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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2135 Britain and the Industrial Revolution

20 creditsClass Size: 42

Module manager: Dr Pete Maw

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Why are some countries rich and some countries poor? This is one of the most important questions facing contemporary societies. To answer this question, it is necessary to look back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and to the history of a small island located off the western coast of mainland Europe. It was here, in Britain, that we can begin to find an answer to this question; it was here that the world’s first industrial revolution took place. This module provides a specialist, research informed coverage of the history of the British industrial revolution, drawing on new perspectives and methodologies from the fields of economic and global history. The module is framed around the two key historiographical debates on the causes and character on the British industrial revolution and these two debates are explored through a variety of themes, including foreign trade, consumerist and enlightened culture, population growth, and child labour. The module also offers students the opportunity to consider the social impact of the industrial revolution and provides coverage of the diverse ways that people experienced the industrial revolution, drawing contrasts between rich and poor, young and old, rural and urban, male and female, and nation and region.


1. To examine the key historical developments and concepts relating to the British industrial revolution from 1750-1850.
2. To assess major themes arising from recent work on the industrial revolution, with a particular emphasis on the character and causes of economic and social change.
3. To study contemporary reflections on the industrial revolution and the ways that contemporary views have shaped historians' accounts.
4. To locate the British industrial revolution in a global perspective.


1. Introduction: Industrial Britain, 1750-1850.
2. Conceptualising the industrial revolution.
3. The causes of the industrial revolution.
4. Dark satanic mills: Technological changes and the rise of the factory.
5. An agricultural revolution?
6. The economy on the move: Transport and the industrial revolution.
7. Home and foreign trade: Markets and the industrial revolution.
8. Luxury and pleasure: the 'consumer' and 'industrious' revolutions.
9. Women, children and the industrial revolution.
10. Life and death: Population growth and urbanisation.
11. Winners and losers: The standard of living debate.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will prepare for each seminar by reading texts and primary sources specified by the Module Leader. They will also be expected to undertake further, self-directed reading for each class. Students will also research and prepare an oral presentation (10% of module assessment), research and write an assessed essay (30%) and to prepare for the final examination (60%).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contributions to class discussions; an oral presentation; an assessed essay; feedback tutorials with the Module Leader.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000-word essay, due by 12.00pm on Monday of teaching week 840.00
PresentationVerbal presentation, format to be determined by tutor10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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