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Key Texts

  • D Cannadine, ‘Victorian Cities: How Different?’, Social History, 1977 (and in Morris and Rodger, The Victorian City)
  • M Daunton, ‘Introduction’ in Cambridge Urban History of Britain, vol 3
  • H. J. Dyos (ed), The Study of Urban History
  • Simon Gunn, 'Urbanization' in Chris Williams (ed.), A Companion to Nineteenth-century Britain 
  • Kate Hill, 'Review Essay: Tales of the City, Discourse and Governance in the Victorian City', Journal of Urban History, 2007
  • Tristram Hunt, Building Jerusalem: the rise and fall of the Victorian city, 'Preface - Manufacturing Cities'


Group Presentation

Please choose one British city for a group presentation which will address the questions below. You may wish to look at issues such population change, the built environment, trades/economic structure, government, social structure, the poor, immigration, etc. Town and city histories are found in the local history section of the library in the classmarks DA 670 passim. For example: Yorkshire books are found under DA 670.97 and West Midlands books under DA 670.83. The Victoria County Histories are also a good general source of information and many cities have websites outlining their history. Please could each group post up a summary of their presentation on the module forum

Seminar Questions

  • How different are Victorian cities?
  • To what extent was the Victorian city a middle class creation?
  • Define the concept of the ‘urban’.
  • How did contemporaries react to the phenomenon of the Victorian city?

Further Reading

P Abrams, ‘Towns and economic growth: some theories and problems’, in P Abrams and E A Wrigley (eds), Towns in Societies: Essays in Economic History and Historical Sociology

C. Arscott & G. Pollock 'The visual representation of the early nineteenth-century industrial city', in J. Wolff & J. Seed (eds), The Culture of Capital

A Briggs, Victorian Cities

D Cannadine, ‘Urban development in England and America in the nineteenth century: some comparisons and contrasts’, Economic History Review, 33 (1980)

D Cannadine, ‘Urban history in the UK: the ‘Dyos’ phenomenon’ in Cannadine and Reeder (eds), Exploring the Urban Past

M Castells, The Urban Question

S Checkland, ‘The British industrial city as history’, Urban Studies, 1 (1964)

B. I. Coleman, The Idea of the City in Nineteenth-Century Britain

P Corfield, The Impact of English Towns

R Dennis, English Industrial Cities of the Nineteenth Century

H Dyos and M Wolff (eds), The Victorian City: Images and Realities, 2 vols

D Fraser, and A Sutcliffe (eds), The Pursuit of Urban History

A Giddens, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory. An analysis of the writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber

J Johnson and C Pooley (eds), The Structure of Nineteenth-Century Cities

A. Lees, Cities Perceived: Urban Society in European and American Thought, 1820-1940

R J Morris and R Rodger (eds), The Victorian City, esp intro

L Mumford, The City

B Robson, Urban Growth: an Approach

F Thompson, ‘Town and city’ in Thompson (ed.), The Cambridge Social History of Britain: 1750-1950

P Waller, Town, City and Nation: England, 1850-1914

P. Waller (ed.), The English Urban Landscape

J Walvin, English Urban Life

Max Weber, The City

D Ward, ‘Victorian Cities: How Modern?’, Journal of Historical Geography. 1975

Tina Young Choi, 'Writing the Victorian City', Victorian Studies, 2001

Industrial Landscape (Heaton, Stockport by loose_grip_99 on Flickr)