Philanthropy and Philanthropists

Ref: C3744277

The kindness of others, whether through small bequests or larger foundations, has been, and remains, an important aspect of society. This course traces the history of philanthropy in the south, from the medieval to the 19th century. We will consider the lives of a number of local benefactors, what they sought to achieve and how their ideas were influenced by the society in which they lived. Who were, or are, the beneficiaries of the philanthropic schemes,what conditions had to be met and whether the benefactor’s aims were achieved.

Course aim

From the middle ages to the present day individuals from every level of society have given help to those less fortunate than themselves. This course considers acts of philanthropy, the people behind them and their lasting effect on the area.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Explain the nature of philanthropy and bequests, and identify ways in which philanthropy has changed over the centuries and why.
  • Philanthropic goals were sometimes thwarted by others. List notable local examples and explain the circumstances in which this occurred
  • Identify local almshouses and other philanthropic foundations and identify how and why they were established and by whom.
  • Describe at least three philanthropic enterprises that gave survived for 250 years or more and identify reasons for this longevity
  • Identify beneficiaries of philanthropic scheme and explain the conditions people had to meet in order to benefit from particular schemes. Compare schemes to identify common conditions that applied, whether these changed over the centuries and suggest social conditions that might have influenced the setting of rules.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Student visit to some of the sites discussed, although this would be optional

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

Philanthropy and Philanthropists


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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