Past Programme – 2022/23

11 October 2022 – Fraser Hunter

Roman Silver and Frontier Politics in North Britain

Michael Atkinson Memorial Lecture

Fraser is principal curator of Iron Age and Roman collections at the National Museum of Scotland. His main interests are in Roman and Celtic finds at sites in Scotland. Our view of the Roman frontier is shaped by Hadrian’s Wall, but military power alone was not enough to control the northern border. New research has revealed the widespread use of frontier diplomacy and bribery as Rome attempted to control the area. Much of this involved silver, passing into local hands. The talk will look at some of the treasures of the period and the impact this had on societies in the north.

25 October 2022  – Hugh Ellwood

Antonia Gaudi

Hugh Ellwood pursued a career as an architect for over 30 years and developed a keen interest in the various forms of architecture found around the world. He is also an accomplished artist.  In Barcelona at the end of the 19thcentury an astonishing genius produced forms of architecture unique to Catalonia.  He is best known for his design of the cathedral of La Sagrada Familia but he also built a succession of town houses and estates for several wealthy industrialists.

8 November 2022  – John Pilkington

An Englishman in Patagonia

Shirley Burwell Memorial Lecture

Patagonia – it’s the stuff of dreams. John made three trips to this southernmost part of South America, including Tierra del Fuego. He walked among glaciers, met gauchos (Patagonian cowboys), and took tea with the tiny but persistent Welsh community – still fiercely independent after more than 150 years.

He’ll tell us about the sheep-farming pioneers who, early in the 20th century, made their homes in the teeth of the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties. He’ll play clips of them describing dangerous sea journeys, and their efforts to set down roots against almost impossible odds. He’ll explain Patagonia’s latest battles with climate change and volcanic fallout. And some of us may be surprised to hear what happened to two of its most notorious early settlers – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

22 November 2022  – Rowena Harker Leder

Reminiscences of a Bluebell Girl

This talk is about Rowena’s days as a Bluebell Girl in Las Vegas when she went with the famous troupe of dancers from the Lido de Paris to open the Stardust Hotel – the first European show ever to go to America. She will give us an insight into the early days of Las Vegas including some blatant name dropping such as Frank Sinatra, David Niven etc. but all told with great humour, verve and panache

6 December 2022  – Andrew Heading

Riding across Alaska

Andrew is a journalist, photographer and cyclist. In this talk we join him in the 1000 mile Iditasport Trail race across Alaska, aiming to be the first European to complete the event. Along the way he encountered wolves, hallucinations and temperatures of 50 below as he following in the footsteps of gold prospectors and husky-teams who had trodden the infamous trail.

10 January 2023 – Christine Robinson

Glimpses of Chatsworth

Christine has been involved with Chatsworth and the Cavendish family over more than forty years. This illustrated talk covers all aspects of the House and Gardens; winter and summer, behind the scenes and “public”, and some of the special events hosted at Chatsworth over the last few years.

24 January 2023 – David Edwards 

Pompeii: Vesuvius Legacy

Mike Hornung Memorial Lecture

Using my expertise as a guide to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius, I look at the fascinating stories gleaned from the clues that litter this tempestuous landscape in one of the most densely populated, and threatened, areas of Europe. Striking videos and images bring the past and present alive.

7 February 2023 – Jim Holmes

Aceh,  After the Wave 

December 2004 saw a massive undersea earthquake send a wave of water over 20 Metres high rushing towards the Sumatran coast, in western Indonesia. I was assigned to document the disaster and the massive unfolding relief effort, returning many times over the next 10 years. My dramatic images were used worldwide by Oxfam, the UN and other agencies to illustrate the disaster, the need and the successes of the intervention that saved countless lives.           

14 February 2023Brendan Miller

Making Programmes for Television            

Brendan Miller is a freelance film-maker specialising in explainers and video-essays. He has produced films for BBC Three, BBC REEL, BBC Ideas, the Financial Times and fact-checking charity, Full Fact.

Brendan is a freelance film maker specialising in video essays. He was formerly Digital Development Editor at BBC Three and for three years the producer of BBC Question Time. He will tell us how he sees television changing in the future.                                          

7 March 2023 – Aileen Wade

The Mary Rose

The Mary Rose was one of the largest warships in the British fleet when she foundered in the Solent in 1545. The wreck was discovered in 1971 and raised in 1982, the start of a massive recovery, conservation and research programme. Aileen will outline the history of the ship and the information and insights that the research has revealed.

This lecture will begin at 7.30 pm following the AGM