History War at Sea

Ref: C2523204

From Athenian triremes to Tudor galleons and Nelson’s Victory some of the decisive battles of world history have been fought at sea. This course explores the origins and strategic importance of sea power on the rise and fall of ‘great powers’ since classical times. Topics for study include:- Piracy & Privateering; The Press Gang; Conditions in the Georgian Navy; Collingwood’s Northumbrians; Trafalgar; Impact of technology on Victorian Navy; World War 1 at Sea; Maritime conflict in the 20th C and the Battle of the Atlantic.

Course aim

The course explores the impact of the exercise of sea power on the growth and development of society, politics and culture since classical times.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course will be of particular interest to learners interested in tracing their family tree.

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

  • 1. Demonstrate a greater knowledge of the ways in which the exercise of sea power has shaped the modern world.
  • 2. Engage with my personal/family history with more confidence and insight.
  • 3. Recognise, access and critically evaluate key historical sources available in local/ regional or national archives.
  • 4. Explore further my own special interests with like-minded people and organise a programme of personal research.

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
  • • Activities also include tutor presentations, small group work, working in pairs, class discussions, short tasks and presentations of individual research where appropriate.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Pen/pencil and notepad would be useful for learners who wish to compile a record of the topics discussed. A small file or folder in which to store hand-outs or stimulus material.

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
  • • A Naval History of Britain (2 Vols.) N.A.M Rodger • Vol. 1 The Safeguard of the Sea 660-1649 (1997) • Vol. 2 The Command of the Ocean 1649-1815 • The Pirate Wars P. Earle (2004) • Trafalgar Geordies T. Barrow (2005)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Enrol into other local history courses or actively participate in maritime related societies and/or special interest groups.

Download full Course information sheet

History War at Sea


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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