a house through time

Some tv programmes are watched and instantly forgotten whereas others linger long in the memory and even inspire.

That’s certainly the case with A House Through Time, BBC 2’s brilliant current social history series, presented by historian David Olusoga, which has a title that’s self-explanatory.

Its 3 episodes, with a finale on Thursday, have traced the lives of the residents of one house in Liverpool over the past 175 years or so.

Whether you have an interest in the city of Liverpool or not, its appeal for me has been universal, learning more about the ordinary people who spent part of their lives within its walls, and the ups and downs evident from the footprints they have left behind.

The detective work involved in trawling the public records and local archives has been handsomely rewarded with an engaging and illuminating set of life stories that tell what the makers say is an alternative history of Britain.

It’s certainly a very watchable one.

For a photographic historian, what’s been particularly interesting is how the timeline of A House Through Time coincides almost exactly with the history of photography (born 1839).

Occasional black-and-white formal portrait photographs of some of the Victorian and Edwardian residents have added a further dimension to the story-telling and as the series reaches its climax, I’m hoping to see some colour snapshots from the post-war era.

We’re even promised a John Lennon connection, which I suppose in any show about Liverpool is de rigeur.

If you haven’t caught the series, the first 3 episodes are still on the BBC iPlayer, though if you’re short of time, each episode works brilliantly as a stand-alone.

A House Through Time – BBC iPlayer website

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