Water, Water everywhere

Ref: C2225597

Starting with an overview of early drainage attempts, this course focusses on the impact on local communities of the major drainage works carried out in the 17th Century and the role of the Bedford Corporation in keeping the Fens drained. We shall discover how the local inhabitants reacted to the changing landscape and how it affected their livelihoods. There will be floods, riots and epidemics to contend with as well as celebrations, new inventions and new opportunities. We shall meet some of the well-known characters as well as the lesser-known, ordinary folk and hear their stories.

Course aim

To investigate the effect of the draining the Fens on local communities between 1600 and 2000, looking at landscape, occupations, technology, social conditions and to consider the future options.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

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

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

  • Identify the key drainage works and the characters involved in the Fens of the 17th century.
  • Provide four examples of how the drainage works between 1600 and 1800 affected local communities.
  • Explain how new technology in the 19th century affected the development of Fenland.
  • Discuss, in small groups, possible options for future development within Fenland.

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 may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support 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 have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • 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

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • A dedicated Padlet page will be created for this course to enable students to access and download course materials together with weblink pages for each session. A book box will be provided by the tutor as a lending library.

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 http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next
  • Visit some of the key sites featured during the course. Become involved with the Great Fen Project as a volunteer.

Download full course information sheet

Water, Water everywhere


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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