Victorian Slum House, Season 1HDClosed Captioning
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In this landmark living history series, a Victorian tenement in London's East End has been painstakingly brought back to life. Host Michael Mosley joins a group of 21st century families as they move in and experience the tough living and working conditions of the Victorian poor, discovering the extraordinary story of how the Victorian East End changed Britain’s attitude to poverty forever.
|1||HDClosed CaptioningVideoThe 1860s||In this episode the slum dwellers move into the 1860s, when London was the capital of the world’s first industrial superpower and the richest city on earth. Their new home is totally authentic; a foreboding Victorian tenement building made up of sparse rooms, a shared water pump and outdoor privies. There are businesses too - a small shop and a common lodging house known as the doss house. For some of the new residents, it’s a chance to live as their East End ancestors once did while others want to experience the history of their trades. As it would have been, their priority is to earn money to put food on the table and pay the weekly rent. During the economic boom years of the 1860s, life was tough for the poor but at least London provided ways to make a living as the slum dwellers find out. Whether its piecework farmed out by factories like match box making and wood turning or repurposing old clothes for the rag trade, they all replicate the work once done by poor Victorians. Graham Potter finds out first-hand the back breaking labour his forebears would have experienced and the effect on a Victorian family when the main breadwinner was out of action. But it’s Shazeda Haque who finds life toughest as she experiences the vicious cycle of poverty and debt that lone Victorian parents endured.||54:55||$2.99||View in iTunes|
|2||HDClosed CaptioningVideoThe 1870s||The slum dwellers have left behind the 1860s, when London was the richest city on earth and it was hard but possible to make ends meet. Now they must live through a dire economic depression that blighted the 1870s. Tailoring family the Howarths have become ‘sweated workers’, so called because of the rate at which they had to work. They must toil nonstop to make up Victorian factory orders for clothing. It’s food for thought when they’re forced to employ their neighbours’ children to complete the work. The Potter family can no longer rely on breadwinner Graham as he struggles to find work, so they join forces with single parent Shazeda to try and get by making artificial flowers. For Heather Potter, the experience has added poignancy when she finds out the fate that befell her own poverty stricken East End ancestors. There are new arrivals in the slum when siblings John and Maria Barker arrive from Ireland. They’re horrified by the conditions that would have greeted Irish migrants to Victorian London. But they’re young, strong and have no dependents and they do have the ability to work. As the week progresses rent collector Andy and the shopkeepers the Birds begin to worry that some in the slum won’t be able to settle their debts. A moonlit flit has a knock on effect for all, and the harsh realities of life for the Victorian poor hit home.||54:55||$2.99||View in iTunes|
|3||HDClosed CaptioningVideoThe 1880s||The slum dwellers have moved into the 1880s - a turbulent decade for London’s East End. Unemployment was sky high and living conditions intolerable but still people came, desperate for work. The pressures are immediately felt by the Howarth family, who find themselves employing new workers in their Victorian sweat shop. Their workforce would have been made up of newly arrived immigrants and the Howarths’ workers all have their own story to tell. But Mandy Howarth is moved to tears when she finds out that the sweated trades are part of her own family history. The Potter family become street sellers, selling sheep’s trotters and jellied eels in London’s East End. But their newfound living is quickly curtailed as it was in 1880s Bethnal Green. Fellow slum residents Andy Gardiner and John Barker come face-to-face with the harsh realities of working life in London’s docks during the era when only one of them could have hoped to earn. While everyone tries to make ends meet, some unwanted visitors arrive in the form a slum tour party and resentment reaches boiling point. The slum dwellers soon understand why the 1880s was a decade of protests and strikes and, though a strong sense community is forming, the precarious nature of Victorian slum life is ever present.||54:55||$2.99||View in iTunes|
|4||HDClosed CaptioningVideoThe 1890s||The slum dwellers have moved into the 1890s, when Britain was slowly recovering from an economic depression. Cheap foodstuffs and mass manufactured goods have found their way into the slum’s shop, but only some of the residents can afford them. The Howarths are the lucky ones, they now have a bespoke tailor’s shop and tailor Russell can make good money catering to middle class Londoners who couldn’t afford Saville Row suits. Their relative prosperity means Mandy can turn her attention to being a respectable Victorian house wife. The Potter family’s experience reflects the lives of countless Victorian poor who struggled with low wages and irregular work, but they are offered a lifeline by their neighbour Maria who needs help with her laundry business. But a water shortage during the 1890s makes life even harder and it forces Maria and her brother John to leave the Slum. Finally it seems that the wider world was taking notice of the plight of the Victorian poor when the slum dwellers are introduced to Charles Booth’s great poverty survey. The residents experience a wave of Victorian social reform including slum clearance, and there’s much excitement when there’s a visit to see the new council housing that would have been on offer. But it’s bittersweet when they learn the reality of what happened to their forebears.||54:57||$2.99||View in iTunes|
|5||HDClosed CaptioningVideoThe 1900s||In the final episode of the series, the slum dwellers move into the 20th century and social change is in the air. Community spirit is embodied by the arrival of the Co-operative Movement, and shopkeepers the Birds have members to look after, rather than customers to profit from. While some continue to prosper, others come face-to-face with the poverty endemic in British cities during the era. The effects of this on children hits home when the slum’s kids see photographs of their Edwardian counterparts. The wealth division in Edwardian Britain has a bittersweet resonance when the residents get a taste of Edward VII’s cancelled Coronation banquet, which was packed up and sent to the poor of Whitechapel in 1902. The wider world continues to impact on life in the Slum, and some enjoy a day trip out to the countryside. The men exercise their right to vote and the women of the Slum learn what East End women did in the quest for suffrage. At long last there are state wide measures designed to alleviate the plight of the poor, and it’s time for the slum dwellers to return to life in the 21st century. As they prepare to leave, thoughts turn to the effects of slum clearance on British communities and to lessons that can be learned for the future.||54:25||$2.99||View in iTunes|
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Awesome show !!!
If you think you're having a rough time in life, this show will bring you back to reality. This show places a group of regular folks in a Victorian era slum house (starting in 1860) and they must reenact life in that time. They must work to have shelter and to eat: men, women and children. One tenant is a single mother with two children. One tenant is an amputee. One tenant works so hard the first day that he threw out his back-and the children picked up the slack.
It's a fascinating and thoroughly humbling show. I can't wait to see future episodes.
The rest of the story
Highly insightful, and should be mandatory viewing for every leader in every country. Though the lessons are easily forgotten, the people lifted from poverty in the Industrial revolution period of human history demonstrate enlightened attitudes and approaches that could lift the disadvantaged even now. Wonderful people doing wonderful things.