Speaker Meetings

By | February 28, 2022

Please note that Speaker Meetings are now taking place on the first Thursday of the month at HQ starting at 11 am and lasting just over an hour. Last orders for tea and coffee 10.45 am. All the usual Horizons facilities (apart from the book stall) will be available until then.

5th May

Sid Calderbank

1860, and the Industrial Revolution is well under way, with 2000 cotton mills employing half a million people, using cotton mostly supplied from the cotton fields of the Southern States of America which arrives regularly in the port of Liverpool with its 7 miles of docks. Then in 1861 war breaks out in America. 800,000 lives will be lost and there are naval blockades of the Southern States. The supply of cotton comes to an end; nearly 50 mills close within a few months and in Wigan alone 10,000 workers are unemployed. With no other source of income or support they are reduced to begging and burning furniture for warmth.

Then in 1862 John Whittaker, aka Lancashire Lad, writes a letter to the paper about the plight of the workers and begins to receive donations. Other philanthropists follow suit, and before long towns are setting up their own Relief Committees. Sewing schools are set up to retrain young mill girls, and by 1865 the war has ended and the supply of cotton resumes.

This amazing tale of triumph over adversity was told by Sid Calderbank, a Lancashire Lad himself who for 25 years has been entertaining groups such as ours. Using songs, poems and extracts from contemporary diaries, Sid painted a vivid and evocative picture of these extraordinary times, and drew parallels with the present tragic situation in Ukraine. A spellbinding talk, thank you Sid!

9th June

Our Speaker for June is author and speaker David Hearne, who will speak about Sir William Brown. David writes:

Sir William Brown

The Brown family, who were originally linen merchants, moved from Ballymena in Ireland to Baltimore, USA in 1800. Ten years later William Brown, the oldest son of the family, moved to Liverpool to take charge of the family’s business activities in Europe. Two other brothers established offices in Philadelphia and New York while the youngest brother remained in Baltimore. Within 30 years the family had expanded their business and were heavily involved in banking and many different types of trade, with $1 in every $6 of US trade passing through their hands.

Although everyone is aware of William Brown Street in Liverpool, few people know the story of the man himself. William Brown’s story is one of sparkling financial success coupled with philanthropy in Liverpool on a grand scale and yet, as we will see, still somewhat of a sad life.

David Hearne

After spending some time in the British Army, David had a first career in banking and a second in management consultancy before going to university for the first time at the age of 55 to take a BA in history at Liverpool John Moores University. This was followed by a Masters in International Slavery Studies at the University of Liverpool. He published a guide to England’s best First World War Memorials in 2018 and is currently working on a book about Liverpool’s involvement in slavery entitled Liverpool: A City Built on Slavery.

David has a small publishing company known as The Dusty Teapot Company which he runs jointly with his older son; the company concentrates on reproducing copies of historic books about Liverpool but also undertakes photographic digitisation and oral history.


More dates for your diary (please note there are no Speaker Meetings in July or August):

1st September     Tracey Collins, storytellerGeoffrey and the Gang of 20

6th October         Mike McKennaInvictus Games involvement

3rd November    Philip CaineFrom Barrow to Baghdad


Please keep an eye on newsletters, enews and website for the latest information.

Pam Ball

See Pam’s Past Speaker Meetings for info on previous events.

Please email any ideas for Future Speaker Meetings to Pam Ball, our Speaker Meeting Organiser,  at:

speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk  or phone 07974 749362.

Last Updated on May 8, 2022