The Waterways of the East Midlands

Ref: C2341592

This course will identify the key features and characteristics of the East Midlands network of waterways. It will begin by focusing on the River Trent and its significance as the backbone of the waterway system, touching on the impact of geography on the way in which the system developed.. This will be followed by a systematic study of waterway development in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. These developments will be set in the context of the economic and social factors operating in the period from 1750 to 1850., but will also identify those parts of the network which continue to be used in the current era. The course will also cover the makers of the system, how waterways were developed and managed, distinctions between navigable rivers and canals, the kinds of goods and materials carried, and how the network was affected by the arrival of the railways. The impact on the region's economy and people will be explored.

Course aim

This course will provide an introduction to the development of the East Midlands Waterway Network setting this development in it's national context.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • While no previous experience is required, an interest in waterways and more generally in transport history will be welcome. Anyone interested in the history of their locality will find this interesting.

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

  • Explain how the waterway network in the East Midlands developed
  • Set this development in the context of social economic change in the period 1760 to 1850
  • Identify the key people involved in waterway development in the East Midlands
  • Explain how a waterway was capitaklised, constructed and managed

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
  • The course will be supported by slides, pictures, maps and other documents.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • It will be useful to bring reading glasses if you use these regularly for other activities.

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
  • There are many local history societies which welcome new members and provide opportunities for further learning. Many waterways are still functioing and can provide interesting visits while even those abandoned usually offer traces of their previous existence.

Download full course information sheet

The Waterways of the East Midlands

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This course is not available for online enrolment.


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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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