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”

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.


Inland Waterways – Past & Present

Heybridge Basin at the end of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation is a local Inland Waterway
Heybridge Basin – end of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation is a local Inland Waterway

With the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation not that far away we have a real local model to add context and flavour to the WEA’s next course.  Inland Waterways, starting on January 13th at 8pm in the Methodist Church Hal, is described by the WEA as follows:

Our next subject is Inland Waterways by Steven Worsley who will cover, over 10 weeks, the increasing leisure use of our inland waterways contrasting with their past as a transport medium during the industrial revolution. The legacy of this past will be studied on this course.

Ten interesting evenings cost £48 or for those on income under £15.276 net per annum or income based benefits/JSA free.

In doubt, then sample first evening for free

For further information please contact Gill on 01206 240512


The Great War: Fact, Myth & Memory

British soldiers in a captured German trench
British soldiers in a captured German trench
A German trench occupied by British Soldiers near the Albert-Bapaume road at Ovillers-la-Boisselle, July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. The men are from A Company, 11th Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment.
Source : Wikipedia

How appropriate that in the centenary year of the beginning of the Great War, acclaimed at the time as the war to end all wars (or was it?), that the WEA have provided details of their next course:

The WEA (Workers Education Association) runs 2 courses each year the first beginning in September and the other in January. Our next course is The Great War: Fact, Myth and Memory by Roger Beckett and starts on 23rd September 2014 at 8 pm. This course attempts to consider the Great War as an historical event, to separate fact from myth and to place the events of 1914-1918 in the context of Europe in the 20th century. All are welcome and if in doubt to sample the first evening for free. It will take place at the Methodist Hall, Chapel Lane at a cost of £48 for 10 weeks (income based benefits/JSA free). For more details contact Gill on 240512 or email [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]

Deanna Walker BEM & other news online

Banner of the West Bergholt Village BulletinThe latest Village Bulletin is now on-line and available for download/reading on-line on the Village Bulletin page.  News updates not previously reported here include:

Deanna Walker BEM

A West Bergholt woman has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours awards for her services to Higher Education.  Deanna Walker has been awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) for her work at the University of Essex where she is administrator in the Registry Department.  She joined the university staff 25 years ago in the Admissions Department working in several administrative roles before reaching her present position as Senior Academic Officer.  Her work has included mentoring junior colleagues which, she believes, also contributed to colleagues recommending her for the award.

Deanna is modest about her achievements. She says:

The award came out of the blue. When the letter came notifying me, I couldn’t understand why I was chosen as I just do an ordinary working job.

[More… in the Bulletin]

Concert Band’s Christmas Concert raises £1,500 for St Helena Hospice

The Concert Band’s 2013 Christmas Concert was a huge success, as one audience member commented:

the most enjoyable Christmas Concert I’ve been to in many, many years.

The report continues to tell how they have raised nearly £30,000 in recent years and about their plans for 2014.

[More… in the Bulletin]

Voluntary Group & Club Updates

Well, there were quite a few including:

  • Friends of St Mary’s Old Church;
  • Hillhouse Wood;
  • Care Network;
  • Friendship Club;
  • Women’s Institute;
  • History Group;
  • Bergholt Heath YFC;
  • Workers’ Educational Association;
  • Gardeners;
  • Indoor Bowls;
  • First responders;
  • Allotments;
  • Badminton;
  • Churches; and
  • Orpen Players.

[More… in the Bulletin]

Last, but not least, the weather

As if we needed reminding, 2013 was pretty much the wettest we can recall – the following chart tells you just how wet West Bergholt was:

2013 rainfall in West Bergholt




Introducing the Sultanate of Oman

Sultanate of OmanThe local branch of the WEA welcome all who would like to join this course in the Methodist Hall.   Graham Platts, who has lived in Oman and will lead the course “An introduction to the Sultanate of Oman”, says:

The Sultanate is a rapidly progressing country in the Arabian Peninsular but still not widely known.  The combination of cherished traditions and modern development provides a fascinating basis for study.

This is a shorter course than usual in the hope that it will avoid the worst of the winter weather and cost less.  The classes start on Tuesday 18th February 2014 at 8.00 pm and cost £27.18 for six weeks with a coffee break thrown in.  There is no need to book ahead,  just turn up on the first evening without obligation, before deciding whether to enrol.

Further information is available from the WEA Secretary on 01206 240791 or e-mail [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].

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