Discover Britain's industrial heritage and learn about the lives of British railway workers from 1840-1914.
Explore British railway history and learn what work on the railways was like
On this course, you will investigate the professional lives of the men and women working on the British railways from the 1840s until the First World War.
Using archival materials from the National Railway Museum, you will learn about the mental and physical hardship endured by railway workers, as well as the risks and pleasures that came with working in this new industry.
From Irish Catholic navvies to female office clerks based in industrial cities, you will discover the surprising diversity and complexity of the railway workforce.
Important Notice: On this special extended version of the course the Educators will continue to join the discussions and respond to individual comments but less frequently; this will likely mean that they will not be able to respond to each individual comment or question. Please also note that there will not be any Live Stream sessions during this run, however, links to recordings of previous sessions will be included for your benefit.
What topics will you cover?
You will learn about four categories of railway worker:
When would you like to start?
Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts.
- Available now
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to:
- Discuss the range of activities involved in working on the railways in the long nineteenth century, and how these changed during the period covered by the course.
- Explore written and oral material on workers’ lives within the appropriate historical and material contexts.
- Assess representations of working lives on the railways and railway artefacts and discuss how they relate to wider questions of class, gender, and professional identity.
- Perform searches in the online resources of the National Railway Museum and other archives for material relevant to railway history and workers’ lives.
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for anyone with an interest in railway history and heritage, working-class history and culture, industrial heritage, the Victorian period, or museums and their holdings.
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.'
Dr Oliver Betts is the National Railway Museum's Research Lead. He oversees the academic and research profile of the museum and has a deep love of all things Victorian and Railways!
I'm the Railway Museum's Librarian and my role is to help orientate all levels of the researcher to find the answers to their railway-related questions.
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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