A group of 21st century people move in to experience the tough living and working conditions of the Victorian poor in each decade, 1860s through 1900s. To see trailers and episode descriptions, visit http://www.pbs.org/show/victorian-slum-house/.
Is this "recreation for television" a useful exercise in understanding the past, or a visual gimmick? Would clips from this series be useful in your classroom teaching? Send your critique to NCSS's newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll consider it for posting.
The series continues through the month of May, 2017. Here are some episode descriptions:
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.
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.
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.
The 1890s -- 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.
The 1900s -- 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.