Saturday, February 19, 2011
The London Season
All of London would gear up annually for The Season, which custom began to evolve in the seventeenth century. The Lords and Ladies would leave their country homes and come to town for the opening of Parliament and would stay through its run. In my research, I found Parliament opening on different months on different years, depending on the hunting season. That might seem odd, but the House of Lords, was of course, made up of Lords, and they must hunt! Many aristocrats owned homes in London as well; some would be invited to stay in the great homes of others.Certain servants came along; surely the valets and lady's maids, and any needed to run the town home. The Season meant shops and business of all sorts had a very busy few months. Debutantes dressed in beautiful gowns, always with a long train, and probably wearing diamonds and other precious stones, were presented to the King or Queen, after which they were considered to be in society and could attend events. After Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria turned this duty over to her eldest son and his wife. The upper class went from party to party- tea parties, dinners, balls, etc., which were where young ones hunted for their future marriage mate. Food for these parties was usually made in house by the kitchen staff. Ladies visited fashion houses where designers made clothing just for them; many events had dress codes. There were exhibitions, races, riding, sports, opera and concerts. The pace during that time was exhausting. The Season would end quite suddenly in August, and everyone would return to their country homes for hunting parties to begin again!