Victorian Slum House takes viewers back to the British slums of the 1800s, where a group of modern day families, couples and individuals recreate life in London’s East End as their forbearers once lived between 1860-1900.
Watch Victorian Slum House: The 1860s May 2 at 8:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS. Check listings for additional air-times.
Faced with the virtually impossible task of earning enough money to pay the rent and put food on the table, over five episodes the participants experience first-hand the tough living and working conditions endured by the millions that made up the urban poor in Victorian Britain.
It’s an eye-opening experience for the participants as they each confront the harsh realities of the past and together lay the groundwork for welfare reform in the 20th Century.
May 2: Victorian Slum House: The 1860s
Follow participants as they move into an 1860s tenement made up of sparse rooms, a shared water pump and outdoor privies. They seek to make a living by matchbox making, wood turning and the rag trade, work once done by their impoverished forebears.
May 9: Victorian Slum House: The 1870s
Witness a dire economic depression heightened by the arrival of Irish migrants seeking work. Daily, the slum dwellers toil to fulfil clothing orders and make artificial flowers for factories. Some won’t be able to settle their debts.
May 16: Victorian Slum House: The 1880s
Despite high unemployment and intolerable conditions, people flock to London, desperate for work. When curious upper-class visitors are permitted to visit the slum as tourists, the participants realize how precarious their situation truly is.
May 23: Victorian Slum House: The 1880s
Enter the 1890s, when mass manufacturing and social reform offer a bit of hope for some of the residents, while others are plagued by a water shortage that dashes hopes for a promising laundry business.