-Ducrocq has recently shown that the working classes in London had a distinct set of sexual mores that defied those of the elite. The evidence of breach-of-promise cases, particularly the evidence of the high number of women engaged in sexual relationships, reveals a separate set of standards for the lower middle and upper working classes as well. These women used their sexuality in courtship, gambling that the intimacy would lead to a long-standing commitment or would push a reluctant fiancé to the altar. Most of these women must have realized the risks of pregnancy and desertion, but they entered sexual relations because of affection and hopes of marriage. Often this behavior resulted in a satisfactory conclusion — a wedding. But when the courtship failed, lower middle- and upper working-class women had a great deal to lose."

    "Premarital intercourse was an accepted part of courtship in the lower middle and 'respectable' working classes, but only in long-term relationships and infrequently even then. In most of the cases the woman had sex only with her fiancé or after an extended period of courtship. Although not acknowledged by most people outside of the working class, there was a long-held belief that sex with a fiancé was acceptable, since the couple were to be married anyway. The primary disgrace came if the woman became pregnant and the couple did not marry. Certainly, a fall under a promise of marriage was considered much less reprehensible than one without such assurances."

    "Premarital intercourse was infrequent because the couple were rarely able to use their own rooms. Because so much of the courtship happened in homes of the couple's parents, privacy was at a premium. Of course, in those cases in which the couple lodged together (for example, when the plaintiff was the defendant's housekeeper, landlady, or servant), opportunities for intimacy were easier to find. In other cases the couple did not become intimate until they took a trip together, either for entertainment or to make arrangements for the marriage. For instance, Annie Hooper claimed that William Stokes seduced her when she met him to look at an empty house they planned to buy. Similarly, Pryce Griffiths was unable to have sex with his young cousin until she visited his home in Liverpool.

    Although some of the cases indicated male pressure and female acquiescence, others demonstrate a mutual desire for intimacy. In particular, some couples worked together to find times and places to be alone. Since bedrooms were unavailable, they used other rooms in the house. Elizabeth Morris and Thomas Bonville had intercourse in the parlor of Bonville's home after his father had gone to bed. Ann Rees and David Powell also used the private parlor of her parents' house, which Ann carefully locked each time they sat alone together. At other times couples did not try to use their parents' homes. Mary Wilkinson claimed that William Hampson had sex with her in a railway carriage between Manchester and Leigh; even more inventively, Esther Dales and Andrew McMaster used the harness room of the stables that Andrew rented from Esther's employer. Walks offered another opportunity, since most couples took strolls together at some time in their courtship, and several of them took advantage of the relative privacy."

    Please tag Barnabas Skeeter in replies.
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    Chaperons were a necessary part of life in a young upper or middle class woman's world. A chaperon was almost always female and frequently an older relative such as the woman's mother, a maiden aunt, or an older married or widowed woman of the family. Other possible chaperons were trusted servants and governesses. Under no circumstances would an unmarried woman ever be alone with a man who was not a relative or her fiancé, and a father generally left this sort of thing to the mother, and so male chaperons were rare if not non-existent.

    Until she was engaged, however much an upper class woman might resent her chaperon, there was no honest way to escape her. Even after her engagement, the only man she could be around alone that was not a relative was her fiancé, and even then only for limited periods of time.

    Who Had a Chaperon
    Every unmarried upper class woman would be chaperoned at all times outside of her parents' home. Any middle class woman from a family with an eye towards the upper class would also be chaperoned, just as an upper class woman would be. Because innocence and virtue were even more valuable than beauty, these traits were jealously guarded by parents and guardians of young women.

    Because chaperons were so common, no one thought it odd to have one present. A gathering of wealthy young women could easily have as many chaperons present as there were girls. These women were a constant presence and a part of everyday life.

    Innocence and Virtue
    The concepts of innocence and virtue went beyond mere virginity. Physical contact was considered highly intimate in and of itself, and so was forbidden under most circumstances. A man could offer his arm to help a young woman over a rough patch if they were out walking and dance was socially accepted, but other than that even so innocent a gesture as holding hands was forbidden to a couple that was not yet engaged.

    When a couple did become engaged they had more freedom, but were still expected to stay strictly within the realms of propriety. The fiancé usually took the chaperon's place, making sure his future bride's honor was still protected.

    Escaping the Chaperon
    In most cases, young women were just as careful in protecting themselves as their parents were. A lady was raised to be a wife and mother, and knew that her only chance of any change in her life was marriage. As such, a woman would be very careful of her reputation -- after all, if anything unacceptable was to occur, it would be her status that was damaged and not the man's.

    The only appropriate way to escape from a chaperon was to become engaged, at which point a lady's honor was given into the care of her fiancé. Even then, an honorable man would take great care to make sure that his future bride's honor was cared for and not attempt to seduce her or in any other way take advantage of what privacy their engagement offered. He would also never break the engagement, as the time his fiancé had spent alone with him would then damage or even ruin her reputation, even though she would still be a virgin.

    Less honestly, a young woman might evade a chaperon who was not as watchful as she should be. While most young woman would not do so no matter how a chaperon grated, it was possible to slip out of sight of a distracted or otherwise occupied chaperon. It would likely be more common for a child to escape her watcher than a woman who had come out into society, because it would tarnish her reputation less than it would for a courtable woman to do so.

    Documentation written by Emily exclusively for Charming.

    Many thanks to the following sources:
    Trail End State Historic Site
    Write Thinking
    Courting the Victorian Woman
    Unusual Historicals
    and Chaperone (social) from Wikipedia
    Please tag Barnabas Skeeter in replies.
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    Women In Victorian Sports
    Victorians placed a lot of stock in the idiom mens sana in corpore sano - a sound mind in a healthy body, with the idea that a physically healthy person was a morally healthy person as well.

    By the late 1860's, sports for girls were part of the curriculum at most private schools in England and many governesses being expected to engage with the physical education of female children taught at home.

    In 1874 the rules of lawn tennis were formalised and the Wimbledon tennis club allowed in women as competitors, with Lottie Dod winning the women's Ladies singles Championship in 1887 at only fifteen.

    In 1881, a book called 'Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes', talks about women's teams in rugby, cricket, steeplechase, track, billiards, fencing and even wrestling, starting to emerge out of schools, with ladies in society continuing fencing, cricket, fox hunting, steeple chase as competitive sports afterwards and others purely for interests sake.

    There are records of women having taken part in competitive steeple chase since 1878.

    Team sports for women would have been undertaken by small private clubs, consisting of upper class women, who would meet to take part in leagues of their various sports, from lawn tennis and badminton which were common to less well known sports such as fencing, rugby and wrestling.

    Most of the criticism about the period related to the propriety of the clothing worn during sporting endeavours. A skirt should be no more than 6-7 inches from the ground, and while a corset may be loosened it should not be removed.

    In some sports protection could be afforded to the breasts through padding and other safety equipment was still expected to be worn such as masks and gloves in the example of fencing.

    Teenage girls could be permitted to wear shorter dresses than older women and had a bit more freedom in terms of their dress, they were expected to behave with propriety.


    This robe consisted of a skirt that should be 'six inches from the ground all the way round.' The shirt-waist, should be made of flannel, to prevent risk of chills and should be loose fitting. This does not necessitate an ill-fitting garment or untidiness. Petticoats should not be worn, but knickerbockers of the same material as the skirt, fastening at the knee, should be substituted. The club colors are best carried out in the entire suit; one club, perhaps, having white shirt-waists, green skirts, ties, and tam-o'-shanters; another, red shirt-waists, black skirts, and ties, and belts, etc. Foot wear depends on the whim of the player; some prefer the support of boots, others the lightness of tennis shoes.

    Acceptable Solo Sports for Upper Class girls
    • *Golf
      *Steeple Chase
      *Nordic Walking/Cross Country Walking
    Acceptable Team Sports for Upper Class girls
    • *Fencing
      *Field Hockey
      *Lawn Bowls
    Note Middle Class women might be acceptable within a tennis club.
    Middle Class girls would not be accepted in the same clubs as upper class girls but would have been able to take part in any sport that their finances allowed.

    Lower class girls would have had neither the time, nor the money, to indulge in any 'sport'

    Documentation written by Dante exclusively for Charming.

    Many thanks to the following sources:
    Walter L. Arnstein - Victorian Sports

    'Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes' 1875-1885

    'Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes' 1885-1895

    Mona Dobre-Laza, 'Victorian and Edwardian Sporting Values' Ed. Nigel Townsend, Victorian and Edwardian Sporting Values, Cavallioti publishers, Bucharest, 1997

    J.A Mangan, Victorian and Edwardian Upper-Class English at Play

    Victorian Hygiene and Cleaning
    Since the public health bill of 1848 sanitation and the provision of adequate water supplies had been enforced by local councils, retrospectively in old towns and with vigour in new builds. Meaning that during the period plumbing and access to clean water became much more common. By the later half of the century the connection between pollutants and disease were well established

    The Victorian era saw the coining of the phrase 'cleanliness is next to godliness', in fact it is posited that standards of cleanliness and bathing in the upper classes were in fact higher than they are today. Most towns or districts had a Nuisance Officer, whose job it was to make sure public standards of hygiene were observes, this role included care for the cleanliness of the streets and the personal cleanliness of individuals who could be fined for poor standards of personal hygiene that were deemed to cause offence, such as going to church or attending court without bathing. They also oversaw the Night soil men, who cleared out public and outside lavatories of waste overnight since most homes lacked plumbing to remove waste.

    As such there was an expectation of a minimum standard of personal hygiene to be observed by all classes. For the lower classes this was to avoid legal entanglements and for the upper classes it was to facilitate social interactions.

    Lower Class
    The lower classes were expected to bath once a week as a standard and at a minimum once a fortnight. Otherwise disease became too prolific in the small, cramped and overcrowded slum areas, or body odour became unbearable. In lower class homes children were washed in the sink or large tin buckets, while adults would stand in ankle deep water and by dipping a sponge or cloth wash their bodies. Usually this was in the same tub as was used for laundry. There was a crude Victorian joke that in order to bath in this fashion one should 'wash down as far as possible, then wash up as far as possible and then wash possible.' Frequency of washing for the poor would drop during winter months due to the weather, but it would still have been about once a fortnight at a minimum, but with more conservation of water and faster bathing.

    Middle Class
    The Middle classes had tin bathtubs which would be stored in a cupboard or back yard and brought into the living room, kitchen or large bedroom and placed before the fire. It would be filled with water heated over the kitchen stove and then more than one person would use it to bath, usually the children, who would be fed and settled for bed while the father bathed, then the mother would take her turn. If the middle class family had a governess, nanny or house keeper then the mother would take the second turn and the father last. The last position was generally considered a place of honour since this person got to enjoy the fire and the relaxation of the bath the longest.

    Upper Class
    In the Upperclasses it was consider a requirement of etiquette to bath the entire body daily. In the morning they would wash in their bedrooms as the poor did weekly, using 'no more than a quart of water, preferably rainwater' and would wash again from a wash stand before lunch and dinner, cleaning their faces, hands, necks and if they were changing their clothing, their underarms and genitals. They would have a bath in a tub of water about once a week.

    Hair was less frequently washed. Women however, needed to wash/wet their hair for styling, and would be washed before bed and tied in rags or with lead, in order to curl it overnight as it dried.

    There were exceptions:
    —€Women did not bath during their menstrual cycle, and did not use bath tubs during pregnancy, instead all classes would have had the woman stand in warm water and sponge bath herself.
    —€Miners did not wash their backs due to superstitions and would soak in water but not scrub or use soap on their backs
    —€Men were not expected to wash as frequently as women because they had the benefit of clean linen regularly against the skin, since their shirts and collars would be laundered and starched after each wearing. However, since women's dresses were so infrequently laundered they were expected to bath more often to counter this.

    Hogwarts Students
    Bathrooms are located on every floor with rows of sinks for pre-meal washing. Otherwise, bathrooms are attached to the dormitory hallways and are shared by all housemates of the same gender. These bathrooms are equipped with rows of tin bathtubs arrayed before a fire, and also include sinks and toilet facilities.

    One noticeable exception is the Prefects' bathroom, which has a much larger, more luxurious bathing area, where the water is kept magically warm. This allows for more even temperatures and cleaner water. There is only one Prefects' bathroom and a password is required for entry. There are different appointed hours for different genders, with alarm spells to prevent a male from entering the bath during a female-allocated time, or vice versa. Hogwarts Students addition by Lynn of Charming

    Documentation written by Dante exclusively for Charming.

    Many thanks to the following sources:
    Trial by Medicine: Insanity and Responsibility in Victorian Trials - by Roger Smith

    Victorian Lunacy: Richard M. Bucke and the Practice of Late Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry (Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine) -Samuel Edward Dole Shortt
    Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian London -Michelle Elizabeth Allen
    Towards National Health:or Health & Hygiene in England from Roman to Victorian times-
    j anthony delmege
    The Nature of Their Bodies: Women and Their Doctors in Victorian Canada -by Wendy Mitchinson
    Victorian Public Health Legacy: A Challenge to the Future by Charles Webster
    Confronting the Climate: British Airs and the Making of Environmental Medicine (Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology) by Vladimir Jankovic
    Filth: Dirt, Disgust and Modern Life by William A. Cohen and Ryan Johnson

    Preparing for the Big Day

    Choosing a Day

    Each day of the week had its own meaning for the future of the marriage as stated in a popular rhyme:

    Marry on Monday for health,
    Tuesday for wealth,
    Wednesday the best day of all,
    Thursday for crosses,
    Friday for losses, and
    Saturday for no luck at all.

    The month was chosen out of practicality. June, April, November and December were popular months. June was the most popular of all because most often the first baby of the marriage was born the following spring, leaving the mother plenty of time to rest up and regain her strength before the next fall harvest. November and December were popular because they were after the harvest and therefore there was less work to be done. May was unpopular, but September was also considered a good month.

    Choosing a Dress

    White was not the predominant color for wedding dresses in the Victorian Era until Queen Victoria donned a white down in 1840. In fact before that, only poor brides wore white because it stated that she was unable to bring anything to the marriage. Colors were popular and dresses ranged from brand new, fancy gowns to a bride wearing her Sunday best to the fete.

    The color of the dress, like the day the marriage was on, held significance for the future of the marriage.

    White--chosen right
    Blue--love will be true
    Yellow--ashamed of her fellow
    Red--wish herself dead
    Black--wish herself back
    Grey--travel far away
    Pink--of you he'll always think
    Green-ashamed to be seen

    Dresses consisted of a fitted bodice, making the waist small, and lots of skirts piled over a hoop or voluminous petticoat and were often made of organza, silk, tulle, lace, linen or cashmere. Gowns could cost anywhere between $500 [~50 galleons] (in 1850) and $1500 [~149 galleons] (by 1860, with the cost depending on the materials and intricacy of the design. A veil could cost around $100 [~10 galleons], unless borrowed for the ceremony. Accessories included short gloves, a hanky with her new and maiden initials on it, embroidered stockings and flat shoes decorated with ribbons or bows.

    In the 1870s long trains came into fashion as did bustles, longer veils and the practice of wearing two bodices, a more modest one for the wedding and a lower-cut one for special occasions. As for jewelry, diamonds and pearls were both popular and often a gift from the groom. Other gemstones had their own meanings.

    Widows who remarried did not wear white; have any attendants or a veil, anything symbolizing purity. Later in the 1890s they could have attendants and were allowed to go a shade or two away from white, but popular colors were lavender, rose, or salmon, sometimes ivory.

    Dressing the Groom and Groomsmen

    Grooms of the time, especially in the early Victorian Era, wore a frock coat in colors such as blue, mulberry or claret and their favorite flower on their lapel. As the decades wore on, the coats became more tailored, including a special slot for the flowers. Black was not an option. The groomsmen often wore a color similar to the groom, but in a more subdued hue. Morning coats became more popular in the mid-Victorian years, but the groom still wore a vest, trousers, a folded cravat and gloves.

    The fashion for men at their weddings changed rapidly and often; by the late Victorian Era, gloves went in and out of style, but a black top hat was always a necessity. When evening weddings became permitted (by law), the attire became even more formal with longer coats and gloves. Both the bride's and groom's fathers dressed similarly to the groom and groomsmen.


    Bridesmaids' dresses were often a gift from the bride, if she could afford it and became a part of the bridesmaid's functional wardrobe after the wedding. White was the most traditional color and weddings were often completely white in this period. However, colors could be used as accents as long as the predominant color was white. Like the bride, bridesmaids wore veils, but shorter ones, reaching only their elbows. The bridesmaids should be younger than the bride, and unmarried.

    "The "Maid of Honor" is the chief bridesmaid. She is the one the bride designates to see to the most important tasks, such as the aforementioned bookings and reminders. If she is married, she is called the "Matron of Honor." Apparently, such a marker that distinguishes between being married as compared to not stems from the tradition of choosing bridesmaids among unwed young women of marriageable age. Thus "Junior Bridesmaids" in recent times are girls whose participation the bride wishes for in the wedding party despite the fact they are too young to get married. The expression "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride," has its origins in this practice. If a woman never got around to marrying, it was believed that the evil spirits out to harm the bride had successfully cursed her, the bridesmaid, instead."

    Children played an important role in Victorian weddings. Young girls could either be flower girls or ring bearers. As they grew up they were allowed to be junior bridesmaids or even the maid of honor. Whatever role they played they wore dresses of white muslin with ribbons, length depending on their age and the fashion of the time. Young boys were given the task of holding the bride's train and wore suits of velvet in green, red, blue or black, with short trousers and buckled shoes.

    The mothers and female guests traditionally wore visiting or walking costumes for day weddings. Evening weddings required evening dresses. Mothers and female relatives could distinguish themselves by wearing reception toilettes. Bonnets were absolutely required in church. However, they were not necessary at in-home weddings.

    The Big Day

    The ceremony for the wedding was either held at the home in at church. If held in a church, it was customary to have the ceremony at the bride's parish. Regardless, flowers decorated the ceremony site lavishly. Country girls entered with their attendants on a carpet of blossoms, while wealthier girls arrived by a horse-drawn carriage. Church bells sang out at the commencement of the ceremony both to tell the townsfolk the ceremony had begun and to ward off evil spirits.

    Favors often consisted of homemade pins made of lace, flowers and ribbons, given to the ushers and later, the guests as they left. The bride pinned the favors onto the shoulders of her guests and ushers after the ceremony.

    Wedding rings were plain gold bands, engraved with the couple's initials and wedding date on the inside. Once the ceremony was over, the couple signed their names in the parish registry, the bride signing her maiden name. As the ceremony was complete, the bride and room left the ceremony without looking left or right as it was considered in bad taste to acknowledge guests. The throwing of rice, grains or birdseed was popular and a symbol of fertility.

    The reception was often held in the bride's home, where a receiving line was established to welcome guests. Guests were to address the bride first, unless they were only acquainted with the groom until he introduced them, but never with congratulations. It was simply inferred that she was lucky enough to have the honor of marrying her groom.

    Guests were served standing and provided no entertainment, unless it was an evening affair, then there was dancing. It was an honor simply to be invited to the wedding, so guests should not expect much in the way of entertainment. However, most weddings took place in the morning and therefore the reception came in the form of a breakfast. If houses were big enough or the weather nice enough, tables could be set up for guests, but traditionally only the bridal party was served seated.

    Traditions and Symbols
    Wedding Cake

    Traditionally there were three cakes, one elaborate one to be shared, and two smaller ones, one each for the bride and groom. Cake was not eaten at the reception, but boxed and given to guests as they left. The cake that was to be shared was most often a dark, rich fruit cake adorned with flowers and elaborate decorations. The bride's cake was white and the groom's dark. These were shared with attendants, though the tradition of the saving one cake for a following anniversary was common practice. The bride's cake was often filled with favors, each one having a meaning for the attendants:

    The ring for marriage within a year;
    The penny for wealth, my dear;
    The thimble for an old maid or bachelor born;
    The button for sweethearts all forlorn.

    Something... "Something old,
    something new,
    something borrowed,
    something blue,
    and a lucky sixpence in your shoe."

    The something old was generally a family heirloom from the bride's family. The something new could range from the wedding dress to the jewelry given to the bride by her husband-to-be. The something borrowed often came from an already married friend, like a veil or headpiece and was returned after the wedding. The blue was often found on the bride's garter or handkerchief, blue symbolizing faithfulness in the marriage. A sixpence was placed in the shoe to ensure future wealth.


    Every flower held a different significance, but no matter the bloom most weddings were strictly white flowers. Orange blossoms, a symbol of purity were most common. Flower meanings here.


    Victorian weddings were surrounded it superstitions. Choice of day, month, colors and flowers all had meanings. Many symbols of a wedding were to show purity or fertility, like the grain tossed after the ceremony. White horses pulling the newlyweds away from the church were considered good luck. It was also considered good luck if the wedding bands were dropped at one point in the ceremony, to "shake out the evils." Brides could only look in the mirror once before they left their homes; it was considered back luck to look again at the church.

    Good luck omens include: sunshine, rainbows, lambs, black cats, spiders and toads. Bad omens were: rain, pigs, hares, lizards, a monk or nun, and an open grave. Rain on a wedding day symbolized a stormy marriage, while sunshine, especially after a storm was a good omen.

    For roleplaying purposes here on Charming, an individual with parental consent may marry at fourteen if male, and at twelve if female. Without consent, they may marry at seventeen regardless of gender—though consequences may befall the bride and groom who marry against their parents' will.

    Documentation written by Bee exclusively for Charming.

    Many thanks to the following sources:

    Throughout Britain domestic service was the largest occupation of women in the nineteenth-century, and certainly a major employer of men also. The living and working conditions for domestic servants changed dramatically during the Victorian period. In the early 1800s, some servants could be found sleeping in the kitchen or underneath the stairs, but, later in the century, were given rooms in the attics. Time off, too, was rarely given earlier in the century but by the 1880s, servants were given a half-day off on Sundays, starting after lunch (and only if all their chores for that morning had been completed), and they were usually given one day off each month, starting after breakfast, and again, their chores all had to be finished first. By the 1890s, servants also received one week's holiday per year (in later years this increased to two weeks). All domestic servants experienced long working hours, although some (i.e. lady's maid, who were expected to rise before their mistress and sleep only when she retired for the evening, and scullery maids who were generally the first to rise in the household) worked longer hours than others.

    The number of servants depended entirely on the size of the household and/or estate; a small household was unlikely to employ the stereotypical assortment of "œupper" servants we see in shows such as Downton Abbey, e.g. the butler, valet, lady's maid, footman, housekeeper etc. Instead, the priority was to install a general maid or perhaps two to do the "dirty, heavy work" (the cooking, scrubbing, cleaning etc) of the household. As the household expanded, the number of servants increased, possibly a cook to begin with, and then a butler who would also act as valet/footman. For those of you who have seen Downton Abbey, Isobel Crawley's household is an excellent example of the sort of servants that would be find in smaller household; there is a general maid, a cook and a valet (Mr Molesley) who also does the duties of a butler/footman. This is a household of two middle class people, so take note. In comparison, Downton Abbey itself has an abundance of servants but I doubt anybody on Charming has an estate that size so it is unlikely any of our families would have so many servants. Also it is important to keep in mind that a wizarding family would likely have house elves to do a lot of the work, so the number of human servants would therefore be reduced.

    As the number of servant's increased, a servant's hierarchy therefore emerged. The "upper" ranks of servants were entitled to respect and deference from the under staff. Upper rank servants would take the head places at dinner, unless they ate separately in the Steward's or Housekeeper's rooms. Another class of servant was the 'senior' class. These servants were of neither 'Upper' or 'Under' rank. They were accorded some of the same privileges as the upper servants, such as being waited upon by the under ranks and eating with the upper servants. But they rarely had the full privileges of an upper servant, such as the master or mistress's castoff clothing. This is an example of the typical servant's hierarchy, indicating precisely who would report to who.


    An upper servant. These are only employed in very large households where the accounts are too extensive to be handled by the butler/housekeeper. The House Steward engages men and women servants, with the exception of the family, ladies' maids, nurses and valet. He pays their wages and dismisses them. He orders household goods, pays the household bills and keeps the household books. He usually submits the household books to his master once a month for review. They may also act as a Land Steward for country estates. Very few families, if any, will have these on Charming.

    An upper servant. The Butler was the highest ranking servant in any household (in the absence of a house steward), and usually worked his way up from the very bottom of the domestic service ladder. His responsibilities included the laying of tables, the replenishment of drinks, answering the door (and later telephone), and the polishing of the silver. He also held the keys to the wine cellar and oversaw table service like a master of ceremonies. In the Servant's Hall the butler always sat at the very head of the table. His workload increased or decreased depending on the size of the household, and in houses with only one footman he may also have assumed some of the pantry work.


    An upper servant. The housekeeper was responsible for all female employers with the exception of the lady's maid, governess and nanny. It was her duty to engage, manage and dismiss the female servants, with the exception of lady's maid, nurse and cook, whom the mistress of the house engages. She also manages the stores, both ordering and dispersing them. She tends to the house linen, both repairing it and replacing it as necessary. She supervises the china-closet, and oversees the arrangement of bedrooms for visitors and their servants. She also replaces supplies such as candles, writing paper and soap, makes sure the rooms are clean and in order. The housekeeper was always referred to as Mrs., regardless of marital status, i.e. Mrs Hughes.


    An upper servant. The cook was responsible for the 'cooking proper' (the actual cooking e.g. frying, boiling etc - the ingredients are prepared for their use by the kitchen maids). He or she has responsibility for all meals, and also prepares the menus for review and possible alteration by the mistress of the house. They sometimes have control of stocking up the kitchen stores, although sometimes this responsibility is shared with the housekeeper, or managed by the housekeeper entirely. In town, she orders from the tradespeople who serve the house. It is also often his or her duty to lock the doors and windows of the basement, to let the kitchen fire burn low, and to turn off the gas in the kitchen and passages before retiring. In smaller households, the cook assumes the duties of the head kitchen-maid and even scullery maid. A female cook was always referred to as Mrs., regardless of marital status, i.e. Mrs. Patmore. A male cook was 'Mr. ___'.


    An upper servant. The valet is responsible for all matters relating to the man of the house, and is employed directly by his master rather than the butler or house steward. A valet brushes his master's clothes, cleans his boots, carries up the water for his bath, puts out his clothes for dressing, shaves him if necessary, assists him in dressing, packs and unpacks his clothes when traveling. He also loads his rifle when shooting, attends to the master's wardrobe and sees that everything is in repair and order. The valet usually worked his way up the career ladder in the same way that the butler did, but more infrequently an old friend or colleague (i.e. Mr. Bates - Lord Grantham's former batman in the Boer War) is engaged. A valet was always referred to by merely his surname, and this was considered a badge of honour.


    An upper servant. The lady's maid has sole responsibility for the mistress of the house and is employed directly by her employer. She does not have to report to the housekeeper, as the majority of the other female servants do, and instead answers to her mistress. She is, simply put, responsible for all of the lady of the house's needs and whims, including dressing and undressing, mending her mistress' clothes, fetching up tea and breakfast (it should be noted that married women had the luxury of eating breakfast in bed rather than with the rest of their family), and preparing her outfits for any given occasion etc. Lady's Maid had usually began at the very bottom of the ladder and worked their way up, sometimes benefiting from courses in hairdressing etc—€they were therefore never usually young women, and generally a more mature and experienced maid was preferred by an employer. A lady's maid was always referred to by merely her surname, and this was considered a badge of honour.


    A senior servant. A governess taught the children of middle and upper class households until they were old enough to go away to school, college, or to a private tutor (as was the case with most boys of a certain age). She was generally a well-educated middle-class girl who needed to earn her own living. But although she was expected to have the bearing and education of a 'lady' she was treated as a servant. This often left her in limbo—neither an insider or an outsider, as the other servants resented her as too educated and too good for their ranks. The governess was engaged by the mistress directly, rather than the housekeeper, and reported to the lady of the house.


    A senior servant. The nurse is in charge of caring for the household's children from the time they are born, until they are turned over to the care of the governess. She washes and dresses the children, feeds them, takes them on outings, and puts them to bed. She makes the children's ordinary under-clothing, and repairs their general clothing. As with the governess, the nanny was engaged by the mistress directly, rather than the housekeeper, and reported to the lady of the house.


    An under servant. A typical day for a footman is the following routine: He takes coals to the sitting-room, cleans the boots, trims the lamp wicks, cleans the plate, lays the breakfast table, carries in breakfast, waits at breakfast, removes breakfast, answers the door in the morning after 12 o'clock, delivers notes, lays the luncheon table, takes in and waits luncheon, clears the table and cleans the silver, lays the dinner table, goes out with the carriage in the afternoon, attends to fires throughout the day and evening, prepares table for tea, cleans up after tea, waits at dinner, clears the dinner table, helps clean the plate, washes the glass and silver used at dinner, takes in coffee and dessert after dinner, waits in attendance in front hall when dinner guests are leaving, attends to the gentlemen in the smoking room, attends to lighting in the house at dusk, goes out with the carriage in the evening and valets the young gentlemen in the family. Footmen dress in livery. The head footman is known as the "First Footman" and the next superior is the "Second Footman".


    Under servants. In large households, the head housemaid undertook lighter jobs such as making beds and tidying bedrooms. She made sure rooms were supplied with the necessary linens, and that they were kept in repair. She dusted the china ornaments, and tended to the flower arrangements. She kept an eye on the lower housemaids, who would light the fires, clean the living rooms, polish the brass, carry water upstairs for washing, and empty the chamberpots. Some maids were assigned to specific rooms, such as the still-room, laundry, dairy or nursery. They were referred to by first name alone.


    Under servants. In large households, the head kitchen maid is an under-cook and assumes many of the plain-cooking responsibilities. In small households, the kitchen maid prepares vegetables, game and poultry, does the dairy-work, and bakes the bread. If there is no stillroom maid, she makes the cakes for luncheon, tea and dessert and the rolls for breakfast. She keeps the kitchen clean and keeps things in order. They were referred to by first name alone.

    Under servants. Her chief duty is to clean and scour the pots and pans, as well as the cooking utensils. She cleans the scullery, servant's hall, larders, and kitchen passages. She usually dines in the kitchen with the kitchen maid. They were referred to by first name alone. In wealthier wizarding families, they're often replaced by house elves or the cook's own magic.

    There is also the Head Gardener and the Coachman, both of whom are self-explanatory (the gardener attended to all duties concerning the garden and the coachman or coachmen drove the coach and attended to the stables and related supplies). Both are senior servants. The Groom was responsible for feeding, cleaning and exercising the horses, and readies the stables for inspections and was an under servant. Most families that reside primarily in Hogsmeade will not have their own horses on site.

    It is difficult to know precisely how much domestic servants were paid for their services as the amount varied for a number of factors, for example regional differences and the generosity of any given employer. For our purposes though, you can find more information on salaries for domestic servants in wizarding households here. The exact salary would depend on the generosity of the employer, but it should somewhere within the pay range specified for that particular occupation.

    Documentation written by Bex exclusively for Charming. Google
    Maloney, Alison, Life Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants (New York, 2013)
    May, Trevor, The Victorian Domestic Servant (Princes Risborough, 1998)

    if I could marry Bee I would but I can't so I ship our characters instead.

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