In the past few years I have presented to:

London – The Liberal Club, The London Appreciation Society,The Royal Society of Biology,The Royal College of Physicians, The Royal College of Surgeons, The Royal Society of Medicine, The Medical Society of London, The London Glamorgan Society. The Athenaeum Club Pall Mall, the Savile Club. FiSH. Guys Hospital (Gordon Museum).The Royal Geographical Society.

Wales-The Captain Scott Society, The History of Medicine Society of Wales, Probus (Cardiff). The Civic Society, Colwyn Bay.

USA- The Boston Travellers Club, The Boston Explorers Club.

Switzerland -The Residents Association (Vevey)

Scotland- A Royal Scottish Geographical Society tour of the Borders, The Friends of Dundee Heritage. The Arctic Club (Annual Meeting in Edinburgh).

Literary Festivals-Cheltenham and St Albans

The South Pole-sium

The Royal Geographical Society (N/W Division)

HMS Victory

National Heath Retirement Fellowships, U3As, WIs Schools (Malvern St James), History Societies.


1)‘The Unveiling of Antarctica’

For centuries the actual existence of Antarctica was uncertain. Captain Cook got near to the continent in the 1770s, but did not actually see it and its existence was not definitely proved until the 1820s. Some of the magnificent explorers who discovered Antarctica’s mysteries are described. The talk goes up to the 1950s

2)‘Voyages of The Discovery’

This trusty ship battled against the elements to get the explorers to Antarctica. Details of the ship, her construction and her journeys after her Antarctic voyages will be illustrated. She is now berthed in Dundee & visited by thousands


From a distinguished family. Clements joined the Royal Navy at the age of 14, for a four year tour of the Pacific Station. The tour gave him a life-long interest in geography, in the people and places he visited, particularly Peru. He left the navy with the ambition of becoming an explorer and geographer.

He joined the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and quickly became one of its officials. He contributed greatly to its publications and to the development of the society.

He returned to Peru. It was on this visit that he first became aware of the properties of the cinchona tree. The bark of the tree contained quinine, the only known treatment for malaria. During this visit he was unable to  investigate further, but was determined to  return This he did some years later when he was working for the India Office.

With a small team of specialists and at considerable personal danger, the team extracted cinchona shrubs from Peru and transferred them to India. Here they flourished. The price of quinine dropped. Treatment became widely available. This was a priceless benefit to mankind.

He became President of the Royal Geographical Society when he was in his sixties. His overriding ambition for his presidency was Antarctic exploration. He formed an Antarctic Committee composed of members of the Royal Society  (RS) and the RGS. These groups had widely different ambitions for work in Antarctica – The RS favoured science under a scientific leader, the RGS aimed at promoting the navy and geographical advance. As Sir Clements chaired this committee with its widely opposing aims and planned for the British expedition the ‘Discovery’ expedition, he was said to act like a dictator and variously described as vindictive and slanderous. His views prevailed  eventually and ‘Discovery’ sailed under the command of Robert Falcon Scott.

The expedition was successful scientifically but both societies incurred the wrath of the Government and the Admiralty when it became apparent that no financial arrangements had been made to rescue the crew and equipment from Antarctica should it become impossible to release ‘Discovery’ from the ice

The government, expressing their extreme displeasure and disappointment, took over the finances of the whole rescue.   The RGS read the writing on the wall and appointed a new president whilst Sir Cements ws away. He resigned the following year.

. He died in 1916 he was reading in bed and his candle set fire to the bed clothes


3)‘Dr Edward Wilson, Captain Scott’s Confidant and Friend’

Wilson was a doctor, artist and naturalist as well as an explorer. Scott valued him highly and he went with Scott on both the British Antarctic expeditions of the early 1900s. On the first expedition ‘The Discovery Expedition’, Wilson, with Scott and Ernest Shackleton got as far south as 82°, a first. He was one of the five men who reached the South Pole in 1912. and, aged 39, he died with Scott and their companions on the return from the Pole

4)‘Chief Petty Officer Edgar Evans Scott’s Invaluable Assistant’

Edgar Evans followed Scott loyally. In return, his practicality, humour, strength and stamina were greatly appreciated by Scott. He was on the final assault to the South Pole and was the first to die on the return, In a remarkable example of class prejudice; he was blamed, in some quarters, for the death of the whole party. His reputation has only recently been reassessed. The talk goes over his eventful life.

5) Shackleton, His Life and Times’

Shackleton led three expeditions to the Antarctic and was a crew member on a fourth. He is justly famous for escaping with all his crew, from the icy grip of the Weddell Sea during his momentous expedition of 1914-1916 and for his incredible 800mile sail from Elephant Island to South Georgia. But he achieved more than this. In 1909 he got to within 100 miles of the South Pole the first expedition to get so far on the Antarctic plateau. He lived up to his family motto, ‘By Endurance we Conquer’.

6)‘Mawson The Australian scientist and Explorer’

Mawson was a brilliant Australian academic who achieved much in the way of science. He is well known for his three-man exploration along that section of Antarctica south of Australia. On this sortie, his young British companion fell down a crevasse and perished. As Mawson and his remaining companion Mertz, struggled back to base, Mertz became shockingly ill and died also, possibly from ingesting excessive vitamin A. The story of Mawson’s epic struggle to return to his base is gripping

7)’Captain Scott’s Men’

Dr Edward Wilson and Chief Petty Officer Edgar Evans came from very different backgrounds, had different education and experiences. They were united however in their admiration and loyalty to Scott and this talk discusses their different contributions to the expeditions

8) William Speirs Bruce, Arctic and Antarctic explorer

Bruce is perhaps the least known of the explorers of the early 1900s but he made huge scientific achievements. His emphasis on science (rather than newsworthy exploration) and his reserved, serious nature, meant that his new findings were not well disseminated beyond the scientific community for many years, but his work is now being reassessed widely and his achievements appreciated.

9)British explorers of the early 1900s:  What did they actually achieve?

A short summary of discoveries by British explorers following the 1895, 6th International Geographic Congress in London during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. This ran from 1895 to 1922, the year that Shackleton died.


10)Sir Hubert von Herkomer R.A.
This Bavarian artist became one of the most popular artists in the Victorian period in England. He painted many interesting portraits of the good and the great in England and in Boston U.S.A. He was so much accepted that he was invited to paint Queen Victoria on her death bed, an unusual honour for a commoner and, (though a nationalized British citizen), a German. His fall from popularity was dramatic; he died at the onset of the First World War and by the end of that war, anti German sentiment was rife in Britain. Also, by this time, appreciation of styles of painting had changed greatly with the advent of Modernism that was contrasted unfavourably with his naturalism. His work is gradually being revalued.



17/01/2023  Kingsbury  W.I                                    (Dr Edward Wilson)

18/01/2023 Essendon (Hertfordshire)WI                (Ernest Shackleton)

01/03/2023 Winchester College Winchester           (Dr Edward Wilson)

25/04/2023 Keswick, Probus Club                          (Sir Clements Markham)

26/04/2023 Welwyn/Hatfield U3A                          (Sir Hubert von Herkomer)

12/6/23 United Reformed Church Finchley             (Shackleton)


16/02/2022 Masonic Club Uxbridge                        ( The Unveiling of Antarctica)

17/02/2022 Royal Society of Medicine                     ( P.O. Edgar Evans)

21/03/2022 U3A  Dunstable                                      (The Unveiling of Antarctica)

20/04/2022 EUA Salisbury                                        (Sir Clements Markham)

30/05/2022 Royal Geographical Society (London) (Dr Edward Wilson)

13/06/2022 Watford Townswomen’s Guild              (Ernest Shackleton)

22.24/06/2022  San Francisco, SouthPole-sium     (Sir Clements Markham)

30/08/2022 Probus Club Keswick                              (Dr Edward Wilson)

12/09/2022   U3A Finchley                                          (Ernest Shackleton)

15/11/2022    Fish, Barnes, London                            (Sir Clements Markham)


23/02/2021 Masonic Club Uxbridge                        (Shackleton)                    Cancelled due to Covid

09/03/2021 Verulam U3A                                        (Unveiling of Antarctica) Cancelled

06/05/2021 Campus Club WGC                              (Shackleton)                     Cancelled

10/05/2021 RoyalGeographical Society                 (Sir Clements Markham)  ZOOM
‘Be Inspired Programme”

13/05/2021 U3A Stevenage                                      (Shackleton)                      ZOOM

27/07/2021 Probus Club Keswick                             (Shackleton)                      ZOOM

06/9/2021 Atheneaum Club ‘Coffee Mornings’      (Shackleton)                      ZOOM

14/10/21 Alfriston/Cuckmere Valley Hist.Soc          (Shackleton)                      LIVE

30/10/21  Shackleton Autumn School Athy             (Sir Clements Markham)   ZOOM


14/01/20    Probus Club, Swansea.                            (Shackleton)

03/02/20    Royal College of Physicians, London    (Bruce)

22/04/20    English Speaking Union, Salisbury        (von Herkomer)  Cancelled COVID

11/05/20    U3A North London                                   (Shackleton)        Cancelled

18/06/20    Alfriston/Cuckmere Historical Soc       (Shackleton)          Cancelled

25/08/20    Probus Club, Keswick                              (Shackleton)        Cancelled

05/09/20    English Speaking Union, Eastbourne    (Shackleton)         Cancelled

16/10/20    NHS Retirement F’ship Huntingdon      (Shackleton)          Cancelled

19/11/20      Royal Soc. Medicine , London          ? Edgar Evans            Cancelled


01/02/19    Book Club Discussion, Welwyn, Herts      (Wilson)

19/02/19    U3A St Albans                                                (von Herkomer)

21/03/19    Devon/Cornwall Polar Society                    (Bruce)

25/03/19  Royal Geographical Society, London

‘Be Inspired’ programme                                              (Bruce)

26/03/19  U3A Brighton                                                 (Shackleton)

09/04/19  U3A Radlett, Herts                                        (Shackleton)

21/05/19    Scottish Geographical Society                  (Bruce)

22/05/19 Documentary Film- Cardiff                         (Edgar Evans)

11/06/19    U3A Verulam                                               (von Herhomer)

17/06/19    Denman, W.I.College, Oxfordshire          (Shackleton)

04/07/19    Harpenden Probus                                      (Shackleton)

11/07/19      U3A Chesham                                             (Shackleton)

09/09/19    ESU Cardiff                                                   (Shackleton)

18/9/19      ESU Clifton Park                                           (Shackleton)

14/10/19    Worshipful Company of Glaziers &

Printers of Glass. City of London                                 (Shackleton)

16/10/19    The “Unstable Lads”, Welwyn                    (Shackleton)

11/11/19      U3A North London                                     (Shackleton)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: