Day School: History - Women Above Stairs in the English Country House

Ref: C3739736

The importance of women in creating and maintaining English Country Houses has often been overlooked. In this dayschool we will examine how wives and daughters created desirable interiors in which guests to Georgian and Victorian country houses could be entertained.

Additional information about this course

*Reading courses bookable from 1st July 2016* This course is not supported by the Skills Funding Agency and does not have a fee waiver. However, for Reading Branch courses students on an Income Related Benefit will be eligible for a 50% fee reduction only. PLEASE PHONE to enrol if you are on an Income Related Benefit as you cannot enrol online via the WEA website.

Course aim

The course aims to give an insight into how gentry and aristocratic women created country houses and their interiors and used them to further their interests.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

The course is planned to cover : 1. 10.00-11.00. “Female Country House owners.” 2. 11.15-11.30. Coffee. 3. 11.30-12.30. “Creating and using the country house interior.” 4. 12.30-13.30. Lunch. 5. 13.30-15.00. Group study : “Gentry and aristocratic women in documents.” Learners will be provided with a range of 19th Century archive documents. 6. 15.00-15.15 Tea. 7. 15.15-16.00. Conclusions and ideas for further study

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. Recognise how women could own country houses. 2. Understand how women created and used country house interiors. 3. Identify some of the archive sources which can be used to study women in country houses.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Your tutor will informally assess you during the course.

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

No special material is required although you might want to bring a notebook.

Reading and information sources

No reading is required for this course but students may find the following helpful. Amanda Vickery, “The Gentleman’s Daughter, Women’s Lives in Georgian England”, Yale University Press. Amanda Vickery, “Behind Closed Doors”, Yale University Press.

What could the course lead to?

Further advice and a reading list will be given during the course.

Download full course outline

Day School: History - Women Above Stairs in the English Country House 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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