Talks Part 1 - I am delighted to offer the following talks:
* Bruges – it’s more than just chocolate!
* Ostend - it's more than just fish and flip-flops
* Wandering in Flanders Fields
* Wandering on The Somme
* 1918 Passchendaele to Peace? - did the War end in 1918 or did it only pause?
* The Life and Times of Edith Cavell
* Parks and Gardens of Flanders
* Uncovering the Treasures of Bruges
* Ten - and More! - Famous Belgians
* Eva Braun - Victim or Contriver?
* Three Women, One Man - glamour, wealth and heartbreak
* The History of Morris Dancing
* And so to Ted ... a history of Teddies and Other Bears
* Murder, Madness and Mayhem – the Belgian Royal Family
* Suffragettes and Suffragists - Votes for women
* Elizabeth Barton - The Maid of Kent - 1506 - 1534
* Relics of World War II in Europe - for the armchair traveller
* Curious Flanders – off the beaten track in Belgium.
Part 1 - Talks about Belgium and France
Bruges - it's more than just chocolate - even those who know Bruges well will feel inspired to visit again. "Our members are booking their Tunnel crossings already!" reported a delighted host.
Bruges – it’s more than just chocolate’ is a colourfully illustrated, wide-ranging talk that provides an insider’s view of the beautiful city of Bruges, in Flanders in north Belgium. Although famous for its chocolate the talk sets out to prove that the Gothic city represents more than just this popular delicacy. The importance of Bruges to elements of Flemish culture include its language, lace, cycling - and chips! From being a wealthy medieval port for Europe, Bruges escaped the ravages of the Industrial Revolution and the effects of two World Wars to become a draw to travellers from the 1890s to today.
The talk gives insight into another culture, encompassing the history and geography, together with all the modern aspects of the attractive city. For audience members that have visited Bruges the talk will bring back memories and will show that there is much more to see in this city to inspire a return visit to explore in more depth. The talk has been described as ‘given without recourse to notes, with clear diction and with humour’.
"Thank you for your interesting talk, we were very keen to learn about Bruges. Our members were impressed with your talk without notes - something very few speakers seem able to do these days. On behalf of our WI members: thank you very much" Margaret, Orpington
Wandering in Flanders Fields - this talk brings to life the well known and certainly the less well known First World War sites in a themed way that will appeal to all elements of the audience. "Each time you told us something new you then came again with an entirely different angle. Fantastic"
"It's great for family history background. Research so often touches on the First World War". "This will really help us plan our touring holiday."
"The topic was very well researched, she had good quality photographs and delivered her talk in a meaningful, well spoken and poignant manner". Lyminge History Society
"One of the best talks we've had in years" - Military Society (best not named!), East Sussex
Uncovering the Treasures of Bruges - a talk especially designed for audiences interested in the arts, architecture and history.
"This is just to say how good it was to meet you last evening and how much we all appreciated your talk. You spoke so naturally and with an obvious love of somewhere very special. Lots
of tempting reasons to visit Bruges! You inspired us with
enthusiasm for the place - “Uncovering the Treasures of Bruges” couldn’t have been a better title." Wye Arts Association
Ten - and More! - Famous Belgians - there's some surprises in store with this wide ranging talk - and way more than just ten Belgians. "Plenty of 'well I didn't know that' moments!".
"If someone says Belgium to me, I tend to think Art, chocolates and beer, so it was interesting to hear Melanie Gibson-Barton’s talk ’Ten - and more! - Famous Belgians’ and realise there are many more reasons to be grateful to this country". U3A
Wandering on The Somme
A companion talk to my Wandering in Flanders Fields talk, visiting the known and less well-known sites of The Somme. Be inspired by today's beautifully restored landscape that witnessed momentous days during the First World War. The talk contains other sights to see in the beautiful Somme area of France – be assured it’s “way more than the usual mud and trenches”.
West Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes requested this talk for their Annual Council Meeting. Afterwards women shared the moving stories of their fathers and grandfathers.
1918 Passchendaele to Peace? - did the war end in 1918 or did it only pause?
An illustrated talk providing an overview of the events of the final twelve months of The Great War. From the Battle of Passchendaele, the Russian Revolution, the Germans' Spring Offensive, the arrival of the Americans, the Last Hundred Days, the Armistice in 1918, the rebuilding and the Treaty of Versailles and the aftermath in the 1920 and 1930s. Did the war end in 1918 or did it only pause?
The Life and Times of Edith Cavell - Exploring the story of the British heroine who died in Brussels in 1915. Presenting the experience of regular visits to Brussels to research the hospitals and homes where Edith would have worked as well as the place of her execution - a humbling experience. The Life and Times of Edith Cavell talk tells her story supported by photographs of existing artefacts of her life. "Her story needed to be told and you told it!", member of Hythe Civic Society.
"You keep the attention of your audience every minute of the presentation" member of Loose History Society.
Image Courtesy of Barts Health Archives and Museums