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  Zooming Through the Spring 
               On-line Courses
   January 2024 ~ March 2024

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Your Zoom "Season Pass"

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


* To pay for the lectures as a non-member select the arrow in the white box opposite to this text, then on the drop-down menu select the non-member price of £25, next select "Buy Lectures" and follow the prompts.


Note:- The non-member price of £25 means you get the Spring Zoom Season Pass and Guild Membership, entitling you to member discounted prices for all our other spring term courses (both Zoom and Venue) until the end of April 2024.


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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.

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The Twenties
The Twenties - The Damned & the Beautiful - Events & Music
Tutors: Steve Millward & Frank Vigon

5 Mondays 15th, 22nd, 29th January & 5th, 12th February 2023

10.00 am - 12.00 pm

“The war to end all wars”, “a land fit for heroes"! This was what the politicians promised those who sacrificed their lives for the greater glory of the countries.

Against such a hollow victory and the humiliation of abject defeat, it was only natural that the decade after the war was principally a period of escapism, hedonism, rejection, and creation. Some saw the beginnings of a new future, whilst others sought revenge.


Politically Europe was divided between the rise of two opposing forces – Communism and Fascism. While fighting took place in the streets, cities such as Paris and Berlin became the nighttime haunt of the young pleasure seekers who experimented in literature, poetry, music, alcohol, and sexual freedom.

A similar tendency occurred in America as the young embraced illegal booze and tried to ignore the rise of poverty by turning to Broadway and embracing musical comedy and the easy lyrics became more memorable than ever. …BUT they were heading for a fall.

Week 1

The Jazz Age - Steve Millward

From its humble origins in New Orleans, jazz spread around the world and came to symbolise the carefree abandon of the 1920s.

The Damned & the Banned – Art & Literature in the Twenties - Frank Vigon 

After the ‘War to End all Wars’ the Bloomsbury group moved back to a more leisurely pace. Artists struggled to find a way between Representation and Modernism and whilst the Wizard of Oz provided comfort…. James Joyce and Scott Fitzgerald did no such thing.

Week 2

The Birth of the Musical -Steve Millward

Through the efforts of some of America’s greatest composers, the innocuous musical comedy of the early 1900s was transmuted into a new art form.

Railway Carriages to Dictatorship – Political unrest in Europe - Frank Vigon

The First World War had solved nothing. Indeed, it had created new problems. In Europe whilst escapism and hedonism attempted to wipe out the realities, poverty and economic depression pushed the masses into the hands of the rising dictators.

Week 3

Country Cousins: the Boom in Blues & Hillbilly - Steve Millward

Record companies finally discovered that there was a wealth of music to be found outside the big US cities. Coincidentally both black and white rural genres were hitting a peak of creativity.

 The Poets of Tin Pan Alley - Steve Millward

The wordsmiths of Broadway mixed poetic techniques with the language of the street to create witty and sophisticated lyrics which set new standards for popular music.


Week 4

The Workers play Football with the Police: The General Strike 1926 - Frank Vigon

In Britain the men coming home from the war to end all wars returned wounded and jobless. Mechanisation and lack of demand added to the toll. The pre-war fear of communism and revolution had not disappeared. This was a fight that the Government could not afford to lose.

The Silver Screen & the Sound of Music: The Evolution of Cinema and Radio in the Twenties - Frank Vigon

Whilst the silent screen produced its stars such as Chaplin, Valentino, Harold Lloyd, Swanson, Pickford, and Fairbanks, in Europe the film developed into an art form of the avant-garde. Meanwhile in Britain John Reith tended the birth of the BBC “to inform educate and entertain”. As the sound travelled across the Atlantic, suddenly the Silver Screen could speak ….and jobs were lost and found.


Week 5

Classic Dilemmas - Steve Millward

Early twentieth century politics and culture placed unprecedented demands on classical composers: some stuck to their guns, some changed style, others entered the world of commercialism.

Bottles, Booze & Machine Guns - Crime & Poverty: Prohibition America - Frank Vigon 

Dutch Schultz, Bugsy Seigal, Lucky Luciano, John Dillinger, Al Capone, all names reflecting the melting pot that was America. All finding their illegal fortune by virtue of the Volstead Act of 1919. America’s answer to poverty was not a General Strike or even a rise of fascism, but rather a turn to crime. Only in America could the immigrants expect a future but at what cost?

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Two Radicals - John Reed & Keir Hardie
Tutors: Alan Sennett & Mike Milligan

Monday 19th February, 1.30 pm - 3.30 pm

John Reed, American Radical (Alan Sennett) 


This session looks at the life of John Reed who was an observer, commentator and enthusiastic supporter of the Bolshevik Revolution. His account, Ten Days that Shook the World (1919), can be seen as an early attempt to describe and explain the Russian Revolution. Reed was a significant political journalist who reported upon strikes and demonstrations in America and upon wars and revolutions in Mexico, the Balkans during the First World War and Russia.  He was increasingly committed to a revolutionary socialist cause and was the subject of Warren Beatty’s 1981 film Reds. 

Keir Hardie, Scottish Radical (Mike Milligan) 

In July 2023, 25-year-old Keir Mather won Selby and Ainsty for Labour and joined his namesake, Keir Starmer and party leader in Parliament.  Both were named after Keir Hardie (1856-1915), founder of the Labour Party, its first parliamentary leader and arguably its greatest hero.  Hardie was a socialist politician, journalist and editor, Christian and temperance campaigner, suffragette supporter, peace activist and orator.  Keir was the illegitimate son of a servant, Mary Keir and his Victorian early years might have been set in a novel such as The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, Hard Times or Oliver Twist.  This session looks at a fascinating life.


American journalist John Silas Reed (1887-1920)


Scottish Trade Unionist and Politician Keir Hardie  (1856-1915)

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Literary Giants in War of Words - Anthony Burgess & Graham Greene
Tutor: Creina Mansfield

Monday 26th  February, 10.00 am - 12.00 pm

Anthony Burgess.jpg
Graham_Greene .jpg

The long association between Anthony Burgess and Graham Greene ended acrimoniously, played out in the media. Creina will describe their relationship from its happy start to the very public falling out. What did they really quarrel about?

Graham Greene

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Anthony Burgess

Zazie44, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

How Lead Shaped the White Peak Before 1800
Tutor: Birgitta Hoffman

Wednesday 6th March, 10.00 am - 12.00 pm

The Peak District is rightly famous for its breathtaking landscape and good air. However, until the 19th century this was far from true. 
This is one of the first industrial zones, starting if not in the Roman period, then in the Middle Ages, and much of what we see today, is the result of building and organising the landscape around the needs and benefits the lead mining brought, long before the 18th century deep mines celebrated by early Industrial Archaeologists. 


Complementing Judith Wilshaw's 2023 course this lecture is looking beyond the mining areas proper to how the requirements of the mines and their profits changed the White Peak.


Using the results of a summer of fieldwork in the central White Peak, we are going to look at how the architecture of places like Tideswell and Litton and the archaeology of Noe valley together tell the story of how the Derbyshire Lead superseded the Royal Peak Forest and created the beautiful houses and villages of the area.

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                Magpie Mine near Bakewell

Image courtesy of the Peak District Mining Museum

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Poisons, Ancient & Modern: Medicines, Murder, Malpractice & Misadventure
Tutor: Nick Birch

Wednesday 13th March, 10.00 am - 12.00 pm

Poisons can deliver death remotely without needing strength or valour on the part of the perpetrator and before the nineteenth century there was little chance of unequivocal detection. Poisoners often escaped justice and the innocent not infrequently were found guilty using circumstantial evidence. Classically, the silent and secret means of political control, poisons more recently were used to relieve the poor man’s poverty. Developments in science allowed the forensic detection of poisons and progressive government controls on their sale have made poisoning relatively rare today except by those with special access to drugs. Nevertheless, poisonings still occur following industrial accidents and natural disasters. We shall deal with a number of historical and modern examples from Rome to Fukashima via the Council of Ten in Venice who in 1513 agreed to fund a schedule of assassinations of its “state enemies”.

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Josephine Butler
Tutor: Kevin Harrison

Monday 18th March, 1.30 pm - 3.30 pm   

Josephine Butler (1828-1908) has been described as ‘the most distinguished Englishwoman of the 19th-Century’ and also 'the patron saint of prostitutes'. She defied Victorian convention that women should not be involved in politics, leading a national women’s political campaign – one of the very first - to repeal an unjust and discriminatory law: the Contagious Diseases Act (1864).  She also campaigned for the rights of prostitutes, or ‘fallen women’, who were despised by contemporary 'polite society'. A brave woman in a man's world ... and she won!!

Note: This course replaces the previously advertised "Victorian Manchester" course which has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control. 

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Josephine Butler  circa 1880

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