Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Sport, Leisure & Popular Culture in Britain since 1850
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Individual 10-minute 'feedback tutorial' per written assignment submitted
Lecture 18 x 50 minute sessions
Seminars / Tutorials 2 x 2 hour sessions (students choose 1 from 4 seminars)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  70%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour supplementary (resit) examination  70%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students will have:
Knowledge of the history of sport, leisure and popular culture in Britain since 1850

Knowledge of comparative perspectives on the history of sport, leisure and popular culture

An ability to read, analyse and reflect critically on secondary and primary texts including a range of contemporary media

An ability to develop and sustain historical arguments orally (non-assessed) and in writing

An ability to gather and sift appropriate items of historical evidence

An ability to work both independently and collaboratively and to participate in group discussions (non-assessed)

Brief description

The survey will provide an overview of the development of sport, leisure and aspects of popular culture in Britain since 1850. Students will understand the role of sport and leisure in shaping or reflecting class, gender and ethnicity in Britain and its contribution to changing cultural patterns. Students will also examine the changing nature and boundaries of popular culture during the period. The module will include a comparative dimension highlighting regional variations in sport and leisure patterns and cultures and introduce an international aspect with the study of sport in Empire and the USA. The module will introduce students to a growing corpus of literature in this field of study, an important branch of social and economic history, and enhance their awareness of a range of primary material, including contemporary media and film. The module will include four two-hour seminars, from which students will chose two. These will be organised around the history of sport, the rise of the leisure industry, the growth and impact of popular media and the history of popular music.


The module will provide a history of changes in availability and participation in sport and popular culture in Britain since 1850. It will also provide a broad overview of the history of sport, leisure and popular culture in this period, giving a foundation for students to develop their interests in particular aspects of the module and encouraging them to move onto closer study of the topic.


1. Introduction

2. Time to play: industry, urbanisation and reconfiguration of time.
3. The growth of seaside and spa towns in Britain, 1700-1950.
4. The growth of mass sport and the Victorian working class.

5. Sport and the making of national identity in Wales and Scotland .
6. Sport and Empire: The export of British class and culture.
7. Women and sport - medical ideas and social expectations.
8. Women and sport and leisure in 20th c. Britain.
9. Transatlantic convergence or divergence? Sport and culture in Britain and
the USA.

10. The Victorian working class and mass-participation in music.
11. Leisure and consumption in teenage Britain.
12. Popular music and popular protest in Britain.
13. She Bop: Gender and popular music in Britain.

14. Newspaper reading in 19th century Britain.
15. The impact of mass media, radio and TV in post-war British society.
16. The cinema and the crisis of British culture in the 20th century.
17. Popular culture and total war in Britain in the 20th century.
18. Conclusion

Sport, culture and gender in Britain
The rise of the leisure industry.
The growth and impact of popular media in Britain
The impact of popular music in Britain.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be presented with some statistical data during the lectures and the appropriate use of such statistics will form part of the assessment of the essays.
Communication This skill will be developed through the two essays and the seminar discussions. This will be assessed as part of the essay assessment.
Improving own Learning and Performance Essays will be returned in essay tutorials where advice will be given on improving students? research techniques and essay writing skills.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to access information on CD Roms and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be encouraged to word process their work. These skills will not be assessed formally.
Personal Development and Career planning This module will help develop written and oral skills. Other activities, including research, assessment of information and writing in a critical and clear manner, will further develop useful skills of analysis and presentation.
Problem solving Students will be expected to identify and respond to historical problems and carry out appropriate research before the seminars and before writing essays. This will be assessed as part of the assessment of the essays.
Research skills These skills will be developed through the research students are expected to carry out before the seminars and for the essays. This will be assessed as part of the assessment of the essays.
Subject Specific Skills Critical historical skills
Team work Students will work together in seminar preparation and discussion

Reading List

Recommended Text
C. Bashford and L. Langley (eds.) (2000) Music and British Culture, 1785-1914 Oxford Primo search D. Birley (1995) Land of Sport and Glory: Sport and British Society 1887-1910 Primo search E. Roberts (1994) A Woman's Place Oxford Primo search J. A. Mangan and R. J. Park (eds.) (1986) From 'Fair Sex' to Feminism : Sport and the Socialization of Women in the Industrial and Post-Industrial Eras London Primo search J. Hill (2002) Sport Leisure and Culture in Twentieth Century Britain Palgrave Primo search J. Richards (1984) The Age of the Dream Palace: Cinema and Society in Britain 1930 - 1939 Primo search J. Street (1996) Rebel Rock: The Politics of Popular Music Oxford Primo search JK Walton (2000) British Seaside: Holidays and Resorts in the Twentieth Century Manchester Primo search R. Holt (1989) Sport and the British: A Modern History Clarendon Primo search R. McKibben (1998) Classes and Cultures: England 1918 - 1951 Oxford Primo search S. Frith (1984) The Sociology of Youth Primo search T. Mason (1998) Sport in Britain Faber & Faber Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6