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Mobility in Victorian Times. Interesting.


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I find that in Victorian times couples who later marry live a fair distance apart before they actually get wed. A village where my ancestors came from in Slaugham often wed residents of Brighton, 12 miles away. Many seemed to have wed in Brighton or lodged there then moved back to Slaugham. Slaugham is near the London to Brighton Railway and Road. As brighton has always been popular with people from all over England, residents from all over Sussex probabaly went there on days out or something, or Brighton residents worked in other Sussex areas.

A man and woman who are courting in the 18th and 19th centuries could even have been living in two counties before they married. They knew each other through work, friends, etc. People often commuted remarkable distances in those days as well. Schoolchildren would walk several miles to school everyday. By the 1840s when the railways were invented and coaches were a little faster, people often commuted 15 to 20 miles a day. Especially servants, footmen, coachmen, draymen and the like.

Goes to show how mobile people were in those days, with no cars or buses but with trains, horse and carts and bikes. Many walked.

A person in Victorian times may have even worked where he lived but still knew people from miles away. A man could be a village shop assistant but has a friend who lives 6 or 7 miles away and he is then introduced to his friends sister, or a village girl would have been drinking in the local pub with male servants and coachmen who lived 50 miles away. He could visit the village twice a week and then he could start a relationship and they meet up, and when he gets her pregnant, she moves away 50 miles to be at his house so she can then marry him.

Also I have instances where often if a family were planning a move away from their home parish to a city, often the head of the household went first then his wife and child/children followed a few months later, after enough time for the hubby to get lodgings, a job and get settled. That is why you may see a lodger living alone in London in a census, born Somerset etc and stating he is married but his wife is not in the area. She will soon be joining him. And you may see a woman living in a village who is the head but her hubby is away planning the move from the area.


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