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         Spring Term Courses

    January 2021 ~ March 2021

Your Zoom Season Pass

In order to make "Zooming through the Spring" on-line term as flexible as possible, we are offering a single payment "season pass" which will entitle you to join any or all of the Spring sessions. The Spring season pass costs just £15 for members or £25 for non-members. 

After receipt of payment you will receive a joining invite to each individual session which contains a session ID, password and internet link.

Note: These invites are usually sent out on the preceding day of each course.

(Membership is currently £10 per annum.)

Shaun Greenhalgh: A Modern Leonardo - Forger Extraordinaire from a garden shed in Bolton
Tutor: Frank Vigon
Monday 11th January 2021  10am - 12pm

This topic has a marmite quality; you are either contemptuous and enraged or fascinated and awestruck by the work of art forgers.  Deception in the art world has seen huge sums of money change hands.  Often, when rich patrons are parted from their money there is a schadenfreude Robin Hood attitude which secretly admires the success of the perpetrator.  But when the victim is a national gallery, the money is escaping from the public purse.


Shaun Greenhalgh is a self-trained artist who has the skills of a Leonardo and whose work has fooled the experts all over the world.  A truly gifted craftsman and his talent and ability could be set alongside some of our most successful legitimate artists.  Shaun was jailed for 4 years for his activities. He is acknowledged for his skill and sought after for his own original “forgeries”.  His counterfeit work is displayed even by one of his dupes – the British Museum.

Shaun Greenhalgh 2.JPG

Amarna Princess 

This course has been completed

The Genius of Felix Mendelssohn
Tutor: Steve Millward
Thursday 14th January 2021
10.00 am - 12.00 pm

Genius is an overworked epithet in music, but few could argue that it should not be applied to Mendelssohn. A child prodigy, he had written two masterpieces by the time he was sixteen. He was also an innovator, ushering in the romantic era of music and creating new forms and formats in the process. Robert Schumann called him ‘the Mozart of the nineteenth century’. Outside music, he was a talented poet, painter and sportsman.  He was a friend of Goethe and of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria who counted him as one of her favourite composers.  This Zoom talk will comprise a comprehensive survey of Mendelssohn’s life and work; it will be fully illustrated with photographs and music extracts on video clips.

This course has been completed

Italian Neo-Realism Cinema & Society
Tutor: Alan Sennett
Monday 18th, 25th January & 1st February 2021
3 weeks 10.00 am - 12.00 pm

This course looks at the cinema that emerged from the liberation of Italy (1943-45) through to post-war reconstruction.  Neo-realism addressed the politics and lives of ordinary people.  It reflected resistance to fascism, hopes of renewal in the later 1940s and finally disillusionment with the new Republic.


Enzo Staiola in "Bicycle Thieves"

This course has been completed

James Baldwin
Tutor: Creina Mansfield
Thursday 21st, 28th January & 4th February 2021
3 weeks 1.00pm - 3.00 pm

‘Growing up poor and black in Harlem, I knew I was black, of course, but I also knew I was smart. I didn't know how I would use my mind, or even if I could, but that was the only thing I had to use.’ James Baldwin made a significant contribution to literature and to the American Civil Rights movement. Time magazine featured him on the cover in 1963, saying, ‘There is not another writer who expresses with such poignancy and abrasiveness the dark realities of the racial ferment in North and South.’ 

We shall study Go Tell It on the Mountain, Baldwin’s 1953 semi-autobiographical novel, which tells the story of John Grimes, an intelligent teenager in 1930s Harlem.  


This course has been completed

Returning the Light:  The role of the British Missionaries on the Continent from 500-1100
Tutor: Birgitta Hoffman
Monday 8th, 15th & 22nd February 2021
3 weeks  10 am - 12.00 pm

Between 500 and 1100 several hundred Celtic and Anglo-Saxon monks left Britain on “Missions” to the continent. Mostly originating in Ireland, Scotland and Northumbria their network of abbeys spread not only Christianity, but re-established a network of learning in Europe culminating in Charlemagne’s court school. This course will follow the life of these adventurers and scholars and review their achievements.

1. The origins: St. Patrick, St. Palladius, Columban of Iona and the Iro-Scottisch Church
2. Leaving for the continent: Columbanus of Luxeuil and the monastery of St.Gallen and Bobbio, Marianus Scottus

3. Aligning yourself with Francia: Boniface of Sussex, Alcuin of York and Charlemagne's Francia

This course has been completed

Pioytr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Defining a Nation's Music
Tutor: Steve Millward
Thursday 11th February 10.00 am- 12.00 pm

It is often said that Tchaikovsky’s compositions encapsulate the Russian spirit.  His emotive music veers from irresistible surges of power to heart-rending romantic interludes containing some of the most recognisable themes in European music.  It is also liberally sprinkled with influences from his native folk tradition. Yet perhaps this picture is too restricting, both of Tchaikovsky’s music and of the Russian character.  It may also be said that his work embodies the struggles he himself endured, firstly to make music his career in the first place and then to be accepted by frequently hostile critics. All of this will be explored in this Zoom talk which will include photographs and video clips of Tchaikovsky’s music.

This course has been completed

Sergei Rachmaninov: Endless Yearning
Tutor: Steve Millward
Thursday 18th February 10.00 am- 12.00 pm

Igor Stravinsky said of Rachmaninov. “He was a six-and-a-half-foot tall scowl. . . he was an awesome man”.  That statement gives us a glimpse of Rachmaninov’s personality– commanding but at the same time morose. He certainly had a good deal to be morose about, having been separated from his country by the Russian Revolution. But even before that his music expressed a sense of restlessness that, following his exile, translated into yearning for his homeland.  His steely character manifested itself in adherence to romanticism in the face of modernist trends. The result was supremely beautiful, timeless music. In this Zoom talk we will explore Rachmaninov’s life and work, using as illustration photographs and video clips of his music

This course has been completed

Pandemics; Past, Present - and Future?
Tutor: Jeremy Dale
Thursday 25th February 2021
1.00 pm - 3.00 pm

Throughout recorded history (and probably earlier), epidemics of infectious disease that started in one area have ended up spreading throughout the world.  Until the nineteenth century, travel was slow, and hence these epidemics spread slowly – so the word ‘pandemic’, in this sense, was not used before that time.


Jeremy will look at a selection of the diseases that have spread around the world in the historic past, and more recently: where they came from, how they spread, and what lessons we can learn from them in relation to the current crisis, and potential future ones.

This course has been completed

Military Eccentrics  & Historical Tourism
Tutor: Tim Cockitt
Monday 1st March 1.00pm - 3.00 pm

1)  A Selection of Military Eccentrics:

Marshall Blucher:  Tim’s favourite commander of the Napoleonic wars.  The Prussian General who ensured Bonaparte’s defeat at Waterloo.  He was convinced he was going to give birth to an elephant.

Adrian Carton de Wiart: A very brave gentleman, who fought with great enthusiasm in various wars, from the 2nd Boer War through the WW2, collecting numerous wounds.  In his autobiography, he neglects to mention that he won the Victoria Cross.  He didn’t consider it particularly important.

“Mad Jack Churchill”: fought in WW2, famous for saying “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed”.  He went on campaigns carrying a longbow and playing the bagpipes to lead his men into battle.



Adrian Carton de Wiart

(2)  Historical Tourism:

This is an excuse for Tim to share holiday photographs from his various adventures around the UK, Europe and The USA, visiting locations where historically significant events have occurred.  Battlefields feature prominently, but there are no gruesome pictures.

The talk follows a historical sequence, featuring 1066, the Wars of the Roses, the English Civil War, the Napoleonic period, Gettysburg, WW1 and WW2 through to the Cold War.  Tim looks at the development of Battlefield tourism, such as survivors of Waterloo, returning to see the place where they fought. 

This course has been completed


                 World War II trench Gibraltar    ©

Forgotten Warriors: Native Americans in the US Civil War
Tutor: Kevin Harrison
Thursday 4th March  March 1.00pm - 3.00 pm

It was a question about the role of Native Americans in the US Civil War from a member of Glossop Guild that stimulated Kevin's investigation of this topic. A rather neglected aspect of the history of the conflict, no single Native American experience of the Civil War is possible, as there were over 500 Native American nations. Most fought for the Confederacy. Some rose to prominence as soldiers: General Eli S. Parker (Union Army) was Seneca & General Stand Watie CSA (Confederate States of America) was Cherokee. The choices made by Native Americans, whether to support the CSA, the Union or remain neutral were difficult, often creating a civil war within their societies. Fighting between Native Americans on opposing sides of the Civil War exploded. The impact of the Civil War on Native Americans was ultimately catastrophic, whichever side they supported. 

This course has been completed


Choctaw Native Americans after the American Civil War

Can Anyone be a Feminist?
Tutor: Valerie Bryson
Monday 8th March 1.00 pm - 3.00 pm

The short answer to this is ‘Yes, and they should be’, but Professor Bryson's long answer is a lot more complicated!  In this session she will develop some themes from her new book "The Future of Feminism", to argue for a broad, inclusive understanding of feminism that moves beyond the kind of either/or thinking that sees women and men as closed, competitive groups.  Instead, Valerie stresses the complex ways in which differences between women and men intersect with other social differences such as class and race; She will also argue that most men as well as women should benefit if the roles and values traditionally associated with women were fully recognised, rather than marginalised as optional extras.

This course has been completed

James Tissot: Fin de Siècle Painter - Chocolate Box or Social Commentary?
Tutor: Frank Vigon
Thursday 11th March 10am - 12pm

James Tissot was one of those rare artists, a success in his own lifetime and immensely wealthy.  His work will be instantly recognisable as something you have seen and moved on from with just a glance.  He has his critics who regard his work as superficial and commercial, more suited to jigsaw puzzles than galleries.


Although he made his fortune in a short period of time, he quickly fell from favour and in his final years his last phase of painting was dramatically different.  Amazingly his work took on a new importance and financial success through the representation of the stories of the old and new testaments.  His fortune and his popularity were restored.  Ironically these works, that were even more popular than his original style, are today regarded as infinitely less important and unappealing.


This talk will revisit his work and argue that he is much overlooked and deserves to be recognised for the skilled artist that he truly was.  It is time that he was rehabilitated.

This course has been completed


James Tissot

 Self Portrait


James Tissot - The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (Portsmouth)

Rolls Royce Past, Present, Future
Simon Webb
Monday 15th March 10.00 am - 12.00 pm

Rolls-Royce is a unique British brand that has remained synonymous with high quality for over a century. This talk will take you through the past: from the meeting of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce to the government intervention and split of the company into a car producer and aero-engine business.  You will see how a modern jet engine works, where Rolls-Royce operates now, what its business model is and the effects of Covid-19 on the company.  We will then look into the future: the new architecture of the Ultra-Fan geared engine and beyond into alternative energy sources, such as electrification.


This course has been completed

Rolls-Royce Phantom II 

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