Previous Meetings

Some topics in our previous meetings have included:

Is sport more valuable than music in today's society.....? Nick Cox

Charlotte Bronte explained how the eye both sought the truth in mundane experiences and the visionary experience of dreams..... Professor Dinah Birch

Technology has revolutionised our access to news, knowledge and opinions, yet quality political journalism is in the doldrums..... Jim Hancock



Mythology and Music

POSTPONED until next season. Meera is a flautist. Originally from Warrington she trained at the RNCM. Meera and Sophie Rocks, a harpist, will perform a number of works linked to myths in works from Debussy, Gluck and Scottish folk tunes

 Meera Maharaj
 01/01/0001, 7:30PM


‘Machiavelli and the princes of Renaissance Europe’

LIVE event. Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) enjoyed an active career in public service but an accusation of involvement in a political conspiracy forced him into premature retirement and he channelled his energies into writing. Early in his career he had been employed as secretary to Florentine diplomatic missions. This allowed him to witness and reflect on the actions of rulers of non- republican states and the result duly appeared as The Prince. Stella will identify the individuals to which Machiavelli alludes and explore the recent history behind his text.

 Dr Stella Fletcher
 04/04/2022, 7:30PM


The cultural history of public transport and its current place in British life

LIVE event. Lynsey Hanley teaches at Liverpool John Moores University and is a writer: the author of Estates: an Intimate History and Respectable: Crossing the Class Divide. She has recently written on the current question of the North/ South divide and is regular writer for The Guardian.

 Lynsey Hanley
 07/03/2022, 7:30PM


The Philosophy of the Law

Andrew lives in Lymm. In his talk, he will discuss topics in the philosophy of law. This is that part of philosophy, which addresses the place of law in society - what law is, what it should be and whether we have any moral obligation to comply with its requirements

 Andrew Grantham QC
 07/02/2022, 7:30PM


Cancel Culture

Dr Cooke will discuss the trend of 'cancelling' those with whom we disagree

 Dr Bill Cooke
 06/12/2021, 7:30PM


Stories of the morality of mass migration to Australia

Gill is a Warrington author “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’” The morality behind mass immigration to Australia, as the mid-Victorians saw it, and how it contributed to the deaths of so many. She has also written: ”The Lost Story of the William & Mary: The Cowardice of Captain Stinson', and 'The Lost Story of the Ocean Monarch: Fire, Family, and Fidelity”.

 Gill Hoffs
 01/03/2021, 7:30PM


Approaches to ageing, vitality and beauty

He has done research on the Christian body-building movement in 19thC also current research which focuses on the history of rejuvenation and anti-ageing in the twentieth century, exploring in particular the links between biomedical and socio-cultural approaches to ageing, vitality and beauty. This has culminated in “The Cult of Youth” due for publication early 2021.

 Dr James Stark, Leeds University
 01/02/2021, 7:30PM


The Wordsworths at Dove Cottage

Melissa will introduce William Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, and their life at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, where they lived from 1799-1808. It was here that Wordsworth wrote a great deal of his best-loved poetry, and where Dorothy kept her famous Grasmere journal. Through studying their own manuscripts, we’ll explore the lives of this remarkable family, and how some of the UKs greatest literature came to be, in the year of Wordsworth’s 250th birthday.

 Melissa Mitchell Assistant Curator, The Wordsworth Trust
 02/03/2020, 7:30PM


Design: Then, Now and the Future. Reflections on design, as a process, from the 14th century onwards'

David has worked as a theatre designer and artist since 1964 when he started at art school. He was lucky to benefit from a course that focused on both design for the theatre and fine art. This was an especially useful combination for the following 47 years work as a theatre designer, artist and educationist - and then the following five years as an artist. What is design? When did it start? How does it work, or not? What do designers do all day? How has it changed and what may happen in the future, which we are designing now? What did Karl Marx, Edward de Bono, Anton Chekhov, Samuel Johnson, James Thurber and Jean Cocteau write that relate to design? - even if they didn't realise it at the time.

 David Cockayne
 03/02/2020, 7:30PM


The Black Prince and the Capture of a King: Poitiers, 1356

Less well-known than Agincourt or Crecy, the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 was one of the most hard-fought and dramatic battles of the Hundred Years War. This talk will tell the story of that remarkable day of battle and the events leading up to it, beginning with the Battle of Crecy ten years earlier.

 AJ MacKenzie Anglo-Canadian Authors
 02/12/2019, 7:30PM


Are We (Just) Beasts?

It is often assumed by humanist thinkers that, if we are not supernatural beings, we must be parts of nature. Raymond will argue, against popular misreading of the significance of brain science and evolutionary theory, that persons are not merely organisms to be understood in biological terms, and that there is a huge gap between humans and our nearest primate kin.

 Raymond Tallis Philosopher Poet Author
 04/11/2019, 7:30PM


Warrington and the Slave Trade

Warrington and the Slave Trade Warrington’s role in the slave trade is the elephant in the room which has been avoided by most historians. The talk will explore the nature and range of the trade in slaves by citizens of Warrington. The level of involvement of the main players will be discussed, as will the role played by the Warrington Academy. Some thoughts as to an appropriate response will be offered.

 Bill Cooke President’s Address
 07/10/2019, 7:30PM


The Hubble Space Telescope

Along with our own Joddrel Bank Radio Telescope, The Hubble Space Telescope has been one of the most successful and informative developments in the exploration of Space. John will look at its concept and design, early problems and how these were overcome, along with remarkable images obtained over more than 25 years of operation.

 John Anderson, High Legh Community Observatory
 01/04/2019, 7:30PM


A Brief History of Penguin Books

Arguably the most influential and well-known publisher of the 20th Century, Penguin Books have made an impact on all our lives. Mike takes a look at Allen Lane’s ‘Damascus Moment’, the invention of paperback books, and the opening of London Zoo, through mergers and take-overs, and from Lady Chatterley to Lady Luck. The surprising life of Penguin Books, and its emerging nemesis!

 Mike Bryan, Retired head Sales Manager, Penguin Books
 04/03/2019, 7:30PM


A Romp Through 40,000 Years of Sculpture

Dr Helen Pheby will take us on an illustrated journey through the history of sculpture since prehistoric times, to Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and on to the present day. There will be a focus on the radical changes in sculpture since Auguste Rodin, and looking at the growth and impact of the more abstract sculpture that we see today.

 Dr Helen Pheby,Senior Curator,Yorkshire Sculpture Park
 04/02/2019, 7:30PM


Traditional and contemporary songs 'They don't write them like that any more'

Performers of traditional and contemporary songs 'They don't write them like that any more' Based on being born and bred in the North West, Garry and Vera will sing and talk us through a number of their songs, looking at life in the raw throughout the region in their own well-researched, incisive, poignant way, laced with a delightful sprinkling of pragmatism and of course , humour.

 Gary and Vera Aspey
 03/12/2018, 7:30PM


A Millennium Of Monasticism

The rise in the number and power of the monasteries during the early part of the 2nd millennium was remarkable, and threatening. Father Michael looks at their influence and in particular at the Premonstratensians, and Mother Kate of Warburton (and Chester) against the wider background of monastic life and development.

 Fr Michael Burgess, St Peter’s Church Oughtrington
 05/11/2018, 7:30PM


Technological dead ends: ideas that have gone nowhere

So many mind-blowing ideas and inventions have never been widely embraced by Society! Perhaps we might have enjoyed more of the magic of Man’s inventive prowess had at least some of these logic-defying ideas been more fervently pursued. Dr Southall takes a sideways look at the wonders of the improbable.

 Dr Dave Southall, Retired lecturer in Electronic Engineering MMU
 01/10/2018, 7:30PM