© PBS Credit: Joe Sarah 2016
It turns out it’s even less glamorous to be a 19th century London chimney sweep, costermonger, or street kid than Charles Dickens made it appear.
When London’s economic boom in the Victorian era brought prosperity to the upper and middle classes, many others suffered from unimaginable living and working conditions in the slums of the East End. The new five-part stationery series Victorian Slum House (premiere Tuesday) transports participants to a replica slum to experience the desperation of the urban poor up close. In their place as shopkeepers, tailors, rent collectors, destitute immigrants or wage workers who assemble matchboxes, the slum dwellers scrape every day for food and rents.
The Victorian Slum House will air Tuesdays starting May 2 at 8 p.m. ET (see local listings).
Know your basic language in East End London:
Doss House: Cheap accommodation for the poor or the homeless.
Two penny tomcat: For two pfennigs a lodger could sleep the night sitting on a bench and support himself on a taut rope.
Four penny coffin: A lodger could sleep in a wooden box on the floor for four pfennigs a night.
Black Monday: Day of rent.
Shoddy: A cheap material made from recycled rags.
Tick: A credit system that customers have agreed with shopkeepers.
Trample: Walking the streets in search of work.
Slumber: Wealthy Londoners treat the slums as a tourist attraction.
Eel in aspic: Dinner. Mmmm.
What will happen when modern people reshape life in the slums of late 19th century London? #VictorianSlumPBS https://t.co/wunyozdLjU
– THIRTEEN (@ThirteenWNET) May 2, 2017
Some things I like (in no particular order): sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, ‘The Simpsons’ seasons 1-13, my family, and the few friends who aren’t embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I care very much how much you like ‘Alaskan Bush People’. #LynxForLife