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HIST1119 The Long Summer? Edwardian Britain 1901-1914

Module Overview

Edward VII's accession to the throne in 1901 began a transformative moment in British history, when Britain was arguably still the greatest world power and the terrible destruction of the First World War was still to come. Imperial pageantry, the Titanic hitting an iceberg, the elderly queuing for their old-age pensions are defining images of Britain between 1901 and 1914. So too are suffragettes fire-bombing politicians' houses and art nouveau (and modernist art). But what defined the Edwardian era? A legacy of Victorian confidence? Authentic ambitions for modernity? Long summers or deep-seated conflict? In this module you will examine Edwardian Britain from a range of vantage points that take in the political, social, cultural, economic and technological developments of these years. And you will consider how the Edwardian period has been commemorated and re-imagined since 1914.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • key cultural, social and political developments of the Edwardian era
  • different ways in which historians have written about the Edwardian period
  • an eclectic range of primary sources that provide evidence for historians for making sense of the period
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • differentiate various approaches to writing about Edwardian Britain (and history in general)
  • explore some of the key historiographical issues associated with the Edwardian period
  • engage in critical analysis of a wide range of textual and visual sources and interpret those sources in the light of broader historiographical debates
  • put forward your ideas and arguments in group discussions, and consider the arguments put forward by your fellow students
  • present your interpretations and research findings in short talks and essays
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • contribute effectively to group discussions
  • improve your time-management skills
  • access and utilise textual and visual sources in the library and on-line
  • develop skills in giving presentations
  • tackle historical problems and express your own ideas effectively in talks and written reports.

Syllabus

Edward VII’s accession to the throne in 1901 began a transformative moment in British history, when Britain was arguably still the greatest world power and the terrible destruction of the First World War was still to come. Imperial pageantry, the Titanic hitting an iceberg, the elderly queuing for their old-age pensions are defining images of Britain between 1901 and 1914. So too are suffragettes fire-bombing politicians’ houses and art nouveau (and modernist art). But what defined the Edwardian era? A legacy of Victorian confidence? Authentic ambitions for modernity? Long summers or deep-seated conflict? In this module you will examine Edwardian Britain from a range of vantage points that take in the political, social, cultural, economic and technological developments of these years. You will consider the very different worlds of royalty and society and the working-classes. You will examine the politics of Whitehall and grass roots politics of disruption. You will investigate international diplomatic and cultural engagements in the period, the role of art and popular culture in national life; and transnational cultures. And you will consider the new technologies of the era, including the new motion pictures technology. Together, we will look at the changing historical literature of Edwardian Britain and the rich evidence Edwardians have left behind in film, literature, paintings, posters, government records, political pamphlets and books, personal diaries, social surveys, oral histories, newspapers, photographs and cartoons. Topics to be studied include: - Introduction: locating Edwardian Britain - Edward VII: monarchy, society and empire - Class and poverty - The Franco-British exhibition - Old and New Liberalism - The suffrage movement - 'The strange death of Liberal England'? - Art and the Edwardians - Edwardians in Film

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - weekly one-hour lecture and one-hour seminar - directed individual and group activities around primary sources - short presentations given by students on the module - group discussions including feedback from the tutor Lectures are designed to introduce you to key themes, historical debates and historians’ approaches. Further reading and seminar discussions of primary and secondary source material are designed to consolidate your knowledge and understanding. In seminar discussions you will be expected to engage in critical analysis of primary sources and to formulate and articulate arguments. And you will be encouraged to express your own ideas about a topic. Learning activities include: - independent study, reading and research in preparation for each seminar - putting together and delivering short presentations as directed by the lecturer - in-depth study of textual and visual primary sources - participation in small group and whole seminar discussions Learning and teaching activities are designed to help you investigate the main themes and issues of the module. These activities will include directed and self-directed study, for example through preparatory reading and library and on-line research. Particular attention will be paid to the different approaches historians have used, and the presentations you give will focus on getting to grips with these approaches, using the reading list of secondary literature provided at the start of the module. You will also study (on your own and in seminars) a wide range of primary written and visual sources. These activities will help you to prepare for the essay and examination exercises. You will receive feedback on your progress via seminar and group discussions and in responses to your presentations.

TypeHours
Preparation for scheduled sessions72
Follow-up work12
Completion of assessment task42
Seminar12
Lecture12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

George Dangerfield (1936). The Strange Death of Liberal England. 

Jose Harris (1994). Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain 1870-1914. 

Peter Clarke (2004). Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-2000 (chs. 1-2). 

Ronald Hyam, ‘The British Empire in the Edwardian Era’, in Judith Brown and William Roger Louis (eds), (1999). The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century. 

Boris Ford (ed) (1989). The Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain: Volume 8 The Edwardian Age and the Interwar Years. 

Mitchell Sagar, Electronic Edwardians: The Films of Mitchell and Kenyon [DVD] (London: BFI Video, 2005).. DVD

Ronald Hyam (1999). The British Empire in the Edwardian Era. The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century. .

Ross McKibbin (1991). Class and Poverty in Edwardian England. The Ideologies of Class: Social Relations in Britain 1880-1950. .

P. F. Clarke (1974). The Progressive Moment in England. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. ,4 , pp. 159-181.

Lucy Bland (1995). Banishing the Beast: English Feminism and Sexual Morality 1885-1914. 

Paul Thomspon (1975). The Edwardians: The Re-Making of British Society. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal feedback: - non-assessed oral presentations - tutorials to provide consultation on assessed essays - guidance and advice in class on preparation, completion and presentation of assignments - regular work with primary sources to prepare for the essay and examination exercises

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (1000 words) 50%
Essay  (2000 words) 50%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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