Perhaps you are looking for a speaker for your local society's programme. I have lived and worked in the Black
Country for over forty five years and have always had a nosy interest in the area's past. I enjoy giving talks on a
variety of subjects - sometimes with a marked Black Country bias, sometimes from a more "general" perspective.
Talks are usually illustrated with slides and can usually be adapted to run for a duration to suit your requirements.
Here is a list of possible subjects:
Any Old Iron:
An illustrated journey through the world of architectural gems created in corrugated iron.
Railways to Nowhere:
An account of unlikely railway journeys in remote parts of Queensland and Argentina.
Railways of the Black Country:
Generally of interest to railway enthusiasts, but others have been tempted to try and understand the complexities of
our local railway system!
Looking at Shops:
With the aid of slides I can show you what there is to look at when you stop to consider shops "historically", and
"trade by trade", from corner shops to department stores.
An Englishman's Home is his Castle:
A look at domestic architecture - both historically, and from the point of view of what the contemporary householder
does with his house (Warning - some of the scenes shown can cause offence!)
100 Years of Cinema:
Using examples in the Black Country, and nationwide, this show traces the development of the cinema - not the films
themselves, but the architectural environment in which we have viewed them.
History with Dividends:
A look at over 150 years of history of the Co-op in Britain - the shops and the co-operative movement in general -
from baking bread to brass bands.
Pat Collins - King of Showmen:
The story of a Walsall-based showman - his life and the life of his fairgrounds - "all the fun of the fair"....
Understanding the Travelling Funfair:
An introduction to complex world of the funfair - the shows, the rides and the candyfloss - focussing on the family
lives of the people who present the fair.
The Birmingham Onion Fair:
The story of just one annual fair! (Not much to do with onions!) The fair was held in Aston from 1875 until 1968 - find
out all about it.
Here Comes The Circus:
A survey of today's lively circus scene and a glimpse of circus history.
A colourful survey of banners - trade union banners, Sunday School banners and Co-op banners, including scenes at
Warrington Walking Day and Durham Miners Gala.
New talks recently developed:
Black Country Chapels
A pictorial survey of non-conformist places of worship in the Black Country and the activities associated with them.
We will entertain you!
An illustrated analysis of show business advertising over the years - the posters used to persuade you to come to the
fair, cinema, circus or theatre.
Tibet - 20th Century Tragedy
The story of two invasions of Tibet - the British in 1904 and the Chinese in 1950-62
Other subjects considered, or variations on the above! Travel Talks also possible - such as "Egypt for the Elderly", or
"America: Coast to Coast". Talks are always been devised and added to the repertoire. Subjects recently added have
included: Alms Houses, Prefabs, Railways of Cuba, New aspects of cinema and theatre interest, New aspects of
Fairground and Circus.
Courses and workshops:
I am willing to lead workshops or run short courses on a variety of topics including subjects like those listed above,
but also matters like:
Photographs as a historical source of information
The changing face of the Black Country
Writing and researching local history and /or community history
Small scale publishing
And it may not seem to have much to do with the above, but I can also
run courses on basic counselling skills'
Fees can be a tricky subject! If you are asking me to come along and speak to a small audience for anything between
an hour and two hours, my fee will be a minimum of £50, from 2011 onwards. If you are asking me to speak to a large
audience in a large hall, or undertake special preparation, I would appreciate a higher fee. If you are asking me to
venture beyond the Black Country, I would appreciate something towards petrol costs.
Why not contact me with any queries.