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The Victorian City (HI371) - Course Details

Course Tutor

Dr Sarah Richardson

Contact Details

Room: Humanities 0.23
Telephone: 02476 523417

Aims & Objectives

The module is a third-year Advanced Option. Advanced Options involve the study of broad-ranging themes in a comparative and/or interdisciplinary context, and you can expect them to operate at a rather more sophisticated conceptual level than first or second-year modules.


This option focuses on nineteenth century urban history and complements courses in the area of nineteenth century British and European history.


During the reign of Queen Victoria Britain became more extensively urbanised than ever before. Fundamental changes took place in the relationship between the city and society. This course considers the debates about the effect of rapid urbanisation on different institutions, groups and individuals. An extensive range of primary sources will be used to assess the problems and opportunities created by the new cities and field trips will be undertaken to study Victorian cities on the ground. In the second term there will be the opportunity for students to select their own topics of interest.

Teaching & Learning

The course will be taught primarily through seminar discussion, non-assessed short essays, and (for some students) a 4500 word assessed essay. This module is ideally suited for dissertation work with a plethora of online and archival primary sources. As a third year student you will be expected to organise your own learning rather more independently than hitherto.

Seminar time: WEDNESDAYS from 10.00 am-12 noon


A choice between a three-hour, three-question exam paper,

or a two-hour, two-question exam paper and 1 x 4500-word essays

Plus two course essays of around 2000 words (the final course essay may be submitted as a timed mock exam question)

Essay deadlines:

Short essays: Week 8, Terms 1 & 2, Week 4, Term 3

Long essays: Please check the departmental website for assessed essay deadlines

Please check student handbooks for the university regulations on late submission.

Expected Learning Outcomes

a) the further development of development of essay-writing and seminar participation skills

b) an ability to conduct and to critically assess comparative analysis of historical trends and to engage with interdisciplinary approaches to the study of history

c) to provide the opportunity, through writing a 4500-word essay to develop …

  • A critical evaluation of sources for the study of urban history

  • A reflective study of historical and theoretical interpretations

  • The presentation of research in an imaginative and concise manner

  • Written communication skills

  • Bibliographic and research (including ICT mediated) skills

d) development of numeracy skills in the deployment and analysis of quantitative data