• University of Strathclyde

Working Lives in the Factories and Mills: Textile History and Heritage

Discover the lives of textile industry workers during the Victorian era, and better understand Britain's industrial heritage.

5,070 enrolled on this course

Working Lives in the Factories and Mills: Textile History and Heritage
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study2 hours

Learn how textile workers' lives evolved alongside the textile industry

On this course, you’ll explore the relationship between textile factory labour in the past and British industrial heritage today.

You’ll delve into a fascinating period of development for one of Britain’s key industries and discover how workers’ lives changed throughout the Victorian period, as they adjusted to new professional identities, workplaces and technology.

Through video, you’ll be introduced to four different millworkers’ heritage sites: New Lanark, Stanley Mills in Perthshire, Verdant Works in Dundee and Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, as you explore their history.

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?

  • Date to be announced

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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?

This course is designed for anyone interested in working-class history and literature, the Victorian period, industrial heritage or museums, and those exploring family or local histories related to this industry.

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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