Abstracts and speakers' biographical details for forthcoming talks

April 2019

By Gill Girdziusz

For further details of the Society's lecture programme click here.

Tuesday 2 April
Jim Forrester (later 5th Earl of Verulam) and the unemployed in South Wales, 1931-1947
John Cox

Jim Forrester was the eldest son of the 4th Earl of Verulam. Whilst at Oxford University [1929-1932] he discovered that in South Wales in the summer of 1931, there was an international work-camp to get rid of a coal spoil-heap and to replace it with an open-air swimming pool. He volunteered and took part for a fortnight and every year until 1939. In 1936 he interviewed 900 unemployed men to take part in a Subsistence Production Company that provided many services for the men and their families, without having to pay out money!

John is a Chartered Librarian and worked in various libraries from 1958 to 2004. From 1989-2009 he was part-time archivist at Gorhambury, sorting papers etc including the papers of the 5th Earl of Verulam. He has published eight books under the imprint of ‘Eddington Press’ and compiled a draft memoir for the daughters of the 10th Earl of Cavan [1865-1946], a Hertfordshire man.

Tuesday 9 April
The East India Company at Home: in and beyond Hertfordshire
Professor Margot Finn

This lecture locates Hertfordshire, its country houses and the families that inhabited them at the heart of the British Empire in the era of the East India Company, c.1757-1857. Focusing on specific sites and families, it asks us to think about the role of the English country house as an icon of national identity in England, arguing that instead – behind their neo-classical facades – stately homes are products of global and colonial regimes. Hertfordshire’s history is especially rich in links to India – it rivals in many respects the history of Berkshire, known in the Georgian era as “the English Hindoostan” due to the conspicuous presence of retired East India Company men and their families.

Margot Finn is Professor of Modern History at UCL and President of the Royal Historical Society. She has published books on topics that include 19th century radical politics, imprisonment for debt and public history. Following a three-year Leverhulme Trust funded project exploring the connected histories of the British country house and the East India Company, c. 1750-1850, she published (with Dr Kate Smith) The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 with UCL Press. The book is available to download open access without charge from www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/theeast-india-company-at-home.

Tuesday 16 April
Lawrence of Arabia: Excavating a Legend in the deserts of Southern Jordan
Dr Neil Faulkner

Dr Faulkner will present an overview of nine seasons of survey and excavation work investigating First World War remains in the deserts of Southern Jordan. He will use this evidence to build a picture of the conflict represented, to evaluate the role of T E Lawrence, and to reflect upon the history of the Middle East over the last century.

Dr Neil Faulkner FSA is an archaeologist, historian, writer, lecturer and broadcaster. He has directed archaeological projects at home and abroad, including the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project in Norfolk, and the Great Arab Revolt in Jordan. His dozen books include The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain and Lawrence of Arabia’s War.

This page was added by Jonathan Mein on 24/12/2018.

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