This oral history collection by the York Archaeological Trust gives us a startling glimpse of life in a poor part of a city in northern England during the first third of the twentieth century. Our quotation above describes what it was like to have meals in homes with large families who didn’t have large tables. The children sat on the stairs while they ate. These houses were small — two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs, and no indoor plumping. Fans of Downton Abbey beware: this book describes a world that is nothing like the one we see on TV.
Van Wilson, Rich in All but Money: Life in Hungate 1900-1938, Revised edition, (York, England, York Archaeological Trust, 2007), p. 29.