Victorian London - Clothing - Crinolines

George Cruikshank, 1850


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Punch, August 23, 1856


CRINOLINE CONVENIENT SOMETIMES. A WARNING TO MOTHER

Troublesome Parent."WHO WAS MAKING THAT NOISE, CLARA?"
Clara. "ONLY ME AND MOUSTACHE, MAMMA!"

Punch, October 4, 1856


Police Constable (to Boy). "NOW THEN, OFF WITH THAT HOOP! OR I'LL PRECIOUS SOON HELP YOU!"
Lady (who imagines the observation is addressed to her). "WHAT A MONSTER!"

Punch, November 29, 1856


Victorian London - Publications - Humour - Punch - cartoon 19

A WHOLESOME CONCLUSION.
Lady Crinoline. "YES, LOVE - A VERY PRETTY CHURCH, BUT THE DOOR IS CERTAINLY VERY NARROW."

Punch, 6th February, 1858


PETTICOAT PROTECTION.

IF ladies will wear Crinoline, clearly something must be done to protect them from its consequences. We must either adopt the Russian plan, and give up burning open fires, or else prevent the chance of female suicide through contact with them. As it is, we never see a lady on the hearthrug, without fearing she will make an auto da fe of herself. We have put down in India the practice of Suttee, but in England wives and daughters are consumed as well as widows, Clearly, if we wish to see advancement in our census, we must stop these female sacrifices on their idol Fashion's altar. Lives enough are lost through their shoes and tight-lacing, without our adding Crinoline as a depopulating influence.
    Unless dresses are made fire-proof, no one, while the present stuck- out fashion lasts, can wear them safely. As a deterrent from wide petticoats we should pass an Act of Parliament to regulate their sale, and should permit none to be worn without being marked "DANGEROUS!" The chances of incendiarism are so numerous, that, were a Crinoline Insurance Company established, it could not possibly withstand the constant claims that would be made on it. Fire-escapes should be provided in all drawing-rooms, by which ladies when alight might be rescued without scorching. As an additional precaution, the air-tubes of the petticoat might all be filled with water, and fitted wits,. the means, when needful, to eject it. Every lady thus would, in fact, be her own fire-engine, and could play upon herself the moment her. dress caught. At a moderate computation, a properly-spread petticoat contains some thousand feet of tubing; and such a reservoir as this would hold enough to put out any common-place conflagration. The - more cold water that is thrown on Crinoline the better; although we fear the rage for it burns with such a heat, that no cold water we can throw through our columns will, extinguish it.

Punch, 8th January, 1859


late 1850s fashion


"Another Victim to Crinoline." 

So many are these victims, that we think every newspaper establishment must keep the above heading standing to meet the demand. Another poor girl has been burnt at Warwick. The Hindoo widow used to sacrifice herself on the funereal pile out of love for her husband. The fanaticism of the English maiden is not less sad, for doesn't she sacrifice herself to the flames out of love towards an absurd fashion? The authorities have nearly suppressed the first wicked absurdity; why doesn't the Government interfere with the second one, and try to put it, down? If it were only on account of these frequent accidents, we think we should be warranted in denouncing Crinoline as A BURNING SHAME.

Punch, December 1, 1860


     ... ridiculously large hoops which are now in fashion and which make it necessary to put so extravagant a quantity of material into skirts and everything else worn over them. There is not a single thing to be said in favour of hoops of this absurd size. They are very ugly, and they take up so much space as to be very inconvenient, both to the wearers and everyone around them. Leaving good taste out of the question, kind feeling alone ought to put an end to this stupid fashion which makes our dress a nuisance in every railway carriage, omnibus and pew, and all other places where the sitting room is small.

The Alexandra Magazine, 1864


"Some years ago I had a curious dress case with the women employed in the Printing Office who persisted in coming in gigantic unshapely crinolines until at last a poor girl was caught by the skirt a& dragged under a printing machine.  The foreman when he heard the scream, had the presence of mind to rush & stop the engine, & strange to say the girl escaped unhurt.  It was the most miraculous mistake I ever saw as you will understand if you ever saw a printing machine.  If she had not been a very slim girl or the engine had not been instantly stopped, she would have been literally broken to pulp.  One would have thought this was warning enough, but in spite of the Foreman's orders they all appeared in full crinoline next day & I had to send over positive instructions to dismiss the whole lot before they would take them off.  Now they strip them off  when they arrive, & one corner of the Printing Office looks like a decayed pawnbrokers shop with heaps of seedy bombazine." 

National Library of Scotland: Blackwood Papers: 
Private Letter Book: Ms30361 Oct 1863 - Dec 1865  Pp. 260-62.