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The British Studies course offers an interdisciplinary survey of British history and culture from earliest times to the present day.

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The Manor

Our Home, Our Teacher

Along with being our home and classroom, Harlaxton College may be our greatest teacher, offering students the chance to live in British history for a semester.

British Studies in the Manor

A unique strength of the British Studies program is our location. Harlaxton Manor was built at the height of the Victorian age (1832-54), when concepts of Britishness were evolving, becoming fused with notions of history, empire, and class. Harlaxton students, therefore, learn about Britain in a house that evokes all the complexities of the British identity.

Harlaxton Manor is one of the great country houses of Victorian England. The house reflects the early 19th century’s rejection of Enlightenment order and balance in favor of the emotional exuberance of Romanticism. This is achieved by Harlaxton’s unique blend of neo-Elizabethan and Baroque styling. But beneath its ‘natural’ exterior, the house and gardens reflect the engineering prowess of an industrial Britain and the social divisions of Victorian and Edwardian society.

During the Second World War, as in the First, Harlaxton played a role in Britain’s military effort by providing an airfield for the Royal Air Force (formerly the Royal Flying Corps) and a home for members of the British 1st Airborne Division who fought at Arnhem in 1944. After two world wars, the Britain of 1945 was a very different country from the Britain of 1914. In the aftermath of war, the landed aristocracy no longer saw their houses as social assets; their homes had become social and financial liabilities, and many were demolished or allowed to fall into ruin. As a result, in the later twentieth century and in contemporary Britain, the battle to preserve country houses has become part of a wide-ranging debate regarding the conservation of the nation’s heritage.

Because of its history and heritage, Harlaxton Manor offers a fascinating perspective on British history and culture and a unique setting in which to study Britain, past and present.