Edwardian Street Etiquette
Edwardian Street Etiquette
Edwardian Street Etiquette

From Safe Counsel, 1904.


1. Your conduct on the street should always be modest and dignified. Ladies should carefully avoid all loud and boisterous conversation or laughter and all undue liveliness in public.

2. When walking on the street do not permit yourself to be absent-minded, as to fail to recognize a friend; do not go along reading a book or newspaper.

3. In walking with a lady on the street give her the inner side of the walk, unless the outside is the safer part; in which case she is entitled to it.

4. Your arm should not be given to any lady except your wife or a near relative, or a very old lady, during the day, unless her comfort or safety requires it. At night the arm should always be offered,: also in ascending the steps of a public building.

5. In crossing the street a lady should gracefully raise her dress a little above her ankle with one hand. To raise the dress with both hands is vulgar, except in places where the mud is very deep.

6. A gentleman meeting a lady acquaintance on the street should not presume to join her in her walk without first asking her permission.

7. If you have anything to say to a lady whom you may happen to meet in the street, however intimate you may be, do not stop her, but turn round and walk in company with her; you can take leave at the end of the street.

8. A lady should not venture out upon the street alone after dark. By so doing she compromises her dignity, and exposes herself to indignity at the hands of the rougher class.

9. Never offer to shake hands with a lady in the street if you have on dark or soiled gloves, as you may soil hers.

10. A lady does not form acquaintances upon the street, or seek to attract the attention of the other sex or of persons of her own sex. Her conduct is always modest and unassuming. Neither does a lady demand services or favors from a gentleman. She accepts them graciously, always expressing her thanks.

A gentleman will not stand on the street corners or in hotel doorways, or store windows and gaze impertinently at ladies as they pass by. This is the exclusive business of loafers.

11. In walking with a lady who has your arm, should you have to cross the street, do not disengage your arm and go around upon the outside, unless the lady’s comfort renders it necessary. In walking with a lady, where it is necessary for you to proceed singly, always go before her.

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