Speaker Meetings

The Speaker Meetings take place

on the third Wednesday of each month

20th July – Graham Harrison

Honey in History

Graham Harrison visited us virtually last year during lockdown and kept us amused and entertained as well as informed with his talk ‘Sense and Insensibility – Chloroform and the History of Anaesthesia’.


This time his visit will be live and we look forward to hearing about the many uses of honey over the last 10,000 years and how much we still depend on bees today.

Bee 2.jpg

Speaker Meetings 2022/23

Jan  Humanitarian Vision    Jim Holmes

Feb  How Tropical Rainforests Work    Dr David Jones

Mar  Last Supper at Pompeii - Dr Paul Roberts

April  Charles Darwin and The Beagle  -  James Taylor

May  Tooth, Claw and Mane - Tom Way

15 June  Dr Livingstone, I Presume - Fran Sandham

20 July   Honey in History - Graham Harrison

17 Aug   Garden Party

21 Sept  Dress, Dazzle and Display - Siobhan Clarke

19 Oct   A is for Arsenic  the Poisons of Agatha Christie 

- Dr Kathryn Harkup

16 Nov  The Wind in the Willows - John Ericson

14 Dec  The Bob & Dot Show: A Christmas Entertainment

- Sunjester 

18 Jan 2023  Georghi Markhov & the Poison Umbrella

Murder - Paul Barfield

15 Feb 2023  The Musical Theatre of Gilbert and Sullivan

- Bernard Lockett

15 Mar 2023 The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill 

- Stuart Linford

past Speaker Meetings 2020/21

Sept - Wildlife on Your Doorstep    Tom Way

Oct - Art Inspired by Wine    John Ericson 

Nov - Music in Art    Sophie Matthews

Dec - London in times of Shakespear  Tim Barron

Feb - House of the Romanovs    Siobhan Clark

Mar - British Museum Treasures    Don Brown

April - Sing a Century   Andy Smith

May - From Barrow to Baghdad and back again   Philip Caine

June  Chloroform - Sense and Insensibility   Graham Harrison

July    Memories of a TV Cameraman    Steven Jellyman

Aug   Garden Party   

Sept  The Land of Giants and Volcanoes    Timothy Walker

Oct    Remembered, the Commonwealth War Graves  

Julie Summers

Nov   The Mitford Sisters in the Cotswolds    Muriel Pilkington

Dec   600 Years of Christmas    Green Matthews

Updated: 1 Jul

We meet live at

St. Mary-le-More Church

in Wallingford town centre.

Zoom will not be available for July, Sept & Oct meetings, and will be reviewed in November.

Future talks:

17th August - Summer Luncheon Party

This is our annual summer social event. It will be at Crowmarsh Village hall. Invitations have been sent out with the July Newsletter.

21st September -  Siobhan Clarke

Dress, Dazzle and Display

Siobhan Clarke is a history graduate who is based at Hampton Court Palace and specialises in the life of the Historic Royal Palaces. She visited us virtually last year with her fascinating talk about the Romanovs. This time she will talk to us about Tudor Court Dress and how costume was used as a political, economic and social tool. Laws were passed to regulate dress at all levels of society and fashion was anything but frivolous!

19th October - Dr Kathryn Harkup

A is for Arsenic, the Poisons of Agatha Christie

Dr Kathryn Harkup is a chemist with a PhD on phosphines and an author. She tends towards the more macabre side of science and her first book, an international best-seller, was ‘A is for Arsenic: the Poisons of Agatha Christie’. More recently she has focused on her work as a science communicator, talking, writing and demonstrating science. Her talk will deal with the science of murder – with the particular local interest in our own crime writer. We hope that it will not include practical elements!

16th November - John Ericson

The Wind in the Willows

John Ericson is one of our most popular speakers and has presented a wide range of subjects to us over the past few years. Members may recall his first talk on corkscrews and many others up to his last Zoom presentation ‘Art Inspired by Wine’. He returns with his latest talk about his favourite book ‘The Wind in the Willows’ which also has many local connections and resonances. 

14th December - Sunjester

The Bob and Dot Show: A Christmas Entertainment

The Bob and Dot show is a feast of anecdotes and music on a seasonal theme. Christmas songs from the Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals combine with humorous tales about the artistes. There will also be some insights into the origins of some of our Christmas traditions, one of which was (and still could be!) illegal.

18th January 2023 - Paul Barfield

Georghi Markhov & the Poison Umbrella Murder

Paul Barfield, our speaker this month, has spent 17 years working in Police Intelligence and National Security. He now specialises in investigating historic espionage incidents. His Eyes on the Spies tours and talks focus on the activities of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services and those parts of London where treachery, betrayal and double-cross flourish(ed). This month he will present to us ‘Georghi Markov & the Poison Umbrella Murder’, a cause celebre of the 80s.

15th February 2023 - Bernard Lockett

The Musical Theatre of Gilbert and Sullivan

Bernard Lockett is a trustee of the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival that takes place annually in Harrogate . He has written two books about Gilbert and Sullivan and broadcast on BBC radio 2,3 and 4 on the subject. This talk will give an assessment and overview of the works of Gilbert &Sullivan and their historical background. Bernard will review and consider their world wide appeal still in the 21st century and the social and political satire embedded in them, much of which is relevant today.


15th March 2023 - Stuart Linford

The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill

Stewart Linford visited us in July 2018 with his fascinating talk on ‘The Windsor Chair’, made for years by his family in their High Wycombe factory. Many of us were struck by his humour and physical likeness to that revered wartime leader. This time we have asked him to return and talk about the Wit of Winston Churchill in a talk which is packed with stories exploring the virtues and vices of that charismatic Prime Minister. This promises to be a very interesting and entertaining afternoon.