We hope that the vast bulk of the meetings will be live at St. Nicolas Hall but we will finalise plans in the light of the latest covid background in mid-September. (Please watch out for confirmatory e mails). Options range from live meetings to Zoom or some combination of the two but it would greatly help if any member was able to help us technically as we will be without our usual our committee member input. If so, please get in touch with our secretary, Rollo Crookshank (firstname.lastname@example.org 01252 319881).
We have held the annual membership charge at £12 and we hope that members will continue their excellent support through what is a difficult period.
Chronologically the lectures span from Roman times to the contemporary. Geographically they span the world. Our lecturers in addition to those at academic institutions include two of the new generation of historians who eschew the formal institutional academic life but focus on research, writing and publishing. We also have a lecture by Annie Garthwaite who has just published Cecily, a historical novel on the remarkable woman who lived and survived through the tumultuous Wars of the Roses period.
I hope that you enjoy this season. This will be my last year as Chairman- ten years is long enough. It is time for a younger generation to take the helm and lead the branch!
28 September 2021
Professor John Blair, Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology, Queen’s College, University of Oxford. Was there such a place as Medieval England? In his Building Anglo-Saxon England, Professor Blair radically changed perceptions by analyzing hundreds of recent excavations that enable historians to grasp for the first time how regionally diverse the built environment of the Anglo-Saxons truly was. Blair identified a zone of eastern England had more in common with the Low Countries and Scandinavia than the rest of England. Building Anglo-Saxon England explores how the natural landscape was modified to accommodate human activity, and how many settlements–secular and religious–were laid out with geometrical precision by specialist surveyors.
19 October 2021
Professor Peter Mandler, Professor of Modern Cultural History, University of Cambridge. The Crisis of the Meritocracy: How Popular Demand (not Politicians) Made Britain into a Mass Education Society.
In looking at a synopsis of Professor Mandler’s book two numbers stood out. The first surprised me-in 1938 only 1% of a cohort attended university. The second staggered me but I will leave that for the lecture. Today well over 40% of a cohort attend university. What was the impulse that led to such a radical change?
16 November 2021 (Zoom)
Professor Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, St Cross College, University of Oxford. From Conflict to Confucius: Why China’s Ancient Philosopher is Shaping Today’s Superpower. With the progress of China to superpower status, the Western world is struggling to understand this unique culture. What drives Chinese policy and what shapes its national self-image? Professor Mitter offers an insight into these vital questions.
7 December 2021
Dr Katie Donington, Lecturer in History, London South Bank University. Britain and the Legacies of Slavery. Detailed studies have revealed just how extensive was the network that encompassed both colonial planters and English based financiers and investors in ‘slavery’. Dr. Dunnington’s research analyses the role played by family in the establishment, maintenance, expansion and defense of Britain’s commercial interests in the business of slavery. Her work traces the different ways in which the transatlantic planter-merchant elite profited commercially, socially, culturally and politically from their participation in the system of slavery. Moving between Britain and Jamaica her research reconstructs the networks of commerce, property, religion and family that enmeshed metropole with colony.
25 January 2022
Dr Helen Paul, Lecturer in Economics and Economic History, University of Southampton. The Myths of the South Sea Bubble. Dr Paul’s research covers a wide range of topics that center on the increased international maritime trade in the C17 & C18. The South Sea Bubble was a remarkable example of how fortunes could swell but how rapidly they could disappear. A combination of greed and limited knowledge can provide a salutary lesson.
22 February 2022 (Zoom)
Dr John McAleer, Associate Professor in History, University of Southampton. The East India Company: The corporation that changed the world. Dr McAleer’s work focuses on the British encounter and engagement with the wider world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, situating the history of empire in its global and maritime contexts. Although other nations had companies similar to the East India Company, none had the geopolitical impact nor the wealth generation of The East India Company. As this lecture includes many detailed slides and maps, Dr McAleer thought a Zoom presentation was most appropriate.
22 March 2022
Dr Simon Elliott, Hon. Research Fellow, University of Kent. Septimius Severus in Scotland: The Northern Campaigns of the Great Warrior. Alone amongst Roman Emperors Septimius Severus (146 – 211 AD) breathed his last in Britain. Dr Simon Elliot adds to the story of Septimus Severus. An Emperor whose rise to power was based on his Libyan possessions, Libya being ‘the bread basket’ of the Roman Empire. The magnificence of his city Leptis Magna-a sensational architectural wonder, speak for its wealth. Yet he died in England and suffered the ignominy of an entire legion destroyed in Scotland. Those of my advanced years often would have had their childhood’s enriched by reading the Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe or listened spellbound to the BBC radio adaptation.
12 April 2022
George Morton-Jack. The Indian Empire at War. The response to the publication of The Indian Army at War, a ground breaking account of the role of the Indian Army in World War 1, was almost universal acclaim. “Extraordinarily original” Max Hastings; “Superb Revelatory and written with brilliant verve” Andrew Roberts; “Fills a gap that should have been dealt with long ago” Professor Sir Michael Howard; “Covering every theatre of conflict, painstakingly researched and vividly written… strongly recommended” David Stevenson.
17 May 2022
Professor Michael Hicks, Professor Emeritus, University of Winchester. Richard III – The most Infamous King. After a lifetime of study Emeritus Professor Michael Hicks gives his interpretation of that most contested English monarch, Richard III.
7 June 2022
Annie Garthwaite. Author of the highly acclaimed historical novel CECILY. Hailed by some as the new Hilary Mantel. Cecily Neville, the 15th century’s most powerful matriarch. How to write a historical novel and how women exerted power and influence in the late Medieval period. Cecily-mother of two kings-Edward IV and Richard III, wife of the most powerful noble, as a widow oversaw her huge estates, acted as matriarch of her family and was influential but discrete in court politics. Born in the year of Agincourt, she survived the bloodiest dynastic war in English history and saw with the Tudor victory at Bosworth peace restored to England. A survivor par excellence.