Course title:
Victorian Countryside: Rural trade unionism in the later 19th century
Cynthia Brown
Course ID:
Start date:
End date:
Timetabled sessions
Date Times Hours
Tue 09 Nov 2021 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM 1
Total sessions: 1
Total number of classroom hours: 1
Independent online hours: 0
Total hours: 1
Tue 09 Nov 2021
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Total sessions:
Total number of classroom hours:
Independent online hours:
Total hours:
Online Learning with Zoom and Canvas
Leads to qualification?    No
Level:     Level 2 (level information)
Is this course part of a programme of study?
Programme details
Programme title:
Programme aims:
Programme description:
Who is this programme for?
Optional Activity Start date End date Fee
£5.00 or free on some courses if you are in receipt of some benefits
What skills or experience do I need to join this course?
This course is for beginners and improvers
This course is for beginners and improvers
What else do I need to know? Is there anything I need to provide?
There is nothing that you need to bring.
Course aim:
To give an overview of rural protest in the 19th century, with a particular focus on rural trade unionism from the 1870s.
Course description:
This lecture will give an overview of rural protest in the earlier 19th century in the form of the Swing Riots in the early 1840s, and the transportation soon afterwards of the 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' - which was widely believed to have put an end to trade unionism in the countryside. It will then focus on the formation in 1872 of the National Agricultural Labourers Union, under the leadership of the Warwickshire agricultural worker Joseph Arch, considering how far Arch's mission to free the 'white slaves of England' was driven by his own experience of growing up and working in the countryside. It will also consider the wider context in which, in Arch's own words, the 'trodden worms, which had so long writhed under the iron heel of the oppressor, were turning at last'. How did it secure such significant early concessions from employers; and how did they respond in turn to this unexpected and (to them) alarming revival of rural trade unionism?
By the end of the course I will be able to:
1. Identify some of the obstacles to organising agricultural labourers into trade unions in the 19th century.
2. Asses the influence of Joseph Arch's own experiences of growing up and working in the countryside on the formation of the NALU.
3. Explain the wider context in which the formation of the NALU became possible in 1872.
4. Develop your skills of historical analysis.
How will I learn?

We expect you to attend your classroom sessions and make time to do any required learning activities on your own.

The WEA tutor will use a range of teaching and learning activities and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning. Your tutor will use tasks to see how you are learning, which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects, discussion, written or practical work. Your tutor will give you feedback on your learning and progress.

WEA Canvas online learning area

Whether your course is face to face or online, the WEA uses its online learning area, called Canvas, to support your learning. This includes using Canvas to think about and record your progress and to give your tutor and the WEA feedback on your course. Your tutor may put resources or activities on Canvas to use during or between lessons. If you want to understand more about our Canvas online learning platform please visit:

WEA online sessions/ courses- Zoom

If your course is online, you will join a virtual classroom using a weblink: the WEA uses a video-conferencing tool called Zoom. To use Zoom you will need a Laptop, Computer, Tablet or Smart phone which has speakers, a microphone and a video camera. For some courses, to submit work, we advise you to use a laptop or computer. For more information on Canvas and Zoom please visit

Information and advice

For more information and advice about our courses phone our support team on 0300 303 3464 or email:


We will ask you about any support you may need when you enrol. You can also telephone the Student Support Team on 0300 303 3464 or email The earlier you tell us about your needs the better. We will be able to provide help more quickly.

You can also find out about what support is available through our Student Handbook. This highlights what you can expect from WEA and what we expect from you.

For information about course fees and financial support whilst you study visit

For student support relating to specific learning need or disability visit

What next?

Your tutor will talk with you about what you could do following this course.

You can also find information on our website to support you to make decisions about what you can do next

You may benefit from speaking to the National Careers Service regarding your future career plans - call 0800 100 900 or visit their website