Men, Money and Power: A History of Britain’s Railways

Ref: C2224482

Arguably the advent of rail transport brought about the biggest change in the way of life in Gt Britain during the 19th century. In its wake came standardised time, holidays and a realisation by the ordinary people that there really was a different life over the next hill. It also brought financial skulduggery and power hungry despots. This course will look at the political and financial implications of railways to Nationalisation while reviewing the men who were intimately concerned with the growth of this pivotal change in Gt Britain.

Course aim

Promote a better understanding of the interaction of the political, financial, engineering and social changes that the railways brought to this country.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • Students will need to feel reasonable comfortable with technical vocabulary and note taking.

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

  • Develop an understanding of the reasons for the growth of the railway network.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of why the Railways had such an impact on the country
  • Formulate an appreciation the importance of both the engineering of and the men behind, the railways.
  • Outline the consequences of the financial and political implications of the growth of the Railways.
  • recognise the social & economic issues of the railways

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
  • Discussions, lectures, group work, investigations video/PowerPoint, question & answer.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • Via Question & Answer, discussion, quizzes

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Have an Interest in industrial and railway history

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Site visit and further reading

Download full Course information sheet

Men, Money and Power: A History of Britain’s Railways


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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