Next Episode of Dan Cruickshank: At Home with the British is
From medieval cottages and Victorian terraces to high-rise flats, in this series Dan Cruickshank looks at the place we are all familiar with but never question - our home.
We would all love to live in a cottage. It is the national fantasy - thatch on the roof, roses over the door, fire in the grate. Dan is in Stoneleigh in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, a village that has barely changed in 500 years, its cottages perfectly preserved. But even better, there is a treasure trove of documents in the local abbey which reveal centuries of daily life in extraordinary detail. Whether it is the pub owner fined for serving poor beer, the widow told to pay for her new home with her best chicken, or the first glass windows in the village, this film charts the cottage's transformation from humble medieval hovel to modern dream home.
Dan explores our love affair with the terrace - the home that more Britons live in than any other. We love it because it has proved brilliantly adaptable, encompassing the Victorian parlour and modern open-plan living with equal ease. Dan is in Toxteth, Liverpool 8. Famous for the riots that ripped it apart in the 1980s, Toxteth has a far richer and more varied history than that one tragic episode. Liverpool was the ultimate Victorian boom town, turned by trade and industry from provincial powerhouse into the second city of empire. 100,000 terraced houses were built to accommodate its vast workforce, with huge numbers in Toxteth. From a high of Victorian industry and immigration to a low of postwar decline, Toxteth's terraces have seen it all - even the 2015 Turner Prize, awarded for their 21st-century regeneration.
If modern Britain lives in a terrace house and loves a cottage, it cannot make its mind up about the high-rise flat. For Dan, the idea of living high above the city streets really is the future once again. He is in Bow in east London, charting the history of one estate. Designed in 1960, the 19-storey Lincoln was once the tallest residential building in London. Inside every flat were the latest space-age gadgets - a lift, a shower and a fitted kitchen. But the dream turned sour. The Lincoln became notorious for drugs and violence. There was even a brutal murder. It was the same all over Britain - the flat was a byword for deprivation and social exclusion. But then, just as everything looked lost, the Lincoln was saved and with, perhaps, the hopes of an entire generation for that most precious of things - a home. For Dan, as perhaps for Britain, 'the only way is up'.
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