Victorian Britain: Cities, Industry & Travel

Ref: C2419280

Victorian Britain can appear to be a place of unwavering certainty, but this was a period of enormous social and physical change. It makes our own society seem slow by comparison. Industrialisation began the greatest migration of people in history. By 1850 for the first time more people in Britain lived in cities than in the countryside. 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 the geographic changes as railways and industry swept all before them. One commentator wrote at the end of the period, “We seem to be so up-to-date nowadays that I don’t see that there is really much else to be invented.“ With slides, contemporary writing and discussion the course will bring this crucial era of British history to life.

Course aim

To provide an understanding of the dynamic physical changes occurring across Victorian Britain.

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 period on modern Britain
  • Distinguish historical fact from fiction
  • Have a fuller understanding of how historical events have formed the country’s geography as we know it today
  • Understand which strands in the country’s development 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 be able 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 information sheet

Victorian Britain: Cities, Industry & Travel


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  • 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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