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

TH 19-20 T22 Spanish Medieval History

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 22 – Spanish Medieval History as illustrated by the Church of San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo

In the talk Spanish Medieval History illustrated by the Church of San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo Peter Duffy takes us on a journey through the Iberian Peninsula between the fifth and fifteenth centuries.

Pictures

The talk  has pictures and diagrams to illustrate Peter’s words. Please click here to open the gallery. When the gallery opens please click on the first image.

Toledo, Spain

Peter suggests that we should take a break in Spain and catch a train to Toledo. The journey lasts about 45 minutes.  We then climb the steep hill to the town and see the immense fortress, known as the Alcazar, and the great Gothic cathedral.

Peter then tells us about another building in Toledo, hidden away from the usual tourist sites. The medieval monastery of San Juan de los Reyes is small and beautiful, and has played a key role in Spanish history.  To help us understand its importance Peter tells us the story of its building. We learn of the role of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon.

A small diversion into Iberian history

Before he describes the building, he takes a small diversion into the history of the Iberian Peninsula so that we understand the context.

After the Fall of the Roman Empire, Iberia was eventually conquered by the Visigoths in the 5th century. The Visigoths made Toledo their capital. The Visigoths were defeated by the Muslim invaders in the 8th century.  They overran the whole of Iberia, except for the wet, chilly, mountain kingdom of Asturias in the north-west corner.

The Reconquista

From there, because of a vision of the Virgin, in a cave at Covadonga, the Christians began the Reconquista, the reconquest of Iberia.  This was virtually complete by the early 15th century. Listen to Peter for the rest of the story.

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.

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

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

Thomas Cochrane – u3a Theme 01

National Treasures – Thomas Cochrane

In Thomas Cochrane Richard Thomas takes us on a journey across the world following the adventures of Thomas Cochrane. He was one of Nelson’s most successful Captains, he became an Admiral and a Lord. His exploits have inspired the writers of novels that many of us will have read.

Listen to Richard tell the full story!

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

A childhood in Culross, Fife

Thomas is born in December 1775. He is listed as part of the crew of four Royal Navy ships by the age of five. ‘False muster’ enables him to gain seniority without going to sea even though it is illegal.

His father secures him a commission in the army, however Thomas prefers the Navy, joining as a Midshipman in 1793 aged 17, at the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars.

In 1795 he receives a promotion to Acting Lieutenant. He passes his exams a year later and becomes a full Lieutenant.

He becomes a Commander and is appointed to HMS Speedy where he has success against the French. They give him the name ‘Sea Wolf’ because of his successes.

Member of Parliament

Cochrane stands for election in Honiton in 1806. He is not elected, however he is successful in 1807 when he stands in Westminster. He allies himself with the Radicals and because he is critical of the conduct of the Napoleonic War, becomes unpopular with the Government.

The Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814

A biased court finds him guilty of fraud, because of this he is expelled from Parliament and removed from the Navy List. His constituents re-elect him!

He receives a pardon in 1832 and returns to the Navy List with the rank of Rear Admiral.

Chile and Peru

A great deal of Cochrane’s fame comes from his leadership of the Chilean Navy during the struggle for independence from Spain. To this day he is a hero of the independence struggles in South America.

Return to Europe

We hear of Cochrane’s part in the Greek struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Richard then tells us about his becoming the 10th Earl of DunDonald in 1831 because his father died.

We learn that he spent much of his fortune on inventions, some of great practical use and of his appreciation of the importance of steamships.

He is restored to the Order of the Bath in 1848 and dies two years later in 1850 aged 75.

The talk ends by telling us about the effect of his exploits on the adventures Hornblower, Aubrey & Maturin, Sharpe and Flashman!

Listen to this 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 T21 Poverty by Lorna Thomas

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 21 – Poverty

In Poverty Lorna Thomas takes us on a journey through the centuries from the middle ages to the early twentieth century.

The talk is illustrated with pictures and diagrams which illustrate Lorna’s words. Please click on an icon below to open the gallery.

In Feudal times….

We learn about the stratification of society in Feudal times. We find, above all the layers the Pope and Church, and then see the layers within a country’s society. There are five distinct layers from Monarch to Serf.

We also learn of the ‘Three Field’ system of crop rotation which includes fallow land. There are also forests, commons, meadows and rivers to consider.

At this time even the poorest in the community were able to grow crops and raise stock to provide food.

The Black Death

In June 1348 the plague entered England, reportedly through the port of Melcombe Regis. It had already devastated parts of Europe. By October it reaches London and when it starts to fade in 1351 it is estimated that up to 50% of the population across Europe has died.

The Peasants Revolt

An enormous change occurs in society following the Black Death. The Feudal system is dying and the aristocracy pass laws to keep the peasants in their place.

A ‘poll tax’ is the final straw, and Wat Tyler and his band of Kentish men march on London.

Agriculture changes…

We learn of the advances in farming, the growth of yeoman farmers and the effect of enclosures. All of the make the traditional small holding of the peasant farmer untenable and we start to see real poverty.

The Industrial Revolution and the growth of cities

The new farms rely on fewer farm workers and so people gravitate towards the cities where new, mechanised, industries need large numbers of low paid people. These cities generate large slums for the poor. Those who cannot work go hungry.

New roads, the building of canals and, later, the railways aid the industrialisation. These make it easier to transport the new goods over long distances. The railways make it possible for the rapid transport of food to all parts of the country.

The workhouse

Many, at this time, see poverty as a ‘disease’ that people have brought upon themselves.

The workhouse is intended to be the last resort, somewhere so unpleasant that people will do anything to avoid it.

The beginnings of social reform

We learn of the reformers of Victorian times. The realisation during the Boer War that an undernourished population leaves the nation vulnerable.

Lorna ends with the reforms of the Liberal Government elected in 1906.

Listen to this podcast for the full story of poverty through ages.

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.

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

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

T19 20 Talk 20 Are all inventions necessary?

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 20 – Are all inventions necessary

In Are all inventions necessary Joanne Watson introduces us to a great number of inventions that, for some, make one wonder about the sanity of the inventors. For others, we must wonder about the users!

To fully appreciate Joanne’s talk you should follow her presentation, accessed below. The images really do bring the talk to life!

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Three serious inventions

We start with the wheel. Possibly one of the most important inventions ever. It certainly makes driving a car more comfortable!

Joanne then moves on to the Autocannon devised by James Puckle in 1716 and the Gatling Gun. Dr Richard Jordan Gatling firmly believed his gun would help stop the bloodshed on the world’s battlefields!

Then we move to the strange….

A mechanism to help you pull on your boots. Then a ventilated Top Hat that stops the misery of the build up of steam.

Other ideas might have a scientific use

An apparatus to define the height of clouds may well be of meteorological importance. Designs for a family fire escape may be important., if you’re at the right window…..

Then we learn about mechanical leeches, an anti garrotting cravat and a corset with expanding busts. We marvel at the ingenuity of the inventors of yester year!

Then we look at the dangerous…

Joanne tells us about the expansion of crinolines. Harmless you may think …. but stand too close to a fire! But then who’d follow a fashion that requires you to use radio active makeup?

Of course the safety regulations were much less in days gone by. Cocaine in your cough pastilles and toothache drops was seen as  normal.

Then inventions that ‘helped’ the world

The first Traffic Lights in Westminster, sadly resulting in a gas explosion. Then something called the telephone, a device described as ‘too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication’ whilst the Post Office said ‘the Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not.  We have plenty of messenger boys’.

In case we think Joanne is getting serious

We learn of an animal trap that relies on a revolver, a lamp that also acts as a vending machine that could be easily defrauded and a mass shaving apparatus in America.

Listen to the full story of these and many more inventions in this 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.

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 19 Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 19 – The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

In The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles David Simpson tells us about the delegates and the decisions taken. This talk follows on from David’s talk  on the end of the First World War which you can listen to here.

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The Big Four

Clemenceau, Lloyd George Orlando and Wilson are known at the conference as the Big Four because they are responsible for the major decisions. In reality Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Wilson are the leaders as they all speak English. Orlando needs an interpreter whereas the Italian Foreign minister is fluent in English as his mother was Welsh!

There are many others at the conference

Over 30 countries send representatives to the conference, however, the losers are not represented.

Sergei Sazonov, the Tsarist Foreign Minister from 1910 to 1916, represents Russia, because there is a civil war in Russia and the Communist government isn’t invited.

T E Lawrence is there to argue in vain for the Arab cause whilst the Japanese seek equal rights and territories. Even Ho Chi Minh is there!

These minor powers attend a weekly plenary session and they have 52 committees. They discuss issues such as prisoners of war, international aviation, undersea cables and the responsibility for the war.

The Peace Treaties

We have all heard of the Treaty of Versailles. The conference results in five different treaties because there is one for each loser!

  • Versailles with Germany signed on 28th June 1919.
  • St Germain with Austria signed on 10th September 1919
  • Neuilly with Bulgaria signed on 27th November 1919
  • Trianon with Hungary signed on 4th June 1920
  • Sevres with Turkey signed on 10th August 1920
What does the conference deliver?
  • The establishment of the League of Nations.
  • The five peace treaties with the defeated nations.
  • The awarding of German and Ottoman possessions as mandates.
  • Reparations and the war guilt clause imposed on Germany.
  • Drawing of new national boundaries attempting to reflect the forces of nationalism.

Listen to the full story in this podcast.

Please note: there are parts where the sound is of variable quality because of line issues.

Copyright and the graphics accompanying this podcast

Unfortunately it has not been possible to include some of the graphics that accompanied the original talk because of copyright issues.

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.

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

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

T18 19-20 The End of World War 1

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 18 – The End of World War 1

In The End of World War 1 David Simpson introduces us to the key people and events of 1918.

To view the pictures accompanying this talk:

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The Road to Peace

The war continued until 11 a.m. because the Allied armies wanted to make sure that they were in a position of strength. They fear that the German army might restart hostilities.

That morning, at a minute to 11, Sergeant Henry N Gunter of the US Army was one of the last people to die. David tells us of the story of his single handed action.

From retreat to victory

The spring offensive of 1918 was a success for the German army. They gained ground and, because of this, Ferdinand Foch and Douglas Haig, the Allied generals, retaliated with the ‘100 day’ offensive. The battlefield mathematics now strongly favour the Allies because of the arrival of the American army.

The 8th August 1918 is ‘the black day in the history of the German Army’ according to Erich Ludendorff, General der Infanterie, because of the advances made by the Allies.

The Fourteen Points

We learn of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points for Peace. ‘The World must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon…political liberty’ – April 1917.

Step by step the Allies gain ground

We hear of the collapse of Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. The collapse of these countries isolates the German Empire and its people.

Germany becomes a republic

We hear of the mutiny in the fleet at Wilhelmshaven, the activities of Communist agitators, the collapse of the monarchy and, following this, the declaration of a republic.

Armistice

David tells us about the Armistice, taking effect at the ‘Eleventh hour of the Eleventh day of the Eleventh month’. One side feels that ‘the terms …offered were breath-taking in their brutality’, however, US General Pershing says ‘what I dread is that Germany will not know that she is licked’.

Listen to the full story in this podcast.

Please note: there are parts where the sound quality is l

Copyright and the graphics accompanying this podcast

Unfortunately it has not been possible to include some of the graphics that accompanied the original talk because of copyright issues.

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.

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

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

The perplexing history of colour

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 17 – The perplexing history of colour

In The perplexing history of colour as prompted by Gladstone’s analysis of Homer, to give the talk its full title, Alan Freeland tells us about how colours have been described through the ages.

To view the pictures accompanying this talk:

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The use of colour words in English

Alan starts with four  examples – White, Red, Black, and Blue. Pedantsmight often question if we were using the right colour words.

Purely on colour grounds then shouldn’t:

  • White wine  be yellow wine?
  • Red Cabbage be  mauve or purple cabbage?
  • Black Cherries be Red Cherries?
  • And the British sky is often grey rather than blue..

Alan warns us to be aware of the way we name the colour of things because it often isn’t as straight forward  as it  would first appear!

Colour naming survey

Before this talk members were sent a colour spectrum  and asked to answer some questions from their perspective. The answers were varied but there was a distinct difference between the ladies and gentlemen.

Gladstone and Homer

In 1858, aged 49, Gladstone had already been Chancellor of the Exchequer, but not yet Prime Minister. He was the an opposition MP representing Oxford University which, until 1950, sent two MPs to parliament.

He researched and wrote a three volume, 700 page book on Homer and the Homeric Age. Alan admits to us that he has not read Gladstone’s book. He hasn’t even started it. Apparently few who start to read the book ever get beyond volume 1.

Tucked away in Volume 3 is a chapter called Homer’s perception and  use of colour.  Some people must have read this far, because this chapter has caused 150 years of heated academic debate and division.

This talk is about this story.

Gladstone thoroughly analysed Homer’s work from many angles. He notes  very little use of colour in Homer’s writings. The use  implies a very different perception of the world compared to today. He argues that Homer and the ancient Greeks saw a world much closer to black and white than our full colour view of the world.

Listen to the full story in this podcast.

Copyright and the graphics accompanying this podcast

Unfortunately it has not been possible to include some of the graphics that accompanied the original talk. Where possible similar substitutes have been included, however Berlin and Kay’s Basic Colour terms graphics are under copyright.

Follow these links are for material that cannot be published here:

  • The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colo(u)rs names, and it messed with our brains can be found here.

  • Linguistic relativity and the colour naming debate can be found here.
  • Colo(u)r Naming Across Languages – original paper – click here.
  • World Colo(u)r Survey colour naming reveals universal motifs and their within-language diversity – click 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.

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

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

Britain post 1945

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 16 – Britain post 1945

In Britain post 1945 Michael A’Bear tells us about the how Britain evolved in the period between 1945 and the late 1960s. The talk focuses on the changing political landscape and its results.

To view the photographs accompanying this talk:

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Beveridge and the Labour Landslide

Britain post 1945 starts with the report published by William Beveridge in November 1942. The foundations of the Welfare State stem from this report. The post-war Labour government implemented many of the proposals.

Although Britain was virtually bankrupt after the war and rationing expanded, the Labour government brought in social reforms including the National Health Service. They also nationalised industries including the mines and the railways.

Attlee’s administration also started to give independence to parts of the Empire although the partition of the Indian sub-continent resulted in a great deal of violence.

Attlee returned with a reduced majority in the 1950 election.

Churchill returns

Winston Churchill led the Conservative party to victory in the 1951 General Election. Michael tells us that Anthony Eden expected to take over early in the administration but Churchill seemed reluctant to step down.

Eden became Prime Minister in April 1955 and was victorious in the May 1955 election.

Suez

The leader of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956. The British and French governments misread the signals from the US and invaded the area around the canal. Eden snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and this led to Harold Macmillan replacing him.

You’ve never had it so good

Harold Macmillan moved into 10 Downing Street in January 1957. Macmillan created an image of calm and style. The cartoonist Vicky, in the Evening Standard, dubbed him Supermac. Intended as mockery it backfired and Macmillan relished the image.

Macmillan was skilled in foreign relations and was a supporter of decolonisation. He spent much of his time of international issues.

Macmillan won the 1959 General Election with an increase in his majority. This was possibly the high point of his administration.

The economy declined and the balance of payments were in a dire state and Macmillan was losing popularity. Because of this Macmillan fired eight ministers, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his 1962 reshuffle. It is known as the knight of the long knives; because of this the Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe said ‘greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his friends for his life’.

The beginning of the end for Supermac.

Out with the old, in with the new

Michael then takes us through the Conservative leadership contest in 1963. Macmillan resigned as he had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. The grandees of the party selected Alec Douglas Home as his successor. There was a year until the next Election.

Harold Wilson and the Labour party won the election of October 1964 with a small majority.

The 1960s – if you remember them you weren’t there

The talk concludes with a discussion of the Wilson administrations. These took place in a rapidly changing environment with youth coming to the fore. We end in 1968, one of the most revolutionary years since 1848. There was even violence in Grosvenor Square!

About this podcast:

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through the Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher ‘apps’.

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

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

Remedies of Days Past

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 15 – Remedies of Days Past

In Remedies of Days Past Lorna Thomas tells us about the remedies and supplements that her mother used. This is a talk full of the traditional cures that many of us will remember! The talk starts with hand washing, something that came back into vogue in 2020.

Virol

Lorna continues by telling us of a rather delightful food supplement called Virol. According to the advertising this was a supplement that was essential for all children. Fortunately most children who were fed it were not aware of the ingredients.

Horlicks

The talk continues with a beverage used by many at bedtime. We hear the story of this famous beverage introduced by the Horlick brothers in 1873.

The brand was independent until 1969 when the Beecham Group acquired the company. They then became part of GSK. Today Aimia Foods owns the UK business is owned by and Unilever the Indian part.

Liquorice and Senna Pods

We learn about the importance of these two naturally occurring plants in keeping people healthy.

Germolene and Savlon

These two antiseptic creams have been around for a long time. They are both in everyday use today.

Bicarbonate of Soda

Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, has many uses in addition to helping cakes rise. We lean of its uses in cleaning and deodorising as well. A very useful item.

Glycerin, lemon and honey

Another remedy, this time to sooth a sore throat. Today often just hot lemon and honey.

Recycling

Often thought of as a modern activity this was practiced by our parents. I well remember the man who collected salvage from our home. There really is nothing new!

To view the slides accompanying this talk:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

About this podcast:

The Farnham U3A site is found here.

This podcast is also available through the Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher ‘apps’.

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

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham U3A World History Group 2020