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Rooms Through Time

See some of the ways in which homes and home life have evolved in the past 400 years.

The main living space of the home has been many things – a bustling hall, a formal parlour, a cosy living room.

Our Rooms Through Time are based on real London homes and their owners would have had enough money to decorate and live comfortably.

Highlights 

Close up of a living room dressed in a 1970s style. There is yellow and brown patterned wallpaper, plastic flowers and a model of a dog next to a television set

1970s front room

There's 'Saturday Soup' for dinner as everyone has been doing their chores to clean up the front room.

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An open piano with a book of music set up. On top of the piano are various ornament including small busts under glass domes and a clock

A parlour in 1870

Anne and Daniel have invited a professional medium to hold a séance for their close friends.

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Our other Rooms Through Time

Black metal spoons, pile of pewter plates and ceramic drinking vessel

A hall in 1630

All of the household, including servants, will sit down to eat together.

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A wooden table set with a white and blue cup, small plates of nuts, a candle in a brass candlestick

A parlour in 1695

The family are proud to host their guests in their smart new room.

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Tools for cleaning on a wooden fire in front of a fire place

A parlour in 1745

The mistress is expecting guests round for tea and she wants the parlour to be sparkling clean.

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A table surface with playing cards, stemmed drinking glasses and the gold base of a lamp

A parlour in 1790

Everyone is full from dinner, and they have settled down to play cards.

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A wooden table with a pile of books in the background and in the foreground a half-written letter and an ink pot

A drawing room in 1830

The eldest daughter is practising her watercolours, while the younger daughter is writing a letter to her cousin.

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A wooden table set with a glass, a postcard and a black and white photo of a person in military dress

A drawing room in 1915

Mother and daughter are knitting socks to send to soldiers at the Front to keep them warm.

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A recently abandoned breakfast table. Two blue plates, one has half eaten toast on it and the other has the remains of a fry up. There are crumbs on the table as well as a pepper shaker

A living room in 1937

A maid is coming to collect the resident's half-eaten meal and dust the room.

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A glass table set with a white bowl of lemons and limes, various glass bottles and magazine

Loft-style apartment 1998

The couple who own this apartment have friends over for drinks after work.

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Thermostat (1)

Domestic Game Changers

These everyday objects might not look very special, but they have had a huge impact on our home lives.

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Homes Through Time Redux

We are conducting new research and sourcing new stories and perspectives.

Read more about this project