Follow participants as they move into an 1860s tenement made up of sparse rooms, a shared water pump and outhouses. They seek to make a living by matchbox making, wood turning and the rag trade, work once done by their impoverished forebears.
Witness a dire economic depression heightened by the arrival of Irish migrants seeking work. Daily, the slum dwellers toil to fulfill clothing orders and make artificial flowers for factories. Some won’t be able to settle their debts.
Despite high unemployment and intolerable conditions, people flock to London, desperate for work. When curious upper-class visitors are permitted to visit the slum as tourists, the participants realize how precarious their situation truly is.
Enter the 1890s, when mass manufacturing and social reform offer a bit of hope for some of the residents, while others are plagued by a water shortage that dashes hopes for a promising laundry business.
Observe the social changes the slum dwellers face as they move into the 20th century. A few families prosper, but others continue to face the poverty endemic in Britain. See what steps are finally taken to alleviate the plight of the poor.