Speaker Meetings

By | April 1, 2019

Speaker Meetings are held at 10.30 on specified Thursday mornings throughout the year, usually in Christ Church, Aughton. Coffee is available in the Scout & Guide HQ (very nearby the Church and its Ministry Centre) from 09.30 to 10.15 before the meeting. Everyone is welcome, so bring family, friends and neighbours.

Speaker Meetings in 2019

Here is the latest information from our new Speaker Secretary for 2019 – Pam Ball


Our second Guest Speaker this year was Carolyn Kirby, whose debut novel The Conviction of Cora Burns has recently been published in the UK and USA. Carolyn’s fascinating talk focussed on the background to the novel, set in Victorian Birmingham, and in particular on research being carried out at the time into the question of Nature v Nurture, and what influences are at work in the criminal mind.

We heard first about Francis Galton, whose wide-ranging work included statistics, fingerprints, the first weather map and a counting system which enabled him to observe women and put them into categories: attractive, indifferent and repellent. It was interesting to hear that, according to Francis Galton’s survey, London had the best looking women and Aberdeen the ugliest! Arthur Munby studied working class women and married scullery maid Hannah Cullwick, who sported a 14” bicep. Their strange relationship was a living experiment, and we saw photographs of Hannah dressed as various different characters including a gentlewoman and a slave. WT Stead became known as ‘The Father of Tabloid Journalism’ and based his research on child prostitution. He was eventually prosecuted and convicted of abduction of a child, Eliza Armstrong, aged 13. The case hastened the raising of the age of consent from 13 to 16, where it remains today, and Eliza was immortalised in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

We are grateful to Carolyn for sharing her extensive knowledge and research with us in such an interesting and entertaining way. We wish her well with her new career and look forward to perhaps welcoming her back in the future.


On Thursday 6th June, we will welcome local resident, writer and photographer, Peter Rimmer,  who will present a talk on Morecambe Bay. 

Peter is a freelance writer and photographer from Southport, now living in Ormskirk. He was awarded a Master’s Degree in Photography by the University of Bolton in 2013, and has self-published a Photo Book “The tide’s the very devil” about Morecambe Bay and its shrimp fishermen. Peter specialises in Paralympic and disability sports as a photojournalist.

Peter writes

The illustrated talk is based on my Photobook “The tide’s the very devil: Morecambe Bay in photographs” describing the hazards, dangers and isolation of the Bay; some of its rich history; crossing the sands; shrimp fishing – the catch, landing, boiling and picking of shrimps; and the men and women involved. Shrimping is a family business where the traditions are handed down, and remain largely unchanged from one generation to another. The opportunity to use old family photographs enables me to compare and contrast the practices of today with what went before, showing similarity and difference.

The title of the talk comes from the first line of the chorus of On Morecambe Bay, a folk song written by an old school-friend from Southport and recorded by Irish folk singer Christy Moore. Kevin Littlewood was inspired to write the lyrics following the tragedy in February 2004 when 23 Chinese cockle pickers died after becoming trapped by rising tides at Hest Bank. It is a poignant reminder that the tide dictates every move on the sands.

The solitude, isolation and scale of Morecambe Bay were apparent on my first venture out on the sands sitting on the back of Michael’s tractor. I wanted to capture the feeling of isolation and show the wide open spaces. I also wanted to illustrate some of the features of the Bay such as myrings, footprints and tracks in the sand. Including aerial shots from a balloon. I discovered a rich history of literature and painting which under-score the story of life on the sands, and provide an external context largely unchanged today.

Looking ahead

5th September – Harold Hoggarth: The Civil War in Lancashire
7th November – John Winter: Blame it on the Beatles – and Bill Shankley

I would be very pleased to hear from any members who would like to give a talk, or maybe you remember a past speaker you would like to hear from again.

Please email any ideas to speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk  or phone 07974 749362.

A Message from the Speaker Secretary:

  • These meetings are open to the public.  So do invite your friends even if they are not U3A members.
  • Parking can be tricky on Thursday mornings.  So, if you can, please consider car-sharing or alternative modes of transport.  The handy half-hourly  310 Ormskirk – Liverpool bus stops very nearby on Holborn Hill. Some members ‘get active’ and walk, while a few even cycle now and then.

Past Speaker Meetings

Much appreciation and hearty thanks to Sue Watkinson, who has recently ‘retired’ from the Speaker Secretary role, for a wonderful series of Speaker Meetings over her time of office. The variety and quality of the speakers arranged by Sue was truly excellent. Please take a few minutes to view and recall the extensive and interesting range of Past Speaker Meetings organised by Sue (as well a few from her predecessors).


DVD recordings

The Speaker Meetings are recorded on DVD. DVDs can be obtained from Bill Evans at a cost of £3.  To order one, phone Bill on 01695 312479 or contact him at Horizons.