Country Life 1700-1900

Ref: C2226778

The years between 1700 and 1900 saw major changes in the landscape, society and economy of rural East Anglia. In this course we follow these changes and consider their effects both on the physical appearance of the countryside, and on different social groups. Using a variety of written, pictorial and material evidence, we consider the process of enclosure and its economic and social significance. We look at the role of the great estates and the influence of the squire and the parson on rural society. We focus on the lives of the labouring poor and the rural unrest that flared from time to time as a result of changes or conditions. The 19th century saw the external influences of urbanization and industrialization, and competition from American and Australia, and we study the depression and diversification in agriculture that resulted from this, and the new opportunities that were afforded by industrial and transport developments, and the establishment of colonies.

Course aim

An insight into East Anglian life, from the great house to the labourer’s cottage, during a period of great economic and social change

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course is aimed at anyone who is interested in history with a local emphasis.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • identify relevant farming changes which impacted on East Anglians during this period
  • examine and analyse source materials on enclosure and draw conclusions from them
  • be able to share in group discussions on the social structure of East Anglian society
  • use new material and the evidence to draw reasoned conclusions
  • produce a reasoned conclusion on the lives of the labouring poor

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Students will be given a list of useful books

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Undertake individual research, or join a local group or society undertaking a local history project. Interest in using original materials might encourage you to undertake a course in palaeography.

Download full course information sheet

Country Life 1700-1900


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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