Economic & Social History 2A: Britain 1770-1914 ESH2001

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

In this course we will explore the important economic and social developments that characterised industrialisation and its aftermath in Britain and Ireland from the mid-eighteenth century until the First World War. In lectures and the weekly, small-group seminars, we'll emphasise the importance of discussion, debates and interpretation of events, and encourage the growth of the skills and techniques associated with historical and social science investigation.


Lectures: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 3pm.

Seminars: weekly, including two sessions on the computing project.

Requirements of Entry

20 credits at D or above in one Level 1 course in Economic & Social History, History (Arts), or Economics


One essay (30%)

One computing project (20%)

One exam (50%)


NB reassessment is not available for the computing project

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

With a focus on England and Scotland from the late 18th century until the outbreak of World War I, the course seeks to develop both historical and transferable skills building on the analytical and conceptual experience gained in Level 1 classes. The course provides a background for understanding the main trends in British economic and social development from its rise as the first major industrial nation, to its position as a 'mature' economy in the early 20th century, faced with the growth of international competition. The course helps to develop students' confidence in the selection and analysis of information, their skills in presenting reasoned arguments backed by the use of relevant and convincing evidence, and their written skills in essays and examinations. Students will also interrogate widely-used software to give an understanding of the use of the computer as a historical tool.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students should be able to understand and participate in the debates on key areas of economic and social change in the UK with special reference to:

1. The nature of the Industrial Revolution

1. The diverse explanations for growth and fluctuations in the economy

1. The changing nature of capital, entrepreneurship and business

1. The place of Scotland within the UK economy

1. The motives, scale and impact of government activity in the economy and in social welfare

1. The nature of the workforce and the reasons for social unrest

1. The main factors affecting the living standards of the people at different periods

1. The changing social and economic condition of women and immigrant groups

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students are expected to maintain a good attendance record, to complete the required coursework, and to sit the final degree exam.