BCNT  Lectures Programme  2019


    All lectures will be held on the ground floor of the Salvation Army Citadel located at the corner of James Street West and Green Park Road. It is opposite Green Park Station. All lectures will be held on the 2nd Tuesday in the month at 2.30pm except March 2019 and March 2020 when it is the third Tuesday. There are no lectures in December.

    A charge will be made for all lectures of £3 for members and £5 for visitors.

    February 12th 2019 - "Village Signs"

    How do you know where you are? A sign at the entrance to a village or in its centre will tell you. More than just a name, a village sign may tell you something of the history and show significant buildings of the village. Their variety of forms reflects the imagination of the designer, yet why are they almost universal in eastern counties, but few and far between in the west? This presentation by Ann King shows the variety and some of the background stories of this largely English tradition.

    March 19th 2019 - "World Heritage And Its Importance To The City of Bath".
                            Note this lecture is on the third Tuesday of March.
    Professor Barry Gilbertson is Chairman of the City of Bath UNESCO World Heritage Site. His talk will cover:
    • What is World Heritage ?
    • World Heritage in Bath
    • Ideas, Inspiration and Issues
    • Greater Community Awareness
    • Bath World Heritage Enhancement Fund
    • Great Spas of Europe
    April 9th 2019 - "'Inspir'd By Freedom': The Remarkable Story Of Catharine Macaulay

    Andrew Swift will tell us about Catharine Macaulay who was one of the most remarkable women of her age – an eminent historian and avowed republican who inspired and influenced both the American and French Revolutions. She was also one of Bath’s most celebrated residents, and in 1777 her 46th birthday was marked by the ringing of the abbey bells and a glittering gala at which the city’s great and good recited specially-composed odes. The following year, however, she shocked Bath society by running off with ‘a stout brawny Scotsman of 21’. Although her reputation in England never recovered, she continued to be honoured abroad, and in 1784 travelled to the United States as the guest of George Washington.

    May 14th 2019 - AGM

    After the AGM we will have an update on the Prior Park dams project from Tabitha Collins, one of the NT staff there and also from Deanne Lewis, Head Gardener at Dyrham Park, on the developments in Dyrham Park's gardens.

    June 11th 2019 - "Dyrham Rework'd: A Glorious Transformation"

    George Hockin, NT Visitor Experience Consultant, will cover the background to the plans for the house, including where the ideas have come from, what progress has been made so far and the vision for the visitor experience in the house once the project has been completed. Eilidh Auckland, House and Collections Manager, will cover conservation issues arising from the project.

    July 9th 2019 - "A Plague Of Blue Locusts"
    Professor Graham Davis will explain that the "Blue Locusts" refers to the initial unpopularity of a uniformed police force in Britain. Bath was one of the first borough police forces in 1836 established when the city faced economic difficulties from the loss of fashionable society. The council looked to raise the social tone to attract middle-class residents and retirees. Apart from working-class hostility, the Bath Police endured a high turnover of recruits, the misconduct of some of its officers and financial scandal. However, by the end of the century, the police had gained public respect as a professional force.

    August 13th 2019 - A talk by Jim Parkyn From Aardman Animations

    Jim Parkyn has worked as a senior model maker with Aardman since 2000 and has played a part in most productions since then. Credits include "Chicken Run", "Wallace and Gromit", "Shaun the Sheep" and "Creature Comforts". In this talk he will cover the history of Aardman and its classic titles, how the films are made and his own experiences at the company.

    September 10th 2019 - "Richelieu: The Cardinal And His City"
    In this talk Brian Freeland will talk about the role of Cardinal Richelieu in the development of France. In 1585, when Armand-Jean du Plessis (later Cardinal de Richelieu) was born, France existed only as a geographical area: neither language nor law provided any unity. Loyalties were feudal, religious and/or regional. Richelieu dictated both the military strategies which provided France with new defensible borders, and inaugurated the unifying reforms which moulded the state’s own national cultural identity.

    In the process Richelieu discovered the power of cultural propaganda, and sought control of the country’s literary and artistic activities and institutions. Working closely with the royal architect Lemercier, the Cardinal planned buildings of enormous extravagance, including the church at the Sorbonne, where he was proviseur, and the magnificent Chateau and ‘walled town’ on the family estate at Richelieu. The Palais-Cardinal in Paris (later the Palais Royale) included a theatre, and he collected paintings and sculptures by many of the outstanding artists of the time, now on view in Paris, Orleans and Tours. He also founded the Académie Francaise.

    October 8th - "American Garden Meets English Landscape"

    This talk on the making in 2017-18 of the New American Garden at the American Museum is by the Head Gardener Andrew Cannell. Designed by leading American landscape architects, Oehme Van Sweden, the New American Garden is their first European commission and sees the complete redevelopment of a two-and-a-half acre lawn into a bold naturalistic landscape with winding footpaths and colourful perennial borders set against the stunning backdrop of the Limpley Stoke Valley. The garden was opened by Alan Titchmarsh in September 2018.

    November 12th 2019 - "Wildlife Of The Brazilian Pantanal"

    The Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wetland, located mostly in Brazil but extending into Bolivia and Paraguay. This illustrated talk by Professor Michael Danson will describe our search for the rare and elusive Jaguar, an apex predator with a bite so powerful that it can pierce the skull of the largest Caiman. Along the waterways, we will also see Giant River Otters and the world’s largest rodent, the Capybara, plus a variety of other mammals, a host of beautiful birds, the occasional snake, and many of the 10 million Caiman that live in the Pantanal.

    BCNT  Lectures Programme  2020

    January 14th 2020 - "Politics, Power & Patronage in Anglican Bath"                                               Have you ever wondered where your vicar came from? Who appointed him/her? Why is there such a thing as a Patron? Is it a person or an institution? How has the system of the appointment of parish priests in the Church of England developed over the centuries? Has it kept up to date? How much of the process would Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope recognise? What about the power of the bishop of the diocese? What are the rights of those on the receiving end of the Vicar’s ministry? These are some of the questions that Jeremy Key Pugh will try to answer.

    February 11th 2020 - "Mary Dawson and Newton Park Training College"                                        In 1945 Bath was one of the first authorities in the country to answer the Ministry of Education’s plea to set up a teacher training college as teachers were desperately needed to fulfil the demands of the 1944 Education Act. Dr Kate James will tell us how the college was established under very difficult circumstances under the leadership of Mary Dawson. Using extensive archive images, this presentation outlines those early years and the role of Mary Dawson.

    March 17th - "Bath at War 1939-45"                                                                                                                                                Note this lecture is on the third Tuesday of March.                                                               This is an account of the city's experience during the Second World War. The story of this global conflict is told through the ordeals endured by the people of Bath, as they cheered their men and women fighters off to war, welcomed thousands of evacuated men, women and children to the city, and faced the full might of Hitler's Luftwaffe. The talk by Nigel and David Lassman will incorporate memoirs and memories, along with the research from official records and newspaper accounts. More controversial topics are also touched upon, such as civil defence, military injustice, racism and local politics, to give a full and fascinating picture of a great city facing profound trials of endurance and courage in one of the most dramatic episodes of its illustrious history. Nigel and David Lassman were born and raised in Bath and both are full-time authors with several books published between them; Bath at War 1939-45 is their first collaboration together.

    April 14th - "No Swinging on Sundays - The Story of Bath's Lost Pleasure Gardens"                        Bath’s pleasure gardens are gone beyond recall. Yet in their heyday they were as central to the city’s social life as its assembly rooms, pump room or parades. Far from being genteel retreats for the horticulturally minded, they were where well-heeled visitors came to party. With lamplit groves and labyrinths, grottoes and supper boxes, and a seemingly never-ending round of concerts and circus acts, balloon ascents and firework displays, they were loud and lively. Although dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure, there was often little joy for those who ran them. Ruthless rivals and fickle fashions, grand galas washed out by rain and spectacular firework displays ending in disaster meant their ventures often ended in failure and bankruptcy. Kirsten Elliot will tell their story, and why only Sydney Gardens survived. 

    May 12th - AGM                                                                                                                                       After the AGM we will have a talk by Robert Holden about the Bath Skyline and managing the Bath Landscape. Robert is a National trust Ranger and he will explain the role of the National Trust in managing the landscape which forms part of the reason for Bath's status as a World Heritage Site.  

    June 9th - "Bath's Medical Heritage"                                                                                                    The city of Bath with its hot springs has played an important part in the history of medical practice. Dr Roger Rolls will discuss some of the buildings, artefacts and archival material which provide a glimpse of how illness and disease were tackled in previous centuries. Many of the buildings which were formerly hospitals or spa facilities have been converted to other uses or demolished. The Bath Medical Museum has been recently set up to safeguard some of the historic artefacts and archives which have escaped destruction and these will be featured in the talk.

    July 14th - "Scandal and Gossip in 18th Century Bath"                                                                    Gossip was a significant element in the visitor experience of 18th Century Bath. Andrew Butterworth will highlight some of the more infamous scandals which lit up the conversation in Bath’s coffee houses and withdrawing rooms. In the process of describing these scandals, the role of women in 18th Century society is thrown into stark relief and a number of heroic women emerge from the tittle tattle.

    August 11th - "Victorian Botanical Adventurers - The Exploits of Victorian Plant Hunters" Imprisonment, danger from Chinese pirates, fevers.... But the discovery of many beautiful plants that now grace our gardens. Christine Cole will explain all of these. 

    September 8th - "The Development of Oldfield Park: Bath's Industrial Dormitory"                        In the 18th Century the city of Bath left the crowded confines of its medieval walls. In the latter half of the 19th Century it spread out yet further into the surrounding countryside, adding its first true suburbs. The largest of these suburbs became known as 'Oldfield Park'. This talk by Richard Willis explores the early development of this suburb and the occupations of the people that first called it their home. It asks the question, 'Why did Bath experience substantial suburban expansion at this time?' 

    October 13th - "The Kennet and Avon Waterway"                                                                            This talk by David Fearns includes the history and construction of the canal, completed in 1810 to connect the existing navigations of the River Avon to the River Kennet. This was followed by the years of decline, potential abandonment and then restoration. Finally the on-going preservation and future. The talk includes new and old photographs/drawings covering the waterway from east to west. 

    November 10th - "The Rise and Fall of the Wiltshire Spa town"                                                       Several locations in Wiltshire such as Holt and Box aspired to become spas in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the desire to attract the wealthy and achieve the status of Bath. Mineral rich waters were discovered which were believed to have curative and health giving properties. This presentation by Ann King looks at some of these locations, and follows their rise and fall as fashions changed during the 19th century.