Dear Members and Friends,
Hope that you have all had a good summer. After a year when the number of attendees at lectures has gradually increased, I am delighted to confirm our first post-pandemic programme to be held entirely in person at St. Nicolas Hall in Guildford. Please do share with any potential visitors or new members.
We will start in September with Prof. Helen Lacey and Prof. Adrian Bell. They are part of a research project into 1381 which has established a new database covering the events, places and people involved. Should we continue to refer to the Peasants’ Revolt or is The Great Rising a more appropriate term?
The following month we will host Julian Pooley, who is Public Services and Engagement Manager at Surrey History Centre as well as Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester. Julian will deliver a lecture entitled The Gentleman’s Magazine: A Panorama of Georgian England, which will be embellished by his research into the period in Surrey and beyond. This lecture was originally scheduled for last year, before Covid intervened.
December sees the return of one of our most popular lecturers, Prof. Lawrence Goldman. He believes this is his sixth visit to the branch over the past two decades and certainly all that I have attended have been memorable. He is currently working on a study of Henry Brougham, the Whig leader, and will cover Enlightenment, Abolition and Emancipation. Rethinking the British Anti-Slavery Movement, 1780-1840.
Our first lecture of 2024 will see us welcome Dr. Alana Harris from King’s College London, who will address her Historic England project about Epsom’s forgotten history as an important psychiatric hub for London and the nation, and the associated Horton Cemetery. Keep an eye on the Horton Cemetery website for details of ceramic flower painting workshops. 900 painted ceramic flowers will be planted at Horton Cemetery on 10 October, World Mental Health Day. Details in the attached flyer.
In February 2024, Dr. Daniel Beer will discuss The Assassination of Alexander II. Based at Royal Holloway, University of London, Dr. Beer is the author of two ground-breaking books on Imperial Russia and has a particular interest in crime and punishment. More recently Dr Beer has had a series of articles published in the British and American press about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Please note that this lecture will take place on Thursday rather than the normal Tuesday.
We return to the subject of insurrections in March 2024. Prof. David Andress will outline his interpretation that the French Revolution was an eighteenth-century peasants’ revolt, with the critical events of 1789 initiated and defended by the peasantry despite the attention history has paid since to characters such as Robespierre, Danton and Bonaparte.
Prof. Zoltán Biedermann, Professor of Early Modern History at UCL, is currently exploring indigenous diplomacy and how it shaped Portuguese and Spanish expansion in South and Central America. This is a topic that the branch has not paid a great deal of attention to over recent years, with his lecture next April exploring the Iberian nations conquest of much of the continent in the early modern period.
Our programme for 2023/24 will conclude with the visit of Dr. Edward Madigan in May 2024. He will consider to what extent the moral climate in Britain during the Irish War of Independence was influenced by memories of atrocities committed by German servicemen during the First World War.
We will shortly be sharing information about how you can renew your branch or affiliate subscription for the following year plus details of the AGM, which will precede the first lecture and be held on Zoom.
The committee look forward to seeing you again next month.