The Victorian Slum: Series 1
Michael Mosley follows the progress of a group of people experiencing the tough living and working conditions of the Victorian poor after moving into a restored Victorian tenement in the heart of London’s East End.
Part 1: 1860s
In the opening edition the slum dwellers move into their new home, a building made up of sparse rooms, a shared water pump and outdoor privy toilets, while one 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.
Part 2: 1870s
The volunteers experience the living and working conditions of the 1870s, which was blighted by a dire economic depression. The Potters can no longer rely on breadwinner Graham as he struggles to find work so they join forces with single parent Shazeda to try to survive by making artificial flowers, while there are new arrivals from Ireland in the form of siblings John and Maria Barker, who are horrified by the conditions that would have greeted Irish migrants to Victorian London.
Part 3: 1880s
The slum dwellers experience the living and working conditions of the 1880s, when unemployment was high and living conditions intolerable, but people desperate for work still arrived in London. The Howarths find themselves employing new workers in their Victorian sweat shop, while the Potters become street vendors, selling sheep’s trotters and jellied eels in the East End. Michael Mosley presents.
Part 4: 1890s
The slum dwellers experience the living and working conditions of the 1890s, with cheap foodstuffs and mass-manufactured goods having found their way into the slum’s shop – but only some of the residents can afford them. The Howarths’ relative prosperity means Mandy can turn her attention to being a respectable Victorian house wife, while the Potters are offered a lifeline by their neighbour Maria, who needs help with her laundry business. Michael Mosley presents.
Part 5: 1900s
In the concluding edition the slum dwellers move into the 20th century and find 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. The wider world continues to impact on life in the slum and some enjoy a day trip out to the countryside, while the men exercise their right to vote and the women learn what their East End counterparts did in the quest for female suffrage.