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 2018/2019

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

Wednesday 18 April – Children’s Book Illustration by John Ericsson Images from our childhood are often deeply etched in our memories. In addition to a wide range of examples John will examine how illustrations contribute to the development of understanding and how the interaction of image and narrative creates such powerful memories.

Wednesday 16 May – Dr Linda Ware – Evidence-based Medicine
Are you confused by the endless and often conflicting health stories in the media? Do you find it difficult to know which ones to believe? Dr Lynda Ware worked for many years as a GP and in this talk explores the origins of medical research, the development of evidence-based medicine and its relevance to all of us in everyday life as we try to make sense of the media headlines and familiar health choices. An alternative title could be ‘Two bars of chocolate a day can slash your risk of heart attack and stroke …… really?’ (Daily Mirror headline 2015).

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.

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.

Wednesday 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.