Course title:
Victorian Vices: Gamblers, Beggars and the Art of getting Something for Nothing
Cynthia Brown
Course ID:
Start date:
End date:
Timetabled sessions
Date Times Hours
Tue 08 Mar 2022 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM 1
Total sessions: 1
Total number of classroom hours: 1
Independent online hours: 0
Total hours: 1
Tue 08 Mar 2022
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 know or bring to the lecture.
Course aim:
To consider Victorian attitudes to gambling and begging, and efforts to reform or regulate them.
Course description:
Both gambling on the part of the labouring classes - along with begging - was seen by Victorian reformers as closely linked to the vice of ‘idleness’: of getting 'something for nothing'. It also challenged the virtue of thrift - and the stability of the family by the risk or reality of plunging it into debt. This lecture will look at different kinds of gambling and who was involved - including the aristocracy and gentry, who were notoriously difficult to catch ‘red-handed’. It will analyse objections to gambling, attempts to prohibit or regulate it, and the obstacles they faced. Beggars were also a common sight on the streets of British towns during the Victorian period - so we will consider why people begged, and see some examples of how the law dealt with them. We will also take a look at Henry Mayhew’s ‘gallery’ of disreputable characters in London in the 1860s, and the ruses that some of them used to play on the sympathies of the public.
By the end of the course I will be able to:
1. Identify some common forms of gambling in the Victorian period.
2. Explain why most remained illegal at the end of the 19th century.
3. Give examples from Mayhew's 'gallery' of beggars and the stories they told to elicit public sympathy.
4. Know where to access additional resources for further independent study.
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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