Lectures and Presentations

A selection of FAMILY and LOCAL HISTORY lectures are available, on topics that have been the subject of research and/or publications. 

[i] The history of the Lime and Cement Industry of North Warwickshire – the story of the Walker family of Newbold and the lime and cement industry they founded in 1776.  Covers the Rugby and/or Southam areas.

[ii] From Lubenham to Sandy, Leicestershire.  The story of four generation – great grandfather Ashton raised cattle for the London market.  He had 14 children – and three brothers married three sisters.   Based on material in the Ashton Archive, this is the story of the misfortunes of one branch of the family in the judgemental late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Family history based on a discovery of a house full of archival material – and extensive further research.  What have you left for others in your attic?

[iii]  From Ennis to Emmie – the story of a post card exchange. [Derbyshire / Leicestershire material – based on material in the Ashton Archive].  How the finding of a series of postcards allowed the sender and her family to be tracked down – family history and postcard history, as well as examples of cards and photographs of the period.

[iv] William Horspool RAMC. A soldier lost and found. The romance and tragedy of Sergeant William Horspool.  Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire family and military history – based on material in the Ashton Archive, also material from The National Archives.

[v] The Speight family of Photographers of Rugby, Warwickshire.   The history and family history of this fascinating family.  The lectures can be provided with greater family history or photographic history emphasis, and can be produced with greater emphasis on E H Speight or four of his six sons depending on what area is to be covered.  Versions also available for : Rugby; Nuneaton; Kettering; Market Harborough and Sutton Coldfield.  A supporting booklet is also available – see Publications.

[vi] The Green Room Plaque – finding and researching a memorial to actors who died in WWI.  Twelve actors are named on this First World War memorial.  Family history, military archives and contemporary newspapers and other sources have allowed their stories to be told, and some of their relatives to be traced.  A supporting booklet is also available – see Publications.

[vii]  Opening the Dore.  Establishing the truth of a WWI friendship between two Wiltshire farmers’ sons, and why one’s marriage to the sister of the other, led to the unexpected discovery of an 18thC Grant of Arms, several 18thC family trees, crested china and a signet ring.  Also an 18thC print of the College of Arms where a family namesake was Richmond Herald.  The story of the fortunes of this family of farmers descended from Merchant Mariner adventurers provides a fascinating insight into the 18thC and their descendant families are searched for the linkage that would show why that cache of 18thC material descended to its present owners.

[viii]  The Unknown Socialist – John Frearson of Leicestershire, Manchester and Birmingham   The story of three namesakes – and how they were found to be one – a fascinating history of an unrecognised individual who was witness to the great socialist changes from the Chartist and Owenite movements in the 1830s to the Co-operative and New Socialism movements of the 1880s.  A book-seller, cutler, reformer, socialist, writer, traveller, manufacturer and inventor – of hooks and eyes and the cross-head Frearson [now Phillips] screw – and sometime manager of a French Giant!   [Family history, patent history, newspaper sources and archive material from UK and the Netherlands]  A supporting booklet is also available – see Publications.

[ix]   Maundy Rodgers: a doctor abroad.  Wimereux and Amara during WWI.    Maundy was an Assistant Surgeon 4th Class from India, and with his hospital served in France in the seaside town of Wimereux  in WWI from 1914 and later went Mesopotamia.  He was mentioned in Dispatches.  The talk gives a family and military history – and something of a wider view of WWI Hospitals, and with additional illustration from some of the 150 postcards that he sent home. 

[x] The Frearsons of Ockbrook, Derbyshire. The Frearson family were small farmers and yeomen in Derbyshire from the late 1600s.  They fell out with the vicar over tithes and were taken to court in the 1740s.  This was perhaps why they were dissenters, and invited a Moravian preacher to Ockbrook.  This led to the foundation of the Ockbrook Moravian community.  [History and family history, based on research into the contemporary sources].

[xi]  The History of Morris Dancing and The Morris Dancing Year.  The questions you have never asked – answered!  Why is it called Morris?  When and where did it start?  Why do they do it?  The speaker has danced the Morris for nearly 30 years – and was the Bagman [national secretary] of The Morris Ring for seven years.  A fully illustrated talk on the history and many forms of Morris dancing through the year.

Also available as: The History of the Rugby Morris Men.  This also provides an outline of a post war revival Morris Side in Rugby.  Although the Side was short-lived, the rescue of a Log Book and Scrap Book provided a valuable commentary.  Introduced with a brief history of Morris dancing to provide a historical context.  And:  the History of the Bedford Morris Men.  This talk provides an outline of a 1930s revival Morris Side, and is introduced with a brief history of Morris dancing to provide a historical context.  The speaker is the Archivist for the Bedford Morris Men and holds their large collection of documents and albums.

[xii]  The Coal Merchants of Rugby  A history of the coal businesses and the coal merchants in Rugby, from the coming of the canals, through to the 1950s as home coal usage declined.  With particular emphasis on four families who used the same business premises in North Street from before the 1850s to the early 1930s.  Research has found that three of these families were related.  Based on archive material, newspaper reports and personal information, this is more that a local history story, but shows the interrelationships of a small town business in Victorian and Edwardian England.  A supporting booklet is also available – see Publications.

[xiii]  Jonathan Dumbleton Pinfold and the Brickmakers of Rugby  A history of the brick makers in Rugby and of J D Pinfold, who set up an iron and brass foundry, making agricultural implements and then expanded into brick making machinery and steam engines.  He then became a brick maker himself and later became involved with property.  Later he became bankrupt!  Based on archive material, newspaper reports and considerable local research to show the changes in an industry in an expanding Victorian town.  A supporting booklet is also available – see Publications.

To date these talks have been presented, variously, to:  Rugby Family History Group [several]; Long Itchington History Group [twice]; Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society [thrice]; Stretton on Dunsmore History Society [twice]; Guild of One Name Studies [GOONS] – Midands Seminar; Nuneaton [former] Lions Group; Kettering Art Gallery and Museum; Aylesbury Genealogical Society; Bedworth Society; Nuneaton Local History Group; Nuneaton Museum [four times]; Market Harborough History Society; Leamington History Group [twice]; Rushden Branch, Northants Family History Group (twice); Ockbrook and Borrowash Heritage Group; Rugby Art Gallery and Museum; Kenilworth Family History Society [twice]; Kettering Family History Group [twice]; Kettering Church; Kettering Pensioners’ Parliament [twice]; Kimbolton Probus Club, Keysoe; Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry [twice]; Riseley History Group; Willans Retirement Group, Rugby [twice]; Barby Local History Group; Bedworth and Nuneaton Parkinsons’ Support Group; Bedfordshire Family History Society [twice];  Friends of Warwickshire County Record Office; Hillmorton Townswomen’s Guild, Rugby [thrice]; Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society, [twice in Leicester; once in Hinckley; once in Loughborough and once in the Netherlands during the Society’s Arnhem tour]; Oxfordshire Family History Society [twice]; Alzheimer’s Society, Foleshill; Clifton History Group [thrice]; Southam Heritage Collection; Coventry Family History Society [twice]; Rugby Scout Support Group [twice]; Wellesbourne and Walton Local History Group; Friends of Ferguson Heritage; Cropredy History Society; The Merchant’s Inn, Rugby; Aynho Women’s Institute [Group Meeting], Oxforshire; and also at ‘Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014’ at Olympia, London and ‘Live 2015’ at the N.E.C., Birmingham.