Royston Pike Lecture Series

Now in its 43rd year, the Royston Pike Lecture Series continues to attract audiences with its eclectic mix of subjects. While we are finalising the programme, here are some highlights from the 2018-2019 series: 

Thursday 13 September - 7.30pm
‘From One Extreme to Another’ by Martin Pailthorpe
Riverhouse Arts Centre, Manor Road, Walton-on-Thames KT12 2PF

From the slopes of Everest to the Australian and African bush, from Siberia and the Arctic to the jungles of Guyana and South East Asia, Martin Pailthorpe draws from his 30 years experience as a TV producer in some of the most remote and challenging environments on earth to explore how film crews mount far flung expeditions and return with the goods.

Thursday 11 October - 7.30pm
‘The Real Journey’s End’ by Roland Wales (in partnership with the RC Sherriff Trust, celebrating 25 years of supporting the arts in Elmbridge)
Riverhouse Arts Centre, Manor Road, Walton-on-Thames KT12 2PF

R C Sherriff arrived in France in September 1916 and remained there until wounded in the third battle of Ypres in August 1917. During those months, he wrote many letters home to his parents and siblings, letters he later used as the basis for "Journey’s End" - a play which became a worldwide phenomenon. RolandWales, Sherriff’s biographer, links the characters, language and events of the play to the wartime experiences of Sherriff and his Battalion.

 Wednesday 7 November - 7.30pm
‘Across the Lake - The Donald Campbell Story’ Phil Holt
Civic Centre, Off High Street, Esher KT10 9SD

Born no more than 5 miles from Esher, Donald Campbell is the only man in history to hold both the world land and water speed records in the same year. Find out what made him a legend but also caused his fatal crash in 1967 when his last attempt to break the world record failed. Phil will talk about the recovery of Bluebird from Coniston Water and its restoration. Philip Holt was an Air Traffic Controller for almost 40 years and has served as a reservist in the R.A.F. as a flying instructor and in Maritime Air Region operations.

Thursday 17 January 2019 - 7.30pm
Monsterrat – Reclaiming Paradise by David Edwards
Cecil Hepworth Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames KT12 2PF

In 1995, while working on an animal conservation project, David witnessed the volcanic eruptions and evacuations that changed Montserrat’s destiny. He witnessed the first eruption and was lucky to survive. He has been back to see how the island has recovered and to revisit areas which have been destroyed since he was there. With the population having lost two thirds of its land space, there have been major social shifts and challenges. David explores these by talking to Montserratians about the impacts on their lives and the adaptations they must make, and shows what it is like to live on the new Montserrat.

David has worked as an expedition science leader in Botswana and the Yukon, as a field studies tutor teaching geology and geography, and for the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) as their University Expeditions Advisor. He has worked as a ranger in the Grand Canyon National Park and has contributed to Radio 4's Excess Baggage travel programme. In 2010, he was part of an expedition in the Pacific conducting seafloor research, and in 2013 participated in a Geological Society of America expedition to Antarctica. David is a university tutor on environmental sustainability and energy courses. He is also an earth science field studies guide for the Bay of Naples volcanic area (including Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius) and Iceland.

 Wednesday 13 February 2019 - 7.30pm
Owen Manning, William Bray and the writing of Surrey’s County History, 1760-1832 by Julian Pooley
Riverhouse Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames KT12 2PF

Manning and Bray’s ‘History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey’ took more than forty years to research and thirteen to publish. Though acknowledged as one of the finest county histories of Georgian England, its production was fraught with difficulties. This talk, drawing on the rich archive materials of Manning and Bray, the antiquary Richard Gough and the printer, John Nichols shows how the project was part of a national culture of local history research and charts the friendships behind the production of a county history which remains a basic tool for students of Surrey’s past.

Julian Pooley is Public Services Manager at Surrey History Centre in Woking and has been a professional archivist for over thirty years. He has published widely in the field of eighteenth century antiquarian and biographical research. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester.

Friday 15 March 2019 - 1.30pm
The Wind in my Wheels by Josie Dew
King George’s hall, Esher KT10 9SD

Josie Dew’s life has revolved around cycling both before children and since. She has cycled over 530,000 miles across 6 continents and 49 countries (some of them by accident). The survivor of several wonky knees and worn-out bottom brackets, she is still firmly fixed in the saddle. She has written 7 books about her travels and is in the middle of an eighth. She is a patron of Sustrans and Vice President of Cycling UK.

Wednesday 3 April 2019 - 7.30pm
A Holiday in North Korea by Hilary Brandt
Riverhouse Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames KT12 2PF

North Korea is a country full of surprises, with visitors’ expectations overturned on a daily basis, and the media struggling to keep up with the ever-changing news. Hilary Bradt enjoyed an 18-day ‘pioneering’ trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 2016, travelling to all parts of the country, discovering beautiful mountain scenery and fine beaches, as well as numbingly dull factories. But in North Korea, even the boredom is interesting and the people, without exception, friendly and charming. 

Hilary Bradt MBE is the founder of Bradt Travel Guides which published the first ever guide to North Korea in 2003. It was a response to President Bush naming it as part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ (the other two countries, Iran and Iraq, also benefited from a Bradt guide).

 Tickets are £3 per person, payable in cash and available at the door. No advance booking required.

 Download the full 2018-2019 programme.

 For further details or to be included on the mailing list for the current or future lecture brochures please contact us.

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