London's Population & Immigration: from the Romans to the Civil War

Ref: C2419185

London has been shaped by waves of immigration since the Romans founded it after they invaded 2,000 years ago. Anglo Saxons and the Vikings developed its character. Why did William the Conqueror build the Tower of London with imported Caen stone? If medieval London was famous for its holiness and number of churches, how did it also get the sinful reputation the monk Richard of Devizes warns of? “Each race brings its own vices and its own customs to the city. No one lives in it without falling into some sort of crime. The greater a rascal a man is, the better a man he is accounted.” How did it shift to becoming a major European capital and trading centre in the Tudor period? We will examine the city’s development with slides and group discussions. The discussion will continue in a companion course that looks at the city from the Restoration until the present day.

Course aim

To understand how London's population formed through waves of immigration from the countryside and overseas from its founding to the trauma of the Civil War.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Appreciate the antiquity of London, and the varied influences that shaped the city
  • Distinguish historical fact from fiction
  • Understand how historical events shaped the city's population

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?

  • 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 be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • It is useful to be able to take notes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but you may find it useful to read relevant books, such as Peter Ackroyd's London, the Biography or Stephen Inwood's A History of London

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

London's Population & Immigration: from the Romans to the Civil War


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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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