Gloucestershire Branch Programme

Gloucestershire Branch Programme 2021-22

Contact details – Janet Graham at

Members and students free entry to all talks, visitors £3 entrance fee.


Covid statement - Due to the ongoing situation relating to meeting in person we are holding all talks in 2021 via Zoom. Meetings from January 2022 will hopefully be held at the University of Gloucestershire in either Cheltenham or Gloucester.



Monday September 27

Venue – Zoom meeting

7.30pm AGM


8.15 pm Jenna Pateman; Masters student, Goldsmiths College, University of London Alan Turing: his life and historiographical debates



Monday October 25 7.30pm

Venue – Zoom meeting

Professor Brendan Smith; University of Bristol

Migration and Anglo-Irish Relations in the Middle Ages


Throughout history individuals and families have migrated across the Irish Sea, from east to west and west to east. As the example of the enslaved St Patrick demonstrates, such migration might be accompanied by terrible trauma, but starting new lives in England/Britain or Ireland could also present opportunities not available 'at home' to those prepared to relocate. This talk explores some medieval aspects of a phenomenon that continues to shape Anglo-Irish relations to this day.



Monday November 15 7.30pm

Venue - Zoom meeting

Catharine Arnold; author and academic

Pandemic 1918 – The Story of the Deadliest Influenza in History


The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 was the greatest human disaster of the 20th century. In the dying months of WW1 it overwhelmed the globe, killing up to 100m people. Just over a century later, we are recovering from another pandemic, after Covid-19 was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in early 2020. In the year which followed, my book Pandemic 1918, a history of the Spanish flu pandemic, gained new relevance as readers tried to make sense of the current malaise. In this talk, I intend to compare and contrast the legacies of Spanish flu and Covid-19 and ask whether we can learn anything from the past.



Monday December 13 7.30pm

Venue – Zoom meeting

Rosalind Malandrinos; art historian

Shepherds, Kings and Angels: A Visual Journey through Christmas Art


In a fully illustrated talk, Rosalind will discuss how artists' depictions of the Nativity scene developed from the sketchy marks in the Catacombs of Rome to the extravagant frescoes and oil paintings of the High Renaissance in Italy. She will discuss the main attributes of the Nativity scene and their alleged origins from folklore, to the Gospels of Saints Mathew and Luke as well as Apocryphal accounts. Images by artists as varied as Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci and Dante Gabriel Rossetti will be analysed in order to gain a better understanding of why 'shepherds, king and angels' still have an enduring appeal at Christmas time.



Monday January 17 7.30pm

Venue – tbc

Dr. Ian Rapley; University of Cardiff

Putting post-WW2 Japanese Science into a Global Context: Yukawa Hideki and Tomonaga Shinichiro


Science’s ambition to discover the laws of nature has global reach, transcending borders and social groups, and yet its history reveals it as an altogether more human endeavour. Only slowly has the universality of the knowledge science produces begun to be matched by the range of people producing it. The experiences of Yukawa Hideki and Tomonaga Shin’ichiro - schoolmates who went on to (separately) become Japan’s first two Nobel Prize winning physicists – offer us a chance to explore the challenges faced by those who wanted to join the circles of global science, and how Japan moved from a peripheral player to a major participant in twentieth century physics.



Monday February 21 7.30pm

Venue – tbc

Dr. Mark Hailwood; University of Bristol

What did women do all day in early modern England?


This talk will look at a range of different historical sources – advice literature, wage information, wills, and court witness statements – to explore the question of how women went about their day-to-day lives in the period from 1500-1700. The talk will draw on research done as part of a project on 'Women's Work in Rural England, 1500-1700', and will ultimately show that women did a much wider range of work activities in this period than is often recognised, and as such they played a key role in England's emergence as an economic superpower. 



Monday March 28 7.30pm

Venue – tbc

Prof Margot Finn; University College London

Migrating home: “mixed” children and the return of the nabobs of India



Monday April 25 7.30pm

Venue – tbc

Roger Crowley; narrative writer 

Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire


Portugal, a small poor nation, enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers—a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal’s discovery of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy. Roger Crowley will draw on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of Portugal’s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Figures such as King Manuel 'the Fortunate', João II 'the Perfect Prince', marauding governor Afonso de Albuquerque, and explorer Vasco da Gama juggled their private ambitions and the public aims of the empire, often suffering astonishing losses in pursuit of a global fortune.



Monday May 16 7.30pm

Venue - tbc

Vanessa Berridge; writer

The Princess’s Garden: Royal Intrigue and the Untold Story of Kew Gardens


The British enthusiasm for gardening has fascinating roots. The Empire and trade across the globe created an obsession with exotic new plants, and showed the power and reach of Britain in the early eighteenth century At that time, national influence was expressed in the design of parks and gardens such as Kew and Stowe, and the style of these grand gardens was emulated first throughout Britain and then increasingly around the world. Augusta of Saxe-Gotha arrived in England aged sixteen, speaking barely any English, to be married to Prince Frederick, the reviled eldest son of George II. Her very personal involvement with Kew Gardens, and that of her husband and their close friend Lord Bute, would prove to be one that changed the face of British gardening forever. Vanessa will present a tangled tale of royal intrigue, scandal and determination in the Georgian court, and will draw us into the politically charged world of garden design.