Monday, May 1, 2017

Victorian Slum House

Even though I usually stay away from reality shows, I am planning to watch this one:
It will premier tomorrow, on PBS.  It is a 5-part series; and is different from most series in that each episode will be a different decade, from 1860 to about 1910.  I'm not sure if there will be any carry-over with the characters and families from one episode to the next.  But will be interesting to see modern people try to cope with Dickensian squalor. Not that there still isn't Dickensian squalor in some parts of the world.


  1. It sounds interesting - here's a short trailer for it.

    I've been watching a PBS series on the computer called Mercy Street, which takes place during the Civil War. It's pretty good.

  2. I have watched several of these series, and my takeaway is that my grandmother, born in the 1890s, was right: Affordable shampoo and disposable sanitary napkins were the greatest inventions of modern times.

  3. I think your grandma was right about those things, Jean. My dad said his favorite modern inventions were air conditioning and indoor plumbing. I would add disposable diapers, or at least washers and dryers. There's a reason why our great-grandmothers were a lot more proactive about potty training than today's parents (three and a half is the new two). It wasn't because they were body-function-shaming control freaks. It was because it was no fun to wash bazillion diapers by hand with a washboard, a galvanized tub, and lye soap.

  4. Well, I watched the first episode. Was a little different than I thought, but as expected, it was rough being poor in 1860. One thing that struck me was how expensive even bad food was. Fopd could be expected to cost about two thirds of a poor fami!y's income. Rent cost the other third. Contrast that with about 6%, which is what the average American spends for food in the 21st century. In fact we spend less of our income on food than just about every other industrialized country.

  5. I watched the episode and found it very interesting.

    When I was a kid, if my parents had decided we would live in a Victorian slum as part of a reality tv show, I can say with a fair amount of confidence it would not have "brought the family together."

    1. David, LOL, me neither. The only things which might have induced my kids to do it would be significant financial compensation.
      It was equal parts fascinating and horrifying. I knew there were horrible living conditions, but I had never heard of "rope sleeping" before.