Three history lovers are the first to receive Certificates of Continuing Education in Local Historical Studies from the Department of History.
Geoff Baister from Stanway, Ian Yearsley from Southend and Nick Rowlands from Wivenhoe have completed the certificate through evening courses on local and regional history held at the Colchester Campus.
The programme of popular courses covers everything from archaeology to art history and also includes research techniques. People can choose to take each course just because they are interested in the subject, but if they want to those taking the courses can also choose to complete a piece of assessed coursework.
Over the past three years Geoff, Ian and Nick have successfully completed four of the courses and assessments to achieve their certificate.
Retired deputy head teacher Nick Rowlands said: “I have always loved History, so when the chance came to sample the certificate courses, I was delighted to do so. At first I wasn't sure whether to actually do the coursework, but the quality of the teaching was so high and the content of the courses so interesting that I really enjoyed doing the work!”
Ian Yearsley, who works in Information Technology, has been researching and writing books about Essex history for 15 years, but decided he wanted to start studying history to get a formal qualification from the University.
Having completed his Certificate, he is now studying for a Masters at Essex and working on a dissertation covering migration into the Rochford Hundred in the late 19th Century as Southend boomed.
He said: “It has been amazing for me personally, while allowing me to achieve something really worthwhile.
“At the start I didn’t have a history qualification at all – I didn’t even have an ‘O’ Level in history!
“I wasn’t sure whether I should do a degree and the certificate course allowed you to pick the modules you were interested in and do a qualification if you wanted to.
“It was ideal for me as I could also fit it around work.”
Semi-retired Information Technology specialist Geoff, 54, enjoyed the 10-week courses so much he is now taking his fifth, on the Art History of the Stour Valley. Previous courses have covered the History of Colchester; Roman Colchester; the Prehistoric Archaeology of Essex and East Anglia; and Researching and Writing Local and Regional History.
He said: “The courses have increased my local knowledge of the town and region, and as a result helped me to better appreciate the environment, landscape and history of the area.
“However, the biggest plus from my point of view has been the opportunity the courses have given me to mix with like-minded individuals whose passion and existing knowledge has given all the courses an added dimension.
“I would unreservedly recommend the Local History courses to anyone who wants to better appreciate the history and the personalities of Colchester and its surrounding area.”
To find out more about the Local History courses offered at the University of Essex visit: www.essex.ac.uk/history