'A Moving Story' - Transport and Travel in an East Anglian Context

Ref: C2224581

East Anglia has a long and accessible coastline, navigable waterways, and fairly flat terrain. Its proximity to Europe and good arable and pastoral land enabled it to become increasingly wealthy and populated in the Middle Ages. All these factors encouraged the development of efficient and varied transport systems, of which there is plenty of documentary and material evidence. This course covers aspects of transport and travel by road, water and rail from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, using contemporary records, pictures and material remains to discover road networks and maintenance, the development of stage and mail coaches, carriers and heavy waggons; rivers, their improvement and canalization and the vessels on them, such as keels and wherries; ports and international trade and migration with evidence of the people involved; the development of the railway system and its effect on economic and social life, and the revival of road travel in the motor age.

Course aim

We study the development of road, water and rail transport from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, effects on the landscape, material remains, and stories of those who travelled.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Identify key factors of the transport infrastructure and methods of transport throughout the period
  • Explain details of travel in the area and across the world and their relation to local history
  • Identify material evidence of transport systems
  • Discuss and describe the variety of contemporary records relating to transport and travel, and of relevant secondary sources, and use material and pictorial evidence and contemporary accounts to formulate ideas and suggest areas for further study
  • Participate in group or plenary discussions on aspects of the course such as coaching inns or emigration

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

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could undertake individual research, or be part of a group undertaking a local history project. Interest in using original materials might encourage you to undertake a course to pursue your interest further.

Download full Course information sheet

'A Moving Story' - Transport and Travel in an East Anglian Context


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 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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