Lectures & Speakers 2024 – 2025

Our lecture season runs from October to April, with lectures being held in the Anna McDowell Garden Room at Gold Hill Museum on the first Tuesday afternoon of each month. The exception is the Teulon Porter Memorial Lecture, which starts the season and is held in the evening at Shaftesbury Town Hall. Noel Teulon Porter was a notable Cambridge archaeologist and instrumental in founding The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society in 1946.

The 2024 Teulon Porter Lecturer will be Dr Nicola Tallis, whose most recent book Young Elizabeth: Princess, Prisoner, Queen was published in February by Michael O’Mara. Her Sisters at War was the lead article in March’s BBC History magazine. Nicola has written about several prominent Tudor women and is much in demand for festivals, tours and TV documentaries.  (Further details at the foot of this page.)

Lectures are free to members, while visitors may pay £3 at the door (£5 for the Teulon Porter). Seats for non-members at afternoon lectures are normally available from 2.20p.m.

Proposals for lectures to the Society on suitable historical subjects are welcome, and may be made via lectures@goldhillmuseum.org.uk

Date / TimeTopicSpeakerMore
Tuesday, 05 November 2024 – 2.30pm – The Garden Room, Gold Hill Museum

Was Biggles a Dorset Farmer?
The remarkable career of aviation pioneer Louis Strange (1891-1966)
Tony OttonOriginally from Child Okeford, Tony serviced Buccaneer and Harrier jet aircraft while in the RAF. He later helped to restore historic buildings, and now divides his time between the airport at Hurn and leading battlefield tours in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Tuesday, 03 December 2024 – 2.30pm – The Garden Room, Gold Hill Museum

Edwardian Villages
as photographed near Shaftesbury by Albert Edward Tyler (1873-1919)
Claire Ryley and Ann SymonsS&DHS members Claire and Ann present the sequel to Edwardian Shaftesbury. Their knowledge of the Tyler Collection is unrivalled, and they welcome insights from their appreciative local audiences.
Tuesday, 07 January 2025 – 2.30p.m. – The Garden Room, Gold Hill Museum
“Utterly Immoral” –
missionary and WWI chaplain Robert Keable (1887-1927) and his scandalous novel
Simon Keable-ElliottRetired teacher and author Simon tells the amazing story of his grandfather, whose controversial first novel was a sensational hit on both sides of the Atlantic. It wildly outsold F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, in which it is name-checked and criticised.
Tuesday, 04 February 2025 – 2.30p.m. – The Garden Room, Gold Hill Museum

The Wilton Processional –
an insight into the liturgical lives of nuns at the Royal Abbeys of Wilton and Shaftesbury
Richard ClarkeS&DHS member Richard relates a detective story, involving a medieval manuscript, a 19th century monk, a great crime of vandalism by mad professors of the 1940’s, and an extraordinary lady super sleuth of our own times (outdoing even Miss Marple), in saving a real treasure, thus opening up a 13th century wonder of the world about the life of nuns at Wilton.
Tuesday, 04 March 2025 – 2.30p.m. – The Garden Room, Gold Hill Museum
William Bankes (1786-1855)
and the re-making of Kingston Lacy
John HubbardExiled in Venice for the last 14 years of his life as a result of a sexual indiscretion, William Bankes remodelled Kingston Lacy from afar, in co-operation with his sister Anne. This richly illustrated talk by an expert on Dorset’s buildings will explore his lifelong commitment to Kingston Lacy, to architecture and interior design, and to the ideal country house.
Tuesday, 01 April 2025 – 2.30p.m. – The Garden Room, Gold Hill MuseumThe Liberty of AlcesterMatthew TagneyS&DHS member and keen archaeologist Matthew reveals with wit and erudition the significance of the name of a mediaeval Midlands Abbey on the map of Shaftesbury, and what remains in and above the ground and in surviving documents of the Liberty of Alcester.