The Victorians were very strict about keeping Sunday as a day of rest. They took the Ten Commandments written in the Bible very seriously. One of these was that no one should work on a Sunday but keep the day dedicated to the Lord. So Sunday in Victorian times was set aside for church going and rest. All the shops were closed and games of sport were frowned upon.
Wealthy families could be very strict about what their children were, and were not, allowed to do. All amusements, as well as work, were forbidden. Even drawing and painting were often forbidden. Therefore reading was the main pastime on a Sunday afternoon. This again was limited by what was considered appropriate reading for a Sunday.
Children were allowed to read special books called Sunday books similar to the one shown here. The book is hardback and dated 1890. The front cover shows two wealthy children putting money in a collection box for the poor outside a church door. The book has stories with moral messages showing children how to behave well. Sunday books often contained poetry, and black and white illustrations and drawings designed for colouring-in.