After nearly 40 years…

The local WEA was formed 40 years ago this year

A group of locals formed the WEA West Bergholt Branch nearly 40 years ago on Tuesday 20th October 1981. They launched their first ‘season’ of lectures in spring 1982 on the topic of “The Citizen and the Law – criminal, family, and consumer”; local lawyers presented the course.

Imperial China might be the last course after nearly 40 years

They started their most recent series on “Imperial China: Land and People” in spring 2021 was curtailed because of the Covid 19 lockdown 1; they did manage to complete nine of the ten weeks of this excellently presented subject though.

Continue reading “After nearly 40 years…”

Imperial China – Land & People: A WEA Course

The Great Wall of China

An early emperor in Imperial China Xia DynastyImperial China – Land & People

The first WEA course of the decade is on the subject of Imperial China.  China, as one of the oldest continuous civilisations, is currently undergoing dramatic change; it has emerged as a major world economy.

David Prynn investigates more than 4,000 years of China’s turbulent past and brilliant cultural achievements prior to the Xinhai Revolution in 1911.

You will learn about the dynasties from the Continue reading “Imperial China – Land & People: A WEA Course”

History Everywhere

History Everywhere – 20th October

Do you enjoy walking in the countryside? Did you wonder about particular features that you see around you? Is it Saxon or Roman? Or perhaps why a town looks and feels the way it does?   If so, this one-day course, led by Nicholas James, is definitely for you.

Course Summary

Britain’s history lies in its familiar geographies. Town and country have been shaped by Continue reading “History Everywhere”

The Jazz Century – Cakewalk to Culture

Sax Jazz

Sax JazzThe Jazz Century – Cakewalk to Culture

After its summer break, the West Bergholt Branch of WEA is welcoming the return of popular tutor Graham Platts with a Jazz theme.  Members enjoyed Graham’s previous courses:

For this course, Graham’s subject is “The Jazz Century – Cakewalk to Culture” the origins Continue reading “The Jazz Century – Cakewalk to Culture”

Gardens in British Art follows Pakistan Perspective

A typical Garden in Art from 19th Century
Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargeant, 1885

Gardens in British Art

The most recent WEA course, Perspectives of Pakistan, is coming to an end and has been well received, read about it below. The new year sees a new course starting led by Sue Pownall.  It will address “Art Appreciation: Gardens in British Art in the 19th & 20th Centuries.”

This course explores how gardens have been Continue reading “Gardens in British Art follows Pakistan Perspective”

Perspectives of Pakistan – 1847 to Malala Yousafzai

Perspectives of Pakistan – 1847 to Malala Yousafzai

Led by Graham Platts, Perspectives of Pakistan is title of the next course being run by the WEA.

Pakistan is both an old and a new country. Its people are hospitable yet sometimes wary of outsiders. The course explores some fascinating contradictions of this little understood nation.  This included its place in a very diverse region and the historic cultural influences of its neighbours on north-west India.

The arrival of the British brought new changes; we can see this in microcosm through the history of a school between 1847 and the present day. We follow the process of India’s Partition – the events that led to it and the circumstances in which it came about – before reviewing Pakistan’s progress in the aftermath.

The course considers the achievements of some artists (men and women) and those involved in sports; this will be followed by the story of Malala Yousafzai who has gained international recognition through her campaigning for girls’ education. Finally, we ask what it is like to live and work in Pakistan in the 21st century, arriving at some humorous as well as more challenging conclusions.

About Graham Platts

Graham is a former school Principal who worked in Oman and Pakistan (2000-2011), now retired and living in Ipswich. He has had happy encounters with WEA branches in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk; he hopes to visit others in the future. Graham is interested the development of the English language, Medieval English literature (especially Chaucer), and The Sultanate of Oman.

Working with adults is fun! It is good for both tutor and student to open up to some new learning experiences outside our working lives and indulge our curiosity about the world and human achievements. As well as being a keen reader and researcher, I enjoy music and sing in local choirs.


The course runs for 9 weeks starting at 8pm on Tuesday 19th September in the Methodist Hall.  The charge for the course is £48.60,  you can enrol now online at (course reference C2224461) or by calling 0300 303 3464 Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.  If you decide the course isn’t for you, the WEA will reimburse you.

To find out more you can also contact the local WEA contact, Gill Poole on 01206 240512 or by email [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].


Industrial Archaeology – A WEA Course

Industrial archaeologyIndustrial Archaeology

wealogoThe next WEA course is entitled “Industrial Archaeology” and it starts on Tuesday 10th January 2017 at 8pm.

Landscape revolution?

Whilst the Industrial Revolution shaped Tyneside, the Black Country and the south Pennines, it also changed East Anglia’s landscape. Learn how the traditional crafts became mechanised, factory-based, industries, and discover their legacy.  Our tutor is Steven Worsley.

This course will explain the importance of the industrialisation of Britain and will assist students in interpreting and recognising the surviving remains and artefacts.  Eastern Counties industries discussed:

  • Transport Networks,
  • Textiles (wool, cotton, silk, linen),
  • Milling, Malting and Brewing,
  • Raw materials (iron, steel, coal),
  • Power (animal, water, wind, steam),
  • Engineering (especially agricultural),
  • Other farming (tanning, fertilisers).

The course is taking place at the Methodist Hall Chapel Lane, West Bergholt. CO6 3EF and costs £47.25 over 9 weeks. You can pay in one of 3 ways:

  1. Sample the first night for FREE and then pay on attendance at the 2nd night.
  2. Pre-enrol at
  3. Freephone 0800 328 1060 lines open Monday to Friday 10 – 3pm.

If you decide the course is not for you, you can ask for a refund.  There may be a fee waiver for those on low income/benefits.


Contact Gill on 01206 240512 if you would like more details.


Films & Literature

Film-&-LiteratureFilms & Literature

Films & Literature is the topic of the upcoming WEA course starting at 8pm on 13th September.   The course will investigate the way books & cinema have influenced the other as David Read, the tutor, says:

From the early days of cinema to the present day film has shared with the novel a passion for storytelling. Early pioneer of the Silent Film D W Griffiths, cited the novels of Dickens as an influence on his technique and to this day film makers continue to use literature as an inspiration.

Films/books that we will consider in the study are “The Great Gatsby” and “Pride & Prejudice”.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive.  You will work in groups and with the whole class, sharing ideas and views and giving and receiving feedback.  The WEA tutor uses a range of different teaching and learning methods and will encourage you to be actively involved in your learning.  You will get the texts for the following week each session and might find it it useful to supplement them with some internet research or background reading.

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

  • make informed judgements about the success or otherwise of film adaptations of literary works;
  • identify similarities of form and content across the two media;
  • describe the narrative techniques used by writers and film makers;
  • describe the stylistic techniques used by writers and film makers.

wealogoFind out more

The course will run for 9 evenings at the Methodist Hall, Chapel lane, and will cost £47.25.  (If you are on low income and benefits, let the organiser know, the fee may be waived).  If you would like to find out more contact Gill on 01206 240512, you are also most welcome to try the first evening for free.


Shakespeare’s Villains

Shakespeare’s Villains – A WEA Short Course

Not “done” Shakespeare since you left school? Do you think his works are not for you? This autumn in West Bergholt we are looking forward to welcoming Ron Marks who will be our tutor on “Shakespeare’s Villains”.  This will be an exploration of Shakespeare’s insights into how “one may smile, and smile and be a villain, a scheming ‘machiavel’”, “bloody, bawdy” and eternally fascinating to audiences.

This course promises to make Shakespeare’s interesting and accessible to all.

So why not come along and try it? You can sample the first evening for free!  The course starts at the Methodist Hall at 8pm on 15th September and lasts for 10 weeks.

10 evenings cost £48, those on income under £15,276 net per annum or income based benefits/JSA free.

For further information please contact Gill on 01206 240512.

No Prior Research Needed – but:

… if you wanted somebody else’s take on the top 5 Shakespeare villains then here they are:

1. Iago

Driven by an overpowering lust for evil rivaled only by Satan, Iago grabs the title as worst Shakespeare villain hands down. As the critic William Robertson Turnbull once pointed out, “Iago is an unbeliever in, and denier of, all things spiritual, who only acknowledges God, like Satan, to defy him”

2. Richard III

The tyrannical, morally vacuous Richard III orders his own brother’s execution and the murder of two innocent children because they are obstacles to his kingly ambition. Luckily, Richard’s horrific acts come to an end when he is slain by Richmond at the battle of Bosworth Field.

3. Cornwall

In King Lear, a play rife with heinous evildoers, Cornwall towers over them all. Infinitely greedy and exceptionally cruel, Cornwall schemes with his wife, Regan, and sister-in-law, Goneril, to torture Lear and Gloucester. Cornwall delights in gouging out Gloucester’s eyes, exclaiming “Out, vile jelly!/Where is thy lustre now?”

4. Aaron the Moor

Among other vile crimes, Aaron the Moor, servant and lover to Tamora, masterminds the brutal rape of Titus Andronicus’s daughter, Lavinia. When, at the end of the play, Titus’s son Lucius decides that Aaron should be buried to the neck in sand and starved, Aaron, defiant to the end, tells Lucius that “If one good deed in all my life I did/I do repent it from my very soul.”

5. Edmund

Resentful of his illegitimacy, the Earl of Gloucester’s bastard son strives to destroy his brother and father to gain Gloucester’s title and possessions. Successful in his evil plot to ruin Gloucester, he next plans to kill Cordelia and Lear so that he can rule Britain. Edmund’s henchmen strangle Cordelia and Lear dies broken-hearted as a result of his daughter’s murder.

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