Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Modern British Landscapes
Academic Year
Semester 1
Normally that students are registered for SH, JH, Major/Minor BA/B.Sc Geography, Sociology or cognate schemes.
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Seen written examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Seen written examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Critically evaluate a range of theoretical and empirical writings on landscape, modernity and Britishness.

Discuss how a range of key sites, experiences and subject-positions have been impacted by changes in modern society in the twentieth century.

Critically evaluate the landscapes and life experiences which are effaced or excluded within prevailing discourses of British modernity.

Demonstrate their competence in undertaking independent research, and constructing a written argument through the completion of assessed written work.

Critically evaluate a range of written, visual and aural source materials; discussing the significance of these sources with their peers and communicating their views to the class.

Brief description

In this course students will examine the cultural and historical geographies of the British landscape in the twentieth century, focussing on the changing meanings of built landscapes and the environment between 1918 and 1990. The module traces the geographies of specific sites and subject-positions which have been associated with modern life in twentieth century Britain. Specific lectures will focus on: the expansion of suburbia; the links between countryside preservation and modern planning between the wars; the expansion of leisure and the 'writing' of the landscape through guidebooks; the impact of the blitz on urban landscapes during World War Two; the reconstruction of post-war Britain; and the importance of landscape to Welsh nationalism. The module aims to show how particular understandings of Britishness and British modernity (and their common equation with Englishness) have continually been challenged and resisted in different periods through the cultural activities of Welsh nationalists. The module will examine various counter-modern practices and sites, from the emergence of 'anti-modern' sentiments associated with particular conservation, organic, environmental and architectural movements, to the geographies of groups who are frequently excluded from hegemonic accounts of Britishness - such as ethnic minority groups, the young, homosexuals, new age travellers, other nationals, and subjects of empire. The final lecture will examine the geographies of 'sites' and 'sensibilities' which have frequently been associated with postmodern and globalised geographies, including motorways, airports, shopping centres and spaces of deindustrialisation and heritage.


This new module is designed to widen the range of option modules available to geography and sociology students at Level 3. The module reflects the current research interests of Peter Merriman. It also reflects the broader research and teaching themes of other members of the Historical and Cultural Geography Research Group.


  • Introduction: Landscape, modernity and national identity.
  • 'Metroland': the Underground and the growth of suburban London.
  • Modernism, planning and 'preservation', 1918-1939.
  • 'Guide book Britain': leisure, landscape and citizenship, 1918-1970.
  • War and reconstruction: from bomb sites to new towns, 1939-1970
  • Countering British modernity 1: Teenage radicals, Black Britishness and marginalised citizens
  • Countering British modernity 2: 'Anti-modern' and Environmental movements.
  • The British landscape, 1970-Now

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students may draw upon and analyse numerical information in their assessed essays.
Communication The module will help students to develop their written and oral communication skills. Class discussions will enable students to develop their oral communication skills, and the assessed essay and examination will enable students to practice and enhance their written communication skills.
Improving own Learning and Performance Student attendance and participation in the lectures, and their undertaking of an assessed essay, will help them to enhance a range of learning skills. The module requires students to undertake sixty hours of self-directed study.
Information Technology The assessed essay requires students to undertake independent research using bibliographic search-engines and library catalogues. The module will enable students to enhance their research skills and practise their IT skills when writing the essay.
Personal Development and Career planning The module will help students to develop key transferable skills, in addition to raising important questions about the histories and geographies of Britain which will help them to think about their role as citizens within society. The course discusses themes which will be invaluable for students wishing to undertake postgraduate study in geography.
Problem solving The module will develop students' problem-solving skills in a number of ways. Students will be required to discuss and analyse a range of visual texts, and to complete small problem-solving exercises during the lectures. Students will also have to address problems associated with research design when undertaking their assessed essay.
Research skills Students are required to undertake independent research for their essay which will draw upon and enhance skills they have developed in previous modules. Further research skills will be developed through class-based discussions and problem-solving exercises and further reading they undertake.
Subject Specific Skills The module will enable students to practice subject-specific skills which they have developed in years one and two, including techniques for analyzing historical and cultural texts. Students will develop their analytical skills through class-based discussions and in their assessed essay and examination.
Team work The lectures will include class-based problem-solving exercises and discussions which will provide opportunities for students to develop team-working skills and discuss their thoughts with the class.


This module is at CQFW Level 6