History of the Home
Home is where the heart is, but how much do you actually know about yours? Each room can tell a different story and give you an insight into ever-shifting attitudes to privacy, class, cleanliness and technology.
Dr Lucy Worsley, chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, will guide you through the history of the home and into the strange worlds of people in the past.
You may love your home or you may be desperate to move, but either way you're probably familiar with its corner. But what do you really know about its history? Each room in your house has a longer and more intriguing history than you probably realize.
The Bedroom. Let's start by considering the fact that one third of history is missing: because people were asleep. Today it's rude to barge into someone else's bedroom, but this is really relatively new. Until only 100 years ago, people were happy to share not only their bedrooms but even their beds with work colleagues, or even strangers.
The Bathroom. Next we come to the room in the house that has the shortest history: the bathroom. Two hundred years ago, bathrooms didn't exist. The bathroom's development has not been a straightforward matter, and you might be surprised to learn that many Tudor people had worse personal hygiene than their medieval ancestors.
The Living Room. Primarily, the living room's a place for spending your leisure hours. But it's also a place for display - a room for impressing your guests with your taste and wealth. At its heart is the chair, originally reserved for the household's head. The original 'chairman' sat down while his servants stood, or sat upon lowly stools not chairs with arms.
The Kitchen. Early censuses didn't count people or houses: they counted 'hearths', as the cooking fire was the central point of a home. The one-room medieval peasant's dwelling contained a central hearthstone or flat rock upon which a fire was laid.