Victorian Countryside: Life in and around the Victorian Country House Lecture

Ref: C2345473

The country houses and estates of the British aristocracy and gentry played a central role in Victorian life. In the words of Country Life, they also provided 'a powerfully enticing illustration of national identity' and an 'overwhelming' impression of continuity and tradition in a world increasingly dominated by industrial and urban development. This lecture will look at some examples of their owners, and the social, economic, political and judicial influence that they exerted - even over urban areas themselves. How profitable were they, and what sort of relationship did their owners have with their tenants, workers and local villagers? Why did wealthy British manufacturers like Lord Armstrong build country houses of their own - and why was land reform such a central pillar of Liberal social policy from the later 19th century? The lecture will also consider the internal hierarchy of the country house, and the roles and working conditions of its servants.

Course aim

To analyse the ownership of Victorian country houses and estates, and their role in the life of the Victorian countryside.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Give examples of the economic and social power exerted by owners of country houses and estates in the 19th century.
  • Explain the growth in demands for land reform in the later 19th century, particularly as they related to taxation.
  • Identify some of the different 'ranks' of country house servants, and their place in the servant hierarchy.
  • Develop your skills of critical historical analysis.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

There is nothing that you need to bring.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Victorian Countryside: Life in and around the Victorian Country House Lecture


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