The Swansea Branch’s

Courses in the Community

If you have any question, please contact the Outclass Courses Manager, David Grindrod, at db.grindrod@virgin.net, or on 01267 281581 or 07773 088337








The Life and Times of Gerald of Wales

Colin Wheldon James

Mondays (10.30am–12.30pm) from 6 January 2020 for 10 weeks at Canolfan y Bont, Pontardulais, Swansea          £30 per person

Gerald of Wales was descended from Norman Marcher barons and Welsh princes, and was by turns a scholar and a churchman; a courtier and a diplomat; a champion of the Welsh Church and a hunted outlaw. He was also a naturalist, a budding cartographer, a gossip and a tireless traveller; but above all, he was a most prolific writer. From his books that have survived the centuries, we know a great deal about this resolute, short-tempered, self-righteous and utterly fearless character: more, in fact, than about any other inhabitant of medieval Wales. Gerald was endlessly curious, and compulsively concerned to record for posterity the things that he discovered, and paints a remarkably detailed and wide-ranging picture, not only of him, but also of medieval Wales itself.


The 1950s

Dr Anthea Symonds

Mondays (2.00pm–4.00pm) from 13 January 2020 for 10 weeks at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea          £30 per person

This ten-week course covers the 1950s in Britain, Europe, USA and USSR. In Britain the ’50s are often seen as ‘the land of lost content’: the emergence of the welfare state meant increased opportunities and a measure of security for all the population. The Festival of Britain summed up this new optimism. But in many ways, this was a decade of two distinct halves. The Suez Crisis in 1956 meant that Britain was forced to reassess its place in a new world. Increasing demands from former colonies for self-determination and the impact of increased immigration brought change and some tensions. There was also a revolution in the theatre with the emergence of the ‘angry young man’ and skiffle and rock ’n’ roll. The ‘teenager’ was born. In Europe, France was also facing the end of an empire, Germany was embarking upon its economic miracle, and Italy was emerging as a newly fashionable cultural influence. The death of Stalin forced great changes in the Soviet Union while in America post-war affluence and social conformity was increasingly criticised by a powerful counter-culture. It was the Atomic Age with all the potential for destruction. A period of conformity but also powerful movements in culture and the arts which set the scene for the Swinging Sixties.


In Sickness and in Health: The History of Health and Healthcare Provision through Time (Part 2)

Dr Anne Kelly

Tuesdays (2.00–4.00pm) from 7 January 2020 for 10 weeks at the Outdoor Bowls Club, off St Peter’s Carpark, Carmarthen          £30 per person

This course continues from where the last term’s course ended at the early Victorian period.

This course continues to trace developments in Health Care from their early beginnings through charitable provision, to the developments of philanthropic care, the influence of public health and developments in medicine and surgery, the slow ‘moving in of the State’ with its concerns over eugenics, national efficiency and the need for ‘state professions’, then the coming of the National Health Service, the increasing demands of the post-war decades, the influence of modern science, managerialism, community care and current predictions of the outcomes of modern developments. Throughout, it will be shown how many developments were linked to the happenings in various historical periods; common myths will be identified together with the ways in which they were exploded and ways in which tradition held back progress will be explored.


The Age of Enlightenment and Revolution, 1714–1790s

Richard Lewis

Wednesdays (6.30–8.30pm) from 8 January 2020 for 10 weeks at Forge Fach, Clydach          £30 per person

This course will examine key personalities, movements and trends that have helped define an age of immense political significance. The main topics will be:

The Hanoverian succession and Whig ascendancy. The Jacobite threats, Whig factional strife and Tory decline.

Sir Robert Walpole and his enemies, 1721–42.

Russia, from Peter the Great to Catherine the Great, 1714–60s

George II, 1727–60: a study in kingship.

William Pitt the Elder: a political life, 1730s–78

The Enlightenment and the Enlightened despots. A study of Frederick II of Prussia.

Eighteenth-century wars. Polish succession, Austrian succession, the Seven Years’ War, American independence.

Joseph II of Austria: a study in failure?

Why was there a French Revolution?

The Age of Atlantic Revolutions


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