Food for Thought TH 2021 Ep 15

Season 2021 – Talk 15 – Food for Thought

In  Food for Thought Andrew Cole tells us about diet through the ages and dispels many myths.

There is no image gallery available with this talk.

Medieval times:

Many believe that the peasant population has a poor diet at this time. Andrew agrees that the diet may have been boring but argues that people had enough to eat.

At this time many poor people keep pigs which can live in a forest and can look after themselves. Agricultural peasants tend to keep cows, so have dairy produce such as buttermilk, cheese, or curds and whey in their diet.

People of all types eat pottage, a thick soup with meat, vegetables, or bran.   Bread is a staple for all classes, although the quality and price varies depending on the type of grain.

The wealthy eat far better as their estates provide freshly killed meat, river fish, fresh fruit and vegetables. Although for many centuries people believe that fruit and vegetables need to be cooked.

Tudor times:

Cooked vegetables are often onions and cabbage, but in the late Tudor period, new foods from the Americas start to be eaten. These include tomatoes, potatoes and peppers.

The poor eat whatever meat they can find. Rabbits, ‘game’ birds, chicken and fish, whilst the rich eat more costly varieties of meat. Herbs are grown to flavour dishes.

All classes eat bread as their main source carbohydrates.  The quality varies, the cheapest is a mixture of rye and wheat. The middle classes eat wholemeal  whilst the wealthy eat bread made of white wheat flour.

Pies:

Pies are popular through the ages, they are convenient and can be eaten without plates and cutlery. They often contain good nutrition and are an early convenience food.

Listen to the podcast and hear Andrew tell the full story with thoughts about some of today’s supposedly healthy diets..

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk given in the Farnham Maltings during Covid restrictions. These required open windows and doors and so there is some noise on the recording from other activities.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is here.

You can also listen using Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

Ruskin TH 2021 Ep 14

Season 2021 – Talk 14 – John Ruskin

In his talk about John Ruskin Alan Freeland tells us the story of the life of this English writer, philosopher, art critic and polymath who lived in the Victorian era.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

Early life:

Ruskin’s parents are first cousins and he is an only child. His father imports sherry and wine and is a founding partner and business manager of Ruskin, Telford and Domecq. Ruskin’s mother is the daughter of a publican in Croydon and first joins the household as companion to Ruskin’s grandmother.

He is born on 8 February 1819 in London. His father and mother shape his childhood with their contrasting, and ambitious, influences.

His father helps develop his Romanticism and they share a passion for the works of ByronShakespeare and Walter Scott whereas his mother is an evangelical Christian and teaches young John to read the Bible. He commits large portions to memory and the language, imagery and parables have a profound and lasting effect on his writing.

Ruskin’s childhood is spent near Camberwell and has few friends of his own age possibly because he is educated at home. 

Travel:

Childhood travel exerts a great influence on Ruskin and helps form his taste. He sometimes accompanies his father on visits to clients at their country houses, which exposes him to English landscapes, architecture and paintings.

In 1835 he visits Venice for the first time which he calls that ‘Paradise of cities’. It provides the subject and symbolism of much of his later work.

These tours give Ruskin the opportunity to observe and record his impressions of nature. He writes elegant poetry and his early notebooks and sketchbooks are full of visually sophisticated and technically accomplished drawings.

Fame and influence:

As his influence grows he reaches a stage where he can affect the success of an artist and, because of this, he has a major disagreement with Whistler which results in a Court case.

Listen to the podcast and hear Alan tell the full story with readings of Ruskin’s work by Lorna Thomas and Charles Stuart.

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk given  on Zoom and there are occasion sound ‘glitches’.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

You can also listen using Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

Songhai Empire – TH2021 Ep13

Season 2021 – Talk 13 – The Songhai Empire

In The Songhai Empire David Simpson tells us the story of the greatest Empire on the African continent.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

Where was it?

The empire dominates to the west of Sudan in the 15th and 16th century. The largest Empire in Africa at its peak. The name is derived from its leading ethnic group and ruling elite, the Songhai.

The state came into existence in the 11th Century centred on its capital, Gao. By the 13th Century Gao grows through trading and attracts the interest of the Mali empire which then conquers Gao towards the end of the century.

A hundred years later the Mali empire disintegrates and the Songhai gain control.

Expansion:

Sonni Ali rules the Empire between 1464 and 1492. It sounds as though he was not a pleasant person, indeed a tyrant!

He is a military strategist and has success in his conquests and takes Timbuktu in 1468 and the trading city of Dejenne in 1473 after a seven year siege.

His son only rules from 1492 to 1493 as he is overthrown by Askia Mohammad.

Askia Mohammad – known as Askia the Great:

He is one of Sonni’s generals. He takes power and institutes political and economic reforms across the empire.

When he dies there are coups and plots amongst his descendants leading to a decline in the empire.

Listen to the podcast and hear David tell the full story.

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk given at the Farnham Maltings and, because of the acoustics in the room, there is a slight echo.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

You can also listen using Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

History of Farnham Park TH2021 Ep12

Season 2021 – Talk 12 – The History of Farnham Park

In The History of Farnham Park Pam Taylor tells us the story of the Park, or more correctly Parks, over the centuries.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

Farnham Castle:

The Park surrounds the site of Farnham Castle. Henry of Blois, the Bishop of Winchester, founds the castle in 1138. He is the brother of King Stephen. The castle is a favoured residence of the Bishops of Winchester for many centuries.

The castle remains a substantial fortress until it is ‘slighted’ during the English Civil War.

The See of Winchester:

The Diocese of Winchester stretches from the Isle of Wight to the south bank of the Thames at Southwark for many centuries. It is an extremely wealthy Diocese through out the middle ages and the Bishops wield a great deal of power.

The development of the Park:

More truthfully this is the story of two parks. The Old Park has largely disappeared and it is the 320 acre New Park that we see today.

The parks were developed to provide food for the table of the Bishop and to provide sport for visitors. There have been many famous visitors over the centuries.

Some of the Bishops had trouble with poachers when times were hard!

Listen to the podcast to hear Pam tell the full story.

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk given on Zoom and, in places, there are a few extraneous noises and sound glitches.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

You can also listen using Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

Six characters from history TH2021 Ep11

Season 2021 – Talk 11 – Six Characters from History – the Burning House Debate

In Six Characters from History – the Burning House Debate six speakers  put the case for our historical characters. Please decide which one deserves to be saved.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

Sir Alexander Fleming:

Margaret Denyer tells us the story of Sir Alexander Fleming. We learn how he discovered penicillin in 1928. The importance of penicillin is described as the ‘single greatest victory ever achieved over disease’. Because of this he shares the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1945.

Field Marshall Douglas Haig – Earl Haig:

Haig commands the British Expeditionary Force in France from late 1915 until the end of the war. 

He has a favourable reputation during the immediate post-war years. It becomes tarnished in the 1960s because of the number of casualties in the World War 1 battles. 

Niccolo Machiavelli:

An Italian diplomat, author, philosopher and historian who lived from 1469 to 1527. In 1513 he writes the political treatise The Prince. It is not published until 1532.

He is a senior official in the Florentine Republic for many years. Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. Also a writer of comedies, carnival songs, and poetry.

Machiavelli often evokes thoughts of unscrupulous acts of the sort he wrote about in The Prince. He claims that his experience and reading history shows him that politicians have always used deception, treachery and crime. Whether the work is about his experience or a manual for tyrants is for you to decide.

Richard III

Lorna Thomas puts the case for Richard who dies at Bosworth and is buried under a car park in Leicester. Admittedly at the time it is the Grey Friars Priory.

Queen Victoria:

We hear the case for the Queen who becomes the Empress of India. She is the mother of nine children. Many of her children marry into the Royal Houses of Europe.

Donald Trump:

Donald rounds off our sextet of characters from history. Richard Thomas tells us about Donald Trump’s successes as president, in this short talk, because of his success in foreign affairs.

Listen to the podcast to hear our six speakers give their light-hearted talks.

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom and, in places, there are a few extraneous noises and sound glitches.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

You can also listen using Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

Wellington’s Campaign in Portugal TH2021 10

Season 2021 – Talk 10 – Wellington’s Campaign in Portugal and the Lines at Torres Vedras

In Wellington’s Campaign in Portugal and the Lines at Torres Vedras Peter Duffy takes us back to the Peninsular War.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

The start of the war:

The Peninsular War begins when France and Spain invade Portugal in 1807. In 1808 the French occupy Spain – their previous ally! Napoleon deposes the Spanish King and replaces him with his brother, Joseph Bonaparte.

The Convention of Cintra:

The British win a victory but the senior British Generals allow the French to return to France and re-join their army. The senior British Generals are never used again. Sir Arthur Wellesley, at that time a junior General, returns to Portugal.

Moore at Corunna:

At the time the British army is not nearly as successful as it becomes in later years. Lieutenant General John Moore becomes the senior British General in the Peninsular campaign. He repulses the French army of Marshal Soult at Corunna. The British army evacuates without Moore because he dies in the battle.

The Lines at Torres Vedras:

Wellington orders that defensive lines are built at Torres Vedras. His plan is to defeat the French here although if that does not work they can cover an evacuation.

Listen to the podcast to hear Peter tell the full story!

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom and, in places, there are a few extraneous noises and sound glitches.

For Copyright reasons it is not possible to publish illustrations from the original talk. I use alternatives where they exist.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

The History of Language TH2021 09

Season 2021 – Talk 09 – The History of Language

In The History of Language Alan Freeland explains how language developed – verbally, with the use of icons and drawings, and through the written word.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

What is language?

A good question! The word is complicated to define and different people define it in different ways.

We believe that humans have used spoken language for at least 150,000 years. What about animals? They communicate but is it language?

Writing:

The first written forms can be traced to around 10,000 years ago. From that time knowledge can be preserved, passed down through the generations. The acquisition of knowledge gets easier.

Writing can be in any direction. You can write from left to right. Or you can write from right to left. You can also write the first line is from left to right and the second from right to left. Very ergonomic as you minimise wrist and pen movement!

Language evolves, all the time:

The evolution is mainly in the hands of children and young adults. They’re the ones developing new words to describe things.

Timeline for the development of Latin script:
  • 8500 BCE – Simple object counting tokens.
  • 3500 BCE – Clay envelopes and complex tokens depicting different types of objects.
  • 3330 BCE – Earliest writing. Hieroglyphs of Mesopotamia and Egypt.
  • 2500 BCE – Mesopotamia and Syria adopt cuneiform script.
  • 1600 BCE – Canaanites develop earliest proto-alphabet.
  •  1300 BCE – Phoenician alphabet.
  •   800 BCE – First Greek inscriptions.

Listen to the podcast to hear Alan explain everything as he tells the full story!

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom and, in places, there are a few extraneous noises and sound glitches.

For Copyright reasons it is not possible to publish illustrations from the original talk. I use alternatives where they exist.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

The Mounties TH 2021 08

Season 2021 – Talk 08 – The Mounties

In The Mounties Richard Thomas tells us about the history of the North West Mounted Police, their people, their legends and their myths. We learn of their important role in bringing law and order to Canada’s North West.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

A ‘frontier force’ for the North West:

The Dominion of Canada is created in 1867. The majority of the population lives in the east of the country. The north west is an inhospitable territory with a few trappers and native Canadians.

The Hudson Bay Company is important as they buy the furs from the trappers and export them because they are the main business operation.

John A MacDonald, the first premier of Canada, forms the North West Mounted Police in 1873.

What are they?

They are an armed, mounted, para-military force. They control the native Canadians, traders and settlers over the vast Prairies. In the beginning they are a very small force!

They oversee the ‘porous’ border with the United States and their attitude towards the native populations is very different from that shown south of the border.

Their history includes:

  • The Great Trek of 1874 where 275 Mounties travel 800 miles to investigate killings. They take all their supplies and set up Fort McLeod and Fort Walsh.

Part of the contingent continue to Fort Whoop-Up to suppress the whiskey trade coming in from the northern US. When the Mounties find illegal whiskey they destroy it.

  • They achieve a working relationship with the plains ‘Indians’ and there is respect on both sides.

One of the fugitives is Chief Sitting Bull.

  • They look after may government activities when the settlers arrive in the 1880s.
A whiskey recipe:

‘A quart of whiskey, a pound of chewing tobacco, a handful of red pepper, one bottle of Jamaica ginger, a quart of molasses and a dash of red ink’.

Very healthy …….!

Listen to the podcast to hear Richard tell the story!

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom and, in places, there are a few extraneous noises and sound glitches.

For Copyright reasons it is not possible to publish all the illustrations from the original talk. I use alternatives where they exist.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

Legends of the Four Nations TM 2022 01

National Treasures – Legends of the Four Nations – u3a Theme meeting 2022 01

The talk Legends of the Four Nations by Lorna Thomas tells the stories of an Englishwoman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and a Welshman. A rebel, a Saint, a mercenary and a nobleman!

Listen to Lorna tell the full story!

Pictures and maps illustrate the talk. Please click on an icon below to open the gallery.

Boudicca

Boudicca is married to Prasutagus and they have two daughters. Prasutagus rules the Iceni tribe. Unfortunately he dies. He has left his kingdom jointly to his two daughters and the Roman Emperor.

The Romans ignore his will, annexe his kingdom and take his property. Tacitus tells us that the Romans flog Boudicca and abuse her daughters.

Boudicca leads the Iceni, Trinovantes and others in a revolt. They sack Colchester and many terrified Romans flee.

The rebels then burn London and St. Albans. Boudicca and her forces kill between 70 and 80 thousand people.

The Romans regroup and force a battle somewhere in the Midlands, near Watling Street. They have chosen well because the site of the battle  restricts the effectiveness of the nimble Iceni chariots. The Romans win and crush the rebellion.

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick is a fifth century Romano British Christian missionary and Bishop of Ireland.

It is possible that there are some Christians in Ireland before Patrick, however, the legend is that he founds Christianity in Ireland.

The legend says that when he is about sixteen, he is captured by Irish pirates and becomes a slave to Ireland. Patrick looks after animals for the next six years. He escapes and returns to his family.

Patrick becomes a cleric and returns to northern and western Ireland and then serves as a bishop.

William Wallace

The chronicler, Walter Bower, describes Wallace as ‘a tall man with the body of a giant …. with lengthy flanks ….. broad in the hips, with strong arms and legs ….. with all his limbs strong and firm‘.

This giant of a man, along with Andrew Moray, defeats the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. He serves at the ‘Guardian of Scotland’ until his defeat at the battle of Falkirk nine months later.

He evades capture until 1305. Edward I tries him in London and he is ‘hung, drawn and quartered‘.

Owain Glyndŵr

Owain is born in to a prosperous family in around 1359. He is part of the Anglo-Welsh gentry in the Welsh Marches (the border area between England and Wales) in northeast Wales.

The are a number of alternative stories about why Owain leads a revolt against the English.

Listen to the podcast for the full story.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given in the series National Treasures to the Farnham u3a.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through podcast apps including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl.

AKM Music has licensed ‘See you as you are’ for use as the theme and incidental music for this podcast.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a 2018 – 2022

The Barbary Corsairs TH 2021 Talk 03

Season 2021 – Talk 03 – The Barbary Corsairs

In The Barbary Corsairs Richard Thomas tells us about these pirates who exercised power in the Mediterranean over a number of centuries. Because the talk makes use of maps, pictures and other presentation material I suggest that you open the image gallery below.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

Robbery on the High Seas:

Richard tells us that piracy requires busy trade routes with narrow choke points because this collects target ships in a defined area. It is even better if effective hiding places, such as islands and coves, are available.

There needs to be something worth stealing, traditionally gold, silks, spices, slaves and people to ransom. Today high value goods such as oil.

Poor and weak governance help, especially where it is possible to bribe politicians and governors. Imperial rivalries also contribute – think of Francis Drake ‘singing the King of Spain’s beard’.

Drake a pirate??… a privateer is an ‘official pirate’ because the  ‘Letters of Marque’ only legalise piracy in the eyes of the country issuing them.

In the days before formal navies Privateers perform the role of an informal navy. Official state navies start to appear in the early 18th Century and so privateers are outlawed in 1856.

Piracy in the Mediterranean:

Piracy starts in ‘antiquity’. Pirates capture Julius Caesar in 75, or maybe 74, BC. A ransom is paid and Caesar’s sailors then catch the pirates and crucify them.

The high point of piracy is during the Ottoman Empire. The Battle of Lepanto in 1571 is a major turning point.

The ships:

Richard tells us that the ship designs evolve from oar powered galleys through the Galleass of the 1600s, with oars, cannon and sails, to the Xebec 0f the 17th and 18th Centuries. Admiral Cochrane has Xebecs in his fleet during the Napoleonic Wars.

Slavery:

Estimates suggest that over 1 million people were taken as slaves by the Barbary Corsairs. Many of these come from raids on the northern Mediterranean shores. They take the whole population of Gozo on one raid – 5 to 6,000 people! In 1627 they raid Iceland and in 1631 Baltimore in County Cork, Ireland.

Oar powered war galleys require a regular supply of oarsmen!

Listen to the podcast to hear the rest of this amazing story!

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom and there are a few extraneous noises.

For copyright reasons it is not possible to publish all the illustrations from the original talk. I use alternatives where they exist.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2022

TH 2021 Talk 02 US Presidential Election results

Season 2021 – Talk 02 – US Presidential Election results from 1920 to 2020

In US Presidential Election results from 1920 to 2020 Rob Sykes tells us about the evolution of the political map of the United States in a century of elections. Because the talk makes great use of maps showing the result for each state in each election I suggest that you open the image gallery below.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

The Electoral College:

We learn of the importance of the Electoral College in the election of the President. The number of representatives for each state is based on the population. Thus California, with a population of 39,538,223, has 54 votes (2024 and 2028) whereas Wyoming , which has a vast acreage, has a population of  576,851  and 3 votes. Therefore in California it takes 732,189 voters for each Electoral College vote whereas in Wyoming there are only 192,283 voters for the same voting power.

The states with the most Electoral College votes are:

  • California, with a population density of 253.6 per square mile – 54
  • Texas, with a population density of 114 per square mile – 40
  • Florida – 30
  • New York – 28

At the other end of the scale, each with 3 votes, are some states with a vast acreage:

  • Alaska – population density of 1.26 per square mile
  • Wyoming – population density of 5.97 per square mile
  • North and South Dakota

As well as some physically small states:

  • Vermont – population density of 67.7 per square mile
  • Delaware – population density of 469 per square mile

Plus the District of Columbia, because they have the same number as the  states with the smallest populations.

As you can see, a good strategist might target the states with the fewest voters for each Electoral College vote!

The popular vote:

Winning the largest number of votes across the nation, known as the popular vote, does not guarantee winning the Presidency. This has happened 5 times.

The most recent example is 2016 where Hilary Clinton receives 48.2% of the votes compared to Donald Trump who receives 46.1%. However Trump wins because he receives 77 more Electoral College votes.

This also happens in 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000 when Al Gore wins the popular vote but George W Bush becomes President by a margin of 5 Electoral College votes.

The maps:

The maps clearly show the evolution of political allegiances in the United States over the century. This is illustrated by the political change in the Southern states, where the change is from Democrat to Republican compared to California where the reverse happens.

We also learn that the winning margin in a state can be very small however no matter how small the margin the winner usually takes all the Electoral College votes.

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom and there are a few extraneous noises.

The maps are from the website ©270 to Win and are used with their permission. You can visit their website here.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

TH 2021 Talk 01 Coniston

Season 2021 – Talk 01 – Coniston

Coniston is a talk  by John Mitchell about the history of Coniston Water and the surrounding area. John knows the area well, he has made regular visits there since his childhood.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

John tells us about five historical topics:

Arthur Ransome:

The talk starts with Arthur Ransome who is born in Leeds in January 1884. He is the author of the Swallows and Amazons series of books set in the Lake District and the Norfolk Broads.

We learn that the Swallows and Amazons is probably based on a Coniston family and also that the young John Mitchell sails a similar dinghy to the one in the story.

As well as being an author we learn that Ransome is also a journalist. He writes about literary life in London and also Russia before, during and after the revolution.

Ransome is well connected with the revolutionary Russian leaders. Although he provides information to the Secret Intelligence Service he is suspected of being a Russian spy.

John Ruskin:

We then hear about the English writer, philosopher, art critic and polymath of the Victorian era, John Ruskin and his house at Brantwood. John tells us that he marries Effie Grey in 1848. This is not a happy marriage, it is never consummated, and is annulled in 1854.

Ruskin purchases the dilapidated Brantwood in August 1871 for £1,500. He lives there until his death in January 1900.

Coppermines Valley:

We learn that the Copper mines in the area are a major source of copper between the 1600s and 1950’s. In the mid-19th century the mines are at their peak and the Coniston Railway is extended to transport the copper ore.

On the water:

The final two segments of John’s talk feature the water speed record attempts by Malcolm (father) and Donald (son) Campbell. The final attempt in Bluebird, in January 1967, results in the death of Donald. His body is not found until 2001.

The final item is about the beautiful steam steam yacht Gondola. This yacht, restored and owned by the National Trust, offers various cruises to visitors to Coniston. More information is available here.

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom and there are a few extraneous noises.

It has not been possible to use the graphics from the original talk because of copyright issues. I have used substitutes where they are available.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

Nelson – u3a Theme 02

National Treasures – Nelson – u3a Theme 02

The talk Nelson is a collaboration between Michael A’Bear, who researched and wrote the material, and Joanne Watson who edited and delivered the talk.

They take us on a journey across the world following the life of Nelson. This is the story of a Norfolk Parson’s son who becomes the most famous Admiral in the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy remembers his life every year on Trafalgar Day – the 21st October.

Listen to Joanne tell the full story!

Pictures and maps illustrate the talk. Please click on an icon below to open the gallery.

Joins the navy in 1771

Nelson attends school in Norfolk until he is 12. In January 1771 he joins the navy. His first ship is HMS Raisonnable. The ship is commanded by an uncle, Maurice Suckling.

He soon becomes a Midshipman and begins officer training. This is his first step on the ladder. He discovers that he is prone to seasickness; a complaint that remains with him for the rest of his life.

His next ship is a West Indiaman in order to gain sea experience. He crosses the Atlantic twice before returning to Plymouth in 1772.

To the East Indies

In November 1773 he sets sail for the East Indies. He arrives in Madras (now Chennai) six months later.

In early 1776 Nelson contracts malaria and because of this returns to England on HMS Dolphin. He is nearly recovered at the end of the 6 month voyage home.

Nelson’s next appointment is as an acting Lieutenant on HMS Worcester, maybe, because his uncle is now Comptroller of the Navy and may have used his influence.

Captain of HMS Albemarle

After just over 10 years since he joined the navy Nelson gains command of HMS Albemarle following a refit.

It is at this time he comes under the command of Admiral Hood who gives him a degree of freedom. Hood sees his potential.

Marriage

In 1784 he returns to the West Indies in command of HMS Boreas. He enforces the Navigation Acts which controlled trade between British colonies and the rest of the world. Nelson meets, and then marries the widow Frances ‘Fanny’ Nisbet.

In 1788 they settle at Nelson’s childhood home at Burnham Thorpe.

France declares War

Nelson is appointed to HMS Agamemnon in January 1793; France declares war on 1st February. He serves with Admiral Hood again; he is sent with despatches to Sardinia and Naples. In Naples he meets the British Ambassador William Hamilton and his wife Emma….

Listen to the podcast for the full story.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given in the series National Treasures to the Farnham u3a.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl.

AKM Music has licensed ‘See you as you are’ for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a 2018 – 2021

TH 19 20 T 29 William Morris

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 29 – William Morris

William Morris is a talk  by Judith Edge about a Victorian British textile designer, poet, artist, novelist, printer, translator and socialist associated with the Arts and Crafts movement.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.

Early years:

William Morris is born, in Walthamstow, on 24th March 1834. They are comfortably off because his father is a wealthy financier working in the City of London, his mother comes from a ‘well to do’ family from Worcestershire.

He is the third of the surviving children in his family. When he is 6, because his father is doing well, the family moves to Woodford in Essex. The house has 50 acres of land next to Epping Forest. Because of this environment William becomes interested in gardening and fishing.

In 1847 his father dies suddenly; and, because of this, the family moves to a smaller house. In 1848 he enters Marlborough College where his eccentricities result in him gaining the nickname ‘Crab’. He is bullied, bored and homesick so his time there is not a success. He leaves Marlborough in 1851 and receives a private education.

Oxford:

William enters Exeter College, Oxford in 1852 where he develops an interest in Medieval History and Architecture, inspired by many of the buildings in Oxford.

He meets Edward Burne-Jones, a fellow first year student, who remains a collaborator and friend for the rest of his life. Morris passes his finals and becomes a BA.

Marriage, the Red House and the rest of the story:

In 1857 he meets Jane Burden who he marries in 1859. He is not the only one who seeks her attention! He has the Red House built in Bexleyheath, at that time a hamlet in Kent, 10 miles from Central London.

Listen to Judith’s talk to hear the whole story.

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom. In a some places there were network issues and, because some sentences were garbled, I have edited them.

It has not been possible to use the graphics from the original talk because of copyright issues. I have used substitutes where they are available.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

T 19 20 T28 Owen Jones

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 28 – Owen Jones

Owen Jones is a talk  by Alan Freeland about this versatile Victorian architect and designer. He helps pioneer modern colour theory. Owen Jones is responsible for the interior decoration and arrangement of the exhibits in the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery.

Early years:

Alan tells us that Owen Jones is an English born Welsh architect. He is born in the City of London. His father is a successful furrier and  a Welsh antiquarian.

The family speaks Welsh at home because of his father’s heritage. His father is a principal founder of the Gwyneddigion Society which encourages Welsh studies and literature.

The Grand Tour:

Jones completes his studies at the Royal Academy Schools. He has an apprenticeship with Lewis Vulliamy and, because Vulliamy agrees, he gains experience as a surveyor.

Following his training he embarks on a Grand Tour in 1832. He travels to Italy, then on to Greece where he meets Jules Goury. They then travel to Cairo to study the Islamic architecture of Cairo and also the ancient sites. Following this they continue on to Constantinople .

They finally arrive in Granada and start their studies of the Islamic art of the Alhambra. For more information on the Alhambra please listen to Nigel Marriott’s talk on the Alhambra and Alan Freeland’s talk Islamic Spain’s History through Art and Architecture.

The Alhambra is pivotal to Jones’ development of his theories on flat pattern, geometry and polychromy. Goury dies of cholera whilst they at the Alhambra and Jones returns to London and publishes the results of their studies.

Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra:

At this time colour printing is basic. Jones decides that it is not adequate for his needs and because of this researches the new process of chromolithography.

He works with chemists and printers and prints the book in 12 parts over nearly 10 years.

To make money Jones uses his press to produce other colour books.

The rest of the story:

By now Jones is well known; listen to Alan’s talk to hear the whole story.

Please note:

This podcast is a recording of a talk on Zoom. In a few places there were network issues and there are a few extraneous noises.

It has not been possible to use all the graphics from the original talk because of copyright issues. Substitutes are used where they are available.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

TH 19 20 T27 The Talented and Tormented T E Lawrence part 2

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 27 – The Talented and Tormented T E Lawrence – part 2

The Talented and Tormented T E Lawrence – part 2 is the second of two talks  by Adrian Martin about this fascinating and complex person.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery.

The end of World War 1 in the Middle East:

Adrian begins the talk by telling us about the end of the war in the Middle East. Because he discusses the importance of the Arab Revolt we learn that a number of different forces, including the Navy, took part.

The Paris Peace Conference:

This conference results in the Treaty of Versailles. Faisal attends with a group of aides, including Lawrence. The Conference does not deliver on the promises made to Faisal. The middle East has been divided up by other interests.

Find out more about the conference by listening to David Simpson’s talk The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles.

Cairo Peace Conference:

Lawrence attends this Conference. It’s a series of meetings by British officials examining and discussing Middle Eastern problems in order to frame a common policy. This secret conference creates the blueprint for British control of both Iraq and Transjordan.

Churchill feels that the Conference fulfils the spirit, if not the actual letter, of Britain’s wartime promises to the Arabs because the sons of the Sharif of the Mecca receive nominal leadership of the two regions.

The later years……

Lawrence is best known for book the ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ although he writes a number of others over the years.

He knows a large number of people, many famous and quite a few literary. We hear of a number of these platonic relationships. It is obvious, however, that he is not happy.

He joins the RAF as an Aircraftman, and has success in developments for fast rescue boats. He leaves the RAF in March 1935 because his enlistment period ends.

Lawrence receives fatal injures in an accident on his Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle close to his cottage Clouds Hill, in Dorset. It is two months after leaving military service.

He doesn’t see two boys on their bicycles because a dip in the road obstructs his view of. He swerves to avoid them, loses control, and is thrown over the handlebars.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

TH 19 20 Talk 26 The Talented and Tormented T E Lawrence – part 1

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 26 – The Talented and Tormented T E Lawrence – part 1

The Talented and Tormented T E Lawrence – part 1 is the first of two talks  by Adrian Martin about this fascinating person.

Adrian tells us that this is not a ‘one sided Boys Own Paper tale of  derring do’. He gives us analysis, balance and objectivity in his talk about the fascinating life of T E Lawrence. We hear about the enigmas and contradictions in his character because there is much more to him than the ‘Matinee Idol’ image. An image enhanced by the film Lawrence in Arabia.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery.

Childhood:

Adrian begins the talk by telling us about Lawrence’s unusual personal circumstances, his character and how the two interacted.

We learn that his parents weren’t married. His mother, Sarah, a Governess, and his father, Sir Thomas Chapman, an Anglo-Irish nobleman. However they live together as husband and wife and have 5 children. They call themselves Lawrence because this is possibly the name of Sarah’s real father.

The family moves to Oxford in 1896 and Thomas (T E) goes to school at the City of Oxford High School for Boys.

Studies in History at Jesus College, Oxford, follow where he gains a First. Between 1910 and 1914 he works as an archaeologist for the British Museum. Much of his time is spent at Carchemish in Syria.

World War 1:

When war breaks out in 1914 Lawrence volunteers for the British army. He joins the Arab Unit, part of the intelligence operation in Egypt, because of his knowledge.

In 1916 he travels to Mesopotamia and Arabia and becomes involved in the Arab Revolt as a liaison officer to the Arab forces.

The Arab revolt:

The Arab Revolt begins in June 1916. There is initial success but it becomes bogged down, leading to fears that the Ottoman forces will advance along the Red Sea coast.

Lawrence interviews Sharif Hussein’s sons and concludes that Faisal is the one to lead the revolt. Lawrence and Faisal work on a plan based on guerrilla warfare to tie the Ottoman forces down. Attack but don’t destroy.

The Talent and Torment:

It is obvious that Lawrence has great talent. He is very good at building relationships and trust and because of this Faisal trusts him. Lawrence reciprocates this trust with his belief in promises for an Arab nation.

The failure to deliver on the promises leads to the ‘Torment’. We need to view the geo-political context of the Arab Revolt in both the worlds of 1918 and today.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

TH 19 20 T 25 Islamic Spain’s History through Art and Architecture

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 25 – Islamic Spain’s History through Art and Architecture

Islamic Spain’s History through Art and Architecture is a talk by Alan Freedland. He splits his talk into 5 sections.

Alan uses many illustrations in the talk. Where copyright allows I use the original illustrations, however where the images are copyright I try to find substitutes. Where there are substitutes I have included those however, because I am unable find non copyright images in some cases, some are omitted.

Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery.

Historic context:

In the first part of the talk Alan tells us about the historical context and looks at Islamic Toledo.

By the year 750 the Kingdom of Asturias, in Northern Spain, is the only part of Spain not under Islamic rule. Because of this the Christian campaign to retake Spain starts from here.

Islamic Emirate and Caliphate:

The second part of the talk is about the Islamic Emirate and Caliphate with reference to Cordoba.

In this period of Muslim rule Christian and Jewish citizens are important members of society because they bring different skills.

Muslim Art in the Christian cities:

Alan tells us about Seville in the third part of talk. We look at the Alcazar in great detail, we spend time looking at the different parts during the period between 1200 and 1390.

The end of Islamic rule:

We travel to Granada to learn about the end of Islamic rule in Spain and, above all, look at the importance of the Alhambra.

Post 1614:

Finally, in the years and centuries following the end of Islamic rule we learn about the Moorish Revival and how it affects Spanish Art and Architecture.

You can hear about all of this and much more by listening to the full podcast.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

TH 19 20 T24 Profumo

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 24 – Profumo

In the talk Profumo Adrian Martin gives us a cocktail of drugs, lust politics and power. To these ingredients he adds spies, lies, corruption, hypocrisy  and revenge thus creating a heady mix for us to listen to.

Photographs of the key players are subject to copyright and therefore cannot be included here.

John Profumo:

Profumo first enters Parliament in 1940 aged 25. In the 1945 General election he loses his Kettering seat and so in 1950 returns to Parliament as member for Stratford-on-Avon.

Valerie Hobson, a well known film actress, marries Profumo in 1954. He successfully works his way through various junior ministerial positions and so in 1960 he is promoted to Secretary of State for War.

The scandal leads to his resignation from Parliament. He works for many years at the Toynbee Hall charity in London and becomes its chief fundraiser.

He receives an OBE for his charity work in 1975. Twenty years later he is attends Margaret Thatcher’s 70th Birthday dinner.

Christine Keeler:

She aspires to be a model and, at the age of 16, Tit Bits magazine photographs her. By the age of 17 she is working as a topless waitress in a club in Soho. According to Keeler the clientele ‘could look but not touch’.

She meets Stephen Ward and then moves into his flat. She describes the relationship as ‘like brother and sister’. A few months later she moves on to become the mistress of the notorious slum landlord Peter Rachman.

She spends weekends at Ward’s riverside cottage in the grounds of Cliveden. Lord Astor is a patient of Ward and so allows him to rent the cottage.

Mandy Rice-Davies:

At the age of 15 Mandy takes a Saturday job and becomes a clothes model at the Marshall and Snelgrove store in Birmingham. At the age of 16 she goes to London as Miss Austin at the Earls Court Motor Show. She also becomes a dancer at the club in Soho where Keeler works.

She is questioned in court, Lord Astor denies he has ever met her and she says ‘Well he would, wouldn’t he’.

Stephen Ward:

He qualified as an osteopath in the US. After the Second World War he gains a distinguished client list. These connections and his charm result in social success. One of his patients is Lord Astor.

As the Profumo Scandal deepens Ward’s life unravels and because of this, whilst on trial, he commits suicide.

Lord Astor:

The owner of the Cliveden Estate. A patient of Stephen Ward. The host of a party with the John and Valerie Profumo whilst Keeler is staying at Spring Cottage.

Yevgeny Ivanov:

Officially the Naval Attaché at the Soviet Embassy in London, however it is known that he is a spy. He has an affair with Christine Keeler. As she has a relationship with Profumo, the Minister of War, this is heady stuff!

Cliveden:

The catalyst that brings the main players together during the weekend of 8th / 9th July 1961. There are two parties, one where Lord Astor is the host and the other with Ward as the host.

The parties mingle at the swimming pool where Keeler swims naked. Profumo is attracted to Keeler and promises to be in touch ……

The others:

Harold MacMillan, Harold Wilson and his ally George Wigg, Lord Beaverbrook, ‘Lucky’ Gordon, Johnny Edgecombe, MI5, the police and many more. All have a part in story.

You can hear about all of this and much more by listening to the full podcast.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

TH 19-20 T23 Colours in History

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 23 – Colours in History

In the talk Colours in History Jo Watson explains many of the reasons why specific colours have their specific associations.

The talk has many illustrations therefore you will find it interesting to view the picture gallery whilst listening to the talk.

Pictures:

Please click here to open the gallery. When the gallery opens please click on the first image.

Purple:

Jo tells us that the first recipe for purple dye goes back over 3,500 years. It requires vast quantities of sea snails. You then mix in wood ash and urine and ferment it.

Prisoner categories:

The Nazi camps used coloured triangles, sewn on to clothing, to designate between the different prisoner categories. The designations included political, criminal, homosexual, asocial and religious.

Colours in politics and national identity:

Throughout history colours have played a part in government and politics and we see an example from an election in 1754. The Tories are represented by a blue flag and the Whigs by a buff one. These colours form the basis of those in use today.

Jo tells us about other uses of colour in politics over the years. We also see the importance of colour in flags.

Colours in signals:

We learn that red lights can be seen from further away than green ones so explaining ‘red for stop’ and ‘green for go’.

You can hear about all of this and much more by listening to the full podcast.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021