Victorian London from Top to Bottom

Ref: C2419220

Victorian London was the biggest city in the world. It can appear to be a place of unwavering certainty, but this was a period of enormous social, intellectual and physical change. It makes our own society seem slow by comparison. Scientific changes brought fundamental shifts in how life was lived from medicine to domestic life. In 1837 a stagecoach from London to Brighton took nine hours, but 20 years later ordinary Londoners could visit for a day trip on the train. The course will look at society from the top to the bottom of the social tree. It will look at Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the new middle classes and the costermongers, scraping a living from their barrows. With slides, contemporary writing and discussion the course will bring this crucial era of British history to life. Accompanies “Victorian London: from Side to Side” that looks more at physical changes to the city.

Course aim

To provide an understanding of the dynamic changes in social structure occurring across Victorian London.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Appreciate the influence of the Victorian city on modern London
  • Distinguish historical fact from fiction
  • Have a fuller understanding of how historical events have formed the city’s population as we know it today
  • Understand which strands in the city’s development are continue to this day and which were specific to the 19th century

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • It is useful to have a pen and notebook to take notes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but you may find it useful to read relevant books, such as AN Wilson's The Victorians

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course outline

Victorian London from Top to Bottom Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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