Suzannah Lipscomb explores the hidden killers of the Victorian Home. The home was a domestic haven during this period.
The Middle class was bombing and they were creating homes that were cozy safe havens. Gadgets started to become more available. Consumerism started to boom and it was the first time that "standard of living" started to appear. You measured how good your life was based on how many objects you possessed. Good taste was a moral quality. However what they welcomed into their homes was potentially deadly.
The first killer of the Victorian home was found in the drawing room. This killer was found on the walls of the house. Green was a popular color. It was found in wallpaper, toys, and carpets. However, reports of deaths and illnesses rose. The ingredient in wallpaper that caused the illnesses or death was arsenic. The Victorians were unaware of what was poisoning them and would have thought that there was a cholera outbreak. The affects of arsenic poisoning were similar to cholera. Newspapers slowly started to report the link between the wall paper and the mysterious illnesses that plagued the Victorians. Germany eventually banned the sale of arsenic wallpapers. Queen Victoria eventually banned Green wallpaper from her palaces and then the English government finally stood up and paid attention.
The next hidden killer in the Victorian home: the bedroom. The Victorian woman needed to look just right. Lipscomb looks to the corset as the next hidden killer of the Victorian home. A small amount of Victorian Women tight laced their corsets and it shifted their internal organs and caused pneumonia. Suzannah participates in an experiment with tight lacing. She takes the stairs and walks on a treadmill and feels lightheaded after the experiment. The sports medicine doctor finds that her breathing was changed. To see an alternate opinion on corsets check out this video.
The next hidden killer was found in the kitchen. New gadgets were created in order to help out with keeping the home. Gas was brought into the home to help with light and heat. People dying from gas were widespread. It was colorless and odorless. Gas companies sabotaged each other at the expense of the people. It was all experimental when gas was incorporated into the home to tragic consequences.
To find out about more killers continue to watch the documentary. You also may want to use this series in a science class as well and ask the students how Suzannah applied the scientific method to the hidden killers of the home.
For use in the classroom: just highlight, copy and paste into a word document or a google document for use in the classroom. You can easily format these questions to your specifications. All questions should fit onto one page after formatting.
You can find the link for the YouTube video here.
Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home – Questions
Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home – Answers
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