Are you a member of a social group, history society or a club that holds regular events?
Are you looking for guest speakers?
Then you have come to the right place. We have a number of excellent guest speakers who can visit you and deliver a range of talks that are both interesting, stimulating and engaging
General subject matter talks: (suitable for any audience – male or female)
(Talks are generally one hour duration, though technical talks can be 1½+ hour duration. we will be happy to discuss your requirements )
David Moore MA – Chairman of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust
Dave Moore’s association with history began inauspiciously. He was thrown off the History CSE course at secondary school for failing to show an interest and failing to hand in any course work.
His working career started with an apprenticeship in the construction industry with an upward path leading to management in the private sector.
Despite his worst efforts at school, Dave has always maintained his interest in history. He travels Britain widely in pursuit of his passion for industrial heritage and social history.
Early retirement allowed Dave to deepen his interests by studying public history at Ruskin college, Oxford, for which he was awarded an MA.
Dave’s other skills of photography, filmmaking and information technology support his work in the public history arena.
David is able to offer talks on the following subjects:
The Story of Clean Water in the Black Country
Clean water and effective sanitation now form part of the fabric of modern day life in Britain. But this has not always been the case. In the mid nineteenth century, a new and deadly disease arrived in Britain, there was no known cause and no known cure.
In the Black Country, within the space of six week over two and a half thousand people were dead….
…. this is the story of how John Snow proved the link between cholera and contaminated water. It established the need for an organised water supply and tells how the problem was overcome in the Black Country
“I wanted to thank you so much for a fabulous talk last week! It was great to have such a good turnout, and to receive such nice feedback from the attendees about how much they had enjoyed the talk. I am delighted that the Friends event seems to have led to interest from other groups – who will hopefully book you in to spread the word too!”
Weeping Angels – interpreting the symbolism of the Victorian cemetery
Symbols are a language that can help us understand our past. As the saying goes, “a picture paints a thousand words”: but which words? Understanding our past determines actively, our ability to understand the present. Tonight, we take a journey back in time to look at the symbolism found in Victorina cemetery’s and try to understand what messages the living left, to tell the story of their dead loved ones.
I wanted to thank you very much for coming to speak to us last Tuesday evening. It was a very interesting, visually stimulating and engaging talk and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We are very grateful for your time and effort – and that we were able to offer you such a large, enthusiastic and interested audience, as demonstrated by the questions which followed your lecture! From my perspective, as well as being absolutely delighted to have so many attendees, it was also rewarding to see a slightly more diverse audience.”
I am absolutely delighted to let you know that your ‘Weeping Angels’ talk had sold out… and so we have decided – if its ok by you – to move it to the Birmingham and Midland Institute.”
John Snow and the Fight Against Cholera
By the summer of 1831 cholera had become firmly established in the environment of the UK. The effects of this disease was devastating, people were dying in their thousands, there was no known cause and no known cure.
Current medical knowledge thought that illness and disease was spread by bad air or miasma. A young apprentice doctor who treated cholera victims did not believed it was caused though bad air, but proving his theory became a challenge to the established medical and scientific beliefs of the time.
This is the story of how John Snow changes out understanding of how diseases were spread, and how we could control it.
As David Moore began, and gave a very professional overview of what he was going to cover, as a lecturer myself I was impressed. He then moved on to describing a situation which, in this pandemic, we can relate to, how the people of the time just didn’t know how it was transmitted, the conspiracy ideas, mistrust of the government, and the deaths of those who could have been our greate,great,great grandparents. David presented John Snow’s meticulous scientific mind and the battle he has with convincing the authorities to remove the pump handle in what was the tastiest water in the area of London (people had bottles brought back of it)
A Story of the Severn Vale and The Purton Hulks
The sunken ships hidden within the riverbank at Purton is the UK’s largest ship graveyard. It is a unique place to get up close to ships over 100 years old. The boats were first sunk on the banks in 1909, in order to prevent erosion of the banks and protect the Sharpness Canal, and by doing so, created an accidental museum of our maritime past.
The talk gives the audience an overview of the Severn Vale, talks about the Severn Bore and explores how the Purton Hulks site came to be. The talk is richly instructed with film, photography and time lapse sequences.
If you would like to book David for a talk, please fill in the form below and click the submit button
Alan is a retired manufacturing systems consultant, who has worked both in the UK and overseas. At the end of his career he worked for Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University.
Born at Barrow-in-Furness a shipbuilding town in south Cumbria, from a young age he was brought up in a coal mining village near Barnsley, South Yorkshire but has lived in Birmingham for the last 45 years.
Born in a shipbuilding town, brought up where “coal was king”, and working in a manufacturing city – he developed an interest in industrial archaeology and the development of engineering technology particularly coal mining technology – subjects on which he has had four books published to date, and on which he has a range of talks.
Alan is able to offer talks on the following subjects:
A talk about coal discussing how it was formed and the different types of coal, coal and her by-products, and a chronology of the history of coal mining & the uses of coal in Britain through the ages. Supported by illustrations at the end.
The Sea Around Us
An illustrated talk about the British Isles and its relationship with the sea. The talk discusses the history of navigation at sea, Greenwich Observatory, John Harrison and the marine chronometer. The second part of the talk discusses scurvy at sea, and the part played by Dr. James Lind in its eradication.
Jewels & Precious Stones
An illustrated talk about jewels and precious stones, about their history, uses, and interesting stories surrounding them. The talk covers; pearls, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and amber.
Corsica & the French Connection
An illustrate talk about the beautiful French island of Corsica, discussing its history and geography, and its most famous son – Napoleon Bonaparte.
Around the World: Calling at Australia, Hawaii & San Francisco
A journey around the world calling at Hong Kong, Sydney and the east coast of Australia, then moving on to visit the Pacific island of Hawaii, before finishing in the American seaport of San Francisco. The journey will visit many interesting and beautiful places on route.
Between Two Oceans – The Panama Canal
Linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, across one of the most deadly regions in the world, the building of the Panama Canal is one of the wonders of the modern world! This is an illustrated talk about the early history of the region, of pirates & treasure ships, of the early attempts to build the canal by the Frenchman Ferdinand de Lesseps (the hero of the Suez Canal), and the ultimate success of the American Government. Today work is underway increasing the capacity of the canal, with a planned completion in 2014 – the anniversary of the opening of the canal.
A Tale of Two Towers
The two “towers” in question – the Eiffel Tower & Tower Bridge – would be the subject of a great deal of controversy, adverse publicity and criticism when they were first built – but if today you were to suggest that they were demolished you would face overwhelming opposition. This is the story of these two iconic structures – masterpieces of Victorian engineering.
Universe of Stone – The Building of a Medieval Cathedral
The Medieval Period was a time of great change, and Europe embarked on a “cathedral building crusade”. Building in stone spread from Normandy, throughout France & to England, and was used for the largest & most important buildings – of which the cathedral was the pinnacle. In the mid-12th century a new style of church building called Gothic Architecture developed in the area around Paris & spread throughout Europe. This talk looks at the building of a medieval cathedral, the people who built them, and the Gothic Revival of the mid-Victorian period.
The Great Exhibition of 1851
The Great Exhibition – sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition – took place in Hyde Park, London, from May to October 1851. The first in a series of world exhibitions of culture & industry that were to become popular in the 19th century. This is the story of the Great Exhibition, the people involved in this great enterprise, and the subsequent fate of the Crystal Palace.
The Brunels, Father & Son
The Brunels, father Marc Brunel, a brilliant inventor & engineer, and his even more famous and better known son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, trace their roots to northern France. This is the story of these two gifted men, some of their brilliant achievements, and their great impact on Victorian Britain.
Taking the Train – Railway Travel in Victorian Times
Arguably the greatest achievement of the Industrial Revolution – this talk outlines the massive impact the railways had on the way we lived & the far reaching changes it would bring to Britain in the 19th century.
Sir Joseph Bazalgette & the Great Stink of London
Throughout human history, the number one cause of death has been contaminated water – in some parts of the world it still is. In mid-19th century Britain, polluted water was still a major problem – four outbreaks of Cholera in London claimed over 37,000 lives. This is the story of how Sir Joseph Bazalgette, Chief Engineer to the Metropolitan Board of Works overcame disease & reshaped London in the process.
The Great Fire of London, 1666
The Great Fire of 1666 would be the worst fire in Europe since Rome burned under Nero. London was recovering from the ravages of the Plague & England was at war with the Dutch. Fire was a constant hazard & the rapid expansion of London in the 17th century only added to this danger. Aided by a hot & dry summer, a strong easterly wind & the lack of a coordinated and rapid response – the fire raged for four days before it was put out. The damage was almost unimaginable & 100,000 people were made homeless – this is the story of the Great Fire of London.
An illustrated talk (35mm slides) about India, discussing the geography and a brief history of the sub-continent. The talk visits places such as; the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort and Jantar Mantar Observatory at Delhi, Hyderabad, the cave temples at Aurungabad and Mysore.
The Forth Bridge
Since earliest times the Firths of Forth & Tay have posed a major barrier to transport from Edinburgh, northwards up the east coast. The coming of the railways would provide the impetus to bridge both firths & secure a route to the north. The engineers John Fowler & Benjamin Baker were contracted to bridge the Forth, designing & building the largest bridge in the world, the first large-scale structure build from steel & the largest cantilever bridge ever built. The Forth Bridge would demonstrate to the world the skill, vision & tenacity of British Railway Engineering & ranks as one of the most significant pieces of Victorian engineering ever constructed. This is the story of this iconic bridge.
Lancelot “Capability” Brown
From humble beginnings Brown would develop the art of the landscaped park & become the most famous English landscape designer in history. This talks traces the rise of the “natural” English landscape & Brown’s portfolio of estates across England & Wales with a role call of the wealthiest & most powerful men in Georgian Society. Today many of the places that he created – to pamper the privileged few – now provide enormous pleasure to countless thousands. This is the story of Lancelot “Capability” Brown & his rise to fame.
Mind the Gap – The Story of the London Underground
The oldest railway network of its kind in the world, and one of the most extensive rapid transport systems in the world – the London underground railway was the brainchild of Charles Pearson (Lawyer, Solicitor to the City of London & MP for Lambeth) as an answer to the increasing traffic congestion of the 19th century and as a rapid means of transporting commuters into the City. This is the story of this world leading transport system.
Technical Subject Talks (talks more suited to a specialist audience)
Sir Joseph Bazalgette & the Great Stink of London – technical version
A version of this talk suited to a more technical audience.
The Great Exhibition of 1851 – technical version
A version of this talk suited to a more technical audience.
A Tale of Two Towers – technical version
A version of this talk suited to a more technical audience.
A History of Colliery Ventilation
An illustrated talk outlining the increasing need for effective ventilation as the Industrial Revolution progressed. Early attempts at ventilation, the first effective ventilators and development of ventilation fans during the 19th century. The many power sources employed to operate ventilators are also discussed.
Milestones in Marine Steam Technology
An illustrated talk outlining the principle developments in marine steam technology from its birth in the late 18th century, through to the early 20th century.
The Compound Marine Engine
An illustrated talk about the development of the compound reciprocating marine taking account of the special requirements and limitations placed on the marine steam engine. The talk discusses developments in boiler technology, the surface condenser and materials, and how these supported the development of the compound marine engine.
The Art of the Illustrator
Before the advent of photographs, illustrations in engineering catalogues, journals & books were printed from woodcuts, etched metal plates or by lithographs on stone. The quality of these was high, and the degree of technical accuracy phenomenal. This talk will look at some examples of this work & their originators.
A Short History of the Development of the Steam Turbine (in two parts)
The reciprocating steam engine had been the dominant prime mover of the 18th & 19th centuries, only to be replaced by one of the major engineering developments of the late 19th century – the steam turbine.
Part one of this talk will outline the theory of the steam turbine, together with early attempts and pioneers of steam turbine power.
Part two will look at steam turbine powered applications on land & at sea.
Hemingfield Colliery, South Yorkshire – an early Victorian coal mine
Hemingfield Colliery site & the immediate surrounding area comprise the substantial remains of an early Victorian colliery sunk in the 1840s. The remains comprise the colliery, a row of contemporary colliery houses (which were originally workshops) and transport in the form of a canal & substantial loading basin, as well as railway line and sidings. The colliery also formed a key element in the Fitzwilliam Drainage Scheme, which would play a critical part in protecting the South Yorkshire Coalfield from flooding. This is the story of an historic and unique survivor of coal mining history in Britain.
Water as a Mechanical Agent – in three parts
Arguably the single most useful & valuable substance known to man – water has been used to transport goods & people, and produce power since the earliest times – two uses which are as important today as they have always been. Other ways in which water has been used to produce power & operate machinery is shown, including hydraulic power systems such as that run by the London Hydraulic Power Company Limited in the late 19th & early 20th centuries.
Part 1: Water as a mechanical agent – water wheels
Water wheels were the most advanced producers of energy from the earliest times until the beginning of the 20th century. This talk looks at the different types of water wheels, developments in water wheel technology & the many applications to which they have been applied.
Part 2: Water as a mechanical agent – water turbines
Water power would be saved from extinction by the development of the water turbine and its application to the generation and transmission of hydro-electric power. This talk shows how the water wheel re-invented itself in the guise of the water turbine and in this form continues to be a significant contributor to the world’s supply of primary energy. Early forms of water turbine and later reaction and impulse turbines, and the many variations on these two types of turbine, are covered.
Part 3: Water as a mechanical agent – other forms of water power
Other forms of hydraulic power, other than water wheels & turbines, are covered in this talk. These include; counter-balance & water balance engines, hydraulic pressure engines and power systems such as; the London Hydraulic Power System & systems employed in docks & railway goods yards. The talk will look at the many uses for hydraulic power and includes some famous applications, such as the launching of the Great Eastern and building of the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Straits.
You may contact Alan to discuss your requirements by filling in the form below and clicking submit
Katy Shore-Kapsis – Trust Secretary and Trustee
Katy worked in the adult training industry for many years, and has always had a wild variety of interests, including history, science and natural history.
Passionate about sharing knowledge she is able to give talks on the following subjects:
John Robinson McClean (a forgotten engineer)
He is one of the key engineers of the Victorian period who made many contributions to the development of transport and the infrastructure needed. However, unlike his well-known contemporary Isambard K Brunel, he did not seek great publicity and few people know about him. This talk is all about his great achievements including the great scheme he came up with to provide clean water to the Black Country and the construction of Sandfields Pumping Station.
The McClean Family – the Scientists & Engineers
Many of the John Robinson McClean’s descendants followed in his footsteps becoming scientists and engineers and making their own contribution to society. This is a look at their achievements and memorials that are left in their honour.
History of Beekeeping
This talk is about how man has harvested honey through the centuries. It looks at how science has allowed the development of beekeeping, leading to today’s methods of beekeeping. The final part of the talk is about modern beekeeping. (Katy and her husband are beekeepers).