The 1900 House

PBS (ended 2000)


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • The End of an Era
      The final hour of the series opens with the Bowler family sitting playing cards and reading the paper, their few means of entertainment. They decide to go out to a historical pageant in the entertainment district just outside Elliscombe Road.

      The energy provided from the outing convinces Joyce and Kathryn to audition for the revue. They learn that in 1900, girls in the theater equated to prostitution, but they err on the side of Women's Lib for this outing.

      Joyce has two problems: One, she's lost a crown on her tooth. She has the option of using the Dentist's office, 1900s style which includes a very primitive and painful drill, but she chooses the modern day equipment instead.

      Her other problem is the maid, Elizabeth, who has begun arriving later and later for work. Elizabeth is actually at the library today, researching maids in Victorian era Britain. Joyce decides to end Elizabeth's employment, but via the mail.

      Joyce and Kathryn perform the sketch and song they wrote in Episode 3 about "The Woman of the Year 2000." In the end, their performance is considered "too modern" for the theme.

      Finally, the time has come to close up the 1900 House. The Bowlers go all out, spending the rest of their budget on a huge party, complete with hand-made food and drinks, including alcohol. Kathryn overindulges and becomes the life... or at least the laugh... of the party.

      The next morning, the Bowlers are allowed to dress back into modern day clothes, and Paul gets to shave off his mustache with a safety razor. The family are driven back to their home in an SUV.

      Epilogue: A few weeks later, the cameras check back in on the family, who have been all too willing to go back to modern-day technology, especially the twenty-minute-cycle washing machine.moreless

    • A Woman's Place
      A Woman's Place
      Episode 3
      The women of the house find themselves restricted by society as well as their undergarments on Hour 3 of The 1900 House.

      Joyce has finally decided that spending all day cleaning up dust bunnies is not for her, so the family budgets part of their weekly allowance into hiring a maid, Elizabeth.

      Elizabeth, like the rest of the participants, must dress in 1900s attire, and she quickly finds the daily chores to be almost too much to handle.

      Oldest sister Kathryn is feeling increasingly agitated and bored. Normally, she goes out clubbing and has pizza with her friends. Now, she's relegated to a few forms of entertainment such as lectures, and piano lessons, which the family pays for. The lessons only make her more agitated.

      The twins, Ruth and Hilary, borrow a book, "The Girl's Own Magazine," with breathtaking (term used loosely) articles on the Princess of Wales (1900, of course) milking cows. The girls set out on making their own version of the magazine, ordering a typewriter and Kodak Brownie camera.

      The reason for Kathryn's sullenness becomes clear when Paul, Joe, and the twins go to the pool, leaving her and mother Joyce behind. It's their time of the month.

      Perhaps that is the reason Joyce ends up breaking the rules when going shopping, and buys two jars of shampoo. The girls use up one jar, then, out of guilt, pour the other down the drain.

      Historian and curator of the project, Daru Rooke, is coming for a visit. Perfect reason to make a fancy dinner and plan some entertainment.

      At dinner, Paul makes some rather rude remarks to Elizabeth, the maid, saying that he is taking the role of man of the house. Joe is picking up on this and is making rude comments to the maid as well.

      Ruth and Hilary create a puppet show about "The Ghost of the 1900 House," a story written to warn Joyce and Paul about their trivial spats and arguments.

      Joyce and Kathryn have written a small sketch about "The Woman of the Year 2000," in which Kathryn is portrayed wearing--gasp--a sweater and pants!moreless

    • A Rude Awakening
      A Rude Awakening
      Episode 2
      The Bowler Family spends their first week inside the 1900 House mainly getting frustrated at Victorian technology, and having spats with each other.

      The family's main issue is with the cooking range, which, despite restorer's best efforts, is still not producing any hot water for the upstairs bathroom. While the water is still ice cold, the blazing fires in the range make cooking a very precise hobby. Joyce's efforts at making her first Victorian meal result in undercooked pasta and scorched rhubarbs. Joyce has a spat with Paul about 'too many cooks spoiling the broth,' which in turn upsets youngest child Joe.

      The girls of the house, sisters Kathryn, Ruth and Hilary, are getting used to bedpans, pig-bristle toothbrushes and bicarbonate of soda toothpaste. The twins get to miss a day of school, but only to help Joyce with the demanding task of washing the laundry.

      Joe goes on a hunger strike, living off of the only two things he finds edible, bread and cheese.

      Paul, meanwhile, is doing his best to help out with the cleaning and scrubbing of the floors, despite the fact that men weren't expected to do so 100 years ago.moreless

    • The Time Machine
      The Time Machine
      Episode 1
      In the first hour of the series, we watch how the idea of placing a modern-day family into life as a Victorian progressed. We mostly follow historian Daru Rooke in his search for the house the family will live in, and watch the house get converted from a rather haphazardly refurbished apartment back to its roots as a genuine Victorian house.

      Meanwhile, the producers at Channel Four Television begin their search to find the family who will live in the 1900 House for three months. We see some families who are really not suitable, some who don't quite fit the bill, and then one family who seems perfect: The Bowlers.

      The family consists of father and Royal Commando Paul, school inspector Joyce, older sister Kathryn, twins Ruth and Hilary, and youngest brother Joe. Constance Bowler, the oldest sister, did not participate in the series, and instead watched the family home during the filming.

      There are many problems in taking a house back in time, mainly health and safety issues. Technology--and law--have progressed and some 1900 staples, such as lead-based paint and nicotine-laden fertilizer, are no longer allowed. However, despite several setbacks with the construction and restoration, the house is completed, and awaiting the Bowlers for their first days inside The 1900 House.moreless

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