Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The Victorian City (HI371) - Term 2, Seminar 2

Seminar 2: Leisure

Key Texts

P Bailey, ‘A Mingling mass of perfectly legitimate pleasures: the Victorian middle class and the pursuit of the leisure’, Victorian Studies, 1977

H Cunningham, Leisure in the Industrial Revolution 1780-1880, esp chs 1 and 5

Mike Huggins, 'More sinful pleasures? Leisure, respectability and the male middle classes in Victorian England', Journal of Social History, 2000

Catriona Parratt, 'Making Leisure work: women's rational recreation in late Victorian and Edwardian England', Journal of Sport History, 1999

J K Walton, The English seaside resort: a social history, 1750-1914

· Was there an attempt to introduce ‘safe, respectable or improving alternative activities’?

· Does working-class leisure and recreation express a class identity and culture under attack from the repressive and manipulative forces of middle class authority?

· Investigate the ‘commercialisation’ of leisure.

· Was there a sexual division of leisure pursuits?

· What was the balance between large-scale, organised and informal, family based recreations - ie public versus private?

· How does elite leisure activity differ from working class pursuits?

· How did the growth of ‘resort’ towns (eg seaside resorts and spa towns) change patterns of leisure in the 19th century

Further Reading


P. Bailey, Leisure and class in Victorian England: rational recreation and the quest for control

P Borsay, ‘Health & Leisure Resorts, 1700-1840’ in P Clark (ed.), Cambridge Urban History of Britain, vol. 2

A Davis, Leisure, gender and poverty: working class culture in Salford and Manchester, 1900-1939

A Durie, ‘Medicine, health and economic development: promoting spa and seaside resorts in Scotland’, Medical History, 2003

Sue Farrant 'London by the sea: resort development on the south coast of England, 1880-1939', Journal of Contemporary History, 1987

A B Granville, Spas of England (1841)

P Hembry, British Spas from 1815 to the present

J Lowerson and J Myescough, Time to spare in Victorian England

R Malcomson, Popular recreation in English Society, 1700-1850

Douglas Reid, 'Weddings, weekdays, work and leisure in urban England', Past & Present, 1996

J A R Pimlott, The Englishman’s Holiday

F M L Thompson, Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950, vol 2, ch. 6

J Walvin, Leisure and Society 1850-1950

J Walvin, Beside the Seaside

J Walvin and J D Walton (eds), Leisure in Britain, 1780-1939

E Yeo and S Yeo, Popular culture and class conflict, 1500-1914: an exploration in the history of labour and leisure, esp. chs 5 and 6


W J Baker, ‘The making of a working class football culture in Victorian England’, Journal of Social History, 1979

D Birley, Land of sport and glory: sport and British society 1887-1910

P Brailsford, British sport: a social history

H Cunningham, Leisure in the industrial revolution, 1780-1880, ch. 4

E Dunning and K Sheard, Barbarians, gentlemen and players: a sociological study of the development of rugby football

R Holt, Sport and the British: a modern history

J Lowerson, Sport and the English Middle Classes

K E McCrone, Sport and the physical emancipation of English women

J A Mangan, The cultural bond: sport, empire and society

A Mason, Association football and English society, 1863-1915

K A P Sandiford, Cricket and the Victorians