I am reading an article from 1843 Magazine and the title is "Suffering from shortages? How to survive without puppies, fake tan or IKEA."

One of the stories is about the childhood of Queen Victoria. It mentions the notorious Kensington System devised by her mother. One of the rules is workouts with weighted clubs.

I don't know whether weighted clubs refer to gyms? But it is unlikely there were gyms back then. Does this mean some fitness equipment placed in Kensington Palace?

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    "I am reading an article" Please provide a link to the article.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 2:51
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    The use of the word "gymnasium" for a place of exercise comes from ancient Greece. Gyms was around long before the Victorians and were actually enjoying a rise in popularity when Queen Victoria was young. Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 12:26
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    Emma, you might not know that "club" has two totally different meanings. One is a "stick" you whack people with! Like you see cave-men holding in cartoons :) media.istockphoto.com/id/467210619/photo/…
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 13:31
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    I had to look that up because my first thought was how a magazine from 1843 would have references to fake tans or IKEA in it. Puppies, Queen Victoria, sure, that made sense. (Yeah, I know now that's the year the publisher was founded, but still a strange name for a magazine...) Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 18:09
  • Looks like this is the article, but it requires a login. economist.com/1843/2021/11/25/… Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


In this case, club has this meaning:

1 a : a heavy usually tapering staff especially of wood wielded as a weapon


A weighted club would be a club (a tapering wooden staff) that has been weighted, as in, constructed to be heavy.

There are different kinds of weighted clubs that are (or were) used as exercise equipment. The ones Queen Victoria would have used would have been

Indian clubs, which originated in the Indian subcontinent, are a type of exercise equipment used to present resistance in movement to develop strength and mobility. They consist of juggling-club shaped wooden clubs of varying sizes and weights, which are swung in certain patterns as part of a strength exercise program...

Exceptionally popular during the fitness movement of the late Victorian era, used by military cadets and well-heeled ladies alike, they appeared as a gymnastic event in the 1904 and 1932 Olympics.

Wikipedia - Indian Club

  • +1 If you think about it, today's barbell-style exercise weights are just specialized forms of weighted clubs.
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 10:04
  • @JBH I think the Victorian ones are due a comeback - after all, we've got dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells (Wikipedia says I'm not alone in thinking that).
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 11:07
  • A fitness regimen could always use More Cowbell
    – Yorik
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 20:19

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