Welcome to the Historical/Victorian Cat Society pages for

OCCUPATIONS. Since we are no longer limited to the Victorian era
purrhaps you can new about some other "old-time" or "historic" occupations.

Meow Prince Sir Wally,
We were very interested in what that household staff would be
like in a Victorian home. After some research we did this
Victorian Occupations
Hope you enjoy it and find it as interesting as we did:)
Servo Duke of CLAW

Nikita La Femme is owned by a nurse so she found this info
for us!

Nurses were considered servants until the beginning of nuring education in northern Europe in the early 19th century with the Protestant Deaconess Movement. The deaconesses, housed in motherhouses, cared for the sick and infirm. The first secular effort to train nurses began in 1836, when the Reverend Theodore and Friederike Fliedner established a school in Kaiserwerth, Germany, offering three-year courses in nursing. Graduates could dispense medicines and nurse ill and convalescing patients, and by 1864 the school had trained 1600 nurses and had motherhouses as far away as Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In 1851, Florence Nightingale visited the Kaiserwerth school. Nightingale, who came from a well-to-do British family, decided to devote her life to the care of the sick. In 1854 she volunteered to serve during the Crimean War, and was appalled by the lack of trained nurses and orderlies. Upon her arrival, Nightingale transformed the poorly ventilated, vermin-infested Barrack Hospital in Scutari into a clean, well-managed facility, and within six months the death rate fell from 40 to 2 percent. After the war Nightingale returned to London and founded her own nursing school. In 1859, Nightingale published Notes on Nursing,which became required reading for all nursing students.

Despite these European advances, American nursing was still in its infancy at the outbreak of the Civil War. There had been no effort at organized nurse training. As in Europe, it required a war to bring about reform. When the war began, the only nurses were in the religious orders, namely the Catholic Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity. These nurses soon were overwhelmed by the large number of casualties the war produced, forcing the U.S. Government to establish the Army Nursing Service in 1861. The Service, headed by Dorothea Dix, faced many obstacles, including the prejudice of male surgeons. Dix herself refused to accept any woman who was not "plain of appearance" and at least thirty years old.

Women nurses usually worked in base hospitals well away from the front lines. However some, like Clara Barton, served in battlefield hospitals, earning Barton the nickname "Angel of the Battlefield." Other notable nurses during the Civil War included author Louisa May Alcott, whose book Hospital Sketches describes the touching and dramatic life as a Civil War nurse. Runaway slave Harriet Tubman also served as a nurse during the war, and for her work on the Sea Islands of South Carolina, Tubman received a government pension in 1892.

The work of these and thousands of other women advanced the professional status of nursing in the United States. In 1861 a professional nursing school was organized in New York City, and others followed during and after the war in many locations throughout the country. The Civil War proved to be a watershed in the quest toward professional nursing in the United States.

Florence Nightingale Quilt Block

Policemen in Victorian England
Submitted by Silvermyst

When Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, there
were only Police Officers in London. By the end of her reign
in 1901, a national system of law and order, not very different
to that of today, was in place.

During the first half of the nineteenth century, the population
of Britain increased rapidly and there was a large scale
movement of people from the countryside to the towns. Workers
from the rural areas were attracted to the developing towns by
the prospect of jobs in the new industries. The towns increased
in size very rapidly with resulting overcrowding and poor
sanitation leading to poverty and disease. Many people had
little choice but to resort to crime - stealing food and
clothes - in order to survive. At this time there was little
or no social support or welfare. Some of the new towns became
relative havens for the criminal, attracted by the possibility
of obscurity amongst the teeming population.
Police History and Organization

I wish to meow about my Meowmie's great-uncle Albert Arthur Strout who married her grandmother Edith Gray's sister Florence at Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts in 1902. Albert A. Strout was born April 24, 1864, in Bangor, Maine. Believe it or not, he ran away from home at the age of sixteen and joined the circus. In a few years, he teamed up with two other acrobats and under the name of the Melvelle Brothers they played under the great tent with P. T. Barnum and traveled all over this country, Mexico and England. In ten years of performing they had reached their peak and the strain began to tell. Their muscles became less resilient and they gave it up, for once stiffness begins to grip a circus performer he has only two courses of action. He must get himself some white paint and join the ranks of the clowns, or he can say good-bye to the big top. The three Melvelles chose the latter course.

Phineas Taylor Barnum was born on July 5, 1810, in Bethel, Connecticut. He was the oldest of five children. He showed at an early age his flair for showmanship. He sold lottery tickets at the age of twelve. In 1842, Barnum hired Charles Stratton, who became world famous as Tom Thumb. The two became close friends and were so successful that, in 1844, they had an audience in England with Queen Victoria. While Barnum's name will forever be connected with the great American Circus, it is often said that his greatest success came in 1850, when he presented European opera star Jenny Lind to the American public. The "Swedish Nightingale" sang 95 concerts for Barnum.

In 1854, Barnum wrote and published his own autobiography: The Life of P. T. Barnum, Written by Himself. Sixteen years later, his association with the entertainment form that still bears his name would begin. Barnum was sixty years old when P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Circus made it's debut. At that time, his was the largest circus venture in American history. Barnum grossed $400,000 in his first year of operation.

By 1872, Barnum was already referring to his enterprise as "THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH." P. T. Barnum's Traveling World's Fair, Great Roman Hippodrome and the Greatest Show on Earth covered five acres and accommodated 10,000 seated patrons at a time...and, to reach more people took to the rails. One of his biggest successes came in 1882 with his acquisition of Jumbo who was dubbed as "The Towering Monarch of his Mighty Race, Whose Like the World Will Never See Again." Jumbo arrived in New York on April 9, 1882, and attracted crowds on his way to his name becoming a part of the language. In 1883, one of Barnum's coups was staged as Barnum walked Jumbo across the Brooklyn Bridge to test the strength of the new engineering marvel.

In 1881, Barnum joined forces with James A. Bailey and James Hutchinson. The result was "P. T. Barnum's greatest show on Earth, And the Great London Circus, Sanger's Royal British Menagerie and the Grand International Allied Shows United." It soon became known as the "Barnum & London Circus." Barnum and Bailey went their separate ways in 1885, but soon teamed up again in 1888. That year "Barnum and Bailey Greatest Show on Earth" first toured America.

Submitted by former member, Lloyd