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27 May 2020A Concise History of our Great British Public Parks
22 April 2020Tantrums and Tiaras
25 March 2020Packing up the Nation
26 February 2020Inn Signia: The Art Work and Stories behind Peculiar Pub names
22 January 2020William Hogarth - His life, times and work
27 November 2019Merrily on High A History of Christmas Carols
23 October 2019Art of Food Through the Ages
11 September 2019Arsenic and Old Wallpaper - The Darker side of William Morris
26 June 2019Sir Winston Churchill the Artist
22 May 2019Cracking Glass. The British Big Four
24 April 2019Tiffany & Co of Diamonds, Decadence and Travel
27 March 2019Shaken by an Earthquake - Igor Stravinsky, The Ballets Russes and the astonishing 1913 premier of the Rite of Spring.
27 February 2019Origins: Cave Paintings to the Greeks
23 January 2019Historic Gardens of the Italian Lakes
28 November 2018Programme change -"The Astonishing Master Mozart comes to London"
24 October 2018Optical Entertainments before the Movies
12 September 2018Monet at Giverny
27 June 2018Foreigners in London 1520 - 1677 The Artists that Changed the Course of British Art
23 May 2018The Honourable East India Company East-West Trade 1600 to 1800 Chinese Export and Chinoiserie
25 April 2018Lady Butler, Battle Artist Painter of "Scotland Forever"
28 March 2018Wren's City of London Churches
28 February 2018Hidden Canvases Street Art and The City
24 January 2018Masquerades, Music Lessons and Monkeys The World of 18th Century Porcelain Figures
22 November 2017O, Yes it is! History of Pantomime from Ancient to Modern Times
25 October 2017Partnership in Planting. A Lutyens house in a Jekyll garden
13 September 2017Secret Art in the Passport How we use it to fox the forger
28 June 2017England's Golden Age of Cabinet Making
24 May 201750th Anniversary Celebration Lunch Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion
26 April 2017Brilliant British Humour The Forgotten Art of the Picture Postcard (1909 - 1939)
08 March 2017Fabergé: Life and Work of the World's Greatest Goldsmith
22 February 2017Maria Sibylla Merian (1647 - 1717) Artist, Scientist and Adventurer
25 January 2017Samuel Pepys: His Life, Times and Diary
23 November 2016The Punch and Judy Show
26 October 2016Grinling Gibbons, Carver to the Crown
14 September 2016Who Says? Can we trust the expert on good and bad in art?
22 June 2016The Genius of Antonio Stradivari
25 May 2016"Art in the Garden of God" A new look at 17th century Dutch painting
27 April 2016Legend and Lustre: Jim Thompson and Thai Silk
23 March 2016Beneath the City Streets - London's Unseen History
24 February 2016Constable's Great Landscapes: The Materials and Techniques of Constable’s exhibited oils of the 1820s - 30s
27 January 2016The Founder and Treasures of the Wallace Collection
25 November 2015The Inventors of Christmas
28 October 2015Happy and Glorious A Thousand Years of English Coronations
09 September 2015Wedgwood, Catherine the Great and the Frog Service
24 June 2015AGM The Colston Hall at 12 noon
24 June 2015Illuminated Manuscripts of the Anglo Saxon Period
27 May 2015The Rise and Fall of the English Music Hall
22 April 2015Lost Titanic-The Story of the Great Omar Binding
25 March 2015Three Great Families and their Gardens. The Astors, Rothschilds and Sackville Wests
25 February 2015Dresden Today Art and Architecture
28 January 2015Art and the Napoleonic Wars Marking the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, 1815
26 November 2014The History of Stained Glass seen through the Christmas Story
22 October 2014The Artist as Reporter: British Artists and the First World War
10 September 2014The Dollar Princesses
25 June 2014Glittering Prizes: Part 1 The Mosaics of Ravenna
28 May 2014Turner and his Travels through Europe
23 April 2014A Royal Rescue: Dumfries House Saved and Revealed
26 March 2014The Cult of the South Pacific: From Cook to Gaugin
26 February 2014Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomical Form with Function

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A Concise History of our Great British Public Parks Paul Rabbitts Wednesday 27 May 2020

This really is a fascinating insight into the history of one of our greatest ever institutions - our great British public park. We have all enjoyed them at some time in our lives but what do we really know about them? their origins? did they really start in the Victorian period or do they go even further back? This talk illustrates their origins, talks about the need for parks, the Victorian heyday, what makes a great park, with examples of lodges, lakes, bandstands, fountains and floral displays, to their great decline in the sixties and seventies. However, the subsequent revival has led to a major shift in interest in our parks and once again we are much in love with them. This is also a highly illustrative talk accompanied by slides with examples of parks from across the UK and their designs and architecture. This is a particularly popular talk and always goes down well as we can nearly always recount our own experiences with our own local park.


Paul Rabbitts -BA (Hons), MLA, FRSA, FLI

Author, Parks Historian & Speaker

With the obsessions have come a number of opportunities to speak to a wide range of community groups and organisations over the years. This has ranged from Local Arts Societies, Regional Gardens Trusts, Women's Institutes to Church Groups, Rotary Clubs, Townswomen's Guilds, Sports Clubs, U3A, Museums, History Societies, Academic Institutions and lobbyist organisations.

I was on the approved list of speakers for the County Durham Federation of Women's Institutes and am currently on the Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Federation's approved list of speakers, as well as a regular with local U3A's and am now an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society

 I offer a light hearted but entertaining talk which groups find interesting, informative and enjoy.