Module Identifier WH35230  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Owen G Roberts  
Semester Semester 2  
Mutually Exclusive HC35230 , CF35220 , MW35220  
Course delivery Lecture   18 Hours  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 2,500 WORD ESSAY & 1 X 4,000 WORD ESSAY  40%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
Describe and assess the demographic and spatial patterns of urbanisation in Wales over a period of 250 years

Critically examine the social and political consequences of urbanisation

Locate the urban social experience within the broader context of modern Welsh and British History

Present historical arguments with increasing confidence and sophistication, both orally and in written work

Interpret historical evidence with increased care and sensitivity

Brief description

This module will give students the opportunity to study in detail one of the main engines of social change in the modern period ? namely urbanisation. The causes of urbanisation will be assessed, and demographic patterns analysed. Thereafter, the course will focus on the social consequences of urbanisation. The traditional interpretation of the early industrial settlements of the south as `frontier societies? will be critically analysed, and cataclysmic events such as the Merthyr Rising will be examined. The more extensive and rapid urbanisation of the later nineteenth century will be studied, and seminars will discuss various dimensions of life in the towns ? public health, crime and morality, immigration, spatial divisions and leisure patterns for instance ? and different urban experiences will be compared. The emergence of a civic ideal and civic consciousness, and its effects on identity and concepts of community, will be analysed. The final part of the course will trace the urban experience in the twentieth century, by studying the depression, planning and housing reform, post war reconstruction and urban renewal. The content of the module will be placed within a conceptual framework provided by the development of urban history as an important sub-discipline over the last 40 years.


The module will offer students the opportunity to study the development of human society in Wales over a comparatively long time-frame, tracing the transition from a largely rural society to one dominated by urban settlements. Students will be able to study the social implications of this upheaval.


1. Introduction
2. The theory and practice of urban history   
3. Welsh towns and demographic patterns from the early modern period
4. The development of spa resorts
5. The early industrial settlements ? the industrial economy and the `Frontier Society?
6. The frontier society and socio-political upheaval, 1800-1850
7. Mass urbanisation in the south ? the development of the mining valleys
8. Urbanisation in the north
9. Crime and immorality in the town
10. Public health and the construction of an urban infrastructure
11. The growth and limitations of civic pride and consciousness
12. Immigration and ethnic diversity in the town
13. Mass leisure and culture, 1870-1939
14. The small towns and rural depopulation
15. Housing, planning and social reform
16. The Welsh in urban exile ? London, Liverpool and the USA
17. Post war reconstruction, town planning and regeneration
18. The urban-rural dichotomy and the construction of Welsh identity

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
D. J. V. Jones (1992) Crime in 19th Century Wales
Ieuan G. Jones (1987) Communities
P. Ellis Jones (1983) Bangor: 1883-1983
P. Lord (1998) The Visual Culture of Wales: Industrial Society
W. E. Minchinton (1969) Industrial South Wales
P. O?Leary (2000) Immigration and Integration: the Irish in Wales
C. Williams (1998) Capitalism, Community and Conflict
G. A. Williams (1978) The Merthyr Rising
(2001-2) The Cambridge Urban History of Britain, volumes 2 and 3
M. J. Fisk (1996) Housing in the Rhondda
Dyos and Wolff (1973) The Victorian City (2 vols)
John Davies (1980) Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute
Martin Daunton (1977) Coal Metropolis. Cardiff 1870-1914
Andy Croll (2000) Civilizing the Urban
Harold Carter (1965) The Towns of Wales
Asa Briggs (1963) Victorian Cities
R. Williams (1973) The Country and the City
Derek Fraser (1990) Cities, Class and Communication

Urban History
Urban History Yearbook
Journal of Hisorical Geography
Welsh History Review


This module is at CQFW Level 6