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Dr. Rosemary O'Day, Lecturer in History, discusses the nature of the experience in pre-industria urban England. Although towns were relatively small and were not engines for economic growth, they ... had a distinctive urban character which Dr. O'Day defines with reference to Stamford and Norwich. Towns changed over the period of the Course according to whether they prospered or declined and the programme contrasts Norwich and Stamford in 1600 and in 1780.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A322, English urban history 1500-1780
Item code: A322; 01; 1978
First transmission date: 1978
Published: 1978
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:00
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Producer: Patricia Hodgson
Contributor: Rosemary O'Day
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Norwich; Stamford; Urban change; Walled towns
Footage description: Rosemary O'Day speaks in voice over throughout the programme. Opening film is of a modern urban landscape. O'Day argues that pre industrial towns were much smaller than their modern counterparts, and were less easily distinguished from the surrounding countryside. A map of English towns in 1600 is displayed, and town populations given. A number of old prints of London are shown. Maps of medieval Norwich. O'Day describes the functions of pre-industrial Norwich. Shots of the town walls and of streets in the town that retain their old character. Film of a seventeenth century gentleman's house. O'Day describes the social divisions of seventeenth century Norwich. A map indicates where rich and poor lived. Film of a modern market in progress at Norwich. O'Day comments on the importance of the market in the pre-industrial town. Shots of the Guildhall, over which she describes the function of trade guilds. Map showing medieval roads in East Anglia converging on Norwich. Old prints show the cloth industry and cultural activities. O'Day describes the role of Norwich as a regional centre. Map shows location of Stamford as a route centre. Speed's map of Stamford is shown. Film of various aspects of old Stamford. O'Day describes the medieval prosperity of the town, which was derived from wool and the high number of religious establishments. Shots of a number of churches and religious houses. O'Day gives reasons for the decline of the town after the fifteenth century. She explains that decline was not absolute, and film of various buildings begun in later years illustrates her argument. She shows how decline affected the town's social structure and political organisation. She also comments on Burleigh's unsuccessful attempts to revive the town in the late sixteenthcentury. She maintains that the very consciousness of town dwelling was instrumental in preserving Stamford's urban character, despite its population falling to 2,000. O'Day generalises on pre industrial towns. Shots of Stamford town walls, whose role she explains. She comments on the physical characteristics of pre industrial towns, and on the role of such institutions as guilds, schools, churches, almshouses and hospitals. O'Day describes the economic and social organisation of a typical pre industrial town. She uses a studio model to illustrate the layout of such a town. She briefly lists the various functions of the town up to the onset of industrialisation. O'Day describes the growth of Norwich in the eighteenth century over contemporary prints showing the city's wealth. She describes the town's links with London and its cultural and social role. By comparison, Stamford's failure to grow in the eighteenth century is considered. Film of both towns. Finally, O'Day draws general conclusions about the urban experience of pre industrial towns as a whole, as a result of looking at two case studies.
Master spool number: 6HT/72753
Production number: 00525_3330
Videofinder number: 3321
Available to public: no