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SilverStormm

The Victorian Slum

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17 minutes ago, LittleIggy said:

Too bad King Edward VII's reign was so short.

He didn't die until 1910, just had appendicitis right before the original date for his coronation.
Guinea is 21 shillings--a pound plus a shilling, but not sure at that time.
 

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I have very much enjoyed this series. The cast were great! I loved young James' enthusiasm in making the suffragette pins and how he said he would miss the place and how very involved he was in the experience. The whole tailors family were great. I like how they thought about what they were doing, about how this all would feel for the people who had lived it.

It was interesting to hear what would happen to each family after the slum was demolished. The tailor's family would get out of the slum. The shop keeper I think would too but those poor Potters. OMG, once grandfather hurt his back their fate was sealed. With no son to grow up and get work they would never get out. How tragic that is. And Andy, with his leg, he was destined to be a bum on the street, stepped over and ignored.

Edward VII just became my favorite monarch. I was actually touched that he thought to give his feast to the poor. He could very easily have given it to his court.

I will actually miss these people. They were truly great.

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11 hours ago, auntjess said:

He didn't die until 1910, just had appendicitis right before the original date for his coronation.
Guinea is 21 shillings--a pound plus a shilling, but not sure at that time.
 

I meant it was just nine years. I know he didn't die right then! Bertie, as his family called him, was a playboy, but he had a good heart. One of the reasons I'm not found of Prince Albert was that he was so hard on Bertie whose strengths weren't academic but people oriented.

Edited by LittleIggy
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 I saw a few participants post on Facebook that there was no extra food or anything else given to them.  That they actually survived on a few crusts of bread and felt faint from lack of food.  And that it was very cold.  

I'm glad to hear it. The other "House" shows have been very authentic in that regard so I would have been very disappointed to hear this one was any different.

I enjoyed it overall much more than I expected to after the first episode. It was sobering and educational, but the participants themselves kept everything in perspective and really kept it from being too grim. What a great casting job - everybody was just so game and even the kids were such good sports! I'm sorry it's over, but then these shows tend not to go on for very long. Probably a good thing considering the lack of nutrition!

I think this wound up being my favorite after Frontier House and Edwardian Manor House. Certainly better than the debacles of Colonial House and Texas Ranch House, and even better than 1900s House I think. (Never saw 1940 House.)

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4 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

One of the reasons I'm not found of Prince Albert was that he was so hard on Bertie whose strengths weren't academic but people oriented.

Albert and Philip both had time on their hands, and Albert did do more useful things than Philip, but neither were great fathers, at least to the heirs.

I wonder how long they took to film the episodes.  They might not have had very long to be hungry.  The filming could have been done within a week.

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Aw, no coda. I'd rather they went from the 1850s-1890s but I supposed they wanted to finish up with the end of the slum.

Were the Potters working at all in the last decade?

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25 minutes ago, Vermicious Knid said:

Were the Potters working at all in the last decade?

I don't know.  Were they helping the tailor or the grocers? 

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It annoyed me that the host/narrator made an obvious mistake (several times) of saying how things were in "the twenty-first century" when the 1900's were the start of the twentieth century.  I don't expect errors like that from the British, for some reason.

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7 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

It annoyed me that the host/narrator made an obvious mistake (several times) of saying how things were in "the twenty-first century" when the 1900's were the start of the twentieth century.

I thought that the reference was to how things would be seen now, as opposed to back then.
 

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I too wished the series was longer.  I also think they should have wrapped things up a little better.  They only gave us a vague idea of what life after the slum would be like for each of them.  I realize it was just a show about their lives in the slum but if they're going to include them all leaving and hint around about where they would have to go, they could have at least done an epilogue like at the end of movies.

Edited by Snarklepuss
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I would have liked an epilogue as well. Just show the photo of each family and what likely would have happened. Would Andy be living on the street and die of some infection? Would the Potters find a new slum to live in and carry on as they are? Would the Howarth's continue to prosper and move up to a nice flat or even a home some day? I got way too invested in these people. lol

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5 hours ago, auntjess said:

I thought that the reference was to how things would be seen now, as opposed to back then.
 

The first time he said it, that's what I thought as well, that he meant modern day now and I just misheard the sentence.   But then he said he again a bit later and it was obvious that he was speaking in the context of the show and "now" was 1901, not 2017.  I'll listen to it again (I haven't gotten all the way through this last episode) but I think it's a mistake.

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On 5/6/2017 at 10:50 PM, Me from ME said:

I think one family in the 1940's house left early. (That is the only other full series that I have seen.) My mother couldn't bear to watch it because she remembered the hardships of the depression and war all to well. And I couldn't bear to watch Frontier House because it reminded me too much of the life of the rural poor which I had experienced.

BTW, during the war the meat drippings and fat were collected from the roast and left to congeal. They were spread on toast with a little salt for breakfast. Although I am mostly vegan today I can still remember that it tasted GOOOOD!

I still collect dripping;  it's lovely on toast.

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 I also think they should have wrapped things up a little better.  They only gave us a vague idea of what life after the slum would be like for each of them.  I realize it was just a show about their lives in the slum but if they're going to include them all leaving and hint around about where they would have to go, they could have at least done an epilogue like at the end of movies.

I would have liked to have seen that as well. Realistically, though, they only had the one "set" - i.e. the slum building they filmed in. It might have been too costly and/or time consuming to manufacture other "sets" showing where the Potters might have wound up living next or where Andy wound up, or the Howarth's new shop or the Bird's. I think they did a pretty fair job at suggesting where each would have most likely gone to after the slum, seeing as it's just play-acting after all. Showing a picture of Andy begging on the streets, for example, wouldn't have added anything to the narrative and would have looked corny if he's begging modern-day East Enders, and phony if they'd dressed up extras as 1900s Londoners. We know this isn't real, so I think just discussing the probabilities for each was sufficient.

I think the only real problem with this series is that we were constantly thrust back into the 21st century whenever the participants went outside looking for work or trying to sell their goods. Suddenly they were just actors dressed up in period costumes wandering among modern-day people and places and it seemed a bit silly. The other House shows didn't have that problem (with the exception of 1900s House) because the participants were more or less isolated from modernity. 

Edited by iMonrey
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I agree.  Stories have to end.  They made it pretty clear that Andy and the Potters were going to be screwed, because they were being thrown out of their home with not enough money to get a new place.  The Howarth's were likely to continue their slow climb to the middle class, and the Bird's were likely to find another Co-Op Grocery to run.

I've seen most of the "house" shows and thought this was good.  Letting them go home at the end of the week and then starting a new decade the following week was crucial.  On most of the other shows, people are in it 24/7 and after a while, just start going wonky from all the hard work.  If these folks hadn't got their vacations from the privies and the mud and the crust of bread and working 16 hours a day, they would have also.

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55 minutes ago, meep.meep said:

I agree.  Stories have to end.  They made it pretty clear that Andy and the Potters were going to be screwed, because they were being thrown out of their home with not enough money to get a new place.  The Howarth's were likely to continue their slow climb to the middle class, and the Bird's were likely to find another Co-Op Grocery to run.

I've seen most of the "house" shows and thought this was good.  Letting them go home at the end of the week and then starting a new decade the following week was crucial.  On most of the other shows, people are in it 24/7 and after a while, just start going wonky from all the hard work.  If these folks hadn't got their vacations from the privies and the mud and the crust of bread and working 16 hours a day, they would have also.

How do you know they let the cast go home between decades? I got the impression they were there for 5 weeks.

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I remember being a bit irritated by one aspect of the 1900 house;  they were furnished with a range but only basic instructions about how to use it and, crucially, no experience of using it.  Of course the birthday cake was a failure.  They had no experience of their own and no family and friends to call on;  ditto the hair washing.  It made things seem more difficult than they would have been for people actually living then.

Anyone enjoying this might like to seek out "Back In Time For Dinner" and "Further Back In Time For Dinner" with GIles Coren, in which a family "live" through about decades of changing social and food habits.

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When I said "epilogue" I meant maybe a few words on the screen, not an actual scene.  Like "The Potters found residence in the nearby neighborhood of xxx where they struggled to find day work in a buggy whip factory", or something to that effect.

I found myself wondering if my own family left the East End because they were forced out like the people on this show, or purely for their own reasons.  Did anyone catch the year they were asked to leave the slum?  My family left for America in 1909.

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Anyone enjoying this might like to seek out "Back In Time For Dinner" and "Further Back In Time For Dinner" with GIles Coren, in which a family "live" through about decades of changing social and food habits.

He also did a series with Sue Perkins (Great British Bake Off) called Supersizers Eat.  Where they dressed and ate through various eras.  The also did a medical before and after.  I liked the 50s the best.  Those cocktail parties classic. 

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15 hours ago, retired watcher said:

How do you know they let the cast go home between decades? I got the impression they were there for 5 weeks.

They were clearly moved out so that the production crew could make changes reflecting the difference between the decades.  Hence the surprise shown about the changes:  "look at the sewing machines!"  Some of them got new clothes between decades.  They may not have gone home, but they were not living as Victorian slum dwellers the whole time.  Which is fine, I think we all got a lesson in what a hard life it was.

I've wondered what kind of oversight was necessary to make sure that the kids were OK.  They were out of school for a long period of time - did they have to make it up later?  They were working, which is against child labor laws in this country.  

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How do you know they let the cast go home between decades? I got the impression they were there for 5 weeks.

I don't think they got breaks or went home or anything. I think this is just speculation based on the fact that they didn't appear to be starving to death. Some viewers have assumed they got regular food on weekends and maybe even went home a few times but it's just that - speculation. In all the other "House" series, the participants were there for the duration. I see no reason to assume this was any different, and indeed - as posted above - several participants have shared some of their experiences on Facebook and confirmed they did in fact have to subsist on bread and butter and were faint with hunger.

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When I said "epilogue" I meant maybe a few words on the screen, not an actual scene.  Like "The Potters found residence in the nearby neighborhood of xxx where they struggled to find day work in a buggy whip factory", or something to that effect.

Yes but that's the sort of thing you'd see if this were real life, or a biographical picture. These people didn't really "wind up" anywhere after the show was over, they just went back to their normal lives. To put up an epilogue that says "Andy died starving in the streets" would be not only morbid but untrue. 

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8 hours ago, iMonrey said:

Yes but that's the sort of thing you'd see if this were real life, or a biographical picture. These people didn't really "wind up" anywhere after the show was over, they just went back to their normal lives. To put up an epilogue that says "Andy died starving in the streets" would be not only morbid but untrue. 

Well, there is such a thing as fictional biography, which this essentially was, so a wrap-up ending would still be valid, IMO.  The show featured the housing project they were invited to move into but couldn't afford so why just send them off in the last episode with no speculation on where they might have gone afterward?  It would just be a written example of what a family such as theirs would face after leaving the slum in real life, just the same kind of example they have been making of them all through the series.  It wouldn't take more than a paragraph to do that.  As it is I'm left scratching my head about where all of them would have likely ended up.  The only family that was sort-of clear with was the tailor's family.  The show mentioned that they would have likely ended up in another neighborhood only a few blocks from there.  Given that their income level was higher than the others, theirs was an easier transition I'm sure.  Like the Dos House man - He looked royally screwed in the end.

Re: their living conditions and how they looked - As the weeks wore on I noticed most of the adults starting to look a progressively more "rough" and tired.  It shows more on their faces than the children.

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One of the things that threw me off several times was the fact that one of the Potter's daughters had short hair. Every time I saw her I thought "Why is that boy wearing a dress?"  It was worse than Maria's false eyelashes.

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On 5/5/2017 at 1:06 PM, Zahdii said:

Maybe they became indentured servants?  As I understand it, a person could indenture themselves to an employer or a family and work off the cost of their passage.  Once they arrived, they'd work while being given room and board with a small stipend for personal costs until they'd fulfilled their contract, then they'd be given an amount of money that they could take with them to start their own lives. 

I think indentured servitude was over long before that. It was a useful tool for importing cheap labor, but once immigration was in full force that was no longer a problem. They probably just saved the funds or were helped by relatives who came first. Maybe the co-op/credit union had emigration programs, too!

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On 6/2/2017 at 9:31 AM, QuinnM said:

He also did a series with Sue Perkins (Great British Bake Off) called Supersizers Eat.  Where they dressed and ate through various eras.  The also did a medical before and after.  I liked the 50s the best.  Those cocktail parties classic. 

I loved that show! I think Sue is a hoot--when I discovered the Great British Bake Off I let out a squeal of happiness when I recognized her!

On 6/6/2017 at 10:17 PM, meatball77 said:

You can imagine that she sold her hair to a wigmaker to help her family eat

Or that she got sick with a fever and they cut off all her hair! Remember they did that in Little Women when Beth got sick? And countless other Victorian novels?

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I am a great lover of history.  I have also visited places that would be considered the Third World.  I have seen some conditions that were not far off from what we read about or see on this show.

What is interesting is the places I visitedwould have been part of the British Empire during the time of Victoria.

Edited by qtpye

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On 5/11/2017 at 9:49 AM, Mabinogia said:

I think she really did just let her kids sleep in and not pull her weight because she just didn't take it all seriously.

 

I just binge watched this, which was recently shown on my PBS station. I really liked it. But Shaz was a weak link for me. Especially on the second episode, when she showed up late without her kids. And in the first episode, the boxes they built were horrible -- the family was really aiming for a participation trophy there. 

 

On 5/24/2017 at 9:45 AM, iMonrey said:

The Howarth daughter didn't have to go to school. I don't know if they've ever told us her age, but I'm assuming the new law said children under Age X were required to go to school and she's Age X or older.

As someone else said, the upper age was 12 (the lower age was 5). 

 

On 5/25/2017 at 7:40 PM, humbleopinion said:

The Bespoke suit that Russell Howarth made brought in 20 pounds or as I misheard 220 pounds, which didn't sound right but would account for their sudden wealth.

 

I had to rewind that part; they said that the suit would cost 200 pounds today. 

 

On 5/31/2017 at 1:56 PM, auntjess said:

I wonder how long they took to film the episodes.  They might not have had very long to be hungry.  The filming could have been done within a week.

It wasn't a week, but I also think it wasn't filmed for a week per episode. At the bath episode, one lady said it was the first time she'd been clean in two and a half weeks, and in another episode someone also said something that showed that it wasn't one week of filming per decade. It was probably a month or so altogether, and the kids did it on a school break. 

Except for Shaz and her (possibly too young) twins, I think everyone took it seriously and really made an effort. 

I really enjoyed the show. 

Edited by Mystery · Reason: spelling

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I binged this series over the weekend and I loved it.  I think every college student should have to live LIKE THIS for a week.  

In this country, a lot of people think that poor people are poor because of stuff THEY do,  (have too many children, do drugs, etc).  In reality it has a lot more to do with what your lineage is and what happens to a person in their life than what mistakes that person might make.

It also upsets me because I fear this country is going the way of the Victorian era.  People don't want to pay taxes for "others" to be on public assistance, and some folks cry about the "welfare state."  I don't want to live in a country where one medical emergency, or one layoff can drive a family to homelessness.  That's not right no matter what your religion is.

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