What to Watch: Filthy Cities

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It’s always a good day when you come across a TV program about one of your favorite time periods. Netflix had just released a program hosted by Historian, Dan Snow, called Filthy Cities.

The episode that interested me the most was called “Medieval London”. The episode shows Dan Snow experiencing what it was like to live in the filth of the 14th century. Snow is seen experiencing the smells that everyday Londoners would have experienced and is reminded that our 21st century noses cannot handle the stink that our ancestors had lived with on a daily basis.

Imagine walking down the street on top of layers of animal feces, human waste, beer and animal entrails…disgusting, right? It was so bad that at one point someone created something called patten shoes. Pattens we used to wear with your regular shoes but to elevate you above the dirt, grime and waste of the city streets.

Public Domain via Wikipedia:In this detail of the Arnolfini Portrait of 1434, these pattens have been put off inside the house.
Public Domain via Wikipedia: In this detail of the Arnolfini Portrait of 1434, these pattens have been put off inside the house.

The best part of this program, in my opinion, is when the editing team used a split screen (see top image) method to show the viewers what medieval London looked like in comparison to “present day” London. The program was made in 2011, so not the modern-day we know.

Instead of telling you all about this amazing program you should just watch it for yourself. 🙂


Filthy Cities: Medieval London [1/3] by silichip

Once upon a time I posted about the Great Stink of London – “The Great Stink was an event in London in the summer of 1858.  The weather that summer was hotter than usual and caused the Thames (which was essentially being used as a sewer) to smell….horribly.”

Upon further research this program is not only available to stream on Netflix but also on BBC Two, PBS and Daily Motion.

For those who are unable to watch on Netflix or the video above, here are a couple other options for you:

BBC Two: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00z8r9l/episodes/guide

PBS: http://www.pbs.org/show/filthy-cities/

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