Another World: Work, Life and Culture of Rural England 1815 to 1914

189 TUTOR: Peter Street

Exploring a less familiar aspect of the 19th century, this course considers the experiences of and prospects for rural England's various communities amid wider economic, political and cultural developments. Aspects covered include the working year and cottage industries as well as beliefs, family and home life. Also explored is the importance of the landowner, country house and estate, crime, unrest and migration. Yet, as rural England's economic significance declined, it became more celebrated in national cultural life, notably leisure, the 'Back to the Land' Arts and Crafts movements and attempts to record a disappearing way of life through photography and transcribing folk songs.

3 AM
AM course

Course Notes


The scope of the subject - changes and challenges:

(1) English agriculture, 1815-1914

(2) The English landowner, tenantry and agricultural labour force, 1815-1914


The country house and estate

Agricultural labour and the farming year; the harvest and related celebrations;rural unrest: the Swing Riots, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, trade unionism and the Revolt of the Field


Keeping control and offering hope: policing, welfare, education and religion in rural England

Cottage life and work; non agricultural use of the countryside


Countryside communities on the move: Travellers and migrant workers

The market town in the 19th century


'Back to the land': the significance of rural life for the visual arts, crafts, literature and song, 1850s-1914


It is not necessary to be familiar with the subject but should you wish to read ahead/subsequently, you might find (the relevant chapters/sections of) one or more of the following helpful:

D Chambers &

G Mingay The agricultural revolution, 1750-1880

P Horn Labouring life in the Victorian countryside

G Mingay Rural life in Victorian England

G Mingay (ed) The Victorian countryside [2 volumes of essays]

H Newby Country life: a social history of rural England

FML Thompson English landed society in the 19thcentury

Additional suggested reading and places to visit will feature during the course.

Course Tutor

Peter Street

About Peter

Peter has contributed to the Marlborough College Summer School since 1992. He is an Oxford University graduate in Modern History, a qualified teacher and has taught history in higher and adult education for over forty years. Most of Peter's teaching was for Birkbeck College (University of London) and the Open University. Peter has also  lectured for NADFAS, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Trust, the Historical Association and history societies generally.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM