Victorians at Play: Holidays at Home

Ref: C2346995

In the 1840s the Harvest Festival was added to the traditional 'high days' of the Victorian religious calendar. Along with old-established annual fairs and wakes weeks, these continued to provide 'holidays' from the daily round - as did Sunday School treats and those organised by employers for their workforce. After looking at a few examples, this lecture will explore some of the new opportunities that opened up in the later 19th century. The working classes had to wait until well into the 20th century to enjoy paid holidays from work, but how did they spend the Bank Holidays introduced in the 1870s? How important were the railways in opening up new possibilities of travel within Britain, and encouraging the development of seaside resorts for day trips or longer periods away from home? Was there a hierarchy of resorts linked to social class - and what sort of facilities and entertainments did their visitors come to expect? We will also take a brief look at some Victorian guidebooks.

Course aim

To identfy how and why new opportunities arose for the Victorians to enjoy holidays within Britain, whether these consisted of day trips or the extended periods that some of the middle classes were able to spend away from home.

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:

  • Assess the significance of railways in opening up new leisure opportunities for the Victorians, including days out and holidays within Britain.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Your lecture will be delivered in a ‘traditional’ talk-to-camera style, but there will be opportunities to ask questions and engage in discussion at the end. Slide-show images will be used to illustrate key points, and a short summary of the lecture will be posted to Canvas soon after the event.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Victorians at Play: Holidays at Home


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