David Olusoga sets out once more to uncover the history of a single house, exploring the lives of its residents to tell an extraordinary story that spans 150 years. This time the house is in Leeds, a city whose wool and textile trades helped make Victorian Britain an industrial superpower.
The featured property is 5 Grosvenor Mount, a Victorian family home of middling social standing in the suburb of Headingley. Current owners Jackie and Pete know very little about the house’s history, but reveal tantalising clues about its past - from a name scratched into a wall, to a crack rumoured to be caused by an earthquake.
David turns detective, combing the archives, tracking down evidence and interviewing experts to reveal the residents’ untold stories. He discovers characters from above and below stairs, and from all walks of life. It turns out that throughout its history Grosvenor Mount has attracted residents either on their way up in the world or - unfortunately for them - on the way back down.
The house has an exciting and varied history, intrinsically connected to the development of Leeds, with links to many different facets of the textile industry as well as to W. Nicholson and Sons builders and one of the city’s longest lasting institutions, the Leeds Mercury.
This is a timeline equally packed with a huge number of juicy domestic dramas, including love triangles, larceny, childhood abandonment and reversals of fortune. These include a Victorian lawyer entangled in a scandalous poisoning case, a ruthless factory owner hit by a vengeful arson attack, a traumatised soldier turned thief, and a war bride with a mysterious past.
A House Through Time returns Tuesday 7th September on BBC Two.