Day School: Politics and Protest in a Prosperous Country

Ref: C3744361

This day school will examine the dynamics of politics in nineteenth and twentieth century Berkshire, and examine both conventional narratives and hidden controversies, from Huntley and Palmers' attitude toward trade unionism to the (now almost forgotten) riots in Reading in 1981. We will examine historical and contemporary views of Reading as a ‘prosperous’ town and Berkshire as a ‘peaceful’ county, and how this influenced past and present depictions of the area. Beginning with agricultural uprisings, industrialisation, and the formation of labour organisations in the country town, the course will go on to consider the campaign for female suffrage in Berkshire, the General Strike of 1926, the presence of communism and fascism in the inter-war period, the election of Labour MPs in Reading, and violent tensions between police and people in the late twentieth century. In doing so, Berkshire’s hidden radical past will be uncovered.

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by the Education Skills Funding Agency and does not have a fee waiver but concessions may be available - contact the Branch for further details.

Course aim

This day-school will examine radical politics in Berkshire from the early Victorian period onwards, from the industrialisation of the ‘biscuit town’ of Reading in the mid-nineteenth century to tensions between people and the state in the 1980s.

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 key historical developments in nineteenth and twentieth century Berkshire.
  • Outline the ways in which national events played out in Reading and other towns in Berkshire.
  • Assess Berkshire's reputation as a 'peaceful county'
  • Recognise the key personalities active in Reading politics from the nineteenth century onwards.

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 be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • There will be a number of tasks appropriate to your course such as written work, creating art or craft, video, photography or small projects. Some of these may be marked to help you progress

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

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?

Download full course information sheet

Day School: Politics and Protest in a Prosperous Country


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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