2021/2022 Programme

Monday 27 September (7.30pm) AGM

Zoom meeting

AGM followed at 8.15 by Jenna Pateman (Masters Student at Goldsmiths College and student representative on the Branch Committee)

Alan Turing: his life and historiographical debates

Now available on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mDwMXxfi-8&t=4s

Monday 25 October 7.30pm

Migration and Anglo-Irish Relations in the Middle Ages

Professor Brendan Smith, University of Bristol

Throughout history individuals and families have migrated across the Irish Sea, from east to west and west to east. As the example of the enslaved St Patrick demonstrates, such migration might be accompanied by terrible trauma, but starting new lives in England/Britain or Ireland could also present opportunities not available ‘at home’ to those prepared to relocate. This talk explores some medieval aspects of a phenomenon that continues to shape Anglo-Irish relations to this day.

Now available on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nek96VwI1nY

Monday 15 November 7.30pm

Pandemic 1918 – The Story of the Deadliest Influenza in History

Catharine Arnold, author and academic

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 was the greatest human disaster of the 20th century. In the dying months of WW1 it overwhelmed the globe, killing up to 100m people. Just over a century later, we are recovering from another pandemic, after Covid-19 was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in early 2020. In the year which followed, my book Pandemic 1918, a history of the Spanish flu pandemic, gained new relevance as readers tried to make sense of the current malaise. In this talk, I intend to compare and contrast the legacies of Spanish flu and Covid-19 and ask whether we can learn anything from the past.

Now available on YouTube – https://youtu.be/n1PEuiSqPFE

Monday 13 December 7.30pm CANCELLED

Shepherds, Kings and Angels: A Visual Journey through Christmas Art

Rosalind Malandrinos, art historian

Monday 24 January 7.30pm, Zoom event

The Princess’s Garden: Royal Intrigue and the Untold Story of Kew Gardens

Vanessa Berridge, author

The British enthusiasm for gardening has fascinating roots. The Empire and trade across the globe created
an obsession with exotic new plants, and showed the power and reach of Britain in the early eighteenth
century At that time, national influence was expressed in the design of parks and gardens such as Kew and
Stowe, and the style of these grand gardens was emulated first throughout Britain and then increasingly
around the world. Augusta of Saxe-Gotha arrived in England aged sixteen, speaking barely any English, to
be married to Prince Frederick, the reviled eldest son of George II. Her very personal involvement with Kew
Gardens, and that of her husband and their close friend Lord Bute, would prove to be one that changed the
face of British gardening forever. Vanessa will present a tangled tale of royal intrigue, scandal and
determination in the Georgian court, and will draw us into the politically charged world of garden design.

Monday 21 February 7.30pm, Zoom event

Coal Mining during the War of the Roses – A Medieval Leicestershire Coalmine

Stuart Warburton, Retured Museum Curator

Between 1987 and 1994 an opencast coal mine called Lounge in North West Leicestershire allowed
Leicestershire Museums to keep a watching brief and collect artefacts found during coal extraction.
At the time Stuart Warburton was the Curator of Science and Industry and responsible for the
overseeing the archaeological excavations, preservation and interpretation of the finds.
The open cast was located in an area of early coal working but no-one realised the importance of the
local mining industry until analysis of the finds began and resulted in the national reappraisal of the
history of medieval coal mining and a rewriting of the history and significance of mining during the
medieval period.
Amongst the finds was the oldest woollen working class garment to be found in the country, dating
from between 1425 and 1465 and its conservation and preservation gave mining and costume
historians their first look at the appearance of a Midlands coalminer at the time of the War of the
The hour long talk will outline the importance of the medieval mining artefacts and workings at the
Lounge and stress their contribution toward understanding coal mining in England and Europe. The
talk will examine the archaeology, artefacts e.g. tools, clothes and footwear, the construction of the
mine shaft and workings it served. Associated documentary evidence will look at the working
conditions of the miners, their life style and the clothes they wore. The talk is fully illustrated.

Monday 21 March 7.30pm, Zoom event

What did women do all day in early modern England?

Dr Mark Hailwood, University of Bristol

This talk will look at a range of different historical sources – advice literature, wage information, wills, and
court witness statements – to explore the question of how women went about their day-to-day lives in the
period from 1500 to 1700. The talk will draw on research done as part of a project on ‘Women’s Work in
Rural England, 1500-1700′, and will ultimately show that women did a much wider range of work activities
in this period than is often recognised, and as such they played a key role in England’s emergence as an
economic superpower.

Now available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw10UeyVLyI

Monday 25 April 7.30pm, Zoom event

Conquerors: How Portugal forged the first global empire

Roger Crowley, author

Portugal, a small poor nation, enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and
navigational skill of its explorers—a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal’s discovery
of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade
would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy. Roger Crowley will draw on
letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of Portugal’s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Figures
such as King Manuel ‘the Fortunate’, João II ‘the Perfect Prince’, marauding governor Afonso de
Albuquerque, and explorer Vasco da Gama juggled their private ambitions and the public aims of the
empire, often suffering astonishing losses in pursuit of a global fortune.

Now available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se5EOMYfvLA&t=33s

Monday 16 May 7.30pm, Zoom event

The Return of the Scots: The impact of Scottish raiding of Northern England in the 1330s and 1340s

Dr Iain MacInnes, UHI

The impact and legacy of Scottish raiding on Northern England during the First Scottish War of Independence (1296-1328) has been the subject of significant study. English evidence provides detailed accounts of the extent of these raids, the amounts of money and goods taken, and the impact such raids had on the economy and society of the region. Considerably less analysis has focused, however, on the raids undertaken by Scottish commanders during the next phase of conflict (1332-1357) in the later 1330s and 1340s.

In part this is because of the disastrous (for the Scots) Neville’s Cross campaign (1346) which affects the perception of this period of warfare. Moreover, the short duration of this raiding phase has ensured it remains less understood. However, these raids deserve re-examination to better appreciate the nature, extent and impact of these attacks on the English countryside during a period when English focus was increasingly drawn towards France. This paper will therefore consider these raids in order to analyse the extent to which the English north returned to the bad old days of the 1310s and 1320s, or if England was better prepared, and better defended, in this later period.

Now available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81dbsXBUcd4