Robert Poole: Peterloo and after – Hebden Bridge lecture will focus on eventful years in Britain’s history

Those attending the final in the current season of Hebden Bridge Lectures will be transported back to the years immediately after the Napoleonic Wars and the Battle of Waterloo. Robert Poole, Professor of History at the University of Central Lancashire, will be discussing both Peterloo, the shocking massacre of unarmed demonstrators in Manchester in 1819, and what came about in the years immediately after this event. The lecture is in the Waterfront Hall, Hebden Bridge Town Hall, on Sat February 22nd (doors open 7pm).

Robert Poole is the author of Peterloo: the English Uprising, published last year to extremely good reviews. It was Book of the Year for the magazine History Today, which described it as “the definitive account of Peterloo”.

“The book’s place as a key text in the history of British politics and society should be long-lasting,” the magazine’s reviewer added.

Poole’s account reinterprets some of the history of the period in E.P.Thompson’s classic text The Making of the English Working Class, emphasizing among other things radical populism, the role of female reformers and the effects of the Napoleonic wars. In his lecture, Robert will be describing what he calls the ‘aftershocks’ from Peterloo in the period immediately after 1819.

The Lecture is being organised by Hebden Bridge Literary and Scientific Society, founded in 1905 and responsible in recent years for bringing eminent lecturers to the Calder Valley to share their knowledge and understanding. Robert Poole has at short notice stepped in to undertake the lecture, following the ill health of the advertised speaker Malcolm Chase.

Barbara Atack of the Lit and Sci Society said: “What happened in the early decades of the nineteenth century directly influenced the development of democracy in Britain and the sort of society we live in today. We know that Robert’s lecture will be extremely stimulating and we are very grateful to him for undertaking this lecture at very short notice.”

Peterloo to Chartism and ever onward: is Democracy more than a snowflake in a Greenhouse World? Maybe we’ll know by next Season….

Christopher de Bellaigue: The struggle between faith and reason in modern Islam

This Event is Cancelled:

Journalist Christopher de Bellaigue, who attended Eton College, is from an Anglo-French background. He obtained a BA and MA in Oriental Studies from the University of Cambridge, where he was a student at Fitzwilliam College. His first book, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran, was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize. In 2007-2008, he was a visiting fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. There he began work on his biography of the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh who was overthrown in 1953 in a military coup instigated by the British and American Governments to protect the interests of their oil companies.

In 2012, his book about Prime Minister of Iran Mohammad Mossadegh, Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup, was published.

Christopher is a frequent contributor to The Guardian, New York Review of Books, Granta, and The New Yorker, among other publications. He was formerly the Tehran correspondent for The Economist. He lives in London with his wife Bita Ghezelayagh, who is an Iranian architect, and two children.

Faith or Reason, which is best?  There’s only one way to find out! Playing in your local High St soon.

Sir David Spiegelhalter: Can we trust the numbers the media give us?

Sir David Spiegelhalter is Emeritus Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University.

In the 1990s Sir David led the Medical Research Council team that developed WinBUGS (“Bayesian analysis Using Gibbs Sampling”) that only ran on MS Windows, and its successor OpenBUGS that runs on all operating systems. These are used to forecast the spread and progress of infectious disease outbreaks. Such as Flu, SARS and Ebola. Earlier Bayesian software had only been able to forecast diseases that followed specific patterns of spread and was complex to set up. His innovations made the system applicable to more diseases and also much simpler to use, It is now widely used in epidemiology and has been found to be useful in other fields as well.

Luckily, but not by chance, he won’t risk talking about any of this; sticking instead to commenting on the use of stats in the media. Hopefully, we will all be better able to distinguish between, lies, damn lies and reliable statistics after the talk.

You’ll be pleased to know that 9 out of 10 members of David’s audiences feel more confident (self assessed on a sample size of 3) about statisitics ……or was that the anti wrinkle creams?

Susan Owens: The Appearance of Ghosts

Ghosts – and especially their appearances in art and literature – offer a window on to “the great changes that, over time, have made us see the world in new ways”. The Reformation, the Enlightenment, the age of technology – all have shaped the development of ghosts, and look different when seen through a ghostly lens.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, ghosts dwelt in purgatory, hovering between heaven and hell, and so were able to warn the living of the dangers of sin at the same time as offering the promise of eventual redemption. This changed with the Reformation, when purgatory was officially abolished by the new Church of England.

Susan couldn’t come on Halloween, so you’ll have to bring your own pumpkins, ectoplasm, bells, books, candles etc. NB. No exorcisms before the end of the lecture. 

Richard Morris: Writing Yorkshire.

Richard Morris’s widely acclaimed book Yorkshire brings the making of Yorkshire alive, from Viking trading routes to Wakes Week to the Cold War, weaving together stories of real people and families with travelogue and ecology. He looks at Yorkshire through the eyes of artists and writers like J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Girtin, Winifred Holtby and J.B. Priestley and embraces myth and legend, conflict and faith, scientific advancement, boom and bust.

In this talk Richard will describe how the book was written, how he took decisions on what went in or what was left out, and things he has discovered since Yorkshire was published.

Richard Morris is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Huddersfield and former Director of the Council for British Archaeology.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. (TS Eliot)……Until next season. (HB Lit&Sci)

Chris Renwick: Liberalism and the British Welfare State; its Past and its Future.

Chris Renwick is a historian focusing on Britain since the early nineteenth century. His main area of expertise is the relationship between biology, social science, and politics, in particular how the interaction of the three has shaped the way we think about, study, and govern society. His work on these subjects has received international and interdisciplinary recognition.

This lecture will draw on the themes set out in his recent book Bread for All: The Origins of the Welfare State

From the pious charity of the medieval hospitals and monasteries through the Elizabethan poor law to the Beveridge report, the Welfare State has had a long journey. Where’s it going from here?