The English Country House in the 20th Century

Ref: C2339569

In 1900 the “Stately Homes of England” seemed impregnable bastions of wealth and privilege; however by 1950 many were unwanted and unloved. We will look at this decline and how there was a country house renaissance by 2000. The following topics will be examined. 1. The Edwardian Country House; a stable institution? 2. The 1910’s Threats from Budgets and War. 3. The 1920’s and 1930’s Managing Decline. 4. The Country House in the Second World War. 5. 1950’s & 1960’s Destruction, Coach Parties and Safari Parks. 6. New Country Houses, 1950’s – 1980’s. 7. Approaching 2000, a Country House Renaissance?

Course aim

The course will show how many country houses went through a period of decline in the 20th Century. We will see how this was sometimes followed by the destruction of the house, sometimes by rebirth as a visitor attraction, educational institution etc.

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 the threats to country houses in the 20th Century.
  • Identify the types of people who were able to build new Country Houses in the 20th Century.
  • Analyse the impact the World Wars had on Country Houses.
  • Recognise the ways in which country houses were used to make money after 1945.
  • Analyse the factors which caused a revival in Country Houses after 1980.

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 have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

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
  • 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

Download full course information sheet

The English Country House in the 20th Century


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  • 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

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