Summary of current events

She Loves You (music of the 1960's)

Wed 13th December 2023

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Steve King

By 1960 a new generation of teenagers were seeking alternatives to rock 'n' roll.  It was the Beatles who broke all the rules and the records during one of the most creative and innovative periods in the history of music.  This lecture features the major artists, important songs and principal musical genres.

This lecture gives the stories behind some of the greatest hits using video clips to remind us of the music and the artists in the early 60s which, looking back, seems a special time.

Steve King has an extensive knowledge of music. He spent 35 years as a radio broadcaster, programmer and events director. He has directed over 50 multi-artist events including those at the largest arenas.

She Loves You (music of the 1960's)She Loves You (music of the 1960's)

Doctor, what is wrong with me? Art and diagnosis

Wed 10th January 2024

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: James Grant

The lecture explains how artists such as Ghirlandio, Holbein and Barbara Hepworth have depicted this diagnostic journey.  By faithfully recording many different pathologies in their art, they allow the modern observer to understand a complex process that we now take for granted.

What is wrong with me?” is a common questions put to any physician. James Grant explains how the ability of doctors to respond meaningfully has progressed in the last two thousand years from mythology, Galen’s four humors and blood letting to endoscopy and MRI scans.  The observations of a variety of artists are used to illustrate the journey to current understanding and tools.

James Grant is a retired country doctor with a lifetime of working in the NHS.  He is fascinated by the intertwined world of art and medicine, and passionate about medicine, its history, and its relationship to arts and crafts.

Doctor, what is wrong with me?  Art and diagnosisDoctor, what is wrong with me?  Art and diagnosisDoctor, what is wrong with me?  Art and diagnosis

A bit of a carry on

Wed 14th February 2024

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Tyler Butterworth

The untold story of Carry On actor, Peter Butterworth, and his wife, Janet Brown, best known for her impression of Mrs Thatcher. Using film and TV clips, personal momentos, photographs and letters from his family's unseen collection, Tyler reveals the private story behind his parents' public lives. It’s a journey that takes in MI9, the building of a theatre in the notorious WW2 Prisoner of War camp Stalag Luft III, nights at Chequers with a Prime Minister, This Is Your Life, and many more moments in their long, shared life in the theatre. 

Tyler Butterworth grew up in this theatrical family and spent twenty five years as an actor working extensively in film, television, theatre and radio. He then worked as a development producer in television documentaries and was closely involved with NASA on a landmark commemorative tv series. Now, he works as a voice actor, recording audiobooks, documentaries and voiceovers, and he produces walking audio guides to cities across Europe for private clients on whatever subject he’s commissioned to do. 

A bit of a carry onA bit of a carry on

Happy and Glorious

Wed 13th March 2024

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Barbara Askew

The crowning of the sovereign is an ancient ceremony rich in religious significance, historical associations and pageantry.This lecture looks at the evolution of the coronation ceremony from Saxon times to the present day, examines the stages of the coronation from the Proclamation to the Homage, and explains the significance of the various items of Coronation Regalia.Finally,the lecture gives an account of fascinating incidents, ill omens and memorable mishaps that have occurred at coronations and ends with a discussion of how the coronation of King Charles III differed from that of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Barbara Askew is a Historian and London Blue Badge Guide from 1988.  She is an expert in Royalty and on Windsor Castle.

Happy and GloriousHappy and Glorious

Art behind bars

Wed 10th April 2024

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Angela Findlay

Years of working as an artist within the Criminal Justice System in England and Germany has given Angela unique insights into the destructive and costly cycle of crime, prisons and re-offending. In this thought-provoking talk she offers a deeper understanding of the minds, lives and challenges of offenders. With extraordinary slides of art projects and prisoner’s art, she demonstrates how within the process of creating art of any discipline, there are vital opportunities for offenders to confront their crimes and develop the key life skills so essential in leading a positive and productive life. A frequent response to this talk has been “I had no idea!” and indeed it casts light onto areas of our society where the Arts not only are visual, decorative or commercial, but absolutely vital, hugely relevant and potentially life-changing.

This talk is moving, informative and very original, and interspersed with personal accounts of humorous or slightly horrifying situations,

Angela Findlay is a professional artist, writer and freelance lecturer with a long career of teaching art in prisons in Germany and England. Her time ‘behind bars’ and later as Arts Coordinator of the London-based Koestler Arts, gave her many insights into the huge impact the arts can have in terms of rehabilitation. Though novel, her ideas were effective and in 2016 she was invited by the Ministry of Justice to support the case for the arts to be included in new, progressive programmes of rehabilitation and education. Brexit unfortunately reversed the direction of prison policy but art's role is still vital. 

Angela has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art, a Diploma in Artistic Therapy (specialising in colour) and her paintings have been widely exhibited. In the past decade Angela’s Anglo-German roots led her to research Germany’s largely unknown post-WW2 process of remembrance and the extraordinary culture of 'counter memorials' and site-specific artworks that emerged to express national shame and apology. Her book, In My Grandfather's Shadow, was published in 2022.


Art behind barsArt behind barsArt behind bars

Wilde about Oscar: Famous for being famous (and infamous)

Wed 8th May 2024

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Simon Whitehouse

This lecture examines the life and times of Oscar Wilde from his Irish roots to his days as a student at Oxford and his meteoric rise to the heights of celebrity. We travel with him to the United States and examine his starring role within the artistic & theatrical worlds of late 19th century London. We visit his home in bohemian Chelsea and some of his favourite West End haunts. Finally, we learn how ‘tired of being in the heights, he plunged into the depths’ and became famous for being INfamous...

Simon Whitehouse is a (recovering) actor, lecturer, presenter, Alexander Technique and voice teacher and award winning London Blue Badge guide. He has worked as a guide lecturer at Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal Opera House, the BBC and the National Gallery guiding both public and private tours. He is on the faculty of Ithaca College and also lectures for the Blue Badge Guide training course on the performing arts and English literature.

Simon’s specialisms and passions are theatre, literature, fashion and art history.

Wilde about Oscar: Famous for being famous (and infamous)Wilde about Oscar: Famous for being famous (and infamous)

Murder most florid

Wed 12th June 2024

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Mark Spencer

Plants too are silent witnesses to crimes. Their presence in many crime scenes can help an investigator identify a suspect or locate a victim. Apparently mundane plants such as brambles and nettles can provide valuable insights into when a crime was committed. Fragments of leaves and seeds embedded in soil on the footwear of a suspect can place them at the scene. An understanding of landscape history and land-use helps an investigator discriminate between a clandestine burial and a mediaeval feature in a woodland. Forensic botany is not new science, plants have played a role in solving major cases for decades, including the infamous murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s infant son.

 Mark Spencer has been fascinated by plants since a small boy. He studied horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He also studied botany and mycology at university, and then worked as a field botanist for a regional conservation organisation. After 12 years as a senior botany curator at the Natural History Museum, London he is now a consultant forensic botanist, public speaker and occasional radio and TV presenter. He is the honorary curator of Carl Linnaeus’s herbarium at the Linnean Society of London, one of the most significant collections in the history of science. He has a strong interest in the history of botany and botanic gardens, invasive non-native species and the flora of North-West Europe.

Murder most florid