History of Britain - Rulers & Ruled


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14.Dawn of Democracy

How, and why, did working men win the vote in the mid-Victorian period? (9 mins)

15.Rise of Labour
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1893 next video 15/17next

iconChapter Breakdown

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1. The dreams of the Chartist realised in the late 19th century: votes for the working man.
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2. Changing lives in the slums of 19th century Edinburgh.
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3. The 'Self Help' movement - and the rise of the 'respectable' working class.
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4. The 1867 Reform Act gives the vote to working men in the cities.
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5. The Midlothian Campaign of 1880. The first recognizably 'modern' election campaign.

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iconLocation details


This module was all shot in Edinburgh. It starts overlooking Waverley Station, and then moves to Mary King's Close, a remarkable attraction that enables tourists visit some of the early 19th century subterranean sections of the city. It's well worth the entrance fee.


The 'self help' section was filmed on the Stockbridge Estate, one of several estates in Edinburgh built by the Edinburgh Cooperative Building Company, and known collectively as the 'colonies'. I love the colonies; they're a real testament to the power of ordinary people to transform their lives.


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