Non-Fiction

While Victoriana is a work of fiction, the Victorian age certainly wasn't. There are a wealth of works of 'Britain's Golden Age' that you will find very useful.



Mid-Victorian Britain 1851-75

Geoffrey Best
An excellent reference book. Mr. Best thoroughly analyses the indicated period.

The Victorian Underworld

Kellow Chesney
The concise book of crime and punishment in the Victorian era. Written in self contained subject chapters, this book is a gold mine of useful information.

What the Victorians did for us

Adam Hart-Davis
Love or hate this eccentric history buff, his simple and concise explanations offer an accessible vision of the complexities of Victorian history.

Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics

William Donaldson
This massive dictionary of evil and depravity is a fine read. While the author casts a very wide historical net, this book is a fabulous source for story and villain ideas for your campaign. After all, some things never change.

Victorian Household Hints

Elizabeth Drury
This small hardback is a fascinating detail on life as a Victorian servant. It offers many of the tips and techniques those below stairs used to do their wearisome tasks. However it also offers excellent detail on the working life of various types of servant and their responsibilities.

The Conditions of the Working Class in England

F. Engels
Written in the 1830's by the co-founder of communism. This work is invariably referred to in any other book on the period. A must read — especially the declaration of war against the bourgeois!

Victorian and Edwardian Fashion (A Photographic Survey)

Alison Gernheim
This is an excellent and detailed survey of costume across the century, which uses a wide array of photographs. This is especially good for its variety of photographs (not all formal poses) and that (finally!) it contains good detail on men's fashion as well.

Culture & Society in Britain - 1840-1890

Editor: Jim Golby
A collection of contemporary letters and excerpts. Some are indifferent, but several (such as Florence nightingale's opinions on women in society) letters are brilliant.

What People Wore, A Visual History of Dress

Douglas Gorsline
While it covers a very broad area, the pictures here are clear and well labelled. Many are redrawn versions of figures in paintings and are very useful. Most useful is the amount of detail on male costume as well as women's.

The Great Stink of London

Stephen Halliday
This book tells the story of how Victorian engineers defeated cholera in London by cleaning up the disgusting sewage system.

Cruelty & Companionship

A. James Hammerton
A study of marital violence in the Victorian era, investigating the existence of the archetypal tyrannical husband.

Victorian England as seen by Punch

Frank Hugget
A good introductory book, illustrated with period punch cartoons throughout.

English Costume of the Nineteenth Century

James Laver (Illustrated by Iris Brooke)
An excellent small book, that breaks down the costume of complicated age into bite sized pieces. This volume also has excellent detail on hats and hairstyles of the various periods as well.

Victorian London revealed

Eric de Mare
A reprint of Gustav Dore's engravings of mid century London and articles about the scenes depicted.

Victorian High Society

Stella Margetson
A study of the upper class' nightmare etiquette and social functions.

London Labour, London Poor

Henry Mayhew
A period set of articles interviewing the poor and working masses of London in the mid century. This book is one of our bibles.

The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana

Jess Nevins
This monstrously large tome is packed full of detail on the weird and wonderful of the age.

Harris's List of Convent Garden Ladies

Hallie Rubenhold
Also known as 'The Harlot's Handbook' this listing (written in the 18th century, so a little early but still useful) detailed the location and services of the local prostitutes. This version by Hallie Rubenhold collects the best entries with detail on the time. It's a funny and poignant picture of life of 'working women' of the time, easily adaptable to the Victorian age.

Victorian Costume for Ladies (1860-1900)

Linda Setnik
This book is packed with photographs of ladies costume of the time. The detail covers not only the clothes but also hair, cosmetics and hat styles.

The Victorian Village

David Souden
A good study of rural life in Victorian Britain.

The European Revolutions 1848-1851

Jonathan Sperber
An excellent book detailing the radical politics of the mid century, conventional politics and a discussion of 'the people' so often vouched for.

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

Philip Sugden
Possibly the best singular source of information on the ripper murders, and the society that spawned them.

Inventing the Victorians

Matthew Sweet
A very useful book that looks at the real Victorians rather than the prudish and chintz filled Christmas card view we have today. This series of articles debunks many of the myths we believe to be facts about the age and the people who lived in it.

The Victorian Underworld

Donald Thomas
Similar content to Chesney's book of the same name, but with more focus on actual examples from the period — an excellent resource!

History as News 1865-1897

Leonard de Vries
A volume of illustrations from the London Illustrated News. A leading paper of the time. Most newspapers utilized engravings rather than the infant photography to illustrate their work.

City of Dreadful Delight

Judith Walkowitz
A study of vice in Victorian London.

My Secret Life

'Walter'
2,350 page set of memoirs by a Victorian 'gentleman' and his pursuit of vice. This set of memoirs is explicit, disgusting and quite terrifying when you remember that it's a true story. The book is actually illegal in some areas, and is not recommended to anyone likely to be shocked by Victorian pervert's pornographic ramblings.

Jack the Ripper - Summing up and Verdict

Colin Wilson
An excellent book, the first half describes life in the Whitechapel area of the time and the second half weighs up the various ripper theories.