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. 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.
Follow participants as they move into an 1860s tenement made up of sparse rooms, a shared water pump and outhouses.
Episode 1 | The 1860s (Premieres Tuesday, May 2)
Follow participants as they move into an 1860s tenement made up of sparse rooms, a shared water pump and outhouses. They seek to make a living by matchbox making, wood turning and the rag trade, work once done by their impoverished forebears.
Episode 2 | The 1870s (Premieres Tuesday, May 9)
Witness a dire economic depression heightened by the arrival of Irish migrants seeking work. Daily, the slum dwellers toil to fulfill clothing orders and make artificial flowers for factories. Some won’t be able to settle their debts.
Episode 3 | The 1880s (Premieres Tuesday, May 16)
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.
Episode 4 | The 1890s (Premieres Tuesday, May 23)
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.
Episode 5 | The 1900s (Premieres Tuesday, May 30)
Observe the social changes the slum dwellers face as they move into the 20th century. A few families prosper, but others continue to face the poverty endemic in Britain. See what steps are finally taken to alleviate the plight of the poor.