Victorian Fairies

Fact and fantasy frequently held fairy-like hands in a quest to educate the privileged children of Victorian times (1837- 1901).  Books such as The Fairy-Tales of Science: A book for youth by John Cargill Brough (1858) aimed to enchant as well as educate their young readers. 

Microscopes popularised the idea of miniature fairies to guide children through wonderlands of insects, microbiology and chemistry.  For example, The Fairy Land of Science by Arabella Buckley (1878) and The Fairy Land of Chemistry: Explorations in the World of Atoms by Lucy Rider Meyer (1887).  Even The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley (1886) alluded to concepts relating to evolution.

This poem celebrates Victorian fairies and fairies on top of Christmas Trees everywhere as ambassadors of science.  We are all being politely reminded to take care by washing our hands to keep out germs and viruses – particularly during this festive season – by those fantastical fairies!

Victorian Fairies  by Celia Berrell

The Fairy Queen of Britain
was Victoria, who hit on
having Christmas tree sensations
for the festive celebrations.

Doting Dads bought girls and boys
expensive scientific toys
like microscopes, revealing scenes
that taught of hazards and hygiene.

Fairies shrank to tiny size
like Tinkerbells and butterflies
and showed kids new technologies
through books with science mysteries.

Detergent, soap took Fairy’s name
for health and hygiene’s serious game.
That fairy on the Christmas tree
worked magic scientifically!