Module Catalogue 2018/19

HIS2037 : Progress and Plenty? British History 1815-1918 (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Mr David Lowther
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



How are we to read this period of British history which was punctuated by so many profound social, economic and political changes? We can, arguably, home in on the way that the period has been read heroically as The Age of Reform, The Age of Progress, The Rise of Democracy, or The Age of Improvement. There was certainly progress and plenty of it. Electoral reform slowly transformed the old elitist political structure into something which resembled representative parliamentary democracy by 1918. A tranche of social reforms delivered educational opportunities and improved living and working conditions for the masses. Shifting patterns of consumption reflected the relaxation of social mores and the acceptance of religious pluralism.

The transition to a relatively modern British society as outlined above was, of course, far from trouble-free. Riots in London over the Corn Laws were not an isolated instance. Resistance to the introduction of mechanisation, Chartist agitation in the 1830s and 1840s, and popular campaigns for shorter working hours, the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act, and social welfare provisions were symptomatic of a society in some distress, struggling to cope with the pace and impact of change. Notwithstanding philanthropic and charitable endeavours, poverty was an abiding feature of Victorian society; and attempts to tackle the problem did not preclude the existence of an equally strong desire to control the working classes. Suffragette riots and social unrest provided the backdrop to the declaration of war in 1914.

This module aims:
1. To explore changes and continuities in British society from 1815-1918
2. To trace and analyse the rise of popular politics and the development of social welfare
3. To develop the capacity for independent study
4. To provide an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Introduction
2. British society before 1815
3. The independent artisan
4. Populism and class
5. Chartism
6. The nineteenth-century press
7. Patriotism
8. Labour, Liberalism and Democracy
9. Conservative Politics and Tradition
10. Patriotism
11. Living and learning
12. Belief and Unbelief
13. The pursuit of pleasure
14. Women, work and family
15. Care and control in the community
16. Early Socialism
17. New Liberalism
18. The Impact of war
19. Progress and Plenty?
20. Revision

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

The intention of the module is to enable students to:
1. Acquire a broad and a detailed understanding of British history during the 'long nineteenth century'
2. Develop an awareness of the importance of regional studies in the construction of national histories
3. Be conversant with the interplay of economic, political and cultural change
4. Develop a better understanding of the close relationship between national and international politics

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Students will improve their critical and analytical skills, particularly in terms of the relationship between major social, economic and political change and its impact upon communities and individuals.
2. Students will become more adept at drawing regional comparisons.
3. Students will build upon existing skills in listening, note-taking and summary writing, oral communication and essay planning.
4. Students will improve their capacity to debate, share and exchange knowledge with other members of the seminar group.
5. Students will develop a capacity for independent study and critical judgement, and be able to respond promptly, cogently and clearly to new and unexpected questions arising from this study.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Assessed
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Assessed
      • Initiative : Assessed
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Negotiation : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion651:0065:0040% of guided independent Study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading651:0065:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study341:0034:0020% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures will provide an overview of the subject and general introduction to the relevant themes. They will also provide an introduction to the key historiographical and conceptual debates. They will impart core knowledge and an outline of the knowledge that students are expected to acquire. They will also stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
2. Seminars will encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral presentation, interpersonal communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A75unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M252000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. The exam tests acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided, and to write clearly and concisely.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.