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A House Through Time: Ravensworth Terrace airs Mon 15 Apr on BBC Two

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Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tracks the lives of the residents of Ravensworth Terrace through the turbulent decades from the 1860s to the 1900s.

In 1861 the house is occupied by elderly widow Mary Colbeck, who lives with her 13 year-old grandson, James Todd. David is curious about this setup and, peeling back 10 years, discovers from the 1851 census that Mary Colbeck is a well-to-do landowner.

She lives on a large estate and owns three other farms. Her grandson James is one of eight children, the son of Mary’s daughter Margaret, who married local industrialist Frederick Todd. But David soon discovers a tragic story of scandal and untimely death.

But soon the neighbourhood is moving down the social scale. After a brief spell as lodgings, the house at Ravensworth Terrace is taken over by an organisation called the Diocesan Home For Friendless Girls. As historian Fern Riddell explains, the role of this organisation is to rescue girls from the street who are at risk of falling into prostitution, and train them up for domestic service.

David discovers that one young girl, Alice Coulson, who comes to live at the Home at the age of 15, has a happy ending to her story.

Airdate: Monday 15 April 2019 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on BBC TWO

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