Illustrated Talks

There are currently over forty talks on offer to Groups Societies, Schools and Cruise Lines. These cover aspects of architecture, art, biographies, gardening, local history. The talks, which are illustrated with PowerPoint, last approximately one hour, but can be tailored accordingly.

Derbyshire Walls
Charles Laughton
in Hobson’s Choice
Chaplin with Gandhi in Canning Town 22 September 1931
Secret Garden
Holly Cross Church, Ilam
Walter Crane
“Can these dry bones live?”
Henry Bowler (1856)
Paxton’s Crystal Palace
Ivar Gull. 1930

1. “A Garden Within Doores”
A social history of flowers and plants in the home

2. An Appreciation of the Southern Peak
A whistle-stop tour of the Derbyshire Dales and Staffordshire Moorlands exploring the contrasts and varieties of the area.

3. Art of the Christmas Card
One hundred years of the Christmas Card (c.1846-1940s)

4. Art of Flowers
An appreciation of flowers in art whilst exploring meanings and associated symbolism and the language of flowers.

5. Art of the Garden
One hundred years of British Art of Gardens (c.1850-1950)

6. Art of World War 1
British paintings reflecting the changing nature of war, featuring artists such as Paul Nash and  Stanley Spencer

7. Ashbourne – Gateway to Dovedale
Medieval market town and its Georgian heyday; the Romantic movement and lots more…

8. ‘Cheers’
The history of pubs and drink

9. ‘East End Life Through the Lens of a Camera
Snapshots of life and culture in the East End of London as captured on camera from one World War to another

10. “Every Picture Tells a Story’
Insights into life in the nineteenth century as seen through Victorian narrative art.

11. Ilam, ‘the place where heaven and earth touch’.
Focusing on the 18th and 19th centuries in the delightful estate village close to Dovedale.

12. Leek, ‘the Queen of the Moorlands’.
Exploring Victorian times with an Arts and Crafts flavour in Leek, ‘the town that silk built’.

13. Lest We Forget
One Hundred Years of Remembrance and Commemoration

14. ‘Our Marie’
The life and times of Marie Lloyd and the Music Hall

15. The Art of Derbyshire
A personal look of favourite art associated with this fine County.

16. ‘The City of Dreadful Night’
Poverty and social reform in the East End of London in the late Victorian period

17. The English & Gardening
A social history of an English obsession.

18. The Fascination of Churches
Observations on some of the wonderful churches in the Derbyshire Dales and Staffordshire Moorlands.

19. ‘The Golden Age of Children’s Picture Books & Nursery Rhymes.’
The art work of Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway.

20. The Gothic Revival in Staffordshire
Appreciating the work of major architects such as Pugin, Street, Bodley, Scott and Shaw in the county where they left a rich legacy of Gothic Revival church building between 1840 and 1890.

21. The Great War-shattered illusions
The romanticised image of war on the run up to 1914 and the shattered illusions thereafter, including the works of some of the WW1 soldier poets.

22. The ‘Romance of the Derbyshire Dales’
Unmitigated horror or Fairyland? Looking at how the area has been perceived over time, with romance in the air.

23. The Victorians and the Christmas Season
How and why the Victorians repackaged and reinvigorated Christmas and the importance of Charles Dickens.

24. The Victorian Way of Death
Death was ever present in nineteenth century life. Not as morbid as it may sound, we take a fascinating glimpse into Victorian attitudes to death.

25. Art & the East End
Exploring the significance of art in East End history from 1600 through to World War II.


26. Catherine Booth
‘The Mother of the Salvation Army’ – Born in Ashbourne, Catherine was a major inspiration behind the Salvation Army, and left a lasting legacy to the world.

27. ‘Cook’s Tours’
The achievements of Thomas Cook and Son in opening up popular travel.

28. Lord Curzon of Kedleston, The Viceroy of India.
A talented, colourful and controversial statesman who presided over the Indian Empire at its apogee.

29. Florence Nightingale
‘The Lady with the Lamp’ Her life and achievements.

30. Joseph Paxton
‘The busiest man in England’ – Gardens, conservatories, parks, architecture and lots more.

Latest talks!…

Covid has opened up an opportunity that has been a long time coming…

31. East of Poplar in Mandalay (Lives at the heart of Empire)

This is a story of mercantile Poplar, East London and its relationship to the East India Company, the British Empire and the Indian subcontinent. It is explored through the life of a local lad who found himself fighting in the ‘last great battle of empire’ at Kohima.

32. Mapleton & Okeover, through the seasons
A love letter to Mappleton & Okeover, straddling the River Dove between Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

Over and above, there are a range of talks – THE SPIRIT OF NORWAY- for all Norway-lovers out there!  A series of presentations on Norway-a land of wonders. A social, cultural, artistic look at Norway and its national identity primarily from the 18th century.

33. The Land of Thule
The Land of Thule-the most northerly place in the ancient world-a land of mystery; a land at the edge of the maps; a land obscured by mists; a silent empty world; a terrible beauty.

But where is it? We are off in search!

34. Aspects of Norwegian Art
Looking at Norway through the eyes of key Norwegian artists such as Astrup, Backer, Balke, Hertevig, Kielland, Munch and Sohlberg. What do they tell us about this country?

35. Art of the Norwegian Landscape
The Norwegians have a deep affinity with nature. Focusing primarily on the 19th century, we will explore the Norwegian landscape through art. Looking at those that played a role in the development of Norwegian national identity and the golden age of Norwegian art.

36. Fridtjof Nansen
Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) is known as ‘the father of modern polar exploration.’ What’s more, a champion skier, scientist, diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. An incredible man, an extraordinary life.

37. Norwegian themes-Times Past
Focusing on the likes of Bergen, Oslo, Finnmark and Narvik, we take a brief look at certain key Norwegian themes from times past- the Hanseatic League, the Vikings, Norway’s Sami and occupation during World War 11.

38. Norwegian Themes-Pot Pourrie
Mainly architecturally themed, here we focus on the likes of Oslo, Tromso, Alta and Stavanger to include topics such as stave churches, oil and tourism.

In total, there are also eight separate presentations on Norwegian towns and cities:

  1. ALTA‘Land of the Northern Lights’
  2. ANDALSNES‘The Mountaineering Capital’
  3. BERGEN ‘The Gateway to the Fjords’
  4. KRISTIANSUND- ‘Klipfish, Opera & the Gateway to the Atlantic Ocean Road.’
  5. NARVIK – ‘In Nordland County’
  6. OSLO -‘The Capital of Norway’
  7. STAVANGER ‘Oil Capital of Norway’
  8. TROMSO ‘Gateway to the Arctic’

For forthcoming open events click here for details