Victorian Durham
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The homes of the poor


A poor Victorian family would have lived in a very small house with only a couple of rooms on each floor. The very poorest families had to make do with even less - some houses were home to two, three or even four families. The houses would share toilets and water, which they could get from a pump or a well. Open sewers ran along the streets in poor areas making them very smelly and unhealthy.

As the houses were so small, there would only have been one living space and perhaps a separate bedroom which was divided into sections by a curtain. Very little furniture was owned as space was limited.

Cooking was done on a fireplace in the kitchen - this would also have provided the main source of heating for the house so the family would have spent a lot of time in this room.

The slum areas in most towns and cities were either cleared away or improved in the 20th century.

Move on to find out about Victorian clothes.

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Photograph of a Victorian working class cottage

Photograph of a typical Victorian working class cottage. Copyright Beamish Museum. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Photograph of slum housing

Photograph of Victorian slum housing. Image courtesy of (Click on image to enlarge.)