The Talks programme for the current season is listed below, after some basic information.

These talks will be given at:

The Hastings Room
St Andrew's Church Centre
Roger's Lane
Stoke Poges,

There is a car park here and so parking should not be a problem.  The Hastings Room is best accessed via the outer door by the sign "Lighthouse Cafe".

Day & Time
2nd Friday of the month Sep - Jun,  7.30pm.
(except where the 2nd Friday clashes with Good Friday).

Talks are free to members and £2 to visitors.
Talks are followed by complimentary tea, coffee, and biscuits.

Previous talks
To get an idea of the range of talks we hear,  Click here to see our previous talks.

Talks programme for the 2023/24 season are listed below.

Fri 8 Sep 2023, 7:30pm:   Myths and Legends - Trinovatium, Merlin and Lud      Colin Oakes
 This talk looks at the myriad Myths and Legends involving London starting from the 12th Century Geoffrey of Monmouth.  We will look at the pseudo history of Londons' foundation and of Kind Lud and the more famous Merlin, showing the capital as a place of place and Pomp.

Fri 13 Oct 2023, 7:30pm:   The Great Escape     John Edwards
 The memorable 1963 film, The Great Escape, brought to light the story of the escape during World War II of seventy-three Allied airmen from Stalag Luft III. Did the film give an accurate account of what happened? What was the true story? What was the fate of those who made their dash to freedom? In addition, John will explain the role of a Policeman from Blackpool and his quest for truth regarding ‘The Great Escape’.

Fri 10 Nov 2023, 7:30pm:   An Heir and a Spare     Graham Horn
 The stories of those princes and princesses who were heir to the throne yet never became Monarch...

Fri 8 Dec 2023, 7:30pm to 10:00pm. Christmas Social event.
 A sharing buffet, quizzes, etc.?

Fri 12 Jan 2024, 7:30pm:   The Really Great Escape      Bernard Foot.
 The story of a truly great Prisoner of War escape. But this is a story we do not hear about – it is not the story the famous film was made about. This is about a far larger and more successful escape, with 105 PoWs (mainly British and Commonwealth) escaping, with 99 making it safely home. It took place in the former Yugoslavia, and the real heroes were the Yugoslavian Partisans. The presentation gives a background to Yugoslavian history, describes the Partisans, and explains the German PoW camp system before talking about the escape.

Fri 9 Feb 2024, 7:30pm:   The Rise & Fall of Skindles     Nigel Smales.
 Founded as The Orkney Arms in the 1730s, the iconic Skindles Hotel on the Taplow side of Maidenhead Bridge had a fascinating and notorious history until its closure in 1995. The author HG Wells observed that its "ruling interests are love - largely illicit - and persistent drinking". Music hall comedians asked "Are you married or do you live in Maidenhead?" And in the 1960s, Skindles became a must-play gig for any band with ambition. Then came dilapidation and decay, leaving only memories.

Fri 8 Mar 2024, 7:30pm:   Two Mansions: Newland Park and Orchehill      Denise Beddows
 These would feature respectively a refuge for tortured women and an underground assassin's lair; and a dowry for an unsuitable marriage of a young woman who fled a royal scandal

Fri 12 Apr 2024, 7:30pm:   Cornwall, Theatre, Community: Three Histories      Professor Sally Mackey
 A landscape long established as a site of gatherings in the open, this talk focusses on three Cornish ‘theatres’, looking at their close historical links with community: Plen an Gwarry, the Minack and Kneehigh.

Fri 10 May 2024, 7:30pm:   The Archaeology of the Crossrail project in London    Colin Oakes
 Recently the capital has had many major projects crossing London's boroughs. The Crossrail example has turned up some very interesting finds and both confirmed, but also challenged, our thinking on the archaeology which the rail line has carved through; knowledge gained!.

Fri 14 Jun 2024, 7:30pm:  AGM 2024   followed by:  A Talk: Origins of Writing and Number - Part 1   Brian Withington
 Markings on clay were used for the recording of property, leading to the first writing systems. Multiple attempts from separate Levantine and nearby groups fused into the widespread adoption of a complex Cuneiform script. It stayed in use for 2500 years but Its domination lasted only until the arrival of first Semitic alphabets, around 1,000 BCE which we'll examine in part two.

After our summer break in July and August, our new season will begin with:

Fri 13 Sep 2024, 7:30pm:  Origins of Writing and Number - Part 2   Brian Withington
 How the first alphabets arose, with their limitations. Perfected by the Greeks, who added five vowels, and then spread it 'worldwide' by Alexander the Great, giving the West its simple, versatile, alphabetic systems of written records.