Thursday, 20 December 2012
If you have ever read a historical novel set in 17th, 18th or 19th century England, you've probably heard of the London Season. The aristocracy considered it so important that for them the year revolved around it. But what was this Season? And when did it take place?
The London Season did not fall between two specific and set dates, but coincided with the Parliamentary session, which usually started sometime after Christmas (depending on when the haunting season came to a close in the country), and ended in July, when it adjourned for the summer. During that time, anyone who was anyone rushed to London to see and be seen, entertain and be entertained. And of courses, women rushed to their seamstress and milliners to buy new gown, hats, gloves, shoes and any other piece of attire they could think of to show off during the season!
In the morning, house calls were made, while in the evenings there was a plethora of parties, dinners, balls, musicales, operas, plays, and soirees to attend. And of course during the day, you could also visit the beautiful sights of London, ride in Hype Park or go to see a horse race.. Then like now, there were many things to do in such a big city like London.
But the Season wasn't all fun and play. Pretty much all those who sat in Parliament attended it so politics were discussed, deals made and alliances forged. The Season was also a marriage market. All those parties and events were the perfect occasion to introduce young ladies to suitable potential husbands. Debutante balls were held to introduce the daughters of the nobility and the gentry into society. Young women were presented at court too. The Season's popularity started to decline after the First World War, when many aristocratic families gave up their London mansions.