Spring Term 2025

Class in progress Class in progress

Music Appreciation - Introduction to the Opera (Code MA7) NEW!

Mondays 2.00pm to 4.00pm

10 meetings each of 2 hours from Monday 13 January 2025

Tutor: John Winter

Location: Function room, Plough & Harrow

The term Operacovers a wealth of styles: tragic or comic, epic or intimate, historical (usually inaccurate!), many singers or just a few, lengthy or short, with or without spoken words and much more. This course will trace the history and development of opera from its early days of Monteverdi (1608) through the works of Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Richard Strauss and others.
Samuel Johnson called opera exotic and irrational (often true), an American sports writer coined the phrase it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings (unfair and untrue), while Maria Callas said opera stays part of my life long after I've left the opera house. See if you agree... Come and share the drama, the tender moments, the sheer fun and of course some great tunes!

Please note: There will be a half-term break on Monday 17th February 2025.


Music Appreciation - Music in France 1830 to 1960 (Code MA8)

Tuesdays 10.00am to 12.00pm

10 meetings each of 2 hours from Tuesday 14 January 2025

Tutor: John Winter

Location: Function room, Plough & Harrow

Following our popular course on French musical miniatures, we will be listening to larger scale pieces of music written for France but not necessarily by French composers. We will concentrate on ballets, operas, orchestral music and choral works. We will consider the glories of the Paris Opera, the arguments of the Paris Conservatoire, Impressionism, the scandals of Diaghilev’s ballets and the student-like humour of Les Six in the 1920s.

Please note: There will be a half-term break on Tuesday 18th February 2025.


The English Country House: Changes in Fortune 1900 to 2000 (Code EH2)

Wednesdays 2.00pm to 4.00pm

10 meetings each of 2 hours from Wednesday 15 January 2025

Tutor: Adam Smith

Location: Function room, Plough & Harrow

In this term, we will see the changing fortunes in the country house. The great houses of England were symbols of the aristocracy’s wealth and power in 1900 but declined to become white elephants by the middle of the century, only to be resurrected by 2000. The course will chart the story of these changes in fortune.

Please note: There will be a half-term break on Wednesday 19th February 2025.


Current Affairs / Talking Politics (Code CA6)

Wednesdays 2.00pm - 3.30pm

10 meetings each of 1½ hours from Wednesday 16 January 2025

Tutor: Virginia Brisco

Location: Renwick room, Harpenden Trust Centre

This class, led by an experienced and popular tutor, is a lively discussion about contemporary issues. The participants hold varying views and are encouraged to put them forward in a friendly, non-confrontational environment, although some prefer just to listen. There is a great deal to talk about right now. It is good to learn from others, and have the chance to express your own views.

Please note: There will be a half-term break on Wednesday 19th February 2025.


The “Real” First World War (Code WW1)

Thursdays 10.00am to 12.00pm

10 meetings each of 2 hours from Thursday 16 January 2025

Tutor: Ian Waller

Location: Function room, Plough & Harrow

Most people's knowledge of the First World War is through the plethora of official records generated by the government and the military. But there is a real side to the war as seen through the eyes of those who served in the military and navy, as well as those left on the home front. We do not really appreciate how people's everyday lives were affected, or the sufferings and boredom of those on the various fronts - the real war. In the sessions we will examine: The real beginnings of the war from both the British and German perspectives. Over by Christmas - was this a joke? Fervour of recruitment. Real life and sufferings in the trenches. Letter home - the wartime postal service. The home front - those left back in England. The war at sea and in the air. What the intelligence summaries (war diaries and trench maps) never revealed. Demobilisation, repatriation and the Spanish Flu - the realities of post war Britain. Those who did not return home...

Please note: There will be a half-term break on Thursday 20th February 2025.


English Literature: The Celtic Contribution (Part 2) (Code CC2)

Thursdays 2.00pm - 4.00pm

10 meetings each of 2 hours from Thursday 16 January 2025

Tutor: Michael King

Location: Southdown Methodist Halls, 130 Southdown Road.

Some of the finest writing in English over the past century, or so, has come from writers of Celtic birth or origin. The course will examine a variety of texts, in fiction, poetry and drama from Wales, Scotland and Ireland, exploring ideas of the Celtic experience, for their own intrinsic value and also for what they articulate about identity and nationhood, within the context of the United Kingdom.
Writers to be considered will range from early 20 th century figures such as W. B. Yeats, James Joyce and Lewis Grassic Gibbon, through R.S and Dylan Thomas, Edna O’

Please note: There will be a half-term break on Thursday 20th February 2025.