History of the Home

Ratings: 8.21/10 from 14 users.


History of the HomeHome 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.

More great documentaries

36 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Epicurus

    is it strange that im very excited to watch this and learn about this?

    i feel that there is something odd about that.

  2. Guest

    Not odd, a bit lovely actually :)

  3. christineaaa

    She grew on me and I loved the bits of curious information behind words and expressions like curfew, by hook or by crook and f*ggots and pimps.

  4. lakhotason

    I think it's Miss Lucy.

  5. panos dramitinos

    Yes I completely agree with you Epicurus. History explains our present and helps as contextualize the evolution of our habits.

  6. adilrye

    I'm just like you in this regard. I know it's a mundane topic, I know most people would scoff at me spending 4 hours learning about the history of home life. But, I find this stuff FASCINATING. I love social history, how people lived back then and how this informs our lives today.

    I could never get bored with it...maybe I'm odd too :P

  7. adilrye

    Just like the Filthy Cities doc, I find the history of the average man or woman, living their lives so compelling. I love history in general, military, political, cultural and economic, of course...but there's something about just learning about the life of a person in whatever time period that brings it all together. Love it.

  8. TheTruthPersists

    I was honestly quite excited as well.

    With that being said I enjoyed it quite a bit. I personally found the host quite annoying, but I don't let that ruin perfectly good information.

  9. lakhotason

    Was it because she couldn't pronounce her R's?

  10. John Krisfalusci

    what if i only have a studio with no rooms? its clean and cold like a museum, with electronic equipment strategically placed in a tidy neat room. ^_^

  11. Guest

    Right, what about the story of the loft?
    Haven't seen this doc yet.
    Sounds like an interesting one.

  12. Sohiniben Shukla

    Home is always sweet Home because of our habits with that place we are comfortable at our own place......It does not mean that weather it's full of Luxury or not but you are very comfortable because you are used to....
    Dr. Sohini Shukla.

  13. adilrye

    Home is what you make of it. It's not the building or apartment, it's the people and memories. To me, that's what has always separated "house" as a physical entity, and home as a socio-cultural concept. A home alludes to a happy place, full of good memories, family and friends and somewhere you feel comfortable.

    Anyway, this is a wonderful and interesting documentary. And I actually found her inability to say "r" a little charming ha ha.

    P.S. I have to applaud the BBC for doing docs like this. For taking a subject most would find boring (but it's so intriguing in reality) and airing it on television. Thank you.

  14. Penni Dahl

    Excellent documentary and the doctor is spot on.

  15. Jeremy

    Excellent Documentary, I enjoyed this one.

  16. KooKookaChoo

    7:02 of 1/4 in the Kitchen series -- I was not expecting that! I had no idea of this fashion craze from the 1500s... oh my!

  17. Kirk Rose

    I'm I the only one who fell in love with this woman instantly?

  18. Bryan Heathcote

    Anyone know where to even buy this?

  19. Pas

    Aargh. Why T.F. are good series always removed or private. Started watching Bedroom but Bathroom blocked. Now, the series have gone from the net...

  20. KooKookaChoo

    I was halfway through the last one on Kitchens, which was really interesting, and I stepped away for an hour, came back and poof! it was gone =( I tried searching on YouTube but this must be the only version because it was private on there too -- why private?? lol

  21. Epicurus

    i msg'd the uploader...but no response yet :(

  22. Jessica Page

    I was just watching this yesterday and now its just a preview? I am SO disappointed. It was a GREAT doc!

  23. adilrye

    Aww...I was only on bathroom. This sucks.

  24. John Christopher McDonald

    So glad I got to finish this! It was a fantastic documentary that revealed the quite intricate home for what it is today, a culmination of developments in creature comfort, cultivated since the medieval times.

  25. Guest

    I finally get settled in a comfortable home with lots of alone time on my hands...and it's gone!
    You snooze you lose.

  26. MyWorlds

    Thank you

  27. Epicurus

    no problem

  28. Epicurus

    hope you got my last post here to you.

  29. Guest

    I did, i will watch them. I was visiting my family and friends in Quebec, just returned to BC a few hours ago. Thank you for doing that, i am certain other people appreciated too.

  30. Cezanne Broad

    thanks for posting the link.. really enjoyed watching it =)

  31. KooKookaChoo

    Excellent! I was in need of some light entertaining knowledge before bed. thanks for the link, you rock!

  32. Jessie Giddens

    The full doc is available on YouTube, to those who are interested. It is a great film. :-)

  33. Greg Babinecz

    This looks awful

  34. SarahScotland

    is this a bill bryson collaboration?

  35. Edward Richtofen

    wtf a book review?!@#@!

  36. Maxine Godfrey

    the Great Books Program offers a very extensive course titled Everyday Life in the Ancient World, or something very close to that. i have it, and it IS totally fascinating. also, there are the documentaries on Pompeii and Herculaneum that trace the everyday lives of the unfortunate citizens of those cities, frozen in time when the earth belched.

Leave a comment / review: