Previous Talks 2016

Saturday 11th November 2017 2:30pm - David Butler: The Turnpike Roads of County Durham.

Saturday 7th October 2017 2:30pm - Kathleen Reynolds: ILL News: Gentry Health in the Eighteenth Century North.

Saturday 9th September 2017 2:30pm - Gill Parkes: Durham at War - 1917/18 Durham at War is a First World War Centenary commemoration project run by Durham County Council and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Archivist Gill Parkes will introduce the website that is at the heart of this project and show how it has developed since 2014. Discover some of the remarkable stories contributed by a small army of volunteers and community groups, and how you can use the website to showcase your own projects and interests. Current plans are that the website will only be live until the end of 2018, so local historians now have just over a year in which to upload new stories.

Saturday 24 June 2017 11:00am - The David Reid Memorial Lecture - The Rites of Durham in Context by Dr Margaret Harvey.

June 2017 - The Society had a small exhibition in the Durham Museum & Heritage Centre at St. Mary le Bow. It provided general information about the Society and featured a summary about Durham in the 17th Century including the Civil War.

Saturday 20 May 2017 2:30pm - Dr. Stephen D. Shannon: Irish Nationalists in County Durham, 1860 - 1930: An Overview at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City. For over 60 years, from the 1860s to the 1920s, Irish migrants in County Durham, and their children and grandchildren, were urged by Irish nationalist leaders to join political organisations that had as their aim an independent Ireland. Some, such as the United Irish League of Great Britain, sought this through peaceful, constitutional means, but others, most notably the Irish Republican Brotherhood, were prepared to fight for an Irish Republic. Once Irish nationalist leagues and associations met in village pubs and local halls across County Durham from Consett to Trimdon and from Jarrow to Bishop Auckland. For over a decade before the First World War, Irish nationalists held an annual gala in Wharton Park to demand Home Rule; whilst Catholic churches across the diocese said masses for the repose of the souls of Fenian dead. Steve Shannon’s talk will explore this almost forgotten element of the history of County Durham and of the history of many of the people living in County Durham today.

22 April 2017 2:30pm - Sarah Reay: The Half Shilling-Curate: A Personal Account of War and Faith,1914-1918 at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City. Sarah Reay tells the story of her grandfather, the Reverend Herbert Butler Cowl, from Christmas Eve 1914 to the end of hostilities in 1919. Herbert Cowl was a Wesleyan Army Chaplain to the 23rd Infantry Division, 68th Brigade, of the BEF. Attached to the 68th Brigade were the 12th and 13th Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry and two Northumberland Fusilier battalions. Herbert Cowl arrived in Boulogne the day before 12 DLI and 13 DLI landed on 26 August 1915. He ministered to the battalions until severely wounded during an enemy bombardment and was repatriated to England for the remainder of the war. He was one of the first Wesleyan Army Chaplains to receive the Military Cross for exemplary gallantry. Go to Half Shilling Curate for more information and details of the book.

18 March 2017 2:30pm - John McKinnell: Drama and Ceremony in Medieval Durham at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City. John McKinnell is Emeritus Professor in the Department of English Studies at Durham University. His interests are Durham Medieval Drama and texts, Medieval acting style, Old and Middle English poetry, Old Norse literature (esp. mythological poetry) and the records of early English drama. The Society is very pleased to be able to host his talk in the modern city theatre.

26 November 2016 2:30pm - Leo Gooch: The Elizabethan Lord Lumley: Conspirator and Connoisseur at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City.

29 October 2016 2:30pm - Tim Griffiths: Waggonways and Other Industry: Visitors to Tyneside, 1600 - 1850 at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City. Tim Griffith’s talk is based on his book A Place Quite Northward, Visitors to Northumberland 1500-1850. In this Tim looks at the experiences of a wide range of travellers - lawyers, surveyors, industrial and political spies, actors, sportsmen, preachers, agricultural and penal reformers and antiquarians. His talk covers descriptions of industry from people visiting Tyneside and the north of County Durham.

17 September 2016 2:30pm - Philip Dyer : Children of the Pit Villages at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City.
Based on his article published in the Society’s Journal in 2014, Philip Dyer will talk about the life led by children in some of County Durham’s colliery villages in the nineteenth century. Such villages often sprang up on a green field site round a newly opened coal mine with children as young as six or seven put to work underground. As defined by the 1842 Children’s Employment Commission report, working conditions were often terrible and Philip looks at how matters improved as the century progressed.

16 July 2016 2.30 pm - Dr Charlie Rozier : The Cult of St Cuthbert and the Story of Durham 995-1130 AD at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City. Dr Charlie Rozier, who is the Arts and Humanities Cultural Engagement Fellow in the Department of History at Durham University, will use his talk to introduce the life and works of Symeon of Durham, a Norman monk. Symeon rewrote the history of St Cuthbert’s life and cult in his History of the Durham Church, which he completed in 1115. Symeon wove written and oral traditions from the Anglo-Saxon past into a new story which was more relevant to an Anglo-Norman present. Using images of manuscripts written by Symeon and artefacts which guided his views on the past, Charlie Rozier aims to explain our own views of St Cuthbert’s cult and its place in Durham’s history and engage with the narrative to be presented in the forthcoming Open Treasures exhibition, which is hosted in Durham Cathedral from 23 July onwards.

25 June 2016 1.15 pm - The David Reid Memorial Lecture - Alan Heesom : Buddle and Londonderry : An Unlikely Partnership? in the Council Chamber, County Hall, DH1 5UL. The lecture will be given by Alan Heesom, a long standing member of the Society and a former Editor of our Journal. Alan is now retired from the History Department at the University of Durham and is an Honorary General Editor for the Surtees Society, including Volume 217, Letters of John Buddle and Lord Londonderry 1820-1843, edited by the late Anne Ord. Alan has studied the Londonderry Papers held at Durham County Archives for over 40 years.

14th May 2016 2.30pm - Catherine Wright : The Annandale Family - 100 years of papermaking at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City. Although papermaking is something of a forgotten industry there were once numerous paper mills in County Durham. These operated with varying degrees of success from some point in the 1670s, when paper was first made at Croxdale Mill, until the 1980s. The firm of John Annandale & Sons was one of the more successful papermaking businesses of the nineteenth century, with paper mills at Shotley Grove and Lintzford. The discovery that her husband is a direct descendant of John Annandale prompted Catherine Wright to investigate. Catherine’s talk will cover what happened to the Durham branch of the Annandale family, and to the business, in those 100 years. It will include a short general account of papermaking, and make brief reference to other County Durham mills.

9th April 2016 2.30pm - Marian Morrison : Colliery Health Care in 19th century North Durham at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City. Marian Morrison of Lanchester Local History Society has won a 2016 British Association for Local History Publications Award for her short article on this subject in DCLHS Journal 79. In her talk she will look at progress in providing health care in North Durham colliery communities and the evidence of that contained in the 1842 Report of the Children’s Employment Commission.

12th March 2016 at 2.30pm - David Butler - Magnificence and Immensity even in Death – the death and funeral of George Bowes at the City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Back Silver Street, Durham City. David Butler, a well-known historical researcher and speaker, was formerly Durham County Archivist. David has been researching George Bowes for a number of years using letters in the Strathmore Papers held in Durham County Record Office. George Bowes (1701-60), an ancestor of the late Queen Mother, was one of County Durham’s first coal magnates as well as a local politician. Bowes was the crucial figure in the development of the landscape at Gibside. On his death in September 1760, he was first buried at Whickham parish church and then reburied in the chapel crypt at Gibside in 1813. This talk tells the story of George Bowes' death and two burials. Gibside Chapel can be viewed on a visit to the National Trust run estate but the crypt is only open on Heritage Open Days.

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