Course title:
Victorian Countryside: 'Utopian’ Movements in Rural Britain Lecture
Cynthia Brown
Course ID:
Start date:
End date:
Timetabled sessions
Date Times Hours
Tue 16 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 16 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:
This lecture will explore the elusive search for 'Utopia' in the British countryside in the 19th century, alongside 'back to the land' movements - both of them a reaction against Victorian capitalist society and the 'ugliness' of urban life.
Course description:
This lecture will explore the elusive search for 'Utopia' in the British countryside in the 19th century. In part, this was a reaction to the perceived 'ugliness' of Victorian industrial and urban life, often taking the form of middle class experiments in living a 'simple life', such as Millthorpe in Derbyshire, established in 1883 by Edward Carpenter and George Merrill. It will consider these alongside earlier experiments in co-operation, such as that of Robert Owen at New Lanark - based on the principle that ‘the character of people was shaped entirely by their surroundings'. It will also look in detail at the Chartist Land Plan of the 1840s, to provide 'employment for the machinery-displaced labourer on the land... To be there his own master', considering its strengths and the weaknesses that ultimately led to its failure. The lecture will also look briefly at 19th century 'back to the land' movements - epitomised by the slogan 'Three acres and a cow' - and their own limitations.
By the end of the course I will be able to:
1. Identify some of the features of Robert Owen's co-operative experiment at New Lanark.
2. Explain why the Chartist land Plan was ultimately a failure.
3. Give examples of middle class Utopian experiments in Britain in the later 19th century.
4. Develop your skills of critical 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

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What next?

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