Wedgwood Memorial College
Wedgwood Memorial College is a small residential college in Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England. The college was owned and operated by Stoke-on-Trent City Council until it was closed in March 2012. It still houses the centre of Esperanto education at Estoril House.
The college, a member of the Adult Residential Colleges Association, offered short courses in literature and languages (French, German and Esperanto); political science and history; and art, art history and architectural history. Wedgwood Memorial College has a non-circulating library with 15,000 volumes available for research and private study. The buildings were also rented out for weddings, parties and small conferences, with eight rooms available that accommodated from ten to 40 people per room. One of these rooms is the Montagu C. Butler Library, located in Esperanto House on the grounds of the college.
History of college
The Barlaston estate was acquired by Wedgwood in the 1930s, and the college opened in February 1945 in Barlaston Hall, a country house. The building was endangered by coal mining operations and a geological fault, which caused major diagonal cracks in the walls. The college moved from Barlaston Hall to Victorian and Edwardian buildings in Barlaston village.
Esperanto House, the headquarters of the Esperanto Association of Britain has its main office on the Estoril site of Wedgwood Memorial College.
Between 1960 and 2011, the last opportunity prior to its 2012 closure, Wedgwood Memorial College offered a week-long Esperanto summer school every August. This came about partly through the influence of Horace Barks, the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, who was an advocate of Esperanto.
The college offered a weekend course in Esperanto theatre every January and a weekend residential course in Esperanto language every October. The latter course is particularly suited to people who have completed an introductory free course, whether a traditional postal course or an Internet-mediated one. The Esperanto Association of Britain offers a partial subsidy to Esperanto learners attending the Wedgwood Memorial College program and who have first completed such an introductory course.
Esperanto tutor Paul Gubbins, who has taught at the college for many years, declares that students typically learn Esperanto to a more advanced level than students of other foreign languages: "Students of Esperanto do not have to wrestle with the irregularities of a foreign language: these impede fluent, uninhibited expression. This means that often, particularly with an advanced group at the college, I find myself not so much ‘teaching’ Esperanto but exploring the language with students – pushing it, testing it and challenging it to an extent that is impossible in a traditional language classroom."
- College Tutors
- College Library
- Seminars and Small Conferences
- Ana Pana Esperanto correspondence course
- lernu.net - Several free on-line courses in Esperanto
- Languages taught
- Cecil Scrimgeour. Fifty Years A-Growing: A History of the North Staffordshire District, the Workers' Educational Association 1921-1971. Stoke-on-Trent, 1973.
- Esperanto Association of Britain
- Montagu C. Butler Library
- Catalogue of Buter Library (downloadable)