Victorian Britain | Summer School course

This course will look at the life and times of Queen Victoria who reigned over the British Empire between 1837 and 1901. During that period Britain underwent what amounted to a revolution in industry, agriculture, transport, politics, science, medicine and the arts.

Victorian Britain | Summer School course itinerary

Victorian Britain Summer School course

This Victorian Britain summer school program looks at the different aspects of life, and some of the extraordinary changes that took place during the Victorian era.

This was an era of enormous change, change which occurred in almost all areas of life. Developments in technology, science, medicine, politics, art and architecture changed the way people of all social classes lived and paved the foundations for the way we live today.

Victoria came to the throne in 1837 and remained there until her death in 1901. During this time the British Empire expanded to its greatest extent. Goods poured in from every corner of the globe. Railway tracks criss-crossed the country. Gas lighting was introduced for domestic use and then superseded by electricity. Charles Darwin wrote his revolutionary ‘On the Origin of Species” and the right to vote was extended to all adult male householders, though women had to wait quite a bit longer. Women were, however, given at an extension of rights during the period and it became possible for them to attend university.

By the time Victoria died there were bicycles, motor cars and even aeroplanes, the telephone was in use and photography had become commonplace. Clean water, better hygiene and new sanitation methods had dramatically increased life expectancy. Anaesthetics had been introduced and Florence Nightingale did her bit to improve conditions in hospitals.

Queen Victoria did not necessarily approve of all of these changes but change went on, with or without her approval. During the week of the course we will begin with an examination of Britain in 1837 and then go on to look at developments in a number of fields.

Articles about Victoria Britain published by Odyssey Traveller

The following list of articles published by Odyssey Traveller for mature aged and senior travellers to maximise their knowledge and enjoyment of the course.

For all the articles published on Britain by Odyssey Traveller, please click through on this link to view.

Summer School classes for mature and senior travellers

Odyssey offers a collection of week-long learning programs offered each January in Hobart, Tasmania. Courses are refreshed for each year’s programs. Classes are limited to 15 people.

Over the last twenty-five years, Odyssey’s small group Summer School Program has given countless travellers an unforgettable educational and travel experience. Each summer, we prepare and offer fun and challenging special interest courses and programs designed to give travellers the options and opportunity to learn about history, religion, Australian culture, and the arts, among many other topics. These courses are designed in such a way that enthusiasts can deepen their knowledge of a particular topic or be initiated into new understandings on a subject.

We will enjoy welcome and farewell dinners in between our seminars, as well as daily morning tea and lunch.

These programs offered are tailor-made for mature-aged and senior travellers who are eager to explore in-depth a particular topic. Summer school learning programs for mature and senior travellers who are and remain curious about the world. Read more about our philosophy of the Odyssey Summer Schools.


Day 1: Hobart

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

The Summer school program begins with a welcome reception and dinner.

Day 2: Hobart

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

This morning we will look at Queen Victoria herself and how she came to the throne. From there we’ll look at the Britain that existed when the 18 year old Victoria succeeded her uncle, William IV.

In the afternoon we’ll concentrate on developments in technology, science and engineering, particularly in manufacturing and sanitation. Factories continued to introduce new methods, increasing production. Industrial cities grew even bigger because of this, with all of the associated problems. Time will be spent examining how different manufacturers responded.

We’ll look at the work of engineers such as Joseph Bazalgette and his remarkable improvements to London sanitation.

Day 3: Hobart

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

Our second day will continue with an examination of developments in science and technology, particularly in relation to transport.

This was an era when the railways spread right across Britain and we’ll look particularly at the contribution of the Stephensons, father and son, as well as at the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

In the afternoon we’ll examine the life and work of Charles Darwin.

Day 4: Hobart

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

This day concentrates on Victorian literature and art. We look at a number of the most famous of the Victorian writers including Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters and Elizabeth Gaskell.

In the afternoon we’ll spend some time examining the way that painting developed over the period. Many painters who were household names during the Victorian era have now been virtually forgotten and we’ll attempt to see why this is so.

Day 5: Hobart

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

Continuing on from art we’ll look at changes in architecture, particularly at the influence of Gothic Revival architecture, the Arts and Crafts Movement and the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The afternoon will be devoted to changes in education and the political system.

Day 6: Hobart

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

The final day will be devoted to an examination of the lives four extraordinary Victorians, some now little known, but of great significance during the period.

  • John Patrick Crichton Stuart, third marquess of Bute.
  • William Lever, first Lord Leverhulme.
  • John Ruskin
  • Florence Nightingale.

In the evening we conclude our course with a farewell dinner, starting at 6:30pm.

Day 7: Hobart

The course will end after breakfast.

Includes / Excludes

What’s included in our Tour

  • 6 nights in full en suite accommodation
  • 6 breakfasts and 2 dinners.
  • Lectures and handouts as indicated.
  • Services of a study leader and lecturers.
  • Complimentary wifi.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Costs of a personal nature.
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, moderate walking on uneven surfaces between 3 - 5 kilometers per day. Suitable for most fitness levels

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If you have a group of 6 friends or more you can book this tour as a private departure, with all the benefits of our small group tours.
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Easing your journey

Crossing international borders with restrictions

The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:

Pre-departure checklist for travelling across International borders.
Support over email or phone available 24/7 for any questions you have.

For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.

Book With Confidence

If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.

See Terms and conditions for details.

Peace of Mind Travel

The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.

See Peace of Mind Travel for details.

Reading List Download PDF

Bread for all

Chris Renwick

Today, everybody seems to agree that something has gone badly wrong with the British welfare state. In the midst of economic crisis, politicians and commentators talk about benefits as a lifestyle choice, and of 'skivers' living off hard-working 'strivers' as they debate what a welfare state fit for the twenty-first century might look like.

This major new history tells the story of one the greatest transformations in British intellectual, social and political life: the creation of the welfare state, from the Victorian workhouse, where you had to be destitute to receive help, to a moment just after the Second World War, when government embraced responsibilities for people's housing, education, health and family life, a commitment that was unimaginable just a century earlier. Though these changes were driven by developments in different and sometimes unexpected currents in British life, they were linked by one over-arching idea: that through rational and purposeful intervention, government can remake society. It was an idea that, during the early twentieth century, came to inspire people across the political spectrum.

In exploring this extraordinary transformation, Bread for All explores and challenges our assumptions about what the welfare state was originally for, and the kinds of people who were involved in creating it. In doing so, it asks what the idea continues to mean for us today.

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