Adult Talks

We can offer a range of informal talks for all circumstances, such as History Associations/ Women’s Institute meetings or after dinner entertainments. Talks have a usual duration of 45 – 60 minutes but can be adapted to suit particular requirements.

The following subjects are currently available. Additionally, any of the topics under our Workshops for Schools listings can be adapted for an adult audience.

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NEW FOR 2015

A Christmas Entertainment:
A festival of anecdotes, songs, music and humorous stories on a seasonal theme.

Victorian Streetlife:
Crossing Sweepers to Costermongers. In the mid-19th century many of London's poorest inhabitants earned their living on the streets of the capital, both by legal and not-so-legal means. This talk introduces some of the colourful characters of Victorian London, who could have stepped out of a Dickens novel.

A Warning to Countryfolk:
Tales from the Elizabethan Underworld. Exploring some of the cons, swindles and outright thievery practiced on unwary visitors to 16th Century London.

 

Bob Brand:
The banker who wanted to blow up Hitler! Forgotten by History, Robert Henry Brand was involved in almost every major event in the first half of the 20th century; from the creation of the Republic of South Africa to the founding of the United Nations. He led a fascinating life and his friends included Nancy Astor, John Maynard Keynes and Lawrence of Arabia.

Poisons for Medicine:
Victorian pharmacists and quack doctors. The reign of Victoria saw the development of chemical medicine from medieval-style alchemists, to modern pharmacists. Chemists lent their ingenuity to attempting to provide anything their customers wanted. Some made fortunes, some made disastrous mistakes.

Tolkien and His Histories:
Searching for the origins of Middle Earth. One of the best-selling books of all time and voted the UK’s Best-Loved Book, the Lord of the Rings has a huge appeal. Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films has only added to that interest. JRR Tolkien, as Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, drew heavily on his intimate knowledge of the history and mythology of North West Europe when writing his epic work. This session examines some of the cultures of Europe and compares the parallels with Tolkien’s writings.

The Art of Middle Earth:
A look at how various artists (including the author) have interpreted the creations of J.R.R. Tolkien in drawings and paintings.

What is Archaeology?
A practical introduction to archaeology using images and artefacts to give clues and insights into how to spot ‘real’ archaeology and estimate how old pieces are.

Doing Life! – A Practical Introduction to Philosophy for the C21st
‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ wrote Socrates. But many people feel intimidated by philosophy and its many theories. This session will take as its foundation, the story of Plato’s Cave and show how the wisdom of the ancients is still hugely valid today. We’ll look at the differences between perception and reality that may send you home with some ‘dangerous’ thinking to pass on to your families.

Science and Superstition in the Roman Empire:
The Romans were a very clever society but their ideas on medicine and surgery relied to a huge degree on magic and folklore. A fascinating session using images, real Roman artefacts and authentic replicas to give an insight into how people thought the body worked before germ theory.

Painting the News:
A fascinating story of how archaeologists, ceramic experts and classicists, came together to tell the previously unknown story of an island’s struggle to survive during troubled times in Ancient Greece.

Honey in History:
In 2012 the worldwide harvest in honey was 70% down and there has been a huge loss of bee colonies with several species extinctions. Even if you don’t like the taste of honey on your toast, you will be awed and inspired by just how much use humans have made of honey over the last 10,000 years or so and just how much we still depend on bees.

Before the Zip:
Uses a practical exercise, samples and images to give an insight into how people’s clothes were held together before the use of zips, Velcro and the like. Have you ever wondered why sleeves and collars were often detachable, why Tudor clothes could be so expensive and why Dickens’ child pickpockets in Oliver Twist were so keen on stealing handkerchiefs and clothes? An insight into some of the things we take for granted in the modern world.

The Bob and Dot Show
Providing either a full evening of vintage musical entertainment from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, or a choice of two 45 minute talks* with musical accompaniment. Dot sings live, entertaining with a variety of music from the golden era of song: the likes of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Artie Shaw among others. Bob plays original 78 records of the era on his beautifully restored HMV wind-up gramophone, originally built in 1933.

*Jazz Greats – famous artists of the Jazz Era
Songs of War - popular music of the Second World War