Hi dreyer-ga ,
What an interesting question! As a genealogist, learning about daily
life throughout history is a passion of mine :)
Here are a few good books which I think provide what you are looking for:
English Society in the Eighteenth Century
by Roy Porter
What Jane Austin ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to
Whist-The Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England
by Daniel Poole
(A reference book which covers the working class as well as the
aristocracy). More of a dictionary/glossary than a historical account.
An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England
by Venetia Murray
(Many reviewers say this one has some historical errors in it, but it
also is the most entertaining, easy to read account of social life
during the period 1780-1830).
High Society in the Regency Period: 1788-1830
By Venetia Murray
(A similar book from the same author)
The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy
By David Cannadine
(This one covers the latter part of the nineteeth century and the
first part of the twentieth).
On the Web, there is a lot on the topic, but it is primarily
scattered. With little bits here and there. Here are a few sites to
get you started. You may also want to check with your local library. A
lot of them offer free online access to a variety of databases which
include digitized books - including family and social histories. These
first-hand accounts are sometimes the best source of information on
Here is an interesting excerpt from Regency House Party, a social
experiment turned book which took 5 men and 5 women back to England
during the Regency period:
"While the women [in the Regency House] learned to curb their modern
expectations and content themselves with long and languorous days with
little to do, the men were propelled into Regency life at a furious
pace. They spent their first days acquiring some of the skills and
attainments that were considered vital to increase one's
attractiveness to the opposite sex. "
18th Century Social Order outlines a bit on the distinctions between
the Peasants and Aristocracy and includes some discussion on the
aristocratic way of life.
This site covers all aspects of daily life - including some
information on the aristocratic class. Broken into many fascinating
sections and time periods, here are a few pages to get you started:
Time Traveller's Guide to Napoleon's Empire: Class & Customs
Time Traveller's Guide to Victorian Britain: Class & Customs
Hopefully these books and Web sites will get you started on your
quest. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.