After almost a month of gruelling toil, the modern slum dwellers have made it to the final week, and they've also made it to the beginning of the 20th century. But they are still in the slum and still have to deliver a final rent payment, so the hard work continues. The doss house family is forced to close its doors after a change in the law. Things are marginally easier as the campaigning of recent years has seen the idea of a welfare system begin to take root. A slew of reforms make very real changes to the slum experience.
It's now the 1890s, and the efforts of the residents have put conditions in the slum firmly in the spotlight. Yet the daily grind continues. A statistician arrives with the maps of Charles Booth, but when he starts to take records of slum life, his methods are controversial. While the residents welcome the opportunity to share details of their poverty, he talks only to the owner of the doss house, causing outrage in the slum.
Enough is enough as the slum dwellers reach the late 1880s. Curious 'slum tourists' - hipsters and bankers from neighbouring areas - visit the slum, causing widespread resentment. The final straw is a law change in 1888 banning street selling, making the difficult job of paying the rent almost impossible.
Things go from bad to worse as Britain is gripped by an economic depression in the early 1880s. As unemployment jumps from 2-10 percent, some of the men find themselves out of work. The work shortage in the slum is exacerbated by an influx of new immigrants: descendants of Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe and English workers from the countryside. Space is now at even more of a premium, and work is scarce, pushing up the rent and causing outrage. With hungry mouths to feed, some of the mums go in search of poverty relief - and encounter the little provisions available to Victorians in desperate straits. Qualifying for extra food and funds is hard, and their morals, parenting and housekeeping is questioned. The slum is reaching breaking point.
When one corner of London's East End is transformed into a late-Victorian slum, Michael Mosley puts modern Britons to the test to see if they can survive there. Without these slums, the welfare state wouldn't have come into being. This is the story of what life was like for the people who lived in the slums and how their plight came to the attention of the world and gave birth to a fledgling welfare system. The volunteers have a personal connection to the slums, and will now need to make the slum their home, feed themselves and make enough money to pay their rent for a full four weeks.
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