Regency Quirks

  • I love to read and write about the Regency period because it was such an intriguing time in history.  With its wonderful balls, intriguing social customs, handsome men and often feisty heroines, it really is the stuff of escapist fantasy – and who doesn’t want that in their lives? 🙂
Here are some fascinating Regency facts:
  • Did you know the water-closet (bathroom with toilet) was invented during the Regency Period and made its first appearance in 1812 in the homes of the wealthy?
  •  Did you know that ‘doing it brown’ means telling a lie!
  • It is thought that the very first department store as we know them was the establishment of Harding, Howell & Co, in 1809 situated at  Number 89 Pall Mall. 150 feet long it was tastefully decorated and divided into four departments. The shop lasted till around 1820 when Howell set up a new business partnership with James at Number 9 Regent Street.
  • Drawers (underwear) were really first worn by women in 1806. Fashioned like men’s trousers legs they were thought to be a bit risque!  The early women’s under-drawers were in two parts and consisted of two tubes of cloth that were tied to the waist, allowing a woman to use the facilities without having to remove too many clothes.
  •  The term ‘Morning Call’ you would think meant you would visit someone in the morning hours before midday, but in Regency London the ‘Morning Call,’ could last well into the afternoon and what we now call evening, indeed it did not finish until one sat down for their main meal of the day which was dinner.
  • The mistress of the household would wear a chatelaine that clipped to her waist band or belt. It could hold her seal, watch, scissors, thimble, a vinaigrette and a key holder and anything else she may need for the day.


Two of the  many Lady’s Rules of Etiquette:

  • If a lady is under the age of thirty and/or unmarried, she should never be alone with a man she is not related to without a chaperone–unless of course he is escorting her to church or the park early in the morning. I can imagine many a lady confessing her sins once she arrives at church.
  • Never wear pearls or diamonds in the morning!  I wonder if having them on your clothing or in your hair counts? Were emeralds, rubies and sapphires acceptable?