Edwardian FAQs

Below are a number of frequently asked questions about the Edwardian Era. I shall add to the page as I see fit.

When was the Edwardian Era?
The Edwardian era proper spans the reign of King Edward VII, who ascended to the throne January 22, 1901 and died May 6, 1910. Many historians expand the entire period to include the first four years of his son, George V’s reign, in order to mark the start of the First World War as the closing of the age. Some include WWI, since the end of the war was the final break with the past and the dawn of the modern era. But for easier purposes, the date is 1900-1914.

When was the London Season?
The London Season began with the Private View at the Royal Academy and the opening of the Covent Garden Opera season in May. Politicians arrived in February, with the opening of Parliament. The close of the London Season was marked by the week-long regatta at Cowes, Isle of Wight in early August. The 12th of August marked the opening of grouse hunting season, which was the definite end of the London Season.

What are the titles of the British nobility, in their order?
Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron. Their wives were as following: Duchess, Marchioness, Countess, Viscountess, and Baroness. Baronets and Knights were gentlemen–and baronet is a hereditary title.

What time did the Edwardians have their meals?
In the country, breakfast was around 9 or 10 AM, luncheon around 12 or 1 PM, afternoon tea between 3-5 PM, and dinner at 7 or 8 PM. In Town (London), dinner was much later, around 8 or 9, and if a ball was held afterwards, a buffet supper was provided.

What was the Edwardian era in other countries??
The Edwardian era roughly corresponds with Third Empire France (La Belle Epoque or Fin de Siecle France), Gilded Age and Progressive Eras in the United States (these periods overlap, with the Gilded Age lasting from the 1860s to about 1917, and the Progressive Era lasting from the 1890s to the 1920s), the Meiji Period and the Taishō Period in Japan, the twilight years of Qing Dynasty China, Restoration Spain (1874-1931), Savoyard Italy, and the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, to name a few countries.

What was in the cups handed to Mary and her fellow fox hunters in series 1 of Downton Abbey?
This was known as a stirrup cup–“A parting cup taken on horse-hack before leaving,” according to the A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words. The contents of this cup were either port or sherry.

4 thoughts on “Edwardian FAQs”

  1. I was wondering if you knew of any books that focused on the criminal world in London during the Edwardian era. I’ve found several books on that topic for the Victorian era, but I am uncertain how much it would have changed over the years.

  2. Super random question relating to British nobility. How many nannies would a family have? Would there be more for multiple children? A special one for a baby? A special night nanny? Until what age would children have a nanny? Would girls still have one after they had a governess?

    1. It depends on the wealth of the family. The wealthiest would have a nanny, a night nanny, and several nursemaids. Boys were sent to school at 7 or 8, and girls had governesses around the same age. By the Edwardian era, nannies were more regulated–the Norland Institute was a school for professional training of nursery maids and childcare providers. The Rise and Fall of the British Nanny by Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy gives a fuller picture.

  3. I have been trying to find an article about the day to day life and routines of the upstairs individuals. All the daily timelines I seem to find only include the servant routines with just mentions on the masters, but I would like to know more about what the daily routine was like for the aristocrats too.

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