Penelope J. Corfield

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All these illustrated lectures can be booked for delivery, without fee. Talks usually last for 50 minutes (but can be abbreviated or lengthened if required), followed by questions and discussion.

Technical facilities for showing Powerpoint illustrations (or DVD for lecture 6) will be required.

Behind the Bright Lights: Deep Continuities in Urban History

What common factors can be found between all cities from ancient times until now? This illustrated lecture finds a surprising number of persistent characteristics - from ancient Babylon to the 470 giant cities, each with over one million inhabitants, of today's fast-urbanising world.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens: Their Rise, Fall & Legend

Georgian London had over 65 pleasure gardens but only one - Vauxhall - became the prototype of the urban pleasure garden and ancestor of places like Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens. This illustrated lecture explains how that happened - and what it means for the history of the urban leisure industry past, present and future.

Note: To purchase Penelope J. Corfield's pamphlet, Vauxhall, Sex and Entertainment. Londonís Pioneering Urban Pleasure Garden (2012) please contact History & Social Action publications: sean.creighton1947@btinternet.com.
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Naming the Age: What People Thought of their Times, 1700-1830

'It is an age of enlightenment'. 'It is an age of hypocrisy and greed'. This illustrated lecture examines the contrasting verdicts upon their own times, as made by people living in Britain during the years from 1700 and 1830 - and assesses what these views can tell historians who study this era.
John Thelwall, 1764-1834: Man of Letters and Radical Campaigner

This illustrated lecture explores the lessons to be learned from career of a remarkable man, who was at first famed and then notorious in his own day - and has then been forgotten from history, until now, when there is a 'rediscovery' of Thelwall both as a writer and a pioneer democrat.
The 'Aristocracy of Talent': The Coming Meritocratic Ideal, 1750-1830

Georgian Britain was experiencing social change, with calls for the traditional 'Aristocracy of Birth and Blood' to be replaced by a new 'Aristocracy of Talent'. This illustrated lecture shows how a new ideal of Meritocracy emerged, complete with discussions as to how to find true Merit - a theme with continuing topical relevance.
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Making a History DVD: The Story of Red Battersea 1908-2008

A local history group together made an hour-long DVD on Battersea Labour history, with the indispensible expertise of producer/director Mike Marchant. It was great fun but also tough going. This panel presentation (with screening of some sections) advises on the practical challenges as well as the pleasures of creating a History DVD to professional standards.

Note: to acquire copies of DVD Red Battersea: One Hundred Years of Labour, 1908-2008, please contact: tonybelton@btconnect.com
History and the Return to the Big Picture: Continuity, Gradual Change, and Revolution

This illustrated lecture examines the most famous visual images of Time, as well as the most enduring models of Time (as a cycle, as a line, and so forth), before putting the whole together into an interpretation of History in three dimensions, incorporating continuity; gradual change; and radical transformation.

Anti-Feminisms: Opposition to Women's Higher Education and Voting Rights

This illustrated lecture explores the many different grounds on which opposition to women's gaining access to higher education and to the vote was justified in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The contributions of anti-feminist women as well as anti-feminist men are identified - and the double-edged weapon of satirical laughter is enjoyed.

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The Passionate Politics and History of E.P. Thompson

E.P. Thompson (1924-199.) was never 'just' a Marxist historian. An intellectual loner, he disliked being pigeon-holed. So he fused his own version of cultural Marxism with a secularised Methodism and a keen literary sensibility. The result is shown as making a passionate life of left-wing politics and history-writing.
The British and Spanish Empires Viewed Long

This lecture compares the historical trajectories of two famous empires. How can their rise and fall be best explained? Do they fit into a cyclical history? or a linear march of European power? The answer lies in a mixture of contrasts, continuities, and long-term transformations of Europe's world role.

The Rise of Secular Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain

The declining centrality of religion is a hotly disputed issue among historians. This lecture argues that the spread of secular society in Britain can be traced to the long eighteenth-century - an era which many contemporary witnesses defined as 'An Age of Infidelity' (meaning not adultery, but irreligion).