Isle of Wight Branch Programme

Isle of Wight Programme 2024-25

Branch contact: All enquiries to Caroline Jacobs tel: 07988 171 708

Venue: All talks take place at Newport Minster, St Thomas’ Square, NEWPORT, IW PO30 1BG, starting at 7.30pm and finishing at approximately 9.00pm, unless otherwise stated.  Doors open at 7.00pm

Associate membership: £10 per year.  Talks free to national HA members and students, visitors £3.

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Thursday, 10th October 2024

Living on Borrowed Time – the British Raj in India

Dr Sean Lang, Senior Lecturer in History, Anglia Ruskin University

The Victorian Raj in India cultivated its image of power and omniscience with great care: all Europeans were expected to uphold the image of innate western superiority, exhibited in western technology and British military might. Yet the reality was very different: not only was an increasingly vocal nationalist movement growing rapidly, but the very success of British rule contributed to its growing redundancy. The British were living on borrowed time – and, increasingly, they knew it.


Thursday, 14th November 2024

Queen Victoria’s Early Life and Family at Kensington Palace

Lee Prosser, Historic Buildings Curator, Historic Royal Palaces

Queen Victoria's early and most formative years were spent at Kensington Palace. Her father, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent had been a spendthrift who lavished money he didn't have on a number of princely houses in London. His early death when the young princess was just seven months old left her mother in extreme difficulty, but she provided a cosy loving home in one of the more generous apartments at the palace.  Research over the past few years has put to rest some of the more persistent historical myths of a cold, unhappy place, full of discipline and loneliness, and instead reveals an apartment full of colour and warmth, with pets, music and parties.  This research has guided the representation of the rooms where Victoria grew up and the story which is not told of those early years.  This talk will trace some of that research, which reveals the young Queen Victoria in a new light.


Thursday, 12th December 2024 - 2.45pm  **PLEASE NOTE EARLIER START TIME**

Feistiness, Ferocity and Friendship? Empress Matilda and Eleanor of Aquitaine as Mother and Daughter-in-Law.

Dr Gabrielle Storey, Historian and Author

Empress Matilda and Eleanor of Aquitaine are two of the medieval world's best-known women. Yet their relationships with one another, through Henry II but also as rulers in their own right, has not been largely considered. This talk will look at both the personal and the political: how their personalities emerge from their sources and what impressions we can make of their relationship with one another as mother- and daughter-in-law, but also how they operated as co-rulers of Henry II. Both Matilda and Eleanor left an impressive mark on history and by comparing their lives and reigns, we can uncover a greater understanding of how female rule was hindered and how it functioned in the twelfth century.


Thursday, 16th January 2025  BY ZOOM

The Spanish Civil War Today. What we have learned and why it still matters

Dr Andrew Dowling, Reader in Hispanic Studies, University of Cardiff

Over 40 years ago, Granada TV showed a six-part documentary on the Spanish Civil War, which became greatly influential in the UK and was also shown in Spain.  This talk will consider how our understanding of the conflict has changed since then. The historiography of the Spanish Civil War has undergone significant transformation, driven by new methodologies, access to previously unavailable archives, and evolving scholarly perspectives. Researchers now place the Spanish Civil War in a transnational and comparative framework, comparing it with other civil wars and revolutionary conflicts. There is much greater interest in aspects such as cultural and social history, particularly in considering questions of gender, as well as new approaches around memory and commemoration.  The Spanish Civil War continues to be one of the most written about conflicts in human history and our aim in this talk will also be to understand why.


Thursday 6th February 2025  BY ZOOM

The Sun King and the Merry Monarch: Louis XIV and Charles 11 as First Cousins Divided by a Narrow Channel

Dr Jonathan Spangler, Senior Lecturer in History, Manchester Metropolitan University

France and Great Britain have a long history of being enemies separated from a very narrow stretch of water. But for much of their shared histories, the royal families of both kingdoms were closely related, none more so than the Bourbons and Stuarts in the 17th century. This talk will share the fascinating details of the close relationship between two of the best-known monarchs from this time period, Charles II of England and Scotland, and Louis XIV of France. They were first cousins and shared a number of familial traits; but they were also quite different in temperament and behaviour. In the end, how did one earn the nickname the Sun King and the other the Merry Monarch?

Thursday 13th March 2025

Formidable Dames: The Women Behind, Beside and Beyond the Emperor Nero

Dr Carey Fleiner, Senior Lecturer, School of History, Archaeology and Philosophy, University of Winchester

The court of emperor Nero was full of influential women – his ambitious mother Agrippina, his long-suffering wife Octavia (and her formidable replacement Poppaea Sabina), and many others. Whilst he ruled as a playboy autocrat, often his decisions and actions were influenced by these women. This talk considers Nero's reign and the women in his court with a look at both contemporary sources and later-day interpretations.


Thursday, 3rd April 2025 

Landscape, Ancient Monuments and Memory: Perceptions of the Prehistoric Past in Seventeenth-Century Britain

Professor Alexandra Walsham, Professor of Modern History, Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge and President of the Historical Association

This talk explores perceptions of the pre-historic past in seventeenth-century Britain. It considers how reformers and antiquaries understood and explained ancient monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury, together with the ways in which these sites were the focus for religious and political passions and tensions before, during and after the Civil Wars. It traces how legends and myths about the making of the landscape evolved and the mark that they continue to leave on contemporary understanding of these evocative and mysterious places.