Eight incredibly offensive Victorian valentines
Are you sick of seeing pink hearts everywhere? Do you resent the rampant commercialisation of love and romance? Do you, in fact, hate Valentine’s Day and all it represents?
If so, your cynicism isn’t anything new. In fact, the anti-valentines movement originated in the very same era that gave us the gilded flowers, hearts and cherub motifs we all know and hate today. The mid-19th century was the golden age of the anti-valentine: back then, people would send vicious "gifts" like parcels of rotting meat, vermin, or even dead pigs dressed as babies (to quote some actual examples listed by the Post Office).
Luckily for Victorian posties, though, most people stuck to sending insult cards – which not only vied for popularity with their sentimental counterparts, but sometimes outstripped them in sales. In a special 14 February episode of Free Thinking, Dr Annebella Pollen explores the ugly side of Valentine's Day. It’s enough to make you glad to live in kinder times.