List of talk subjects (updated Feb 2021)
This list of talks has been built up from over 40yrs of teaching groups and organizations of all sizes from universities and professional
organizations to small church groups. The smallest of these being 3 people and the largest 600, so anywhere in between is fine.
They are all now available over the internet as Zoom or prerecorded
All talks are illustrated with pictures and /or video clips. As I do more research for courses, articles and books, this provides material for various other talks on similar themes. So please ask for an update and the
If you would like a talk on an allied subject I may be able to help or recommend a suitable speaker.
General and recent
What is History: a look at what we mean and understand by history and why understanding our past is important today.
Death in a Barrel: The story of
the life and mysterious death of William Smith Tanner
The real Biggles: The fascinating story of the Biggles creator W E Johns
end of the war!: the story of the dropping of the atomic bombs and the end of the war with Japan 1945.
Lightoller: The story of Charles Herbert Lightoller, DSC & Bar, RD, RNR
the second officer onboard the RMS Titanic
Singing in the Rain: The story of Gene Kelly dancer, actor, singer, director, producer, and choreographer
in pictures and film.
Bugle Call: the story of British bandleader Harry Roy and his band from the 1930-60s in story and video.
sirens: the story of female pirates through the ages
What time is it? the story of the nonexistent thing we call time!! and
how our concept of it has changed society.
Trick or Treat: Halloween: The story of our winter tradition its origin and meanings..
Easter Traditions: the story of our spring holiday an its traditions and origins
The Charter and the Battle: The chartists in Nottingham and
the battle of Mapperley Hills
Odd Laws: The strange laws that are still in force that we, unknowingly break all the time.
What time is it ? the story of the non-existent thing we call time!! and how it has changed society.
Nottinghams Lost Theatres: Theatres
from the local Nottingham area that entertained 1000s but are no longer with us.
Trick or Treat: Halloween: The story of our winter tradition its origin and
Easter Traditions: the story of our spring holiday and its traditions and origins
Victory in Europe:
Nazi Germany's last week: the story of World War Twos events leading up to and celebrations of VE Day.
The Charter and the Battle: The chartists in Nottingham
and the battle of Mapperley Hills
Odd Laws: The strange laws that are still in force that we break all the time.
Friendly Societies: The story ofhow they changed both our social and political life for ever.
Through our ancestors eyes: a
look at historical events through our ancestors understanding and social conditions at the time,.
Lady horsemen of the road: the story of female highwaymen and footpads
The end of the Pier show: The history of the shows, and the theatres, on the British seaside piers
The Robins: the history of our post office and our postal service
Per Ardua ad Astra: "Through Adversity to the Stars" the story of the formation of the RAF
Britain's rock: A tour of Gibraltars
history in words , pictures and movie clips.
Invention by mistake: well known products or devices that were invented by accident or mistake.
The sometime unusual and fascinating story of the furry pet who shares our homes, the cat
The cup that cheers !: The fascinating story and the history of our national drink Tea
Are you sitting comfortably: The story of the beginnings of children's radio and television programmes.
Nursery Rhymes: parts 1 and 2 : their strange
stories, meanings and origins
Catchphrase?: parts 1 and 2 : the meaning and origin of some well know sayings that we all use every day
*Perspective tricks: the story ofHolograms,
Stereoscopes , 3D pictures and images. Including demonstrations.
Tricks of Light and Colour: 4 different talks (parts 1-4 ) on optical illusions that fool the eye and brain
They were Gone: Unexplained Mysterious deaths and disappearances of people over the years.
Let there be light: The Illuminating history of lights and lighting throughout the ages.
Down to the sea: the story of why the British fell in love with the seaside.
Gone in two and
half hours: The loss of "the largest ship afloat" the White Star liner Titanic, that hit an iceberg
Traditional Christmas: How our British traditions of the Christmas
season came about
Our ancestors toys: 2 different talks (parts 1&2 ) onChildren's toys and games from the Victorian era, with examples.
The Victorian Holiday: How our ancestors enjoyed their first, new found, leisure time
A Road by any Name: How the development of British roads,
through the ages changed society
Skeggy: Nottingham On Sea: A sketch of the long history of the seaside town of Skegness
Turn again: The real
story of Dick Whittington, Lord Mayor of London
Little miss Sure Shot: the true story of Annie Oakley "the greatest shot in the world"
The Mary Celeste:
The real story of the ship and the famous maritime mystery
Up the Flue : The strange sooty history of Chimneys and Chimney sweeps through out the ages:
Ponting: Pioneer Photographer, Film maker, war correspondent and explorer with Capt Scott in the Antarctic
Bread or Beer: How man changed for ever; the history of the start of
farming and its connection to beer.
Dick Turpin: The story of the real man and not just the legend
Houdini Highwayman: The story of Jack Sheppard
Highwayman, robber and jail breaker, an 18th century peoples hero.
Snippets from History: stories and tales, accidents, murder and strange events from the history of north Nottingham
Brewery: The story of the Robinsons and the Nottingham Daybrook brewery firm
The biggest Worsted mill: The story of Hawksley and Davisons huge mill built at the start of
the industrial revolution
Gone but not forgotten: a look at some Lost buildings Parts 1 Nottingham.: Part 2 Arnold
Fair on Film: part 1 in the square; or part 2 on the forest The story, Historic film and pictures of Nottingham's own
Muriel and Bert: the story
ofJessie Chambers, D H Lawrence’s first girlfriend and their relationship.
Pints and Pubs: The long history of beer and beer houses. How our present pubs came about.
H Higginbottom Architect: The unknown designer of many churches, schools, cinemas and other public buildings
Getting about: moving from place to place; History of transport of people and goods
through out the years.
Smashing the frames: the story of the times and trials of the Luddites frame breaking protests in Nottinghamshire
Horsemen and Footpads :
the story of Highwaymen and robbers on our roads through out the centuries
Luke Barton: the unknown Arnold inventor who brought us the modern socks and stockings
From Abacus to PCs; the history of how machines developed into our modern computers
Why should I use a computer!!: an introduction to what computers can do for
you and why you will soon need one.
Wars and the military
Dieppe: D Day rehearsal ? : the story of the
raid on the French coast in August 1942 and the "greatest air battle".
Hearts of Oak : The stories of Women, who over the centuries, masqueraded as men to join the military
Jessop: Stewardess, World War One Nurse and survivor of the sinking of the SS Titanic and SS Britannic
Battledress and Greasepaint : the story
ofentertainment and the armed forces during World War Two.
The VADS : The invaluable service of the Voluntary Aid Detachments and Auxiliary Hospitals in World War One
Auxiliary Hospital: the story of Arnolds own Auxiliary Hospital during World War One
Up and At Em: The story of the Royal Flying Corp from its formation into war (1911-1914)
Wings over the Somme: The Royal Flying Corp and the airwar during the battles of the Somme
Dads Dunkirk: the story of an ordinary squady and operation Dynamo, one man and the
retreat from Dunkirk in 1940.
An English village to Hollywood : The story of Jack Kitchin film editor
and producer and the George Formby films
*The Magic Lantern: the story of the earliest form of slide show and entertainment (using a magic lantern.)
laughter on the silver screen.: 2 set of stories ( Parts 1&2 ) the first superstars, early comedy actors of the silent cinema.
The Tudor and the Moths: The story of the Tudor Cinema West
Selling on film: A look at the beginning of the cinema and the earliest adverts on film
Victorian Optical Toys: our ancestors toys that lead to the development
of the movies and Television.
Living pictures: It Moves!! The earliest films and the start of the Cinema, Part 1 from 1888 -1899 and Part 2 1900-1913
Earliest 20th century
British film makers: The story of those British Pioneers who lead the world in early cinema.
Music Hall on film : 2 talks ( part1&2) with original film clips and stories, of showing
early Music Hall acts
Variety at War; on Film: (2 parts ) Film and stories of the Acts from the Second World War who kept up the moral
Fred and Ginger: the life, times and films clips
of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers.
Our Gracie: The story
of Gracie Fields in film and pictures.
Billy Merson: the story of Nottinghams own music hall and film star
Beside the seaside beside the sea: the history of the start of todays seaside entertainment
Glenn Miller: Bandleader extraordinaire; his life and mysterious death
The Dance Band Era on Film: The story of some Famous British bands of the 20s and 30s, recorded performing on film
Wakey Wakey: The story of Billy Cotton, the man, and
Lightwork : Exit stage left: stories of60yrs in the theatre, designing and working in entertainment venues.
"Can you hear me mother:" life and times
of comedian Sandy Powell
‘If it Wasn’t for the Houses in Between’ : the career of Gus Elen Music Hall entertainer and 'Coster' comedian
tricks and Illusions: some Stage lighting tricks and theatre effects. ( requires a good Blackout and extra set up time )
The Sun, Naked Flames and the Theatre:: The history of stage lighting from earliest
times to the present day.
Painting with light: The art of stage lighting, how its done and how it works
When we meet again: the story of Vera Lynn; singer, film star
and forces sweetheart.
Local History Nottingham area ( see also separate list for Arnold area )
and Mayhem: (parts 1&2 ) 2 different sets of stories of dark events in the Nottingham Villages
Law and order: the history of police and policing in Nottinghamshire through out the ages
People and Places: (part 1&2) on lesser known people from Nottinghamshire who however have shaped our history
The Forest; its Highway Robbery!: Robbers and
Robbery on a lonely stretch of the road through Sherwood Forest
The Dragon has Wings: The Hong Kong Volunteer Defence
Corp Air Unit: the history of a unique airforce
Airwar in Spain: British Aircraft and the Spanish Civil War the rehearsal for World War Two
Small Airforces of the British Empire: How small empire airforces played their vital part in World War Two
Mechanics in the Air: The unknown story of the Air Arm of the British breakdown rescue service,
the Automobile Association
That's an odd one: unusual and weird aircraft designed by the Allied and Axis forces in World War Two.
Mongrels of the air war: The story
of aircraft, other than the Spitfire and Hurricane, that fought the Battle of Britain.
Local History of the Arnold area
The caves of Arnold: the caves and tunnels cut into the rock below Arnold Nottingham
in the 15th century: the development of the middle ages agricultural town
Arnold in the 17th Century: The era of the Town of home industries
and the English civil war
Arnold in the 19th Century: The town during the industry and revolution
of Arnold: The history of the cinemas and film shows over the years in the small town
More Cinemas of Arnold: The further history of the cinema
in a small town
The Cinemas of Mapperley: The cinema in a Nottingham suburb
The Cinemas of Carlton: The
cinema comes to the Urban District
More Cinemas of Carlton : The cinema comes to the Urban District
Cinemas of Netherfield: The
cinema comes to the Urban District
Ernhale to Arnold: The General History of the town and village of Arnold part 1:
to Arnold: The General History of the town and village of Arnold part 2:
From Iron age to Iron horse; Arnolds history from earliest times to the industrial
From fee to Free , Education in a small town: the history of the towns early education and schools
old Bonington : The history of Arnold largest 1000 seater cinema and theatre
Estate to Public Park: The history of troubled times of Arnot Hill
Park Arnold from open fields to the present park.
The Wakes of Arnold: history, film and photos of the annual parades and celebrations in Arnold over the centuries.
*Arnold on film: historic film of Arnold through past times and events .
Grinding the Grain: History of Arnolds many windmills
Inns, Taverns and Pubs of Arnold;. The history of the pubs of Arnold
More Inns, Taverns and Pubs of Arnold;. The further
history of the pubs of Arnold
Even More Inns, Taverns and Pubs of Arnold. The further history of the pubs of Arnold
Arnolds painters: The
lives of 4 different artists with a local Arnold connection
Country Retreat: the houses of the great and good of Arnold during the 17th to 20th century
Water water everywhere : the story of the move from wells to piped water in Arnold
Making Arnold work, the development of a
town: The history of changing town and the types of work in Arnold Nottingham
Entertaining Arnold: The history of live entertainment in a small town
Mapperley as it was: Mapperley Nottingham Its past in pictures
Forgotten schools of Arnold: the history of earliest boarding schools
opened for the great and good in Arnold
Royalty in Arnold: a look at some of the Royal visits to Arnold over the years
House: The history of this house and the people who lived there.
Arnold in the Middle Ages: the town as it changes during the 12th, to
Civil war and Industry: Arnold ,the town and the changes during the 17th century