Research into History of Women’s Education in England for Manners & Mutiny

The Final Finishing School Book, Manners & Mutiny, releases next Tuesday. Eeep! Also, I just learned that Imprudence is available for pre-order here in the US. (Possibly elsewhere, but I can’t check that.)

Meanwhile, I had a wonderful time doing the Dork Forest with Jackie Kashian.

Here’s a glimpse into some of the research I did for the Finishing School series on girls’ schools and education.

  • 1848 Queen’s College, London = first women’s college
  • 1850 Miss Frances Mary Buss (1827 – 1894) starts the North London Collegiate School, hands over to a board in 1870 = first public day school (yes, Preshea’s last name came from her.)
  • 1858 Miss Dorothea Beal (a831 – 1906) appointed headmistress of Cheltenham Ladies College (founded 1854)


abellefilleart- tumblr: The Love Letter, Gustave-Leonard de Jonghe


Expelled = Sent Down
Suspended = Rusticated (to my great sadness I never got to use this word in my books)
Grounded = Gated


the-vortexx-tumblr Victorian slang terms you never knew existed


Traditional Lessons

  • History
  • Geology
  • Languages – Latin & French
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Literature
  • Daily Walk
  • Etiquette
  • Formal Graces
  • Study Hall
  • Read the Classics
via artofweddingspdx.com via enchanted-weddings tumblr


Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Lessons

  • Knot & embroidery communication
  • Breaking and writing in code
  • Picking pockets
  • Lip reading
  • Political history
  • Manipulation of perception
  • Assessing a room
  • Recruiting your network
  • Sabotage
  • Psychological warfare
  • Sign language
  • Search patterns
  • Spotting other spies
  • Maps & Tracking measurements
  • Recognizance

As you can see I used some of the notes, but not others. Also the language in my notebook is modern. I change the vocabulary and so forth for the names of the actual classes, and try to add twists of humor to the titles and descriptions.

steampunktendencies-      Giant Key West Chicken by Derek Arnold


The old rule of life was that Parliament Sessions don’t open until the frost is out of the ground and the foxes begin to breed. So politically minded aristocracy would begin to drift back to town in the early spring. The Season was then broken up into various necessary-to-attend events for girls coming out (age 17).

  • March: Non political families returned to town.
  • April: everyone is in town, Parliament is in session, and The Season begins in earnest.
  • May: Royal Academy of Art Annual Exhibition, Derby, and various court balls + concerts + private balls
  • June: Ascot
  • July: Henley Regatta and climactic cricket games: Oxford v. Cambridge and Eton v. Harrow
  • August 12: End of The Season, adjournment of Parliament, opening of grouse hunting season.
  • September 1: Partridge season
  • October 2: Pheasant season
  • November, first Monday: Fox hunting.

College sessions roughly followed the parliament/hunting model.  Christmas was spent at home in the country, January-March was Session One, then short Easter break, April-July/August was Session 2, September-December was Session 3 for Cambridge. Oxford had 4 sessions. Can you see why I avoided the whole messy business in my books?

Now this is for the mid to late Victorian Era (which is from 1837 to 1901, I tend to round 1840-1900). If you are interested int eh Regency Ear just prior (the time of Jane Austen) then here is a blog post on that subject: When was the London season?

“Miss Temminnick, you are in receipt of the highest marks we have ever given in a six-month review. Your mind seems designed for espionage.
Nevertheless, you veer away from perfect in matters of etiquette. Do not let these marks go to your head; there are many girls at this school who are better than you.
Our biggest concern is what you get up to when we are not watching. Because, if nothing else, this test has told us you are probably spying on us, as well as everyone around you.”
~ Gail Carriger, Curtsies & Conspiracies


1890s advice via questionableadvice tumblr

“The parents, loving their children too much to be incommoded themselves by any thing that their offspring can say or do, seem not aware that they can possibly interrupt or trouble the rest of the company.”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

{Gail’s monthly read along for October is Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler}

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

The Hidden Graffiti of Tate Britain

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Old Foodie: School Dinners, 1913

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Women and the Cliches of the Literary Drunkard

Quote of the Day:
“I suppose he could have changed,” Neal said dryly. “I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil.”
The other pages snorted.
Kel eyed her friend. “You do look yellow around the edges,” she told him, her face quite serious. “I hadn’t wanted to bring it up.”
“We daffodils like to have things brought up,” Neal said, slinging an arm around her shoulders. “It reminds us of spring.”
~ Tamora Pierce, Page: Book 2 of the Protector of the Small Quartet

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