Ruth Goodman is a social and domestic historian working with museums, theatre, television and educational establishments. She has presented (and consulted on) several highly successful television series including “The Edwardian Farm”, “The Victorian Farm”, “Victorian Farm Christmas” “Tales from the Green Valley” and “The Victorian Pharmacy” (all for primetime BBC Two) as well as presenting a variety of films for The One Show and Coast. “The Victorian Farm” was one of BBC Two’s biggest hits in 2009 and was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award. The book of the series, also called “The Victorian Farm” went to No. 1 in The Sunday Times’s best seller list. These were followed by The Wartime Farm which regularly attracted up to 3 million viewers per week and was also accompanied by a successful book of the same title. In 2013 she presented Tudor Monastery Farm and earlier in the year ‘The Wonder of Dogs’ (BBC 2). She is currently the Judge on BBC 1’s ’24 Hours in the Past’ and will soon be appearing in BBC 2’s “Inside the Factory: How our Favourite Foods are Made.
Her latest book was published at the end of June 2013 entitled ‘How to be a Victorian’ and has already attracted critical acclaim. Judith Flanders, author of The Victorian City, said it’s ‘a delightful read … allows us to see how the Victorians lived from day to day. A triumph” and A N Wilson, Mail on Sunday said “I absolutely love this book. Exuberant, absorbing .. there’s scarcely a detail of Victorian Life Ruth has not tried”.
As well as her television work, Ruth offers advisory services, lectures and holds practical workshops around the country. As a social historian she works with a whole range of people, institutions and museums such as The Weald and Downland, The Globe Theatre, Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, the National Trust and the heritage and drama departments of several universities.
Her particular interest is the domestic; how we lived our daily lives and why we did the things we did. Also how seemingly little things change the world. Our day to day routines have a huge cumulative effect on the environment; our shopping habits can sway the world’s patterns of trade and how we organise and run our family life sets the political tone of nations.
As Ruth says “We matter. How our ancestors – ordinary men, women and children – solved the nitty gritty problems of everyday life made the world what it is today”.
Ruth’s consultancy work covers media (including assisting make up artists with Elizabethan cosmetics in ‘Shakespeare in Love’, information on personal hygiene practices for Channel 4’s Colonial House), interpretation for museums and heritage sites, designing exhibitions and training staff. Her courses and lectures cover everything from ‘History of Eating’, ‘Victorian Cleaning’, ‘The Cycle of Life’, ‘Babies and Birth’, ‘Medicine – A Consumer’s Guide’ and ‘A Good Death’. Her favoured periods are Tudor, Edwardian, Elizabethan and Victorian.
Ruth lives with her family in Buckinghamshire.