Course overview

In 1939 Tom and Angela Rolt set out to explore the canals of England in the narrow boat ‘Cressy’. The account of their cruise was a book called Narrow Boat and this inspired the national movement to preserve and cherish our inland waterways. Eighty years later Alastair Clark set out on a bike to follow the part of their voyage which followed the Trent and Mersey canal.

Course description

When Tom and Angela Rolt got married in 1939 they took the very unconventional step of setting off for an extended honeymoon canal cruise in the narrowboat Cressy. The story of this journey was eventually published at the end of World War 2 and caught the public imagination focussing campaign to preserve our industrial canals and inspiring the founding of the Inland Waterways Association.

This session will examine how the book – Narrow Boat - proved to be very motivational as well as offering a valuable source of mid twentieth Century social and economic history. WEA tutor, Alastair Clark, took a 90 mile section of the Rolts’ journey and followed the Trent and Mersey canal .

From his bike on the towpath, Alastair has documented the way that the economic life, the landscape, towns, villages, have changed in 85 years. The session will also examine the way that the book has influenced attitudes towards the place of inland waterways in 21st century landscapes

Students will be encouraged to share their own experiences and knowledge and the course will examine the methodology of using historical accounts to examine changes over time.

After this course there will be potential progression to study relating to:

-The power of fiction and non fiction books to inspire

-Exploring our industrial history.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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