Inns, Taverns and Alehouses

Ref: C3742783

Along with the church, inns, taverns and alehouses have, for centuries, been central to community life, serving as a meeting place, community centre, court room and much more. Each type of public house had its own personality and place in the community. Often the name harked back to long past events and people. Now our public houses are closing fast and with each closure some of our history vanishes. This course seeks to find out more about both the surviving and lost public houses of the area, the role that they played in their communities, and the people who frequented them.

Course aim

Great coaching inns to humble beer houses, these have always been more than just a place to drink alcohol. This course looks at their place in national and local life.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Identify sites of local public houses, existing and closed, and describe elements of their history.
  • Describe the varied roles that the public house has played in the community and explain the reasons for these roles.
  • Explain the legal and social differences between the varied types of public houses e.g. the differences between and inn, tavern and alehouse.
  • Explain the background to the temperance movement and describe the response locally, including locating local coffee taverns.
  • Describe the variety of sources that can be used to find out about licensed premises and use some of these to trace the history of a local public house.

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
  • 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
  • A good local map would be useful but not essential

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

Download full course information sheet

Inns, Taverns and Alehouses


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

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