The WEA Leicester Branch has always had a strong interest in local history and their recent course ‘Gateways to the Past’, is another good example of the Branch’s innovative approach to learning about local history.
The recent course was one of several Leicester Branch courses designed to teach learners to locate, access and critically interpret historical resources, in this case an opportunity to explore the High Street area of the city.
The 2011 edition of the Leicestershire Historian published by the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, includes a number of articles written by Leicester Branch learners Eileen Gumley, Beryl Hawkes and Andrew Moore.
The articles from the three students are based on the research they conducted during the ‘Gateways to the Past’ course on The Newarke area of Leicester. The Newarke has its origins in the 14th century hospital for the aged poor, established by Earl Henry of Lancaster – the ‘New Work’ from which it takes its name – and was later expanded to encompass private residences, businesses, charitable organisations, a military barracks, and the College of Art and Technology, which was a forerunner of De Montfort University.
Learners researched a topic of their own choice with support from WEA tutor Cynthia Brown. Work from the students, subsequently published in the local journal, include illuminating accounts on a home for fallen women, the occupants of a group of now-demolished houses, The Newarke bus station, and the vicars of the church of St. Mary de Castro from the mid-13th century to the present.
For more information on forthcoming history courses, and other courses from WEA Leicester Branch, please contact Cherry Heinrich by phone: 0116 251 9740 or email: email@example.com.
The front door of The Newarke Houses Museum about which WEA Leicester Branch students conducted their research. © Leicester City Council