The Monthly Speakers’ Meeting takes place on the third Wednesday of each month at 2.00pm in the Baptist Church, Thames Street, OX10 0BH, and is open to all Members of the branch and to potential new members wishing to find out more. Members are addressed by an invited speaker (see below), and this is followed by tea, coffee and biscuits.  There is no charge. The talks are usually excellent and it’s a good chance to see friends old and new.

Speakers Programme 2019

Please note there may be changes from the published programme of Speaker Meetings

17 July – Gary Jordan – The guitar music of Dowland, Sor and Albeniz – a talk and recital
Gary Jordan is a classical guitarist who has played in masterclasses for many eminent figures in the guitar world. He will introduce us not only to the world of the classical guitar but also to Elizabethan Lute music, playing his guitar to illustrate his talk.

21 August – U3A Garden Party

18 September – Kamran Irani – Delivering emergency medical supplies
Captain Kamran Irani comes to us highly recommended as a speaker and also for his spectacular mode of transport. After a career as an airline pilot Captain Irani now heads up SERV OBN Emergency Riders. This group of intrepid volunteers provide a rapid response transport service to the NHS, carrying urgently needed medical items out of hours, saving lives as well as NHS resources. He promises to arrive on his top of the range motorbike!

16 October – John Ericson – Art inspired by wine
John Ericson, one of our regular and favourite speakers will lead us on a gallery tour of numerous paintings of wine being made and wine being drunk in celebration, and take a look at the numerous wicked cartoons and posters inspired by wine. We anticipate an informative and humorous afternoon.

20 November – Robert Van de Noort – What archaeology can tell us about adapting to changing climates
Robert Van de Noort is currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Reading University. However, his first love and academic discipline is archaeology. In this fascinating talk he will tell us about what we can learn from actual archaeological studies of different settlements that have suffered climate change in the past and how they adapted to changing conditions.

18 December – Mark Cairns – A little Christmas Magic – but not as you know it!
If magic for you means conjuring rabbits from hats, then think again. Mark Cairns is definitely not that sort of magician. Mark is returning to us this year, pretty much by popular demand after he stunned us with his amazing mind reading skills. Mark is an international performer and we are fortunate to secure his return. A Christmas treat not to be missed.

Speakers Programme 2020

15 January – Tony Hadland – A Tiger in the bathroom
Tony Hadland last came to give us a talk in June 2018 on William Gill. This time it is a Tiger in the Bathroom and Bullets up the chimney. Interesting! Tony is an award winning former journal editor of the Oxfordshire Family History Society. The talk spotlights Tony’s ancestors in India and Ireland, a fascinating story that earlier generations would have found shocking.

19 February – Timothy Walker – What have plants ever done for us?
Timothy Walker last visited us with his talk on The Healing power of Plants, This time he will talk to us about What have plants ever done for us? This talk looks at mankind’s dependence on plants for everything from food to film and from painkillers to paint. It also examines the ways in which our exploitation of plants could keep up with demand from an ever increasing global population and what we as individuals can do to help future generations.

18 March – Julie Summers – Remembered – the history of the Commonwealth war graves
Julie Summers, our most regular and popular speaker, returns to give a talk based on her own highly acclaimed book Remembered which tells the human story behind the extraordinary efforts of those who felt that the fallen should be remembered in perpetuity, and with dignity.

15 April – Stuart Linford – The wicked wit of Winston Churchill
Stewart Linford recently gave us a very amusing talk on the Windsor Chair plus his version of Winston Churchill. We felt it was only right to ask him to follow this up with The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill. This talk is a power point presentation packed with stories exploring Churchill’s many virtues … and vices. It should be very interesting and amusing!


Speakers Programme 2018

Wednesday 20 June – Tony Hadland ‘William Gill—Victorian Explorer and Spy’
William Gill was an officer in the Royal Engineers who unexpectedly inherited a huge fortune and became a self-financed explorer and intelligence officer. Tony Hadland is William Gill’s great-great-nephew and tells the fascinating story of this courageous and very Victorian character.

Wednesday 18 July – Stewart Linford ‘The Windsor Chair’
Stewart Linford’s workshops were set up in 1976 on the edge of Little Kingshill village five miles from High Wycombe. His reputation for quality soon spread and increasing demand necessitated a move seven years later. Among the many accolades bestowed was the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Among his thousands of clients are Harrods, The National Trust and The V and A as well as celebrities and noble families around the world.

Wednesday 15 August 18 – Garden party
Our usual speaker meeting is replaced, as is usual in August, by our annual Garden Party. This is always a very memorable event, whether it is for glorious sunshine or for a more typically English type of day. Whatever the weather, the company and conversation are always good and the refreshments second to none. Make sure you don’t miss the summer tea party of the year.

Wednesday 19 September – Liz Woolley – Child labour in 19th century Oxfordshire
Liz Woolley is already very well-known to us for her informative and lively talks which cover many aspects of the life of ordinary people in 19th and 20th century Oxfordshire. In this talk she will shine a spotlight on a particularly murky side of Victorian England and no doubt make us marvel again at how much society has changed since those days. In this case for the better!

Wednesday 17 October – Steve Moll – The Incredible World of the Honey Bee
When Steve Moll and his wife retired from full time work and bought a house in Brightwell they very quickly became captivated by everything to do with honey bees. They soon found themselves with another very full-time occupation, looking after numerous hives of bees which are stationed all around south Oxfordshire. In Steve’s fascinating talk he will explore many aspects of the complex life and society of the bees which produce Brightwell Bees Honey.

Wednesday 21 November – Toby Faber – Indians, Buffaloes and Storms: the American West in 19th Century Art
Toby Faber is a regular and very popular visitor to our U3A and is remembered for his fascinating talks on Faberge and Stradivarius. In this lecture, he charts the history of the opening up of the American West by the early explorers. Artists were never far behind and the story they tell can be gritty and down-to-earth or romanticised. However, it is always on a grand scale and the art, whatever its artistic merits, is great fun.

Wednesday 12 December – Ian Keable – Charles Dickens the Conjuror
Charles Dickens may be best known for his novels but he was also a talented magician and fascinated by spiritualism and ghosts. Likewise, Ian Keable is a man of many parts and a member of the Magic Circle. He uses his magical and mindreading skills in this enlightening, entertaining and engaging show which combines mind-bending sleight of hand mysteries with a spooky Victorian twist.

Speakers Programme 2019

Wednesday 16 January – Stefan White – Skulduggery in the Shrubbery
Stefan White tells the true and fascinating story of John Tradescant, the 17th century plant collector and adventurer whose treasures were stolen by a rascally lawyer who then took the credit and founded the Ashmolean Museum with the stolen collection. Witchcraft, intrigue and treachery all feature in this insight into a turbulent period of history.

20 February 19 Andy Smith – John, Paul, George and Me
In this talk, Andy Smith celebrates the songs of three of the finest songwriters this country has ever produced. Featuring lots of their well-known songs plus a few album tracks and a good dose of 60’s nostalgia, he accompanies himself on his collection of musical instruments.

20 March – Julie Summers – When The Children Came Home
Julie Summers returns to tell the story of some of the children who were evacuated in 1939 and what happened when they returned home at the end of the war. Julies’ talk is based on her acclaimed book of the same title in which she weaves a collection of personal stories to create a compelling portrait of wartime Britain.

17 April – Dr David Jones – The most dangerous animals on earth
Dr David Jones is a research biologist at the Natural History Museum in London and an external lecturer at Imperial College. In this talk, he explores the question ‘Which animals kill the most humans?’ Based on published research, he lists the top culprits, debunks some popular myths and reveals the scary truth behind the statistics. He then focuses on his favourite killers, the snakes.

15 May – Tom Way Photographing African Wildlife
Tom Way is a professional wildlife photographer based in the UK, whose work has been awarded in international competitions including European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Sony World Photographer. He favours a fine art style approach to photography and spends most of his time focusing on large mammals around the world. His passion is Africa and he will show us some of his powerful and engaging images captured by his immense expertise combined with total commitment and extraordinary patience. A treat not to be missed. Note that the AGM will precede the talk.

19 June – Jenny Mallin – A Grandmother’s Legacy
Jenny Mallin is the author of the prize-winning cookery book A Grandmother’s Legacy. She was inspired to research her family history when she inherited a handwritten recipe book from her mother. This heirloom was compiled by the women of five generations of her family who lived and worked in the British Raj, leaving Yorkshire at the end of the 18thC and only returning at Partition. Her talk explores her Anglo-Indian family heritage through photographs and anecdotes and shines a light on a fascinating and now by-gone way of life.