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2017 - 2018 Season
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Held on 18th September 2017

The Story of Vaccination: How Blossom the Cow Changed History

Amanda Bryett

Amanda Bryett worked for a major vaccine company before setting up the UK's first and largest vaccine telephone helpline for medical professionals. In this talk she will tell how the first attempt at vaccination was brought into the UK by an 18th century female aristocrat and how George III's son died as a result of the procedure. We shall hear about the country doctor who unlocked the key to the dreaded disease of smallpox by observing his milkmaids and how over the next two hundred years other killer diseases were conquered by different vaccines.

Held on 16th October 2017

Volcanoes of Italy

Dr Tony Waltham
Jointly with the Royal Geographical Society

Dr Tony Waltham’s day job has always been as a geologist, but this has given him the opportunity to travel the world taking photographs. In his youth he was a caver, and started creating underground images. But while his photography matured, so too did his body, so that he now sticks mostly to taking pictures above ground. He travels widely, usually in pursuit of a geological theme and specializes in photos of geological features. In this lecture he will show how geology creates fun on the Lipari Islands, spectacle on Etna, drama on Stromboli, devastation at Vesuvius and potentially excitement at Campi Flegrei.

Held on 24th October 2017 - Pre-booked lecture and lunch at Chester Racecourse

Grey Pride

Judith Holder

Judith Holder is a best-selling comedy writer, TV producer and speaker. Judith originated the BBC series and stage shows Grumpy Old Women. Judith tells how the baby boomers (of which she is one) are reinventing older age and are acting more like a band of teenagers with liver spots and a need for a nice sit down rather than settling for a life in beige helping out at the WI. They've got all the money, they're going to live till they're 103 and they have the highest divorce rate in the UK. Judith's talk is an uplifting and interesting take on late middle age but most of all, a funny and affectionate look at what it now means to get old.

Held on 20th November 2017

Avoiding Comfortable Lifestyle Crises

Professor Emeritus Rodney Bilton

For 300 years physicians have observed the association between diet, obesity and the incidence of serious health concerns.  The industrialisation of food production has led to reduced food quality and increased sugar consumption. Professor Emeritus Rodney Bilton, formerly of LJMU's School of Pharmacy and Bimolecular Sciences, will discuss the modern obesity epidemic.

Held on 11th December 2017

Botswana: Love, Lions and Democracy

David Edwards
Jointly with the Royal Geographical Society

Botswana is the 'Switzerland of Southern Africa': a stable, democratic country that has avoided the tragedies and upheavals of its neighbours. In this talk David Edwards contrasts the struggle for survival in the harsh Kalahari with the lushness of the Okavango Delta. He explains the challenges Botswana faces and the lessons to be learnt.  He also tells the story of Sir Seretse Khama, who was exiled by the British government for marrying a white woman, Ruth Williams.

Held on 15th January 2018

Arctic Convoys

Aldon Ferguson

Aldon Ferguson is a historian with a number of published books on airfields in the North West, where he was born.   In this lecture he tells the story of the numerous convoys from, mainly, Liverpool to the Arctic and the great efforts made by the Nazis to destroy them. He recounts, with many photographs and movie clips, the terrible conditions endured by the sailors, both Royal Navy and merchant seamen and their personal stories and memories. He contrasts the catastrophic losses suffered by PQ17 convoy with the overall success of the Arctic convoys and their contribution to victory in World War Two.

Held on 19th February 2018

Liverpool Cowkeepers

David Joy

This is a story of a farming family which, under the social pressures of the age, moved in the 1800s from the Yorkshire Dales to Liverpool and became ‘cowkeepers’.  Through the experiences of this one family, a vivid picture is drawn of the growth of an urban area and its impact on this rural family and others like it who, by their own efforts and initiative, adapted their lives to serve the needs of a city region.

Held on 19th March 2018

The Maya Heritage

Chloe Sayer

The civilisation of the ancient Maya reached its peak between AD 300-900 across much of present-day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. In this lecture by a specialist in Latin American art and culture, we hear about Maya achievements in art and architecture through examples of intricately carved stone panels, ceramic figurines and splendid mural paintings which provide an insight into their religious rituals, music, warfare, textiles and courtly life. The Maya are not a lost or dead people; millions of Maya still live in the region today and their contemporary textiles are among the finest in the Americas.

Held on 23rd April 2018

Cold Places: Adventures of a Wildlife Photographer

Sue Flood
Jointly with the Royal Geographical Society

 Sue Flood is an award-winning wildlife photographer, filmmaker and author, who has worked with Sir David Attenborough on a number of series. Much of her time over the last 20 years has been spent in the polar regions where she has camped at -40C with Inuit hunters in the Arctic, worked on Russian icebreakers on trips to the North Pole and swum with leopard seals in the Antarctic. Her work has featured in National Geographic, BBC Wildlife and numerous other magazines. She went to school in Chester and lives in Rossett

21st May 2018

The Science of Chocolate: Food of the Gods

Dr. Diana Leitch

Dr Diana Leitch is internationally respected for her work as an academic librarian and information professional. She is a trustee of the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes where she won nationwide acclaim for the inspirational Origins project which captures the birth of chemical elements in stars. This lecture – with some tasting experiences - explains the history of chocolate back in Central America, its coming to Europe with the Spanish and the way it changed to the products we know and love today.

18th June 2018

Annual General Meeting
followed by

The Glorious Dead: Grief and Politics in Memorials to the Great War

Dr. Max Jones

As the centenary of the end of the Great War approaches, this lecture looks more closely at the ways in which the legions of the bereaved launched a wave of commemorative  projects, erecting thousands of war memorials which still mark our landscape today. This lecture looks more closely at the myriad forms and functions taken by these memorials We shall see how artists developed new strategies to represent loss on such an unprecedented scale, how bitter disputes - often between protagonists for useful works and champions of artistic quality - scarred many commemorative projects, and how memorials helped families grieve for those they had lost.