Social Victorians/Timeline/1880s

1880s HeadlinesEdit

Time LineEdit

1850s 1860s 1870s 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s-30s


January: big snowstorm beginning on the 19th that brought everything to a halt.



William Morris spoke at Kensington Palace.


Thomas Carlyle died.


Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield, died, funeral at Hughenden.


Very hot. Dean Stanley, of Westminster Cathedral, died.



Annie Horniman met Moina Bergson at the Slade School of Art.



The Prince of Wales opened the Royal College of Music, Gladstone in attendance.



Queen Victoria conferred a peerage on Nathaniel Rothschild.

The 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act arose in the context of scandals about prostitution and the trade in pre-adolescent girls in London in the mid 1880s. William T. Stead, who had taken over the editorship of the Pall Mall Gazette when his mentor won the election to Parliament, "bought" Eliza Armstrong, who was thirteen years old, for five pounds. Eliza Armstrong's mother, possibly facing censure from the other women in her neighborhood and from her husband, reported the incident as a story to another newspaper. The scandal surrounding Stead's expose, including his own conviction, not to mention the media frenzy around Jack the Ripper, led to an attempt to reduce and regulate the population of prostitutes in Whitechapel. In a big police raid of brothels in Whitechapel, a number of members of Parliament and other officials of state were discovered with prostitutes, many of them young, both boys and girls. The Criminal Amendment Act, thus, addresses issues that Members of Parliament would have associated with prostitution: it raised the "age of consent" in girls from 13 to 16 (it had been raised to 13 from 12 in 1875). This act also introduced a number of regulations for brothels, especially their presence and management. And it made male homosexual behavior illegal, punishable by 2 years' hard labor. The Member of Parliament who introduced the bill, Henry LaBouchere, is remembered today for this last paragraph among the LGBTQ community, which calls the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act the "LaBouchere act." (On overview of this can be found in the Wikipedia article on the "Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885" ("Criminal")

As far as I can discover, there is no evidence that Victoria denied that women were capable of homosexual behavior, nor that she crossed out a rumored paragraph making women's homosexual activity illegal.



Victoria's Golden Jubilee

"Bloody Sunday": protest march on Trafalgar Square. Annie Besant was there, as was George Bernard Shaw, who "skedaddled."


Heavy snowstorm in London.



The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was created.


Jack the Ripper's first victim was found.



12 April 1889, Fabian Society Converzazione, attended by George Bernard Shaw, Amy Levy, and Elizabeth Pennell.


Lippincott editor took Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Irish MP Thomas Patrick Gill out to dinner, looking for something to publish. In Wilde's case, it was The Picture of Dorian Grey.