Monthly Talks

Our Monthly Talks featuring an invited speaker are held on the second Thursday of the month at The Moravian Church, Priory Road, London N8 7HR

❑ We start at 10.30 a.m. with u3a notices, followed by our invited speaker. We finish at 12 noon. Tea and coffee are available from 10 a.m. Members are requested to bring their own cup or mug
❑ Members are asked to arrive on time to avoid causing disruption to the meeting
❑ Unless otherwise stated the talks are not recorded
❑ Attendance numbers are limited

❑ Advance registration is required

❑ Members should not attend CEDu3a monthly talks if they or a close contact have recently been diagnosed with or shown any COVID-19 symptoms, are awaiting test results or are self-isolating under Government guidance applicable at the time of the meeting for which they have registered

Upcoming talks

Thursday 14 December 2023

❑ Andrew Lycett : The Worlds of Sherlock Holmes

To coincide with the publication of his new book, the acclaimed biographer, Andrew Lycett, will talk about the worlds of Sherlock Holmes and the creation of the world’s greatest fictional detective

Alamy Stock Photos (L) AF Fotografie (R) Chronicle

Questing was Sherlock Holmes’s business. He famously adopted the latest forensic techniques, channelled the Victorian passion for enquiry, kept abreast of the key scientific breakthroughs of his age, and conducted his investigations in an enigmatic and stylised manner. And the brains behind it all was, of course, the great Arthur Conan Doyle

In this illustrated talk, Andrew will discuss the contemporary influences on Conan Doyle, from the Victorian crazes for detection and séance, to contemporary developments in science and psychology, that helped him shape one of fiction’s most enduring and recognisable characters

Alamy Stock Photo

Andrew Lycett is the author of several non-fiction books, principally biographies. He has written highly-praised lives of Ian Fleming, Rudyard Kipling, Dylan Thomas, Arthur Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins, as well as a book on Colonel Gadaffi.  In an earlier incarnation he was a journalist, specialising in Africa and the Middle East for The Times and The Sunday Times.  A modern history graduate from Oxford University, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Copies of Andrew’s new book, The Worlds of Sherlock Holmes, will be available for sale at the talk

Thursday 11 January 2024

❑ Iwan Morgan : FDR - America’s Greatest President

At a time when Donald Trump’s polarizing tenure and possible second coming cast a shadow over the US presidency, it is opportune to reflect on what truly great presidential leadership looks like. We are delighted to welcome CEDu3a member Professor Iwan Morgan who will explore why Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States (1933-45), merits remembrance as America’s greatest president. He examines his transformation of the presidency, hitherto a relatively limited institution, to deal with the two greatest crises that America faced in the first half of the twentieth century – the Great Depression and World War 2

In the domestic realm, he instituted the greatest reform programme in US history in the shape of the New Deal, did battle with the Supreme Court to secure constitutional validation of his expansion of federal government responsibilities, took the lead in creating the modern Democratic party, and established a new relationship between president and people through his genius for political communication

In the international realm, he prodded an isolationist public towards eventual acceptance of greater American engagement in world affairs in the 1930s, helped to keep Britain and the Soviet Union fighting Nazi Germany through armaments transfers in 1941, took the lead in holding the Grand Alliance together after America’s entry into the war, and was the principal agent of America’s transformation into a superpower

Finally, Professor Morgan asks whether history might have turned out differently had FDR not died suddenly in April 1945 on the eve of victory in Europe, after which the US-Soviet wartime alliance quickly descended into Cold War confrontation

Iwan Morgan is Emeritus Professor of US Studies at the Institute of the Americas, University College London, and a Distinguished Fellow of Oxford University’s Rothermere American Institute. A specialist on the US presidency, his books include: Reagan: American Icon (named a Times/Sunday Times Politics Book of the Year in 2016); and, most recently, FDR: Transforming the Presidency and Renewing America which will be available for sale at the talk

Thursday 8 February 2024

❑ Tim Craven: Trees in British art history from Thomas Gainsborough to The Arborealists

“When we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy” – Hermann Hesse

Little Norton by Tim Craven, casein on canvas, 2015, property the artist

We welcome Tim Craven, curator, artist and founder of The Arborealists, to our February meeting to discuss the role and importance of trees in British art from Gainsborough onwards.
Tim will explore the reasons why trees have such a strong legacy in British art history and consider it’s use as a motif from the Romantic Movement to the Pre-Raphaelites, the Post-Impressionists, the Pastoral Etchers, the Neo-Romantics, Land Art and the Ruralists

The Canal Banks by Paul Nash, ink on paper, 1928, credit Southampton City Art Gallery

A metaphor for the human condition, trees are now centre stage as a vital symbol for the global environmental emergency and are the unifying subject for diverse art practices of The Arborealists, a group of contemporary painters and printmakers who came together after the critically-acclaimed exhibition, Under the Green Wood: Picturing the British Tree, at St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington, in Hampshire in 2013

Tim is Chair of the Friends of Southampton’s Museums, Archives and Galleries and worked at Southampton City Art Gallery for 37 years in conservation, collection management and as Curator. During that time he has curated and co-curated many and various British, Modernist exhibitions. He left the Gallery in 2017 to pursue his own art practice (he holds a fine art degree), curate exhibitions and give lectures. He founded The Arborealists in 2013 and was elected a member of The London Group in 2015.

Previous monthly talks ›

Online talks

During the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic a series of virtual talks was held via Zoom

❑ Recordings of many of the talks listed below are available to members who email Please include your membership number in your request. A file will be send for download via the file-sharing service WeTransfer
❑ This file should be downloaded within seven days of receipt, after which it will not be accessible. Your timely action will save you sending another request and our CEDu3a volunteer of having to go through the rigmarole of sending you a replacement link
Mike Black : The seedy side of life
Ian Christie : Decadent London was where cinema was born : an online guided tour of the sites
Sandra Clark : Women and crime in early modern England
Martyn Crucefix : Exploring the refugee experience through poetry
Stella Dadzie : A Kick in the belly: women, slavery and resistance
Sheila Hayman : Senseless: is the artificial intelligent?
Fool’s Gold : Dark Light
Gordon Hutchinson : History of Alexandra Palace
Gaye Illsley : Lasting Power of Attorney
Jo Livingston : Living history : there’s a lot of it about
Bernard Lockett : The Heritage of Gilbert and Sullivan
Tess Lugo : From evil wind to modern Qi: A brief history of Chinese medicine
Michael Lumb : Understanding performance art
Huren Marsh : Reginald Uren’s remarkable journey
Vaughan Melzer : Fifty years of Chettle Court
Andrew-John Paterson : Organising your life
John Pearson : Blessed are the cheesemakers
Jack Price : The Future of brain repair: the prospects for successful stem cell therapy
Will Rathouse : The Archaeology of the Thames foreshore
Liz Sich : La zona grigia – complicity and compliance amongst rural women, 1943-1944
Janet Sutherland : Future housing
Peter Webb : Erotic art
Peter Webb : David Hockney as I have known him
Peter Webb : Hockney’s stage set designs
Peter Webb : My day With Dali
Peter Webb : Vincent van Gogh
Luisa Welch : The History of wine
Martin Wilkinson : How economic inequality damages minds, bodies and societies
Martin Wilkinson : Inequality : its effects on mental health and climate change, and what we can do about it
❑ Talks given to the the 1960s and 70s Group
David Hepworth : Overpaid, oversexed and over there
Sarah Shaw : Secret diary of a 1970s secretary