Ever wonder what it was like to live without modern conveniences day in, day out? British television has explored what it was really like to live in the past. In the shows Tudor Monastery Farm and Victorian Farm, the cast was filmed living as their ancestor farmers had lived during those time periods. Another program, Turn Back Time – The HighStreet, showed modern people living as shopkeepers in past eras. That show started the shopkeeper families quite far in the past and each show brought them forward through the decades ending up with the questionable taste of the 70s.
Extensive historical research was done to recreate the conditions of the past for those shows. No modern short cuts were used so that everything was authentic. In the shows, the characters explain to viewers how to use the implements they were given to do the tasks at hand or they are interviewed about how it feels to be attempting to use past practices to earn a living. Great pains were taken to give viewers an up close experience of how it was to live in the past.
I love watching shows about history and the ones about how ordinary people lived interest me the most. They help to bring context to the lives of the ancestors whose stories I am trying to piece together. But those shows don’t answer all of the questions that I have about the conditions that my family members lived with in the past. I will look at those questions further as I explore living without mod cons.
Recreation of a home from the past at Grey Roots Museum