As well as offering tours, I also provide interesting and entertaining lectures / talks for clubs and societies. Please see some of my popular talks below or contact me if there is a subject you have in mind – I may well be able to help! Please contact me for a quote.
The British love affair with Tea!
Can you tell your Chinese from your Indian tea, Assam from Darjeeling? Explore why the British started drinking tea, how we brought it here, the influence of tea on the British Empire and changing public attitudes to tea, from dangerous drug to the respectable alternative to alcohol. As Henry James said “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”, but who invented it and why?
My talk concludes with a tea tasting (I need access to a kettle and drinking water)
I received a review of this lecture from an American Professor teaching a group of American college students in London in February 2019: “Hi Caroline. Just a quick note to thank you for the wonderful presentation today. It was brilliant. You covered everything I could have hoped for – and more! I especially loved the historical / botanical / cultural connections you made and how you previewed some of the things they would see in Greenwich (i.e, Cutty Sark). The tea tasting was also awesome. In short, I loved it”.
Private Lives in the Public Sphere
How the personal lives of Tudor and Stuart monarchs shaped British History
In the early modern period kings and queens couldn’t have a “private life”. Whether they got married, had children, what their religious beliefs were, who their favourites were, who they had affairs with, their health, insecurities, intelligence, education, and personal qualities like courage, tact and diplomacy – these were all matters of public importance.
Which queen’s miraculous conception of a boy sparked a revolution? Which kings’s insecurity bred an arrogance than alienated Parliament? Which queen’s miscarriage cost her her head? Explore the private tragedies, heartbreak and scandals that have shaped British history.
You know the name. You know the number.
Now explore what inspired Ian Fleming to create one of the best loved characters of English literature. My talk investigates Ian Fleming, the literary Bond he created and how that was translated to the silver screen. I discuss the actors who have played Bond, the music, the locations, the gadgets and the women. The talk concludes with a fun Bond quiz.
A history of London shopping
Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Fortnum and Mason and Harrods – we take these brand names for granted now but how did it all start and why were these brands so successful? Explore the history of London’s shops from its Roman remains, to medieval markets like Billingsgate and Smithfield, the development of luxury shopping districts, the growth of Oxford Street and the power of the department store, the development of destination shopping such as the King’s Road and Carnaby Street, to fashionable and reinvented markets today. Discover why Britain is a “nation of shopkeepers”.