The 1900 House

Watch The 1900 House

  • 2000
  • 1 Season
  • 8.0  (374)

The 1900 House is a reality television show that aired on Channel 4 in 1999, which explores the daily life of a British family living in a home from the early 1900s. The show follows the lives of the Bowler family who volunteered to live in a house that was restored to its original condition, complete with furnishings, appliances, and technology that were prevalent at the turn of the century.

The Bowler family consists of father Joyce, mother Pauline, and their three children, Kathryn, Ruth, and Tom. The family agreed to live as they would have in 1900, for three months, without any of the modern conveniences they were accustomed to. The show aimed to examine the realities of life in the past and compare them with modern-day life. The show presented an opportunity for the viewers to experience how daily life would have been for a family living in the early 1900s, from cooking, cleaning to how to keep warm.

At the start of the show, the family leaves behind their modern-day amenities such as phones, televisions, and laptops, and moves into a 1900s house located in Toxteth, Liverpool. The family is hit with a shock at the sight of their new home. The property has no central heating, no indoor plumbing, and is decidedly spartan compared to their former home in the suburbs. The house is well-furnished with period furniture and fixtures that were commonly used at the turn of the century.

During the show, viewers are taken through the entire renovation process that includes installing gas lights, replacing the furniture and putting in a coal stove for heating. The family performs all the daily chores as was customary at that time. These chores include ironing, washing, and cooking over a coal stove. They are forced to clean their clothes using a mangle, use a chamber pot for toileting and bath using a tin tub.

The family must also adapt to new food, clothing, and social norms of the time. The show explores different aspects of daily life, such as suffragettes, education, and social class structure of the era. The children experience an entirely different school life that included learning superstitions, and religious teachings, and riding a penny farthing bicycle. The show also explores the family's interactions with the outside world, including communication through telegrams.

The 1900 House is a fascinating reality show that highlights the stark difference between life in the early twentieth century and the present day. It also offers an insight into the challenges and hardships that were faced by ordinary families during that time. The show explores the details of daily life, such as hand washing clothes, wearing wool clothing in summer, and social norms of that time.

The show also highlights the benefits and disadvantages of technological advancements, such as the introduction of indoor plumbing and electricity. It also highlights the changing role of women and a shift in social norms that lead to a significant difference in the lifestyle of families. The show offers a bird's eye view of how far culture has come over the century.

Overall, The 1900 House is an interesting show that offers a glimpse into life in a different era. The show is informative and educational, making it an excellent watch for history enthusiasts. The show is also an eye-opener for those who have grown up in a modern era, as it highlights the stark differences between the two eras.

The 1900 House
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A Year to Remember
10. A Year to Remember
The Bowlers reflect on the highs and lows of their three month living-history experiment.
Back to the Future
9. Back to the Future
After three months of living in the past, the Bowlers' Victorian odyssey is coming to an end. Before they leave, they decide to throw a party.
The Good Old Days
8. The Good Old Days
A night out at a Music Hall is a great success but proves a rude introduction to the world of Victorian London.
Women's Liberation
7. Women's Liberation
The arrival of the maid has given Joyce the freedom to investigate the history of the suffragette movement. The more she learns about the battle for women's rights, the worse she feels having a maid working for her.
Upstairs, Downstairs
6. Upstairs, Downstairs
A newcomer arrives at the house as Elizabeth, their new "maid'' starts domestic service. Scrubbing, washing, ironing, and carpet beating.
How to Be a Victorian
5. How to Be a Victorian
After four weeks of the drudgery of housework, Joyce finds a servant to do the dirty work.
Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness
4. Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness
It's been a week since the Bowlers began their experience, and no-one has had a decent bath.
A Rude Awakening
3. A Rude Awakening
June 19, 2000
The Bowlers wake up to their first morning in the 1900 house. There is no water, potties need emptying and the milk has gone off.
The Time Travellers
2. The Time Travellers
In Somerset, the Bowlers indulge in a last supper before saying goodbye to the 20th Century.
The Time Machine
1. The Time Machine
June 12, 2000
Find out how an ordinary terraced house in the shadow of the Millennium Dome was transformed into a time machine.
  • Premiere Date
    June 12, 2000
  • IMDB Rating
    8.0  (374)