Day School: Inns, Taverns and Ale Houses

Ref: C3741574

We will stress that as long as man has travelled, he has needed accommodation; and we will speculate on the earliest inns. We will then see the oldest ones remaining, and hear their stories. The (sometimes dubious) links of inns and the Church will be examined, noting the importance of pilgrimage. References will be made to "The Canterbury Tales". We will come across the first galleried inns, and view their purpose. After the abrupt end to the pilgrimages we will see how pubs "diversified" for custom. The strong link, firstly with the waggon trade, and then with the coaching industry, will be discussed. We will note the horrors of cheap gin. We will see how entertainment gave rise to the first music halls. Throughout, the social, economic and cultural role that inns have played will be emphasised, as well as their odd moments where national history was made.

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by the Skills Funding Agency and does not have a fee waiver but concessions may be available - contact the Branch for further details.

Course aim

This course aims to emphasise the role played by pubs in England's social, economic, cultural, and at times political history, and to chart the styles of architecture used in construction.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Differentiate between ale and beer
  • Differentiate between inn, tavern, and alehouse.
  • Identify the architectural features of a late-medieval inn.
  • Describe the importance of inns to literature.
  • Explain how inter-dependent the inns were with the coaching industry.

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
  • You will be expected to visit pubs!

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 consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • You may be able to plan some excursions and weekends away.

Download full Course information sheet

Day School: Inns, Taverns and Ale Houses


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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