The upper classes embraced leisure sports, which resulted in rapid developments in fashion, as more mobile and flexible clothing styles were needed. During the Edwardian era, women wore a very tight corset, or bodice, and dressed in long skirts. The Edwardian era was the last time women wore corsets in everyday life.

According to Arthur Marwick, the most striking change of all the developments that occurred during the Great War was the modification in women's dress, "for, however far politicians were to put the clocks back in other steeples in the years after the war, no one ever put the lost inches back on the hems of women's skirts".

The Edwardian period is frequently extended beyond King Edward's death in 1910 to include the years up to the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, the start of World War I in 1914, the end of hostilities with Germany in 1918, or the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

A great many people believe that the eldest son of the English sovereign is born Prince of Wales. This is not the case. He is by birth Duke of Cornwall, and is immediately afterwards created Prince of Wales. In point of fact Albert Edward was not invested with this title until just a month after his birth, the patent being dated December 8, 1841.

The charter styles him "Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Saxony, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Great Steward of Scotland," and then proceeds to confer on him the titles of Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.

When the Prince's name appears in the London Gazette nowadays, in connection with any military appointment, he can only be correctly described as follows: "Field Marshal His Royal Highness Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall (here follows a long list of titles), Colonel Tenth Hussars, Colonel-in-Field First Life Guards, Gordon Highlanders, and Royal Horse Guards, Personal Aide-de-Camp to the Queen."

The law of succession to the throne of England rests on the presumption that the sovereignty never dies. There is no interrugnum; the crown passes instantly.

Edwardian Period Art

Edwardian Literature

George Bernard Shaw (Dublin, Ireland, 26 Jul 1856 - 2 Nov 1950, Ayot St. Lawrence, UK)

Irish playwright and wit. Famous works include: Man and Superman (1903), Pygmalion (1912), Heartbreak House (1919), and Back to Methuselah (1921). One of his most critically acclaimed plays was Saint Joan (1923), about the life of Joan of Arc. This play contributed towards his Nobel Prize in Literature, 1925.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, 22 May 1859 - 7 Jul 1930, Crowborough, UK)

Author of historical novels and plays. But, famous for his short stories about Sherlock Holmes, such as The Hound of the Baskervilles. In 1900, Conan Doyle served in a field hospital in the Boer war. He also later published a pamphlet, "The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct," which sought to justify British actions in the unpopular Boer war. For his services in the war he was knighted, though undoubtedly his fame as creator of Sherlock Holmes was also a factor.

Kenneth Graham (Edinburgh, Scotland 8 Mar 1859 - 6 Jul 1932, Pangborne, Berkshire)

Author of Wind in the Willows, a classic of childrens literature. In 1929, A. A. Milne dramatized the book as Toad of Toad Hall and over the twentieth Centuy became a key part of children’s literature. Reluctant Dragon.

Beatrix Potter (Kensington, London, 28 Jul 1866 - 22 Dec 1943, Hill Top Farm, Sawry, Cumbria.)

Conservationist and author of Tales of Peter Rabbit (1902), The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903), The Tailor of Gloucester (1903),The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904), The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (1905), The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905), The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906), The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906). Beatrix also had a good business sense. As early as 1903, she patented a Peter Rabbit doll. These spin offs provided a good source of additional income, enabling her to become wealthy.

P. G. Wodehouse (Guildford, UK, 15 Oct 1881 - 14 Feb 1975, Southampton, NY)

English comic writer. Best known for his stories about the English upper classes, such as "Jeeves and Wooster" and "Blandings Castle". Wodehouse’s writings epitomised the Edwardian (and interwar) era of ‘innocence’.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Mark Twain (Florida, Missouri, 30 Nov 1835 - 21 April 1910, Redding, CT)

American writer and humorist, considered the ‘father of American literature’. Famous works include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885).

Marcel Proust (Auteuil-Neuilly-Passy, 10 Jul 1871 - 18 Nov 1922, Paris, France)

French novelist, critic. Best known for epic 3000 page masterpiece À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time)), published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927. Born: Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust.
Pleasures and Days (Les plaisirs et les jours); illustrations by Madeleine Lemaire, preface by Anatole France, and four piano works by Reynaldo Hahn) (1896)
In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu, published in seven volumes, previously translated as Remembrance of Things Past) (1913-1927)
1. Swann's Way (Du côté de chez Swann, sometimes translated as The Way by Swann's) (1913)
2. In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, also translated as Within a Budding Grove) (1919)
3. The Guermantes Way (Le Côté de Guermantes originally published in two volumes) (1920/1921)
4. Sodom and Gomorrah (Sodome et Gomorrhe originally published in two volumes, sometimes translated as Cities of the Plain) (1921/1922)
5. The Prisoner (La Prisonnière, also translated as The Captive) (1923)
6. The Fugitive (Albertine disparue, also titled La Fugitive , sometimes translated as The Sweet Cheat Gone or Albertine Gone) (1925)
7. Time Regained (Le Temps retrouvé, also translated as Finding Time Again and The Past Recaptured) (1927)
Pastiches and Mixtures (Pastiches et mélanges) (1919)
Jean Santeuil (three volumes published posthumously 1952)
Against Sainte-Beuve (Contre Sainte-Beuve: suivi de Nouveaux mélanges) (published posthumously 1954)

William Somerset Maugham (Paris, France, 25 Jan 1874 - 16 Dec 1965, Nice, France)

British novelist and writer. One of most popular authors of 1930s. Notable works included Of Human Bondage (1915), The Moon and Sixpence (1916), and The Razor’s Edge (1944).

Virginia Woolf (Kensington, London, UK, 25 Jan 1882 - 28 Mar 1941, River Ouse, Sussex, UK)

Adeline Virginia Woolf, English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. Member of the Bloomsbury group. Famous novels include: Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928).

James Joyce (Rathgar, Ireland, 2 Feb 1882 - 13 Jan 1941, Zürich, Switzerland)

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce, Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Ulysses (1922), (landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles), short-story collection "Dubliners" (1914), novels: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters.

Thomas Hardy (Stinsford, UK, 2 June 1840 - 11 Jan 1928, Dorchester, Dorset, UK)

English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. He wrote about problems of Victorian society - in particular, declining rural life. Notable works include: Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895).

D. H. Lawrence (Eastwood, UK, 11 Sep 1885 - 2 Mar 1930, Vence, France)

David Herbert Richards Lawrence, English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter. Best known works include: Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) - which was banned for many years.

Joseph Conrad (Berdychiv, Ukraine, 3 Dec 1857 - 3 Aug 1924, Bishopsbourne, UK)

Regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. He was granted British nationality in 1886, but always considered himself a Pole. Full name: Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. Novels

Ford Madox Ford (Wimbledon, 17 Dec 1873 - 26 Jun 1939, Deauville, France),

English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, "The English Review" and "The Transatlantic Review," were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature. Ford is now remembered for his publications "The Good Soldier" (1915), the "Parade's End" tetralogy (1924–28) and "The Fifth Queen" trilogy (1906–08). "The Good Soldier" is frequently included among the great literature of the 20th century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer's "100 Greatest Novels of All Time", and The Guardian's "1000 novels everyone must read". Born: Ford Hermann Hueffer. Pen name: Ford Hermann Hueffer, Ford Madox Hueffer.

Herbert George Wells (Bromley, Kent, England, 21 Sep 1866 – 13 Aug 1946, Regent's Park, London)

Known primarily as H. G. Wells, was a prolific English writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, and social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games. He is now best remembered for his science fiction novels, and Wells is called the father of science fiction, along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul (1905), and The History of Mr. Polly (1910).

Jules Gabriel Verne (Nantes, France, 8 Feb 1828 - 24 Mar 1905, Amiens, France)

French novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction. Notable works: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), The Mysterious Island (1874), Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863); published in English (1869), Master of the World (1904), and Off on a Comet (1877).

John Galsworthy (Kingston upon Thames, UK, 14 Aug 1867 - 31 Jan 1933, Hampstead, UK)

English novelist and playwright. Notable works include The Forsyte Saga and its sequels, A Modern Comedy, and End of the Chapter. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1932. Plays: "The First and the Last", "The Skin Game", "Strife: A Drama In Three Acts", Escape." Movies: 21 Days, That Forsyte Woman, The Skin Game, One More River, Escape, Old English, The Stranger, Island Wives

John Masefield (Ledbury, Herefordshire, UK, 1 Jun 1878 - 12 May 1967, Abingdon, Berkshire, UK)

English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967. Plays: "The Tragedy of Pompey the Great". He is remembered as the author of the classic children's novels The Midnight Folk (1927) and The Box of Delights (1935), and poems, including "The Everlasting Mercy" and "Sea-Fever".

Eden Phillpotts (Mount Abu, British India, 4 Nov 1862 - 29 Dec 1960, Broadclyst, East Devon district)

English author, poet and dramatist. He co-wrote two plays with his daughter Adelaide Phillpotts, "The Farmer's Wife" (1924) and "Yellow Sands" (1926); but is best known as the author of many novels, plays and poems about Dartmoor. His Dartmoor cycle of 18 novels and two volumes of short stories still has many avid readers despite the fact that many titles are out of print. Novels

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon (Matfield, Kent, 8 Sep 1886 - 1 Sep 1967, Heytesbury, Wiltshire)

English poet, writer, and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches, and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon's view, were responsible for a jingoism-fuelled war. Sassoon later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalised autobiography, collectively known as the "Sherston trilogy".

Arthur Symons (Milford Haven, Wales, 28 Feb 1865 - 22 Jan 1945, Wittersham, UK)

British poet, critic and magazine editor. Spiritual Adventures, With an autobiographical sketch. (1905). Verse and Essays

William Butler Yeats (Sandymount, Ireland, 13 Jun 1865 - 28 Jan 1939, Menton, France)

Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms.

A. E. Houseman (Bromsgrove, UK, 26 Mar 1859 - 30 Apr 1936, Cambridge, UK)

Alfred Edward Housman was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems "A Shropshire Lad."

Edwardian Composers and Music

Edward Elgar (Lower Broadheath, Worcester, England, 2 Jun 1857 - 23 Feb 1934, Worcester, Worcestershire)

Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO. English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the "Enigma Variations", the "Pomp and Circumstances Marches", concertos for violin and cello, (including "Land of Hope and Glory"), to mark the coronation of King Edward VII., as a powerful finale to the "Coronation Ode," He also composed choral works, including "The Dream of Gerontius", chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924. Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 (1908), The Violin Concerto in B minor (1910), Symphony No. 2 (1911).

Henry Hiles (Shrewsbury, 31 Dec 1826 - 20 Oct 1904, Worthing)

Musical composer, youngest of six sons of James Hiles, a tradesman. After studying as a boy under his brother John Hiles (1810-1882), a musician of some repute and the author of several useful catechisms on musical subjects, Hiles left home to become in 1845 organist of the parish church, Bury, whence he removed to Bishop Wearmouth in 1847. But close study injured his health, and from 1852 to 1859 he travelled in Australia and elsewhere. On his return to London in 1859 he was organist of St. Michael's, Wood Street, for a few months and was then appointed organist and teacher of music to the Blind Asylum, and organist of St. Thomas, Old Trafford, Manchester. From Manchester he went to the parish church, Bowden, in 1861, and was at St. Paul's, Hulme, from 1863 to 1867. He graduated Mus.Bac. at Oxford in 1862 and Mus.Doc. in 1867.

Hubert Parry (Bournemouth, UK, Feb 27, 1848 - 7 Oct 1918, Rustington, UK)

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 1st Baronet, English composer, teacher and historian of music. Parry's first major works appeared in 1880. Ode on Saint Cecilia's Day (1889), the oratorios Judith (1888) and Job (1892), the psalm-setting De Profundis (1891) and a lighter work, The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1905).

Charles Stanford (Dublin, Ireland, 30 Sep 1852 - 29 Mar 1924, London, UK)

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Irish composer, music teacher, and conductor, educated at the University of Cambridge before studying music in Leipzig and Berlin. Stanford composed a substantial number of concert works, including seven symphonies, but his best-remembered pieces are his choral works for church performance, chiefly composed in the Anglican tradition; a dedicated composer of opera, but none of his nine completed operas has endured in the general repertory. Some critics regarded Stanford, together with Hubert Parry and Alexander Mackenzie, as responsible for a renaissance in music from the British Isles.

Havergal Brian (Dresden, Staffordshire, UK, 29 Jan 1876 - 28 Nov 1972, Shoreham-by-Sea, UK)

British classical composer; completed thirty-two symphonies, an unusually large number for any composer since Haydn or Mozart. He completed fourteen of these symphonies in his eighties and seven more in his early nineties.

Albert Delius (Bradford, Yorkshire, 9 Jan 1862 - 10 Jun 1934, Grez, France)

English composer. Baptised as Fritz Theodore Albert Delius. He was sent to Florida in the United States in 1884 to manage an orange plantation. There he soon neglected his managerial duties, and in 1886 returned to Europe. Having been influenced by African-American music during his short stay in Florida, he began composing. After a brief period of formal musical study in Germany beginning in 1886, he embarked on a full-time career as a composer in Paris and then in nearby Grez-sur-Loing. His works include the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet (1901), A Mass of Life (1905), and the orchestral variations Brigg Fair (1907)

Vaughan Williams (Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, 12 Oct 1872 - 26 Aug 1958, Regents Park)

Ralph Vaughan Williams OM. English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was a collector of English folk music and song; this collecting activity influenced both his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, in which he included many folk song arrangements as hymn tunes, and several of his own original compositions.

William Faulkes (Liverpool, 4 Nov 1863 - 25. Jan 1933, Liverpool)

Comfortably England’s most prolific organ composer of all time, was one of the leading figures in a generation of organists and organ composers whose style of writing went out of fashion; music that is melodious, spirited, uplifting - a manifest example of the then national confidence.

John Baptiste Calkin (London, 16 Mar 1827 - 15 Apr 1905, Hornsey Rise Gardens, London)

English composer, organist and music teacher. His most known work is the setting from 1872 of a popular Christmas song "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Sir Frederic Hymen Cowen (Kingston, Jamaica, 29 Jan 1852 - 6 Oct 1935, London)

British pianist, conductor and composer. His cantata, The Rose Maiden, was given at London in 1870, his Second Symphony in F major by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society in 1872, and his first festival work, The Corsair, in 1876 at Birmingham. In that year his opera, Pauline, was given by the Carl Rosa Opera Company with moderate success. His most important work, his Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Scandinavian, which was first performed at St. James's Hall in 1880 and went on to establish itself for a decade as one of the most popular symphonic works in the repertoire, brought him some international recognition.

Social Activists

William Booth (Sneinton, Nottingham, England, 10 Apr 1829 - 20 Aug 1912, Hadley Wood, London)

Founder of Salvation Army - Christian organisation dedicated to reducing poverty and ‘saving’ souls. The strict organisation and missionary zeal of Booth helped the Salvation Army grow from humble beginnings to become a global organisation with a powerful presence in countries around the world. The Salvation Army was soon present across Europe, the U.S. and part of the British Empire.

Annie Besant (Clapham, London, 1 Oct 1847 - 20 Sep 1933, India)

Women’s activist, political campaigner for working class, Theosophist and Indian nationalist. She espoused freedom of thought, women’s rights, secularism, birth control and the rights of the working class; she was also highly critical of the influence and teachings of Christianity.

Emily Pankhurst (Moss Side, Manchester, 15 Jul 1858 - 14 Jun 1928, Hampstead)

Suffragette, and leader of Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Emily Pankhurst dedicated her life to the promotion of women’s rights and was willing to take violent, direct action, such as breaking windows and going on hunger strikes - shocking Victorian society.

Millicent Fawcett (Aldeburgh, Suffolk, 11 Jun 1847 - 5 Aug 1929, London)

Suffragist. Fawcett led Britain’s biggest suffrage organisation, the non-violent (NUWSS) National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, President. She played a key role in gaining women the vote. She also helped found Newnham College, Cambridge. She also engaged in other political activities such as supporting worker rights, and overcoming laws which were based on a dual morality for men and women. She wrote a short book Political Economy for Beginners. She later wrote a book about the struggles for the vote The Women’s Victory (1920). Fawcett wrote the introduction to the 1891 edition of Mary Wollstonecraft's book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

Edwardian Scientists

Alexander Graham Bell (Edinburgh, Scotland, 3 Mar 1847 - 2 Aug 1922, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study. Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics. In 1888, Bell became one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society.

Marie Curie (Warsaw, Poland, 7 Nov 1867 - 4 Jul 1934, Passy, Haute-Savoie, France)

Marie Skłodowska Curie; naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win twice in multiple sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris. Received Nobel Prize for Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911). Curie died at a sanatorium in Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, due to aplastic anemia brought on by exposure to radiation while carrying test tubes of radium in her pockets during research, and in the course of her service in World War I mobile X-ray units that she had set up.

Albert Einstein (Ulm, Germany, 14 Mar 1879 - 18 Apr 1955, Princeton, New Jersey, US)

Theoretical physicist; developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics) Einstein's work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science' best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation"). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "services to theoretical physics", in particular his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory. Born: Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire

Max Planck (Kiel, Duchy of Holstein, 23 Apr 1858 - 4 Oct 1947, Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany)

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, German theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. Planck made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame as a physicist rests primarily on his role as an originator of the quantum theory. However, his name is also known on a broader academic basis, through the renaming in 1948 of the German scientific institution, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (of which he was twice president), as the Max Planck Society (MPS). The MPS now includes 83 institutions representing a wide range of scientific directions.


Ernest Shackleton (County Kildare, Ireland, 15 Feb 1874 - 5 Jan 1922, South Georgia)

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE, FRGS, Anglo Irish polar explorer. Shackleton made ground-breaking explorations of the South Pole. The Edwardian period is often referred to as the heroic age of exploration; led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Before the return of Shackleton's body to South Georgia, there was a memorial service held for him with full military honours at Holy Trinity Church, Montevideo, and on 2 March a service was held at St Paul's Cathedral, London, at which the King and other members of the royal family were represented. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a collection of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. Most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous. At higher elevations, the islands are permanently covered with ice and snow.

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