Delve into history

Explore the events of the past, and how they’ve shaped the world we live in today. Immerse yourself in different eras, marvel at historic achievements, and examine how different things could have been.  

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All of our courses are designed to help develop your skills in historical research and analysis, encouraging you to look beyond the surface of key historical moments. From the history of King Arthur to World War I and II, you’ll develop a better understanding of key historic customs, beliefs, and ways of life.   

Whether you consider yourself a history buff with decades of experience, or someone just starting out that wants to learn more, you can choose from a wide selection of topics.   

Attend a WEA history course near you  

A variety of our history courses are taught in-person or are delivered online - it all depends on what suits your needs best. From the comfort of your own home to a space in your local community. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be taught by a talented tutor who is vastly experienced.   

The support you’ll receive on our history courses  

They'll help you develop an understanding that goes beyond just what's on the surface, all within a friendly and encouraging environment that ensures you attend each session with the excitement to learn.   

It’s our learning experience that sets us apart too, with many of those attending our courses going on to achieve incredible things. You’ll learn at a pace that’s comfortable for you too, with a friendly supportive tutor on hand to answer any questions you might have. 

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History: The Past We Remember

In 1930, W.C Sellar & R.J. Yeatman ‘s 1066 And All That was published. The authors claimed that “History is not what you thought. It is what you can remember.” Starting from their premise, we will explore the ways that our memory and understanding of British history are influenced by fiction and the arts, as much as by teaching and text-books. We will look at how authors, playwrights and artists have depicted the past, both through deliberately looking backwards or by describing their own times in an enduring way. Can fiction help us understand the past more than factual accounts?

Course Information

Dates:
Mon 29/04/2024 -
Mon 24/06/2024
Times:
10:00am - 12:00pm
Duration:
7 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
Katherine Croft
Course code:
Q00014921
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £51.80

History: The First World War (Part 1)

The First World War is thought to be the most written-about war in history, and yet to many of us it can seem utterly beyond comprehension – its geographic scope, its length, the lack of clearly defined war aims, the seemingly endless offensives and the terrible casualty bill all conspire to make this seem an impenetrable and at times futile conflict. And yet real issues were at stake, which mattered to many of those who fought, on both sides.

Course Information

Dates:
Tue 30/04/2024 -
Tue 21/05/2024
Times:
3:00pm - 4:30pm
Duration:
4 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
Guest Speaker
Course code:
Q00015009
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £30.00

History: Smuggling in Essex- the Romance and Reality

How do the popular representations of smuggling in novels, songs, poems, paintings and film match up to the reality of the trade on the Essex coast in the 18th century? We will look at some of the enduring romantic depictions alongside official records and reports to consider the reality of life for people up and down the Essex coast whether engaged in smuggling or the fight against it.

Course Information

Dates:
Wed 01/05/2024 -
Wed 22/05/2024
Times:
7:30pm - 9:30pm
Duration:
4 sessions
Location:
Billericay Reading Rooms (Billericay)
73 High Street
Billericay
CM12 9AS
Tutor:
Claire Parker
Course code:
Q00013750
How you'll learn:
In venue
Status:
Waiting list
Fee range
Free to £33.60

History: Britain In Ireland - From The Act Of Union To The Irish Free State

This six week online course will look at the history of the Ireland as it gradually established itself as an independent nation state. Beginning with the Act of Union, which brought the country into the United Kingdom for the first time, we’ll examine the history through the tragedy of the Famine and resultant growth in republicanism, the attempts to introduce Home Rule to give Ireland autonomy within the Union, and then outbreak of violence with the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War, whose repercussions are still being felt today.

Course Information

Dates:
Wed 01/05/2024 -
Wed 05/06/2024
Times:
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Duration:
6 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
David Price
Course code:
Q00014382
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £44.40

WEA Membership

For just £15 a year, you can:

  • Join our popular, award-winning weekly lecture series,
  • Access an archive of over 100 past lectures,
  • Get priority online and phone booking for autumn courses (England only),
  • Receive our Highway magazine and access back issues,
  • Attend our members’ annual conference.

Just add us to your basket to sign up today!

Membership Information

Duration:
12 months
Fee:
WEA Membership

History: Trent to Mersey In the wake of narrow boat ‘Cressy’

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 Information

Dates:
Wed 01/05/2024 -
Wed 01/05/2024
Times:
1:30pm - 3:30pm
Duration:
1 sessions
Location:
Arnold Library (Nottingham)
Front Street
Arnold
Nottingham
NG5 7EE
Tutor:
Alastair Clark
Course code:
Q00014662
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £8.40

History: King Arthur, the history and the myth

This course delves into the myths, legends, and historical theories surrounding Britain's beloved King Arthur, exploring his family, friends, and foes. It aims to distinguish between fact and fiction, recognizing the influence of biases in historical accounts and the speculative nature of much of the Arthurian narrative. Arthur's role as a tool for propaganda is examined, drawing on diverse sources including ancient writings, literature, fiction, and film, supplemented by a brief exploration of archaeology. Offering participants insight into the enduring appeal and manipulation of Arthurian legend throughout history.

Course Information

Dates:
Wed 01/05/2024 -
Wed 01/05/2024
Times:
11:00am - 3:00pm
Duration:
1 sessions
Location:
The Forum (Norwich)
Millennium Plain
Norwich
NR2 1TF
Tutor:
Jane Williams
Course code:
Q00015243
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £16.80

A Workers’ History Event: Unlocking the past and shaping the future!

Being at this iconic venue – The National Union of Mineworkers - which is filled with union history we will be delivering a day full of interactive learning which will look at how the heritage of the union movement can shape the future. The WEA Trade Union Branch aims to deliver a range of learning opportunities which will progress onto other learning opportunities with including our bespoke follow on WEA Trade Unions Branch Lecture Series. Join us as discover what is history, learn and sing about the past, present and future of trade unionism.

Course Information

Dates:
Thu 02/05/2024 -
Thu 02/05/2024
Location:
NUM (National Union of Mineworkers)
2 Huddersfield Road
Barnsley
Yorkshire & Humber
S70 2LS
Course code:
P00000073
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available

History: Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century England

This course will introduce students to nineteenth-century England. Focusing on five visual media or phenomena, it discusses how they changed ways of looking in this period and even continue to impact our lives today. It is often said that our world is increasingly becoming a true society of the spectacle, yet the origin of a society characterised by the saturation of visual phenomena can be traced back to a time much earlier than many would have thought: the long nineteenth century. From the panorama that revolutionised the way the landscape is was represented to graphic journalism that shaped the perception of monarchy, the nineteenth century marks the beginning of many visual and cultural phenomena whose legacy can still be felt today.

Course Information

Dates:
Thu 02/05/2024 -
Thu 06/06/2024
Times:
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Duration:
6 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
Shijia Yu
Course code:
Q00013977
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £45.00

History: Local History

This course will be delivered through a combination of lectures, discussions, field trips, research projects, and presentations. Participants will have access to historical sources, archives, and local heritage sites for research and exploration. Assignments will include research papers, oral history interviews, presentations, and reflective essays. Participants will explore key events, themes, and movements that have shaped the local community and gain insight into the cultural, social, and economic development of the local area over time.

Course Information

Dates:
Tue 07/05/2024 -
Tue 16/07/2024
Times:
1:00pm - 3:00pm
Duration:
8 sessions
Location:
Donnison School (Sunderland)
The Donnison School Buildings
Church Walk
Sunderland
SR1 2BJ
Tutor:
Sharon Vincent
Course code:
Q00014650
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £92.40

History: Intermediate- The Viking Age

The Vikings were the terror of western Europe in the 9th Century and remain one of the most striking and enduring topics in history. We will examine how Anglo-Saxon England almost collapsed under the weight of the Viking threat; making a detailed exploration of the life and times of Anglo-Saxon England and the other realms of the British Isles as the former Mercian hegemony was lost and as they faced the onslaught of the Vikings. In particular, we will consider what may have motivated the Norsemen, how they achieved their success, and how the Saxon kingdoms responded to the crisis.

Course Information

Dates:
Fri 10/05/2024 -
Fri 19/07/2024
Times:
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Duration:
11 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
Gary Slator
Course code:
Q00014240
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £81.40