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Middle-Class Life in Victorian Belfast$
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Alice Johnson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620313

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620313.001.0001

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Lifestyle and recreation

Lifestyle and recreation

(p.185) 5 Lifestyle and recreation
Middle-Class Life in Victorian Belfast

Alice Johnson

Liverpool University Press

In this chapter, personal and family papers are used to shed light on middle-class lifestyle, recreation and leisure, and the cultural norms and values underpinning them. In the Victorian period, Belfast’s inhabitants did not have a reputation for engaging in recreational or leisure pursuits. From the late eighteenth century onwards, what visitors tended to notice about Belfast’s middle-class residents was their industrious and business-focused attitude. Yet religion was central to middle-class identity across Britain throughout the nineteenth century: church membership, church attendance and church leadership were all defining features of middle-class life. The Belfast bourgeoisie also had time for cultural pursuits, socialising, summer holidays and travel. This chapter examines several aspects of middle-class leisure, including dancing, sports and summer holidays. It also overviews the religious culture that was such an important part of bourgeois ‘lifestyle’ and indeed identity.

Keywords:   Lifestyle, leisure, recreation, church, summer holidays, travel, dancing, social life

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