Speaker Meetings

Latest Update                                                           8th Jan

We are sad to have to announce that the speaker we had booked for January has had to postpone his talk due to work requirements related to the pandemic. We were due to hear Dr Paul Roberts speak on ‘Last Supper at Pompeii’, a fascinating talk which we are hoping to reschedule for next year.

As a replacement we are pleased to say that we have been able to book Mary Smith to speak to us about ‘A Schoolgirl’s War’. Mary Smith is a retired secondary school head teacher. Her talk tells the story of school life in the south of England during WW2 and features the recently discovered and exquisite art work of a WW2 school art teacher who set out to document in paint and pencil the lives of school children and their teachers as the war unfolded. This is a unique collection of paintings featuring the disrupted schooling, air-raids, doodlebugs and underground lessons in shelters which were experienced by so many children. 

There are some noticeable parallels with the situation prevailing in schools at the moment as we fight a very different kind of war! The talk includes a selection of these delightful paintings, together with some anecdotes from wartime pupils. Humorous and sad in places, the talk covers aspects of the war which are not often explored and, with its strong visual content, is well suited to Zoom presentation.

The speaker meeting committee is working hard to ensure that the programme of talks we have set up will be able to continue whatever the situation regarding meetings in person. It is very unclear when we will be able to return to the Baptist Church for our monthly meetings, but rest assured that we will continue to deliver talks by Zoom as long as it is necessary.

We look forward to your joining us virtually on Wednesday 20 January at 2pm.

Jane Tuckett & Speakers' Committee

Wed 18 Nov 2020  Music in Art

Sophie Matthews is new to us. She is a professional musician who  specialises in playing historical woodwind instruments and in English Baroque and folk music. In her lecture she explored the links between the visual and the aural, drawing on the works of great painters such as Brueghel, Hogarth and Bosch  and  presented a variety of images of the instruments in their original social context. She described musical symbolism in medieval and Renaissance art and played historical music upon authentic instruments. An inspiring lecture. We have booked her for next year.

Here are links to some of what else Sophie does, including the musical tour around the 13 spaces in her home.

Wed 16 Dec 2020 London in the Time
of Shakespeare

Tim Barron is an actor musician who, in more normal times, works as a London Blue Badge Guide. He offers a wide portfolio of tours including London’s theatre land and Shakespeare’s Southwark so he was on home territory for this talk about London at the time of Shakespeare. We were highly entertained by Tim's Shakespearen anecdotes attached by familiar locations. Fascinating to learn of attitudes to Christmas back then. 

Updated:9 Jan2021

The Speaker Meetings take place

monthly on the third Wednesday at 2 pm 

Click on link below to join in

Meeting ID: 863 8862 2562   Passcode: 881899

Mary Smith – A Schoolgirl's War

Click on the Speakers' names to see their websites.

Wed 20 Jan 2021  A Schoolgirl's War 

Mary has written a book about the paintings that  she will look at it with us at the Speaker Meeting. The book is for sale and the profits go to an educational project which gives primary-aged children the chance to experience a lesson in an underground air-raid shelter. 

The book can be bought online at 


Wed 16 Sept 2020 Wildlife on Your Doorstep


As predicted, Tom Way offered us some delightful stories & photos of some of our local wildlife, from foxes to kingfishers & water voles to barn owls. His pictures are astonishingly clear & the patience he shows in taking them is incredible. Days or even weeks spent in waders in a winter stream or lying in a ditch! A few members who joined the talk expressed regret that they were unable to buy any of Tom's images on greetings cards. Tom did mention that he has set up an online 'shop' where his cards are for sale - during these strange times it could well be worth stocking up on birthday or other cards to save a trip to the shops. The link to his 'shop' is

Wed 21 Oct 2020  Art Inspired by Wine

John Ericson has given us some of our most memorable lectures over recent years. He gave us a fascinating tour of all things arty  from corkscrews (the most diversely decorated kitchen object ever) to beautiful prints of connoisseurs enjoying their wine. He gave us a tour of wine labels designed by famous modern artists. His highly professional presentation peppered with wonderful anecdotes, underpinned by his extensive knowledge of all things wine. Thank you John.

Wed 17 Feb 2021  Swan Upping

David Barber is the Queens Swan Marker, a role which dates back to the 12th century but he is undertaking to return to the 21st century this month to give us his scheduled talk by Zoom. I imagine that many of us have heard of the ancient custom of Swan Upping on the River Thames and have little concept of what it involves.  He is responsible for organizing it and will tell us all about it as well as describing his many other duties. A rare opportunity to find out about a fascinating local custom.

Wed 17 Mar 2021  Ancient Treasures
of the British Museum

Don Brown is a London Blue Badge Guide & Director of the London Society. His usual work sees him guiding tourists around London and other interesting sites which may be further afield. In these unusual times he is undertaking to show virtual tourists some of his favourite spots, including the British Museum where he will talk to us about some of the most outstanding ancient treasures of that amazing treasure house. 

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