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Speaker Meetings

are third Wednesday 2:00 pm of every month

St. Mary-le-More Church

in Wallingford town centre

Wed 17th July 2024
Simon Cottle – A Piece of the Auction

Simon Cottle’s career has been in the world of fine art.

 

Formerly Managing Director of Bonhams Auctioneers, he is an international specialist on British and European glass and ceramics.

 

Earlier in his career, he worked in museums around the UK and also at Sotheby’s. At both Sotheby’s and Bonhams he extended the company’s activities into continental Europe and at Bonhams also into North America.

Simon Cottle.png

He will talk to us about the life of an auctioneer in a top auction house and some of the interesting, unusual and unexpected items which have come under the hammer. 

Speaker Meetings 2024:

Jan – Bertie Pearce

Now you see it, now you don’t

Bertie graduated with a BA(Hons) in Drama from Birmingham and then went on to the Ecole Internationale du Theatre Jaques Lecoq in Paris. Since then he has performed all over the world from ‘The Magic Castle’  in Hollywood to the Kulm Hotel in St. Moritz. He has a passion for Victorian Pastimes, Punch and Judy, Charles Dickens and Illusion. ​

‘Now you see it, now you don't’??? There is a delight in being deceived, so hold on to your seats and get ready to be visually fried!  This is one of the quirkiest lectures you will ever hear.

Feb – Andrea Powell

The role of Local Government in helping us to achieve net zero

Andrea Powell is the SODC councillor for Benson and Crowmarsh and is on the Climate and Ecological Emergencies Committee.  You may not know it but the District Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and since then has been following a Climate Action Plan (CAP) which touches on all aspects of the council and its ability to influence others to achieve their ambitious goal of being a net zero council by 2025 and a net zero district by 2030.  

This talk will explain how the CAP cuts across all services provided by SODC. It will give examples of the actions being taken and being planned and how we can support these efforts to help achieve their targets.

Mar –  Timothy Walker

How to be a 21st Century Gardener

Timothy Walker is lecturer in Plant Sciences at Oxford University and has previously given talks to us  This lecture  is on the future of gardening in the UK and  has been stimulated in part by the changes that we are seeing in our weather and climate.  In his talk Timothy Walker looks at the many ways that gardeners can reduce their impact on the world’s natural resources and at the same time help those plants whose habitat is evolving faster that they can.  It is about much more than global warming and using peat!

Apr – The work of the Air Ambulance

This presentation is about a service we hope none of us will ever have to use. The speaker will give details about the history of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance from its early beginning to the present day and will detail the equipment they have at their Benson base. We will hear about various real life emergencies and why it is so important to get medical help to the patient as quickly as possible as well as fast transport to hospital.

 

May – Tom Way 

Life behind the Lens

Photographer Tom Way is well known to us having visited us on numerous occasions over recent years, both live and virtually during the lockdown years. He has always entertained and amazed us, first and foremost by the quality of his wonderful wildlife photographs, whether of Africa’s ‘big five’ or more local British animals, or by his tales of the persistence, patience and dedication required to capture these images. This time he will reveal more of the life of the wildlife photographer as he waits patiently to capture the perfect shot.

June – Dr Kathryn Harkup

Dying to be Beautiful

Dr Kathryn Harkup is a chemist who completed her doctorate on her favourite chemicals, phosphines. She went on to further chemical research before deciding that talking, writing and demonstrating science interested her more than the nitty-gritty of research. She now focuses on the dangerous and nasty side of science including Agatha Christie’s poisons, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, death in Shakespeare’s plays. On her most recent visit to us she spoke about the science behind 007. Her enthusiasm and slightly ghoulish sense of humour make her a very popular speaker and we look forward to hearing her talk about the damaging measures that people over centuries have taken in pursuit of their idea of beauty.

Jul – Simon Cottle

A Piece of the Auction

Simon Cottle’s career has been in the world of fine art. Formerly Managing Director of Bonhams Auctioneers, he is an international specialist on British and European glass and ceramics. Earlier in his career, he worked in museums around the UK and also at Sotheby’s. At both Sotheby’s and Bonhams he extended the company’s activities into continental Europe and at Bonhams also into North America. He will talk to us about the life of an auctioneer in a top auction house and some of the interesting, unusual and unexpected items which have come under the hammer. 

21 August –  Summer Lunch Party

18 Sept –  Prof Lynne Murphy 

How our Language is changing

Lynne Murphy is Professor of Linguistics at Sussex University. As Lynneguist she runs the blog Separated by a Common Language. An American who has lived in the UK since 2000 she is ideally placed to research and comment on the links between UK and American English which she does particularly in one of her books, The Prodigal Tongue, subtitled The Love-Hate Relationship between American and British English. We look forward to expertise, insight and humour as Professor Murphy explores how our language is changing and some of the social, political and linguistic forces which drive these changes. 

16 Oct  – Dr Paul Roberts

Rome, Art and Emperors

Dr Paul Roberts is an expert on the archaeology and art of the Classical Mediterranean from C4th BCE to C6th CE. He is Keeper of the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum and the author of many books about the history and archaeology of the Classical period. He focusses particularly on seeing the objects discovered by archaeologists not just as artefacts but as possessions which can give us a unique insight into the lives of their owners. This he did very enthusiastically in his talk entitled Last Supper at Pompeii and the exhibition of the same title which he curated at the Ashmolean. We look forward to his new talk about Classical Rome.

20 Nov – John Ericson

The Story of Beatrix Potter

We last heard John Ericson give us his fascinating talk "The Wind in the Willows" and we have invited him back to tell us what he describes as an "extraordinary and fascinating tale of Beatrix Potter"   Born into a wealthy Victorian family she became not only one of our best loved children's authors and illustrators, she was a respected naturalist, business woman, farmer and breeder of prize winning sheep whose early support fostered the foundations of the National Trust. We can rely upon John to deliver the story with his customary enthusiasm, warmth and humour.

 

11 Dec  – Sarah Slater

Our Christmas Traditions

Sarah Slater is a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and a Guide and Lecturer of the Historic Royal Palaces. After 23 years in retail banking Srah joined Historic Royal Palaces in 2008 and is now based at Hampton Court Palace. As an historian she has a particular interest in the human stories of those who have lived and worked within the palace walls. In her December talk she will explore the origins and development of some of our best loved Christmas customs and traditions.  

2023 was:

Georghi Markhov & the Poison Umbrella Murder - Paul Barfield

The Musical Theatre of Gilbert and Sullivan - Bernard Lockett

The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill - Stuart Linford

A Landmark in Time, the World of Wittenham Clumps - Peter Adamson

Witty Ditties - Green Matthews

Superspy Science, Death & Tech in the World of James Bond - Dr Kathryn Harkup

Rationing and Cooking for Victory - Karen & Bret Wiles

Summer Lunch Party

King and Collector - Siobhan Clarke

Mekong - Jim Holmes

The Mafia and Frank Sinatra - Brian Greenan

Sax at Christmas - Jonathan Woodhouse

2022 was:

Humanitarian Vision    Jim Holmes

How Tropical Rainforests Work    Dr David Jones

Last Supper at Pompeii - Dr Paul Roberts

Charles Darwin and The Beagle  -  James Taylor

Tooth, Claw and Mane - Tom Way

Dr Livingstone, I Presume - Fran Sandham

Honey in History - Graham Harrison

Dress, Dazzle and Display - Siobhan Clarke

A is for Arsenic: the Poisons of Agatha Christie - Dr Kathryn Harkup

The Wind in the Willows - John Ericson

The Bob & Dot Show: A Christmas Entertainment

past Speaker Meetings 2020/21

Wildlife on Your Doorstep  -  Tom Way

Art Inspired by Wine  -  John Ericson 

Music in Art  -  Sophie Matthews

London in times of Shakespear - Tim Barron

House of the Romanovs  -  Siobhan Clark

British Museum Treasures  -  Don Brown

Sing a Century -  Andy Smith

From Barrow to Baghdad and back again  - Philip Caine

Chloroform - Sense and Insensibility - Graham Harrison

Memories of a TV Cameraman  -  Steven Jellyman  

The Land of Giants and Volcanoes  -  Timothy Walker

Remembered, the Commonwealth War Graves -  Julie Summers

The Mitford Sisters in the Cotswolds  -  Muriel Pilkington

600 Years of Christmas  -  Green Matthews

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