The Age of Disraeli and Gladstone - an East Midlands Focus

Ref: C2340837

We will be covering population patterns in town and county and how these changed as a result of new developments in industry, together with how Leicester's industries continued to diversify away from a reliance solely on framework knitting to include boot and shoe manufacture, engineering, elastic webbing. We will also be looking at continuing developments in local transport, particularly railways. We will also deal with problems in areas like public health and attempts to deal with these as well as moves towards an inclusive education system. All this against the background of the national and international politics of the time.

Course aim

To introduce students to various aspects of the history of the Leicester area during the period 1850 -1880 dominated by the Liberal/Conservative rivalry and personal animosity between Prime Ministers William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • No formal qualifications needed - just an enthusiasm for local history.

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

  • Explain the contribution of key individuals/groups having an effect on life in the town and county during the period studied: eg: Joseph Dare, the Corah family.
  • Utilise a range of evidence to show the effects of continuing development of the transport network on local industry, agriculture and social life.
  • Provide examples of how industry continued to diversify, and the developments in the boot and shoe and engineering branches and coal mining in the north west of the county,
  • Analyse the causes and effects of the continuing expansion of the population of Leicester with the resulting effects on areas like public health, housing and other amenities.
  • Evaluate a range of sources to show the nature of the political life of the city and county during the period studied with special consideration of pressure groups such as the "anti-vaccination" lobby.

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
  • It is not an expectation that you will do extra study outside class hours, but any input to the group as a result of personal resaearch will be appreciated.

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 have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • A learner pack will be provided each week. A ring binder would be useful. A notepad to jot down odd things would be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full course information sheet

The Age of Disraeli and Gladstone - an East Midlands Focus


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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