English History and Literature Talks

The Canal Comes to Brent

The canals were the product and the engine of the Industrial Revolution, and ultimately of Britain as the powerhouse of the world in the 19th century. Connecting the centre of trade in London with the industrial Midlands from the end of the 18th century, the 40,000 miles canal system was instrumental in shaping British economy and landscape.


Kensal Green Cemetery: Britain’s Most Prestigious Cemetery

The General Cemetery of All Souls, Kensal Green, is one of England’s oldest and most beautiful public burial grounds, and certainly its most famous. Among its notable residents are members of the royal family, famous writers, engineers, artists, scientists, doctors, politicians, entrepreneurs and scores of other important and fascinating personalities. Read more ….

Postcards of Old Willesden

 Postcards were the ‘mass communications media’ at the turn of the 20th century. With up to 7 collections per day, you could send a card in the morning, inviting a friend for dinner, they would receive it in the afternoon and be with you in the evening.


The Brent – the River that Gave our Borough its Name

For thousands of years this river has been flowing from the heights of Hendon through several London boroughs and into the Thames. With the arrival of Celtic tribes the river got its name – the Brent is named after an ancient goddess Brigantia.


The Parks of Brent – Hidden Histories of our Victorian Heritage

The Victorian parks movement was born from the realisation that green spaces are essential for the wellbeing of people – whether rich or poor, in the 19th century suburban parks gave an essential respite from the grime of the industrial city and the monotony of terraced houses that sprang in the suburbs with the coming of the railways.


Kilburn in Pictures and Stories

Kilburn High Road, originally the ancient Roman Watling Street, has been a major route connecting South of England with Wales for hundreds of years. The village of Kilburn was among the first local London suburbs to grow to cater and take advantage of this thoroughfare.


Queen’s Park Past and Present

We will look at the history of the area that we know as Queen’s Park – from the royal beginnings of the famous local park to the artisans and labourers who built the dwellings nearby. The Victorian heritage of the surrounding streets, historic architecture and fascinating personalities who contributed to the development of the area will be revealed through a wealth of historic and current photos, maps and illustrations.


The Welsh Harp: Past and Present

A waterfront oasis in the heart of Brent, the park surrounding the Welsh Harp reservoir is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Explore the rich history of the reservoir and its flora and fauna, opportunities to connect to nature in your daily life, highlighting recreational opportunities for walks and sports. The talk will be lavishly illustrated with historic images, maps and present day photographs.


 Willesden Past and Present

Exploring the history of Willesden and how people from all corners of world have shaped the townscape and contributed to the rich ever-changing history of the area. Learn about Willesden’s multi-cultural heritage, covering all aspects of life through the centuries. The talk will be lavishly illustrated with historic images, maps and present day photographs.