The Victorians invented mass entertainment. As the 19th century's growing industrialized class acquired the funds and the free time to pursue leisure activities, their every whim was satisfied by entrepreneurs building new venues for popular amusement. Contrary to their reputation as dour, buttoned-up prudes, the Victorians reveled in these newly created "palaces of pleasure".
In this vivid, captivating book, Lee Jackson charts the rise of well known institutions such as gin palaces, music halls, seaside resorts, and football clubs, as well as the more peculiar attractions of the pleasure garden and international exposition, ranging from parachuting monkeys and human zoos to theme park thrill rides. He explores how vibrant mass entertainment came to dominate leisure time and how the attempts of religious groups and secular improvers to curb "immorality" in the pub, variety theater, and dance hall faltered in the face of commercial success.
The Victorians' unbounded love of leisure created a nationally significant and influential economic force: the modern entertainment industry.
What members say
Fascinating history of Victorian leisure
This book covers the world of Victorian leisure from drinking to entertainment to days out and to sports. It shows a world not that dissimilar to our own modern need for fun, a world where entertainment was fast changing, often at odds with itself and the legal system.
The book is vastly informative and entertaining which is helped with the narrator. The narrator is upbeat in his tone which is a welcome relief from other history books which can come across as dry. This tone entirely suits the style of book being read.
This book is definitely worth a listen as a fun read that is also educational. But *warning*, the Victorians were as rude as we are so the book does have some sweary passages (hilarious as they are).
2 of 2 people found this review helpful