History: Riverside London

Ref: C3739732

The River Thames has been fundamental in the development of London as a trading capital and world city. This course will explore the river between Westminster Bridge and London Bridge and we will study the history of the bridges and the riverside buildings. There will be 4 lectures interspersed with 3 visits to the riverside.

Additional information about this course

Half term: 1/6/2017.

Course aim

An exploration of the importance of the River Thames to the development of London as a trading capital and world city. We will study it in detail from Westminster Bridge to London Bridge.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

Beginning with the river itself we will explore its course through London, its bridges and the riverside buildings. Beginning at Westminster Bridge we will study the importance of the riverside buildings, their historical significance and how they have changed over time. Proceeding downstream we will study the riverside between Hungerford, Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges to the Millennium and Cannon Street Railway Bridge and end at London Bridge

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

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

1. Explain the importance of the river to the development of the trading in London. 2. Describe 3 of the bridges studied. 3. Choose 4 riverside buildings and describe their architectural features. 4. Identify some of the riverside sculptures and memorials.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Question and answer sessions during every class, plenty of time for revision before each class. Encouragement for students to do own research and report back to the class and a great deal of open discussion.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

A London A-Z book of maps. Fares for 3 visits to London and suitable warm clothing and footwear.

Reading and information sources

Any background reading about London in general and the River Thames in particular would be helpful.

What could the course lead to?

Further courses about London, walking part or all of the Thames Path. Taking friends for the above. Training as a London guide.

Download full course outline

History: Riverside London Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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