The Representation of the Working-Class Day-Tripper in The Dart (1884-1900)

Activiteit: Talk or presentation at a conference


From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, leisure became increasingly available to the working-classes in Victorian Britain (Bailey 2007: 4). This evolution was stimulated by socio-political and technological change (e.g. the passing of labour laws, increased access to education, an expanding railway network, as well as new developments in printing). The satirical press contributed to promoting leisure as an integral part of Victorian life. It published a wide variety of print entertainment in the form of, among others, (serial) fiction, poetry and cartoons, and commented on various leisure phenomena, including the rise of seaside tourism and the arrival of the working-class tourist at the seaside resort.

This paper studies the representation of the working-class day-tripper in the satirical periodical The Dart: A Journal of Sense and Satire, published in Birmingham between 1876 and 1911. Through a textual-visual analysis of articles, prose, poetry, and cartoons, it posits that The Dart used humour to characterise the day-tripper as a disreputable, derisory figure, thereby ostracising them from the seaside resort as a respectable leisure context. In doing so, the magazine aimed to appeal to its middle-class readership, which experienced the presence of the day-tripper at the seaside as an unwelcome and possibly dangerous intrusion in a space they considered theirs. Through a humorous portrayal of the working-class day-tripper, The Dart’s not only attenuated middle-class anxieties, but also reinforced a sense of belonging among middle-class readers, assuring them of the superiority of their class identity.
Periode28 jun 2023
Gehouden opLeeds Beckett University, United Kingdom
Mate van erkenningInternational