Category Archives: Lectures


Wednesday 1st May 2024 – Nicholas Henderson: How to Read an English Country Church: Pre-Christian to the Anglo-Saxon

Wednesday 1st May 2024

How to read an English Country Church: Pre-Christian to the Anglo-Saxon

Nicholas Henderson

Architectural, historical, religious and social changes have shaped and formed our church buildings. It is possible to ‘read’ the passage of time, movements, cultures and peoples in the architecture and art forms evident in many of our English country churches. This lecture will take us through the first of four overarching eras, from the pre-Christian era, through the arrival of the Romans, to the Anglo-Saxons.

Escomb Saxon

A graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Nicholas trained for the Anglican ministry at Ripon Hall, Oxford. He was formerly Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Lake Malawi in Central Africa (2005-2009) and undertook his doctorate on Lay Anglican Ecclesiology with the University of Wales, Lampeter. He lectures regularly and currently works as a parish priest in West London.

Click here for details of next month’s lecture.

Wednesday 5th June 2024 – Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe: The Forensic Eye: Find Your Inner Connoisseur

Wednesday 5th June 2024

The Forensic Eye: Find Your Inner Connoisseur

Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe

How do dealers, auctioneers and museum staff determine whether a piece is by one painter or another? Artists before the 18th century usually worked with a number of assistants around them, trained to reproduce the style of the master as closely as possible. How can we study these workshop productions, distinguishing between master and pupil, master and copyists? In this lecture, Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe will consider clues, weigh up their relative usefulness, and reveal some of the tricks of the connoisseur.


Chantal has an MA in History of Art from Edinburgh and a PhD from the Warburg Institute, London University. She has trained as a painting conservator, and has taught at Sotheby’s Institute of Art on the MA in Fine and Decorative Arts since 1989 as well as for a number of societies and institutions in London: these have included the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection.

Wednesday 3rd July 2024 – Colin Shindler: Charlie Chaplin: Tortured Genius

Wednesday 3rd July 2024

Charlie Chaplin: Tortured Genius

Speaker: Colin Shindler

Charlie Chaplin was a man of contradictions – a playboy and a workaholic, an innovative artist and the last to embrace talking pictures. Chaplin revolutionised the language of cinema and in his guise as The Little Tramp he became the most universally recognised performer of all time. He had a tortured private life, but he was adept at using elements of that life in his films. He was one of the few Hollywood producers to make an overt political stand in his films Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940). His early films, particularly The Kid (1921) drew on the experiences of immigrants and the urban poor and on memories of his own deprived childhood in the slums of London.


Colin Shindler has been lecturing on American and British social and cultural history for over 20 years. He was awarded his PhD at Cambridge University and subsequently lectured on film for their History Faculty between 1998 and 2019, exploring its relationship to modern British and American social and cultural history.  Between 1975 and 1999 he pursued a wide-ranging career as a writer and producer in television, radio and film. He won a BAFTA award for his production of A Little Princess. His production of Young Charlie Chaplin was nominated for a US Prime Time Emmy. He wrote the screenplay for the feature film Buster and was the producer of various television dramas such as Lovejoy and Wish Me Luck. He has written three novels as well as numerous television scripts and radio plays: his most recent radio play Leni Goes to Hollywood, about the German film director Leni Riefenstahl, was broadcast on Radio 4 in August 2021. Other radio plays for R4 included How To Be An Internee (about P.G. Wodehouse) and one on Private Eye & The Profumo Affair (Rumours). He is the author of Barbed Wire and Cucumber Sandwiches: The Controversial South Africa Cricket Tour of 1970 which was short listed for the MCC/Wisden Cricket Book of the Year in 2021. He is best known for his childhood memoir Manchester United Ruined My Life which was short listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. His other publications include Hollywood Goes To War: Films & American 1952 Society 1939-and Hollywood in Crisis: Films & American Society 1929-1939.  I’m Sure I speak for Thousands of Others (2017) was a history of unpublished letters written to the BBC and his non-fiction novel Garbo & Gilbert in Love was an imaginative reconstruction of the infamous relationship of the two MGM stars. He is currently working on the television adaptation of his novel Hollywood Nazis. His next book is titled Granada Land: Coronation Street and the Emergence of the North 1960-1970. 

This lecture will follow the Annual General Meeting which will begin at 10:30am.