Set out below are the details of over 200 courses available at the REC delivered by expert tutors. Search for a course that meets your needs by title, subject, tutor, day or term. Further details of our tutors together with which courses they are running can also be obtained here.

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The Structure of St Paul's Cathedral (repeat course)
Start Date: 1st July 2020
Find out more about this iconic London landmark! Please note: This is a repeat of a previous presentation.
Exploring Traditional Wildflower Names
Start Date: 3rd July 2020
This morning session explores the meaning and origin behind some of the names of our wildflowers and helps you to know your Cow Mumble from your Sheep’s Parsley.
The Making of a Masterpiece: A World of Interiors - The Arnolfini Portrait
Start Date: 6th July 2020
We shall be looking at The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck, 1434, to discover why and how it was made, by and for whom, and its subsequent life.
The Plague by Albert Camus
Start Date: 7th July 2020
This one-off lecture will explore the parallels between Camus' masterpiece and our situation today and also discuss the symbolism of ‘la peste’.
Ealing Comedies
Start Date: 8th July 2020
Post-war film comedies produced by Ealing Studios have been cited as representing British archetypes and values with their profusion of eccentrics, mavericks and subversives, and subtle satire. We shall look at five films from 1947 to 1951.
The Ears Have It: Hares and Rabbits in Art and Culture
Start Date: 10th July 2020
Deceptively similar to modern eyes, the hare and the rabbit inhabit different worlds in the history of European art and culture. From Durer’s hare to the Velveteen Rabbit, we will explore the contradictions at the heart of our cultural response to lagomorphs.
The Making of a Masterpiece: A World of Interiors - The Milkmaid
Start Date: 13th July 2020
Each week we shall be looking at a famous painting to discover why and how it was made, by and for whom, and its subsequent life. This week we will be looking at The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer, 1657-8
What does DNA do?
Start Date: 16th July 2020
DNA carries copies of all the chemical information your parents needed to grow up, find a mate and make you. This 2-session course takes a look at Biology at the molecular level, and it’s much more fascinating.
The Making of a Masterpiece: A World of Interiors - The Awakening Conscience
Start Date: 20th July 2020
Each week we shall be looking at a famous painting to discover why and how it was made, by and for whom, and its subsequent life. This week we will be looking at The Awakening Conscience by William Holman Hunt, 1853.
The Making of a Masterpiece: A World of Interiors - Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy
Start Date: 27th July 2020
Each week we shall be looking at a famous painting to discover why and how it was made, by and for whom, and its subsequent life. This week we will be looking at Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy by David Hockney, 1971
How did the Americans land on the Moon?
Start Date: 30th July 2020
In July 1969, two men set foot on another celestial body, for the first time in human history. For two hours, recapture some of the excitement of that amazing enterprise, through video and explanation.
The Making of a Masterpiece: A World of Interiors - My Bed
Start Date: 3rd August 2020
Each week we shall be looking at a famous painting to discover why and how it was made, by and for whom, and its subsequent life. This week we will be looking at My Bed by Tracey Emin, 1998
Life on Planet Earth before Plants and Animals
Start Date: 3rd August 2020
Single-celled life sounds like something we can safely leave to the microbiologists, but all life on the planet was single-celled for around 3 billion years. In that inconceivable period of time, marvellous events took place which changed the planet forever.
Ladies at Wrest: The Lives, Loves and Losses of the Women of the de Grey Family c1580-1918
Start Date: 3rd August 2020
The course will draw on letters, diaries and other documents and images to explore the lives and loves, aspirations, and cultural contexts of the women of the de Grey family.
Philosophy of Aristotle
Start Date: 3rd August 2020
We shall consider Aristotle's works and their influence, reading some texts closely, and discussing them in some detail. Texts will be provided. No preparation is required, and no previous experience of academic Philosophy is expected (though it will be welcomed, of course).
Colour Mixing
Start Date: 3rd August 2020
Come and immerse yourself in colours. All you will need are 2 reds, 2 yellows, 2 blues and suitable white paper for whatever medium you have!
In the Steps of Vikings
Start Date: 6th August 2020
These two sessions will look at the wonderful landscapes and amazing wildlife of Northern Isles of Britain, The Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and the shores of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia....and in each location I have found poignant memories of Viking influences.
Ukelele Taster Session
Start Date: 10th August 2020
This taster will give you an opportunity to learn about the history of the instrument, listen to some different styles of playing by professional musicians and to find out what sort of instrument, and at what price, would be most suitable for a beginner.
Film Studies: Coward & Lean
Start Date: 10th August 2020
Noel Coward and David Lean collaborated on a number of films in the 1940s that chimed with age. We shall look at In which We Serve, Thus Happy Breed and Blithe Spirit and discover some of the background and themes that provide overt and covert analysis.
Ruins in the Garden
Start Date: 10th August 2020
From hermitages to ruined abbeys, headless statues to wellheads, we scatter ruins through our gardens and designed landscapes. This course will explore the roles of art, culture and curation in the ruins of garden design.
Potton Scout Hut Quarry - Field Trip
Start Date: 12th August 2020
This field trip will include information on local geology along with some educational worksheets on geological features that can be observed in the area.
The Moon Landing - 1969
Start Date: 17th August 2020
The development of the Space program and its ultimate triumph remains an exhilarating episode in human history. Find out more about this and the moon landing on this three day course.
Jane Austen's 'Emma'
Start Date: 17th August 2020
A new film version of Jane Austen’s novel was released just in time for Valentine’s Day this year, providing an incentive for those of us who love her work to take a closer look at Emma, Austen’s masterpiece of romance, social comedy and literary style!
Augustus & Augustan Rome
Start Date: 17th August 2020
We shall consider the career, achievements and heritage of Augustus Caesar, including the political, social and cultural aspects of the period between about 40 BCE and 14 CE.
A History and Exploration of Maps and Mapping in Britain
Start Date: 17th August 2020
This 3 session course will cover mapping history, introduce types of historic map commonly available (and less commonly!), explore the wide range of historic OS symbols, discuss the often forgotten additional material which accompanied maps and survives in record offices, and even explain why we ‘orient’ ourselves. 
Clophill Ecolodges - Field Trip
Start Date: 19th August 2020
This field trip will include information on local geology along with some educational worksheets on geological features that can be observed in the area.
Boulting Brothers’ Comedies
Start Date: 19th August 2020
Learn about twin brothers, John Edward and Roy Alfred Clarence Boulting, who were a producer-director team responsible for some notable British cinema in the 1950s and 60s.
Sandy Warren Lodge - Field Trip
Start Date: 26th August 2020
This field trip to Sandy Warren Lodge will include information on local geology along with some educational worksheets on geological features that can be observed in the area.
How do Plants Protect themselves from Browsing Animals?
Start Date: 27th August 2020
Running away is not an option when you rely on a root system for support and sustenance. But Evolution has provided plants with a battery of physical, chemical, and even psychological weapons to keep the plant-eaters at bay. Whatever you know already, prepare to be amazed!
**MEMBERSHIP 20/21**
Start Date: 1st September 2020
The REC provides educational, social and recreational opportunities aimed at over 50s. Become a member to take advantage of all that we have to offer! 
*DAY MEMBERSHIP*
Start Date: 1st September 2020
One day membership for day courses
How do Plants Make Oxygen?
Start Date: 3rd September 2020
You know what it’s called. Yes - Photosynthesis. You can’t hear it, see it, smell it or touch it, but a clear account of the process will go a long way towards opening your eyes to the wonder of plants.
What Happened to the Dinosaurs?
Start Date: 10th September 2020
How the mystery gradually came to light is one of the great detective stories of modern Science. Once we knew where to look, the evidence was everywhere.
Advanced Bridge
Start Date: 14th September 2020
We continue our discovery of more efficient ways of bidding, and how to get more out of the cards we are dealt.
Models and Muses 1.45-3.45
Start Date: 14th September 2020
We will discover individuals who have been the catalyst for some of the most famous artists’ careers, and look at their own lives and careers.
Drawing & Painting for Fun
Start Date: 14th September 2020
A variety of easy-to-master techniques using a wide range of media will introduce you to different ways of making an image.
Rothsay Ramblers
Start Date: 14th September 2020
The Ramblers offer a programme of walks on Monday mornings all year around, including during the REC holiday periods. Every Monday there are two 5-mile walks, or alternately a 3 or 4 mile walk, with occasional longer walks.
Creative Writing
Start Date: 14th September 2020
Each week we will analyse a short story and look at the devices the writer has used. The class will then write their own short story, drawing inspiration from what we have read.
French Upper Intermediate
Start Date: 14th September 2020
Students in this class will have learnt some French before; they will for example have done 4 years or so of part-time study or will have done their O Level (or A Level) some time ago.
Classical Sculpture: How to View and Enjoy It
Start Date: 14th September 2020
We will consider what aspects are fundamental to an appreciation of classical statuary, looking at a selection covering almost 1,000 years.
Classical Guitar (Starts at 10.15)
Start Date: 14th September 2020
Ensemble playing forms a large part of what we do; the combination of several relatively simple parts provides a fun way to learn, and enjoy, the classical guitar.
Bridge - 12.15-1.45 ( £3.00 Pay As You Go)
Start Date: 14th September 2020
This group is for those of you who are confident players but who don’t want any constructive teaching and want to enjoy a game and some likeminded company.
French Advanced (1.30-3.30)
Start Date: 14th September 2020
This course is aimed at those who have studied French previously and are able to cope fairly fluently in a variety of situations.
*MEMBERSHIP - AUTUMN TERM*
Start Date: 14th September 2020
Membership for the Autumn term only
Making Music with the Recorder
Start Date: 15th September 2020
The Recorder Ensemble is a friendly group of players who enjoy exploring works of composers from the 13th century to the present day.
Memoir Writing
Start Date: 15th September 2020
Do you want to write your life story but you need a push to get started? Then this course is for you.
Old News – discovering the past through historic newspapers
Start Date: 15th September 2020
Each week we will take one old British newspaper and use the stories within to rediscover aspects of the past.
Constantine and the Triumph of Christianity
Start Date: 15th September 2020
By endorsing Christianity after his conversion in 312AD Constantine dramatically changed the fortunes of the Christian minority; he ended persecution, legitimised their religion and declared religious freedom for all.
German Upper Intermediate
Start Date: 15th September 2020
This class is for students who have a good knowledge of the language and are reasonably confident in all skills.
Italian Absolute Beginners (12.30-1.30)
Start Date: 15th September 2020
Aimed at absolute beginners. As well as the language, you will learn about the culture, customs and traditions.
Yoga (12.30-1.30)
Start Date: 15th September 2020
Yoga Practice Asanas: We will work with gentle postures and breathing techniques. The postures will blend into one another in varying ways and hopefully give your body and mind a feeling of loosening and unlocking tightness and rigidness. This course is suitable for all abilities, beginners welcome.
The Nature and Existence of God
Start Date: 15th September 2020
This course is concerned above all with the statement “God exists”. “God exists” is an instance of religious language, which the course considers briefly to begin with.
Ukelele for Beginners
Start Date: 15th September 2020
This course will introduce students to the ukulele, a small, easy to learn stringed instrument, that has been enjoying a massive revival in interest over the last few years.
Italian Improvers
Start Date: 15th September 2020
This course helps you build on skills already learnt, introducing new language and grammar structures in a lively way.
German Improvers (1pm-3pm)
Start Date: 15th September 2020
Ideally you will need 2 – 3 years previous study for this course. The group is friendly, relaxed and welcoming.
Bridge for Novices
Start Date: 15th September 2020
So… you are newcomers to the game, or maybe you have played for a while, but at a very basic level. Let me enhance those basic skills that you have, and turn you into a player to be reckoned with!
Art by Zoom
Start Date: 15th September 2020
This will be a mish mash of small lectures, quizzes, mini demonstrations, coffee and fun! 
Italian Advanced
Start Date: 16th September 2020
This course is aimed at learners with a reasonable knowledge of Italian who want to extend their competence and study the language in greater depth
The Russians are Coming: The Beginnings of Russian Literature
Start Date: 16th September 2020
This course will give a background to the development of Russian literature and discuss its particular characteristics.
From Affluence to Turbulence: Britain in the 1960s and 1970s
Start Date: 16th September 2020
This course examines a period of both enormous change and conservatism as revolutions by stealth occur in many fields in this this new Elizabethan Age.
Drawing for Complete Beginners
Start Date: 16th September 2020
A complete basic drawing course for total beginners or those who really do believe they cannot draw.
French Conversation - Intermediate
Start Date: 16th September 2020
The level required for this conversation class is intermediate; the aim is to become able to understand and take part in everyday conversation.
French Improvers
Start Date: 16th September 2020
This course is aimed at those who have completed about 3 years part-time study.
Genealogy and Family History
Start Date: 16th September 2020
This ten-week course starts with the basics of genealogy and is designed to teach you the skills to effectively trace your ancestors, particularly those in Bedfordshire. It starts with how to obtain genealogy records such as baptism, marriage and death records, and then how to use these records to build your own birth chart and…
Italian Beginners Plus (12.30-1.30)
Start Date: 16th September 2020
This course stresses the fundamentals of pronunciation, grammar, practical vocabulary, useful phrases and the ability to understand, speak, read and write simple Italian when going abroad on holidays.
Spanish Improvers (12.15-1.45)
Start Date: 16th September 2020
This course is for students who have some knowledge of Spanish and wish to progress learning the language.
Developing Imagination
Start Date: 16th September 2020
Examples and demonstrations of watercolour and some mixed media techniques will be used to introduce broad themes which students will be encouraged to interpret in their own way.
Italian Intermediate
Start Date: 16th September 2020
This course is designed for anyone who would like to brush up or extend their basic knowledge of the language.
Geoscientists and their influence on Modern Science
Start Date: 16th September 2020
In this lecture series we will be looking at different geoscientists each week and how their work has influenced scientific thinking and the modern world.
General Studies - now Wednesday
Start Date: 16th September 2020
An assortment of subjects – each week a different speaker and topic covering everything from Popular Culture to Quantum Mechanics.
History of China
Start Date: 16th September 2020
We look at the turbulent history of China from the Shang dynasty to the last – the Qing, which was followed by the Republic of China, and after the second World War, which was traumatic for the country, the People’s Republic of China.
French Conversation Higher Intermediate to Advanced
Start Date: 17th September 2020
This class requires a very good to advanced level of French. Vous devez parler couramment ou presque! The group is very friendly and has ‘un sens de l’humour très développé’.
An introduction to Lipreading
Start Date: 17th September 2020
This is a course that offers help and reassurance to anyone facing hearing loss.
French for Beginners
Start Date: 17th September 2020
Bonjour all! This course will suit you if you are a beginner in the language or already know a little bit of French.
Spanish Advanced Conversation
Start Date: 17th September 2020
Is your Spanish a bit rusty? Ven a nuestra clase a practicarlo. No importa que lo hallas olvidado un poco, pronto lo recordaras.
Carl Jung
Start Date: 17th September 2020
Jung, in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, describes his life, his opinions and his relationship with Freud. So, if you fancy something a bit different, come along.
Living Life Twice: Exploring Life through Diaries and Journals 1660-1950
Start Date: 17th September 2020
From rural parsons to Samuel Pepys, to Mass Observation, the lives and customs of Britain have been the subject of intimate record. Explore why we feel the urge to record our lives; and is it true that ‘people who keep journals have life twice’ (writer and diarist Mary Jessamyn West)?
Watercolour and Drawing Challenge
Start Date: 17th September 2020
Based on a similar format to the TV series Watercolour Challenge, students will be given a series of different topics throughout the year, with the tutor offering practical advice.
Making of Architectural Masterpieces II
Start Date: 17th September 2020
Discover and discuss 10 key buildings, their controversies, importance and influences.
The Handmaids Tale
Start Date: 17th September 2020
The Handmaid's Tale is set in the near-future in a totalitarian state. It is complicated, relevant and disturbing but how should we interpret this powerful novel and how does it relate to British readers today? Join our discussions and find out!
Spanish Absolute Beginners
Start Date: 17th September 2020
Learn new vocabulary and basic grammar in a relaxed and welcoming environment.
Singing for Pleasure Choir
Start Date: 18th September 2020
After a few vocal warm-ups, sing along with some easy songs and songs in parts.
The Work of Tony Harrison: Poet, Dramatist, Thinker
Start Date: 18th September 2020
Learn about Tony Harrison, a social poet, dramatist, translator and radical thinker who has challenged any traditional notion of distinguishing between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, while finding inspiration from many different contexts and traditions.
Tai Chi
Start Date: 18th September 2020
Improve your stamina, balance and flexibility
German Lower Intermediate
Start Date: 18th September 2020
If you have a good foundation in German, this fun and friendly class way will help you improve.
Drawing Challenge
Start Date: 18th September 2020
With step-by-step demonstrations and full instruction this course will suit beginners as well as more experienced artists.
Pilates
Start Date: 18th September 2020
A body conditioning method that works by targeting the deep postural muscles and rebalancing the body.
Pilates
Start Date: 18th September 2020
A body conditioning method that works by targeting the deep postural muscles and rebalancing the body.
Treasures of the Higgins I
Start Date: 18th September 2020
Find out about the many exceptional collections and topics from social history to art and crafts of many periods at our local Higgins museum and gallery
German Conversation
Start Date: 18th September 2020
A good level of fluency is necessary for this relaxed and friendly class where the emphasis is on conversation and participation.
Why Beethoven?
Start Date: 18th September 2020
What is it that gives Beethoven such totemic status? Is a composer who only just outlived Napoleon still relevant today?
Body Aware
Start Date: 18th September 2020
A great way to start exercise or to improve any level of fitness.
German Beginners Plus
Start Date: 18th September 2020
Practice your existing knowledge of German in a friendly and relaxed group.
Spanish Advanced
Start Date: 22nd September 2020
This course is for students who have learnt Spanish for a few years and have obtained at least A level.
Spanish Intermediate (12.30-1.30)
Start Date: 22nd September 2020
This course is for students who have learnt Spanish for 2-3 years up to GCSE level.
The Poetry of Thomas Hardy
Start Date: 24th September 2020
In this course we will explore the poetry and examine the way in which Hardy's writing reflects his surroundings and his personal life with each session based on a theme/topic, such as landscape, personal spaces, and personal relationships.
The Poetry of Thomas Hardy
Start Date: 24th September 2020
Best known as a novelist, Thomas Hardy was an accomplished and fascinating poet and in this course we will explore the poetry and examine the way in which his writing reflects his surroundings and his personal life.
Bridge: No Trump Hands
Start Date: 10th October 2020
This session is aimed at the novice/ intermediate bridge player and will consist of tuition, demonstration, discussion and supervised play, possibly followed by a short duplicate pairs session to consolidate the learning.
Birds in Winter
Start Date: 10th October 2020
This course aims to set the scene for the approaching winter: how birds’ habits change – from arctic migrants using the British Isles to countryside birds visiting our gardens.
The Work of Samuel Palmer
Start Date: 10th October 2020
Samuel Palmer is widely regarded as one of the greatest landscape painters and etchers in the English tradition. During his artistic career (spanning some 60 years), he was inspired by both visual and literary sources, and his work continues to exert a powerful influence upon artists. His work can be seen in The Higgins, Bedford.
Lizzie Siddall Pre-Raphaelite Model and Artist
Start Date: 10th October 2020
How did a girl from Southwark slum rise to become one of the supermodels of the age? This course will look at Siddal’s life, her relationship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, her addiction to laudanum and her suicide.
Mobileography
Start Date: 10th October 2020
This 1-day workshop will introduce Mobile Phone Photography to help you build a strong understanding of camera & phone technology – its limitations, but more importantly, its numerous advantages.
Introduction to Watercolour Pencils
Start Date: 10th October 2020
This course will introduce you to the varied techniques that you can use and how to incorporate them into finished drawings and paintings.
Pastels
Start Date: 2nd November 2020
The course will be aimed at those who have little or no experience of using pastels. We will experiment in a variety of drawing and blending techniques, then develop those techniques to replicate copies of paintings done by well-known artists.
Five Economic Events That Shook the World
Start Date: 2nd November 2020
We will look at five key global Economic events that have had a significant impact on the UK and the world, such as the Wall Street Crash, the collapse of the Berlin wall and the globalisation that followed it, the 2008 Global financial crisis and the OPEC oil price shock of 1973
Love in Classical Literature
Start Date: 2nd November 2020
Romantic love won and lost, patriotic love and wider, more spiritual love both fascinated and inspired, as well as frustrated and tormented ancient readers and writers as much as they do modern readers.
History and Object Biographies
Start Date: 3rd November 2020
During this short course we will introduce the idea of objects having a biography or a ‘life’.
Beginners Guide to Classical Physics & Quantum Physics
Start Date: 3rd November 2020
This course, for the mathematically-innocent, will give you a flavour of the weird logic that governs the behaviour of light and matter at the sub-atomic level.
Nordic Noir
Start Date: 3rd November 2020
This course will introduce three female writers: Karin Fossum, Anne Holt and Camilla Läckberg. We will discuss their plots, characters and choice of setting.
An Introduction to Nietzsche
Start Date: 5th November 2020
Focusing on Thus Spake Zarathustra, this course will explore some of Nietzsche's main ideas as well as the influence they have had.
Testaments
Start Date: 5th November 2020
The Testaments, a joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction, continues the story of some characters from The Handmaid's Tale in a dystopian and misogynistic world. The novel raises sometimes shocking questions, and through our discussions, our goal is to find some answers.
Aristotle
Start Date: 6th November 2020
Aristotle was described by Dante as 'the master of those who know'.
At Home with the Ancient Greeks
Start Date: 6th November 2020
Learn about ancient Athenian houses and homes, about aspects of their economy, the distinctive roles of Greek men and women and how childhood was experienced.
History of Hampton Court Gardens: From Royal Bowling Green to Three Men in a Boat!
Start Date: 7th November 2020
Join us for a fascinating insight into scandal, sex, madness, art, literature and of course, gardens!
History of the Caribbean Nurse in the UK
Start Date: 7th November 2020
Directly after World War II, the government was confronted by issues of labour: finding personnel, providing appropriate training and funding salaries were all challenges. The decision to recruit from the Caribbean was widely supported. The multi-layered history that has evolved as a result of that decision makes it obvious today that Caribbean nurses’ significant impact upon the existence of the NHS and other nursing services is note-worthy.
Cathedral Architecture
Start Date: 7th November 2020
This course presents not so much a survey but a toolkit for making sense of what you see, both aesthetically and structurally.
Bridge: Strong Hands
Start Date: 7th November 2020
This session is aimed at the novice/ intermediate bridge player and will consist of tuition, demonstration, discussion and supervised play, possibly followed by a short duplicate pairs session to consolidate the learning.
Killing One Person to Save Five: the trolley problem in ethics
Start Date: 7th November 2020
This course is best described by quoting an account of a recent book by David Edmonds - 'Would You Kill the Fat Man?' Click on 'More details' to find out more!
Love and Marriage: Proposals in Jane Austen’s Novels
Start Date: 7th November 2020
Please join us to consider the blunderings of Mr Collins (not every girl says no!); the arrogance of Mr Darcy; and the unbridled passion of Captain Wentworth in confessing love and offering marriage to Jane Austen’s heroines.
Caring for Your Historic Documents
Start Date: 7th November 2020
This course is being taught by the ex-County Archives Conservator for Bedfordshire Borough Council and will equip you with the knowledge and practical skills to care, conserve and preserve your family historic documents.
Pot Pourri of Birds
Start Date: 11th November 2020
Students help choose the content of this special course. Choosing from a wide selection of common and well-known British species we will explore each in turn and aim to discover some of the most recent information available - prepared to be surprised!
*MEMBERSHIP - SPRING TERM*
Start Date: 4th January 2021
Membership for the Spring term only
*MEMBERSHIP - SUMMER TERM*
Start Date: 19th April 2021
Membership for the Summer term only