As current events shine a spotlight on the UK Parliament, there is renewed interest in its weird and wonderful traditions.
Some people just can’t keep up with modern times. In fact Ben Samsom feels so much that way that he’s decided to live his entire home life as if it were still the 1940’s!
Ben Samson: I guess I was always the funny boy at school that had this strange interest. Gradually as I grew older, I loved the music and the cars and the fashion. My name is Ben Samsom and for years now I’ve been fascinated with history, particularly the 40s so I decided to recreate the 40s as much as I could in my own home.
I’m 35 now. My parents probably thought I’d grow out of it, but I will always live like this now. I know I will never grow out of it and I shall probably die living like this, but that’s fine because I’m ensuring that their way of life isn’t forgotten.
And the heart of the house really is the Victorian range. 1890’s, fully restored, every nut and bolt working perfectly even after 120 years; it’s marvelous! I use it all the time in winter. It’s fantastic. Endless supply of hot water – great fun, but hard work, blacking the range everyday is filthy.
I have a very, sort of, modern life in one sense. I’m BA (British Airlines) cabin crew so sort of jetting off. But then when I come home and retreat and go back in time in my own little period house.
This is the master bedroom. Being a Victorian house it is more Victorian up here because in the 30s visitors used the best room, the front room, so that’s where you have all your Art-Deco modern stuff. But the older part of the house where visitors wouldn’t see you’d have all the hand-me-downs, the Victorian furniture.
One of my favorite parts about the house is the location. The view outside this window hasn’t changed for perhaps a thousand years being the old town church. Course it’s a pity about the modern traffic; can’t do much about that.
I’ve got one or two concessions to the 40s. I don’t do microwaves or dish washers. I don’t go that far, but I do have a fridge I’m afraid. Meat safes aren’t great these days so I’ve got a fridge, sorry.
I think years ago I used to hope that one day I’d have someone live with me and be sort of compatible, but I think my interest is so extreme that my partner has a modern house and I have a period house so we have a house each. It’s great because not everyone wants to live like that. I appreciate that.
This my old war-time backyard, the courtyard garden. My absolute pride and joy is our locally made mangle here. My grandma might of actually used this. It belonged to a neighbor of hers and yeah, it was made right here in our town! It’s Victorian again; survived a hundred years. What can you buy now that you’ll still be able to use in a hundred years time? It’s incredible really.
I think it’s so true now that the world moves so incredibly fast. I mean I’m 35 and I can’t keep up with it. I don’t understand Twitter and iPhones and I really don’t understand technology; it moves so fast. I think we are more isolated today. I mean you can have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but do you go out and chat to your next-door-neighbor over the fence? I doubt it.
You know it’s scary today. I think we’re more isolated and we’ve lost such a lot that I’m just trying to hold on to some of the old-world charms of that period for as long as I can.