By the end of the 19th century some people in Britain were able to enjoy the benefits of the Industrial Revolution on a large scale. This meant that people from rich families had a very good standard of living thanks to the introduction of piped water, flushing toilets and other labour-saving devices such as the cooking range.
The most impressive room of a Victorian town house was the parlour, where the wealth of the family would be displayed in the form of photographs, china and fine furniture. This is the room where visitors would have been entertained. Other rooms in a typical town house would have included a kitchen, drawing room, nursery, bedrooms and rooms for the servants.
The front of a house was a good opportunity to show how important you were - doorways were wide and sometimes had stained glass panels and decorative door knockers. Tradespeople and servants would use a separate door, usually in the basement or at the back of a house. The houses where the poor lived were very different. These houses were dark, cramped and dirty and often lived in by lots of people.
Read on to discover the differences between the houses of the rich and poor.
Photograph of a typical Victorian parlour showing the cluttered interior. Copyright York Museums Trust (York Castle Museum). (Click on image to enlarge.)
Engraving showing the interior of a slum house taken from the Illustrated London News, 1886. (DUL ref: SC++ 00272) (Click on image to enlarge.)