Talk Catalogue

Art and Literature

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Art and Literature

William Morris & the Arts & Crafts Movement

Talk Description and preview

Mark Lewis celebrates the life and work of this illustrious poet, artist and social reformer, who pioneered a movement that reacted against the soulless machine production of the Industrial Revolution. Morris attempted to promote joyful labour, the enjoyment of fine craftsmanship and simplicity of expression.

Talk length - 32 minutes.

Mark Lewis

Mark is a freelance artist, designer-silversmith and semi-retired university lecturer. Until the summer of 2009, he was a Principal Lecturer in the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design at London Met University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Horners. Mark has a particular interest in unusual local customs and rituals and in 2013 he published a book on the folklore and popular customs of the church.

The legacy of Antoni Gaudi

Talk Description and preview

Antoni Gaudi, the architect from Catalonia, Spain, whose work spanned from the late 19th century until 1926 has left a legacy of unique designs, the likes of which are unlikely to ever be repeated.  7 of his creations are in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.  In this talk we travel around Barcelona, look at his creations, including the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, and discover what inspired him as well as examining other architectural masterpieces and visiting Montserrat, Spain and Palma, Mallorca.


Talk length - 40 minutes.

Christopher Legrand

Christopher Legrand qualified as a Chartered Surveyor 55 years ago and is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers. Since retiring he devotes his time to giving talks, managing a Community Gospel Choir and running events for those with memory loss and dementia.

He was a Justice of the Peace for 17 years and in 1990 founded the charity 'HyPed' (Project for Homeless Young People in Eastern Dorset) and was its chairman for 6 years during which time it opened and managed supportive houses and helped over 400 young people.

He enjoys travel, photography and sharing his experiences with others.

William Shakespeare in London

Talk Description and preview

This incomer came to London to join the lowest level of society, so how did a glover’s son become the national poet of England? Discover with Andrew Warde, Will’s life while he made his reputation.

Talk length - 23 minutes.

Andrew Warde

Andrew Warde has more than 40 years experience as a London Blue Badge guide, with additional guide qualifications for the City of London and for Windsor & Eton. He presents illustrated talks and walks in and around London, telling all about historic buildings, curious survivals from times past, or special areas of London life and the Thames riverside. These talks reveal fascinating aspects of London’s past and the people who lived there.

The Accidental  Author

Talk Description and preview

In this talk we find out how Sue Medcalf became an accidental author! Her series of books came from a conversation with her sister, who had badgers digging up her back garden and she asked if she knew how to discourage them from digging!! After a lot of research on badgers Sue became hooked on them and the Itchybald Scratchet character was born!

Talk length - 33 minutes.

Sue Medcalf

Sue Medcalf is an accidental author of a series of books about a badger called Itchybald Scratchet. At 57 she never expected to write a book and now she has seven books. The series of books came from a telephone conversation with her sister, who had badgers digging up her back garden. She asked Sue what she could do to stop the digging.  So Sue did some research on their habitat and was hooked! Sue is now involved in an ongoing writing project, capitalising on her interest and research into badgers and wildlife in general, along with their behaviour and habitat.

How to Make Money out of Murder: Writing a Crime Thriller Novel

Talk Description and preview

Sally shares her secret for writing the perfect crime thriller! Discover how writers get their ideas, the best way of writing a novel and what it's like working with a publisher. Hear extracts from Sally's psychological thriller, The Promise, and be privy to Sally's favourite murder weapons.

Talk length - 50 minutes.

Sally Jenkins

Sally Jenkins is a writer and public speaker. She is the author or two psychological thrillers and many short stories and articles. Sally is a members of Sutton Coldfield Speakers Club and in 2018 represented the Midlands at the national final of the Association of Speakers Clubs speech competition.

The World in One Room 

Talk Description and preview

Marianne North was a Victorian artist with a great eye for botanical detail, notable for her plant and landscape paintings, her extensive foreign travels and the creation of her gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where 833 of her paintings are displayed in geographical order. Marianne’s independent spirit made her journeys one of the most reported subjects in the British newspapers of the period. With quotes from her journals, 'The World in One Room' attempts to reveal the more personal side of this remarkable woman.

Talk length - 42 minutes.

Jack Andrews MBE

Jack’s career was in advertising and broadcasting – radio, television and cable. He took an early retirement in 1984 to administer and raise funds for two training schemes in the theatre, one for writers and another for directors. He was awarded the MBE in 2002 for Services to the Arts. In 1992 he became a volunteer guide at Kew Gardens and in 2016 produced a BBC documentary about the Victorian painter, Marianne North. broadcast under the title ‘Kew’s Forgotten Queen’. More recently, Jack has compiled, a virtual talk based on the journals, letters and paintings of Marianne North. He calls it ‘The World in One Room’.

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