A modern English family embark on a real-life time-travel adventure to late Victorian London.




2000   1999  
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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A 1999 English family volunteers to spend three months in a restored Victorian house, which recreates life for the middle class of 1900. The family must wear period clothes, and not use any conveniences or products that was not available to a family of their class in 1900. The camera follows the members about as they struggle with trying to get enough hot water for a bath, create their own shampoo, raise chickens in the backyard, and (the women, at least) deal with constricting garments. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

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Release Date:

12 June 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aikamatkaajat  »

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Technical Specs


(5 episodes) | (episode 1)


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Followed by The 1940s House (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

12 April 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I've never seen this before, it was quite amazing really the lack of knowledge of the family and their advisers. However, I have to admit they were chosen as lower middle class. which they fitted perfectly the snobbery and the self effacing , the did it perfectly. Parts of the family did better than others. I was surprised that the Male component were given a wide berth almost ignored.

When I watched this I noticed the problem of hot water, I found this ridiculous it was 1900 given the rules of 1999. I lived in a house with a back boiler earlier than the 1900 house when I was a boy, you had to stack the fire but once the water was boiling , one heard a galumph of the water moving in the boiler warning you to run the hot water for washing or bathing or even just down the drain. In Glasgow at the time of the 1900 house we scrubbed everything when they said the Victorians must have accepted a lower level of cleanliness they were very wrong. they spoke of a time when there were no antibiotics the woman worked harder, the men worked so much harder than people now. Cleanliness was the difference between ones family surviving or not it was that crucial. The family were only there for 3 months, not nearly enough time for it it to make a difference. I hope they enjoyed it all the same. The problem of washing hair, lol they used pears soap lol, coal tar soap is what we used when I was little, but in Scotland we have better water for washing hair so it was never an issue, I did notice the water problem when we moved to england in the 70's luckily we moved back to Scotland some years later. Its hard to say if the Bowler family did well they were exposed to so little of it. They did so many things I did when I was little the helping with the washing, using the mangle heating the water in the kitchen with coal for the washing and heating the water for bathing, the thing I found funny was that I had thought what we did as normal in the time line. I had no idea we were so far behind the times lol. It all seemed so normal to me. I didn't live in a fully electric house until 1973. Much of what I saw in the 1900 house seemed familiar though the woman made a mistake with the shampoo, it was coaltar soap a half pint of beer and an egg white, where they got the use the yoke thing from I don't know. I still occasionally use it beats the silicon based 2 in 1 stuff we get now hands down, my daughter uses it a fair shiny tress she has too.Then again we have softer water here.

All in all the 1900 house reminded me of all the things I'm thankful I don't have to do now. However I think we should return to some of those older values in cleanliness, there is no way people would die from simple hygiene problems as they do now in homes and hospitals if the code of cleanliness was followed even from the 1900's The 1900 house was a reminder of just how lazy we have become as a nation and the consequence's of that.

The vegetarian diet, in reality could not have worked for the family lets make it really simple, name vegetarians by nature with large brains ....none, what gave the Bowler family the ability to be where they were was meat generations of meat eaters, choosing to eat only veg is a life choice it limits ones behaviors and ones ability to think, many think this is not true, but it is, they see it from the point of view of one or two lifetimes, but what a brain needs is the ability to work and that needs energy, energy not available from vegetables alone its not a hypothesis just a calculation, energy in work out , when it comes to survival of the species its that simple, its do you want your line to continue and be successful or not. all of us here now are here because of meat its that simple.

The maid of all works, the lower middle class bowlers played right into the directors hands, displaying their petty snobbishness exactly as described, My grandfather said never let the lower middle class have servants for they will abuse them and treat them terribly because they are only a step off of service themselves. Having watched the 1900 house I can see he was perfectly correct.

in the end it was a good view as a TV program well worth the watch even if only to see lower middle class snobbery, but one can see it work for the younger bowlers for them it was an adventure which the will never forget and one would hope the viewers also. I enjoyed it watching on 4OD,

6 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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