A Tale of Three Cities: London, Paris and Berlin in the Nineteenth Century


In the turbulent history of the nineteenth century the three capital cities of Berlin, London and Paris played key roles in the development of their respective states and in the huge changes experienced in the hundred years between 1800 and 1900.

London was the world’s greatest trading centre, thriving on a vast network of overseas commerce and driven by the British Industrial Revolution and a growing Empire. Paris became the centre of a new Napoleonic European Empire, developed a reputation for political violence and became the leading example of urban planning and centre of fine art and design in Europe. Berlin started the century as a small capital of a medium-sized German state and experienced substantial economic and population growth, ending the century as the capital of continental Europe’s most powerful industrial nation.

During this course we will examine the fascinating history of these three dynamic cities.

Programme details

Courses starts: 15 Jan 2024

Week 0: Course orientation

Week 1: London: City of Trade 

Week 2: Paris: Capital of Europe

Week 3: Berlin: Obscurity and Occupation

Week 4: London: The Industrial Giant

Week 5: Paris: Revolution and Reaction

Week 6: Berlin: Economic Transformation

Week 7: London: Imperial Centre of World Power

Week 8: Paris: Defeat and Renaissance

Week 9: Berlin: Modernity, Power and Tradition

Week 10: Conclusion: Understanding the Century


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course Fee £257.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Mr Carl Wade

Carl Wade originally studied history at Jesus College, Cambridge. He has written and taught courses for OUDCE since 2004 in modern European and German history.

Course aims

To consider the history of nineteenth century urban Europe through the prism of the story of three capital cities of Europe's most powerful states.  

Course objectives: 

  • To examine the role of three European capitals in the nineteenth century history of Europe.
  • To consider the importance of the historical development of the three cities within France, Germany, Britain and in the wider world.
  • To make extensive use of a variety of original visual and documentary materials to illuminate the developments and debates of the period, and to encourage students to engage with those arguments and debates.

Teaching methods

There will be lecture recordings lasting one hour each week related to each topic provided by the tutor. These can be accessed throughout the course and they will include Power Point presentations. In addition a live Microsoft Teams class lasting a hour will be offered weekly related to the topic of the week. This will be fully interactive between the tutor and students. In addition an Oxford University website called Canvas will contain reading materials and will provide further opportunities to ask questions related to the course and to engage in academic discussion. It will also be possible to discuss the written assignments and the process of writing a formative piece of work online in preparation for the the final submission of the coursework.

An introduction to the course will be offered in the first week using Microsoft Teams in order to familiarise the students with the learning methods.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • have an understanding and knowledge of the way in which the history of these three cities can be linked to economic and political developments of the century;
  • demonstrate an ability to assess and evaluate a variety of arguments and sources with reference to the period, and be able their views interacting with other students and in written form;
  • become familiar with the structures of academic learning and confident expressing their argument in a group environment.

Assessment methods

Students will be offered the possibility of writing an assignment related to the topics considered during the term. This assignment will consist of one essay of approximately 1500 words. The assignment needs to be completed to a satisfactory standard in order for credit to be awarded for the course.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)