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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2560 History on the High Street

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Professor Reggie Blaszczyk

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This skills module examines the history of the British high street through the lens of the Marks and Spencer Company. Readings will cover the history of retailing, but the real focus is to introduce you to historical research by using the Marks and Spencer Company Archive, located in the Michael Marks Building on the Western Campus. This module relates to the following Discovery Themes:Personal and Professional DevelopmentEnterprise and InnovationMedia, Culture and CreativityPlease note that this module runs twice per year, once in each semester, subject to sufficient recruitment. Students should take note of this when enrolling on the module and ensure that they are enrolling on their desired semester.


On completion of this module, students should:
- Have a basic understanding of the business, social, and cultural history of retailing in Britain
- Be familiar with the Marks and Spencer Company Archive as a historical resource
- Understand how to discover, evaluate, and use primary sources in historical research

Learning outcomes
- Understanding of the social, cultural, and economic impact of retailing on the British economy of the 20th century
- Ability to locate and analyse different types of primary sources in an historical archive, including documents, museum objects, photographs, and advertising ephemera
- Familiarity with social history, cultural history, business history, visual culture studies, and material culture studies

Skills outcomes
Skills in oral and written communication

Independent thinking, self-discipline, and self-direction to work under own initiative to meet deadlines

Ability to conduct original archival research, and to make that research accessible to a broad audience by using the web

Ability to work in a group on a collaborative presentation

Ability to present research to a group in a professional manner


Born to shop? This module uses a resource unique to the University of Leeds - the Marks and Spencer Company Archive - to teach you about the history of the high street, and to help you build skills that will be indispensible when you research and write your dissertation, regardless of your choice of topic. It will also help you to learn verbal and written presentation skills that will be useful to you in the workplace. The seminar will meet at the Michael Marks Building on the Western Campus, where you will learn to use original archival document, artefacts, and images in your research. You will analyse the Archive's resources and complete research assignments that focus on the people who helped to build the company and on artefacts and documents in the Archive's collection.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Researching and writing reports; collaborating with other students to present group reports; preparing PowerPoint presentations; undertaking reading for seminars; making research appointments with the Marks and Spencer Company Archive, and keeping those appointments; learning to use an archive.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The tutor will monitor each student's contributions to class discussions and to the oral presentations. The tutor will also mark the written assignments, and hold private meetings with students to discuss their research projects.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report1000-word exhibition review (due 12 noon Monday of teaching week 4)20.00
PortfolioLiterature review (500 words) due by 12 noon Monday of teaching week 7; Oral Presentation to be done in teaching weeks 8, 9, 10, or 11; Assessed Essay (3000 words, plus objects and images); due by 12 noon on Tuesday of Week 2 of the Exam period80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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: 29/04/2022 15:25:07


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