Great Glen

Recent Speakers

November 2021Climate Change Professor Heiko Balzter

Research Professor and Director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at the University of Leicester.

October 2021 Open Day
September 2021 The Mystery of the Body in the bag in the bath Paul Barwick

The mysterious death of MI6 codebreaker Gareth Williams, who was found naked in a padlocked holdall in his bath.

August 2021Tommy CooperSteve Short

Steve is a full-time professional speaker and entertainer. For over 30 years he has been entertaining on cruise ships, in theatres, on radio and television. He has also
written books on his subjects. So do join us as we are in for a treat.

July 2021White MousePaul Barwick

A MOST EXTRAORDINARY SPY - NANCY WAKE
Paul Barwick is a retired police officer, of 34 years service, with a career background in the field of national security and counter terrorism for many years. He now runs his own walking tour company in Central London focused on spy tours of the capital. The White Mouse tells the story of WW2 spy Nancy Wake - a remarkable woman who lived with the daily threat of death for almost 5 years. Her incredible courage and strength of purpose is an awe-inspiring tale set against a world set on fire. Overcoming every challenge posed Nancy became one of the most decorated Allied women of the war. We will explore her life lived to the full and salute her tremendous bravery.

June 2021 Magic IanIan Buchan

'Magic Ian’ who lives in Edinburgh is a retired Civil Servant who has been performing magic for all ages for almost 35 years. He is a member and Past President of Edinburgh Magic Circle with several awards to his name.
During his Zoom presentation he talks about his life as a magician and some of the famous magicians who most people will have heard of, such as Houdini, David Nixon, Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels, with some anecdotes of those he has met.
He also plays the guitar and sings.

May 2021A schoolgirl's war Mary Smith

TrenchesThis tells the story of school life in the south of England during WW2 and features the recently discovered and exquisite art work of a WW2 school art teacher. She sets out to document in paint and pencil the lives of school children and their teachers as the war unfolded. The work features the disrupted schooling, air-raids, doodlebugs and underground lessons in shelters. This is an insight into the war and its effect of schoolgirl’s never before covered.

April 2021My amazing life in MusicRoger Browne

Roger BrowneRoger is a raconteur, a humourist, a pianist, a singer, a director, an actor and a writer.
His live performances have spanned seven decades and three continents.
Born in the industrial North of England, during the second world war, Roger’s upbringing was humble, but his recollections are dominated by indelible memories of humanity, care, love and, above all, music and lots and lots of humour.
Roger is now primarily a storyteller.
He draws on his incredible experiences of life and performance, to deliver an electric mix of creative music, and hilarious tales, informing and entertaining special interest groups, the length and breadth of Britain.

March 2021 the Bentley Boys - the Playboy Racers David Skillen

Bentley Boys 2David Skillen, now retired, during his 35 years in the Civil Service ran many training programmes on public speaking for Government Departments and outside organisations. David studied history for many years and since retiring he travels all over the UK giving a variety of talks to audiences in numerous organisations – but now on subjects he really enjoys!

February 2021The history of the can can David Price

Did you know that the first cancan dancers were men? Or that the original dance was a ballroom dance?
It was only much later that it became an all- women chorus line stage dance. These and other curious facts are revealed in the talk on the cancan based on David’s book on the dance, Cancan!
The cancan first appeared in 1830 and by the 1860’s people were describing it as the ‘French National Dance’, but it is most associated with the 1890’s when Toulouse-Lautrec’s famous models LaGoulue and Jane Avril were dancing at the Moulin Rouge.

January 2021 Another Icarus Richard Smart

The tale of aviation pioneer Percy Sinclair Pilcher and his wonderful sister, Ella, whose noble quest for flight ended tragically at Stanford Hall, on the banks of Shakespeare’s Avon; the first Englishman to die in the cause of ‘the conquest of the air’ when on the cusp of becoming the most famous name in aviation history. Roy Smart presents this magnificent man, his flying machines - and the historic, but as yet unheralded achievements, of his wonderful sister, the redoubtable Ella Sophia Gertrude, probably the very first woman to fly ! - in a colourful context of music, poetry, Greek myth, art and the beginnings of flight.

December 2020 Christmas through the ages Eddie Smallwoood

How the festive period is not what it was; how customs date back thousands of years or are wrong.

November 2020 The Royal Yacht Britannia Tony Noble

Tony Noble was born in Whitehaven, Cumbria and joined the Navy at fourteen and a half as a boy entrant at HMS Ganges. Ended in doing 17 years in the Navy, serving on four different ships and with several shore postings that included NATO Flag Officers Staff and Naval Communications Contacts. He also served two tours on Britannia.

October 2020Origins and Oddities of English Inn Signs Michael Alstrop

Few people realise that two thousand years of history is hanging over their heads, and that the humble pub sign can hold the key to a town’s past. Pubs were rarely named by accident but were inspired by religion, royalty, heroes and occasionally scandal. This highly visual talk, with a quiz, explains how inns signs originate and traces their development from the Romans to the present day.

September 2020His life and The Jack Castle Books Phillip Caine

Having spent many years working as Manager, Operator, Director within the Facilities Management and Contract Catering Industry in the Oil and Gas Industry/Military/Construction Industry all over the world he started writing in his spare time and is now a full time self-employed author.

August 2020Histories Fools Gold

Acoustic duo Carol and Steve delighted us not so long ago with one of their programmes of music & songs, brought to life by accounts of the histories, mysteries and sometimes tragedies that lie behind them.