Grosvenor Museum Society Logo

Programme 2019 - 2020
Generously supported by
The Westminster Foundation

All meetings and talks are at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester at 7-30pm
Except for
January 2019 & February 2020 talks
which are at 2-30pm
Entry is free to members, £5 for visitors and £2 for students/under 18s.

Thursday 19th September at 7.30pm   

Glitz and Glamour
in the Golden Age of the Transatlantic Liner

by Brian Healey

Brian Healey will talk about the Battle for the Blue Riband which dominated Atlantic travel for many decades, when the rivalry between the major shipping lines to build the biggest and the best leviathans of ocean travel was intense.
Ships such as French Line’s ‘Ile de France’ and Hapag Lloyd’s ‘Imperator’ rapidly became not just floating works of art but ships of state with stunning decor to match.
The lecture will show how they were adapted to match changing tastes, from the elegance of the French chateau and the heaviness of the Dutch renaissance to the dazzling sophistication of what became known as “streamline moderne”.

Sponsored by Joyce Rimmer

Monday 7th October 2019 at 7-30pm.   

The Women who Saved the Birds

by Tessa Boase

A decade before Mrs Pankhurst’s suffragette movement a very different women’s campaign captured the public imagination.
Its aim was simple, to stamp out the fashion for feathers in hats.
This was the birth of the RSPB.
The year was 1889.
Lecturer Tessa Boase charts the rise and rise of ‘murderous millinery’, and champions the women who fought back on behalf of the birds - from the first polite Victorian tea party, to billboard parades at the summer sales, to an angry brick through the Home Office window.

After the talk Tessa will be signing copies of her new book
“Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather Fashion, Fury and Feminism - Women’s Fight for change”.

Sponsored by Kath and Malcolm Chaloner

Tuesday 5th November at 7.30pm

Trenches, Torpedoes, Bombs and Bunkers
Merseyside and the World Wars

by Ken Pye

This is the heartbreaking yet inspiring story of Liverpool and Merseyside during the wars of the 20th century, as told by Ken Pye.
It is certainly a tale of great suffering and loss of life and property, but also of the triumph of the human spirit, especially the strong communities of the City and Region.
Hear him tell of the Liverpool and Wirral Pals during the First World War, of their hardships in the trenches and on the battlefields and of what awaited them on their return home.
Ken then recounts stories from Merseyside during the Second World War.
These include the impressive tale of the Battle of the Atlanti, of the May Blitz of 1941, of Huyton Internment Camps and of Project Redsand and the River Mersey Forts.
This talk dramatically brings to life the complex history of two of the darkest and yet most triumphant times in Merseyside’s modern history.

Sponsored by Terence Rimmer

Wednesday 27th November at 7.30pm

’Christmas Craic’ with Sister Sister

The very popular and highly recommended Merseyside duo of professional entertainers Sister Sister offer a very varied evening of songs and stories.
Refreshments and a light buffet supper will be included.
Admission by ticket purchased in advance, details to follow.
This event replaces our usual Seasonal Concert at Eaton Park, which is closed for refurbishment.

Sponsored by Chez Jules Restaurant Francais, Northgate Street, Chester

Tuesday 10th December at 7.30

The Story of Christmas

by Adrian Sumner

Join us on a pictorial journey.
Adrian Sumner’s talk features some of the best loved images in Western art together with others you may never have seen before and artists you may never have heard of.

Sponsored by Francis Thomas Fruiterers


Tuesday 14th January 2020 at 2.30pm – afternoon lecture.

The King’s DNA

by Dr Rhian Morgan

Join Dr Rhian Morgan from Wales Gene Park, Cardiff, to hear the story of the discovery and identification of the skeleton in the car park, including how DNA was used to help confirm that the remains were that of the lost king, Richard III.

Sponsored by Wendy Hazlehurst

Thursday 6th February at 2.30. - afternoon lecture.

Adventures of an Art Dealer - discovering lost paintings

by Miles Wynn Cato

Miles Wynn Cato has been a dealer in historic British art for over 30 years.
An authority on early Welsh painting, he is also the author of several books including the first biography and catalogue of the work of Sir Joshua Reynolds' Welsh pupil, the portrait painter William Parry (1742-1791)
Miles's illustrated talk will look at some of the fascinating discoveries he has made during his time as a dealer, with insights into the challenges and rewards of being an art dealer in the 21st century.

Sponsored by Brian Dykes

Wednesday 4th March at 7.30pm

Taylor’s Boatyard
250 years of Boatbuilding

by Geoff Taylor

Geoff Taylor, grandson of Joseph Harry Taylor, the founder of JH Taylor and Sons, Chester, will outline the history of a boatbuilding family that had its origins in the Black Country in the early 19th C. It brings together many years of research and includes oral history, family documents and many original photographs.

Sponsored by The Westminster Foundation

Thursday 16th April at 7.30pm

The quest for Perfection: designing the 18th century English Country House and its landscape

by Dr Alan Crosby

The talk ties in with Peter Boughton’s Grosvenor Museum exhibition
April – October

Dr Alan Crosby guides us into the world where Georgian country houses are among the supreme achievements of English architecture.
Their designers drew their inspiration from the classical buildings of the Mediterranean, but modified and reworked these styles to produce something distinctively English.
The principles of simplicity, symmetry and formal lines were adopted and adapted in a thousand different ways.
No less important was their setting.
Here the emergence of a highly characteristic English style of landscaping can be traced back to the 1720s and 1730s, although it is popularly exemplified by the work of Capability Brown 30 or 40 years later.
Ironically, perhaps, the landscape style rejected formal straight lines in favour of sweeping curves and artfully created vistas but the combination of house and garden is uniquely harmonious.
This talk looks at England as a whole, but uses many examples from the houses and designed landscapes of Cheshire and adjacent areas.

Sponsored by Col and Mrs Bryan King

Wednesday 6th May at 7.30pm

Deva Victrix & Isca Silurum: Life at the edge of the Roman Empire

by Dr Caroline Pudney

In this lecture, Dr Caroline Pudney will explore the ways in which archaeology has unearthed and shed light on the people of Roman Chester (Deva) and Caerleon (Isca).
Situated at the edge of Britannia and the Imperium Romanum, these legionary fortresses attracted people from across the empire, all of whom brought with them their own cultural traditions and social practices, creating a cultural melting pot.
What evidence for these individuals survives and how has it shaped a narrative of life in and around the western frontier of Britannia?
Caroline Pudney appeared with Professor Alice Roberts in the Channel 4 programme ‘Britain’s most historic towns – Roman Chester’.