• University of Strathclyde

Working Lives in the Factories and Mills: Textile heritage of the factory workers

Exploring Britain’s Industrial Heritage

6,517 enrolled on this course

The course is important in that it will discuss the relationship between textile factory labour in the past and present, and specifically consider the uses of British industrial heritage in the present day. It will also teach students skills in historical, literary and genealogical research and provide opportunities for further engagement via events at the museums and contributions to ongoing research project

What topics will you cover?

  • Explore the range of activities involved in working in factories and mills in the long nineteenth century, and how these changed during the period covered by the course.
  • Assess representations of millworkers from this period, as well as writings by the workers themselves, and discuss how they relate to wider questions of class, gender, and professional identity.
  • Investigate how museums represent factory workers.
  • Locate material relevant to this field through online archives.

When would you like to start?

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Learning on this course

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What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss the range of activities involved in working in textile factories in the long nineteenth century, and how these changed during the period covered by the course.
  • Assess representations of working lives in textile factories and surviving texts and artefacts from the period, and discuss how they relate to wider questions of class, gender, and professional identity.
  • Compare written and oral material on workers’ lives within the appropriate historical and material contexts.
  • Engage online and other archives in order to locate material relevant to the history of textile factories and workers’ lives.

Who is the course for?

The target audience consists of members of the public with an interest in industrial history or heritage, or specific connections to mill-work (e.g. through family links). The secondary audience will be professionals working in or aiming to work in the heritage sector. The course will also appeal to students at school or university who have interests in the long Victorian period. Learners do not require prior experience or qualifications. Our museum partners have strong connections to local schools and communities, and through our partnerships with them we will have unique opportunities to advertise to wider local audiences.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Chair in English Studies at the University of Strathclyde and currently lead the research project 'Piston, Pen & Press: Literary Cultures in the Industrial Workplace.'

I teach English Literature at the University of Manchester and have an abiding interest in the culture and politics of the British Working Class Movement in the Long Nineteenth Century.

Who developed the course?

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university located in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, committed to useful learning.


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  • Discuss your learning in comments
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