WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE.
You'll find details here about the range of interesting historic talks I have to offer - several based on my books - in addition to my extensive experience as an auctioneer, interviewer, chairperson and facilitator. Based in East Anglia, I am free for bookings daytimes, evenings or weeekends and can usually stand in at very short notice if your speaker cancels.
TO THE HAMMER BORN: Confessions of an Occasional Auctioneer
As an auctioneer and online dealer in antiques, vintage items and collectables Stephen talks about the fascinating history of auctioneering stretching back thousands of years. Using examples from the wide variety of furniture, pictures, ceramics and collectables he sells, Stephen introduces a fun quiz element in the second half of the presentation with the audience members being invited to identify unusual objects and to guess the value of other items.
AN HISTORIC TOUR OF NORFOLK from the 17th to 20th Centuries
Embarking on a journey in a time before Satnavs and Google Earth was a difficult and dangerous undertaking. Over the centuries intrepid travellers who ventured forth wrote about their trips, providing observations about the landscape, architecture and people they encountered, and giving recommendations as to the safest routes, best scenic attractions and most comfortable accommodation. They are our guides on a fascinating and unusual excursion round Norfolk in three x one hour presentations (North, South & West Norfolk) containing a wealth of antiquarian engravings, vintage postcards and contemporary photographs.
THEOBALDS: The Lost Royal Palace of the Stuarts
The story of the building and later destruction of England's grandest Royal Palace with extensive formal gardens built by William Cecil in Hertfordshire in the 1560s. Elizabeth I encouraged her Chief Minister to expand his house into one of the most extravagant in England. His son, Robert Cecil, later gave the mansion to James I as a "gift" in return for an estate at nearby Hatfield. The Palace was ransacked by Parliamentary soldiers during the Civil War and in a semi-derelict state by the time of the Restoration in 1660.
BECOME A HOUSE DETECTIVE – Researching the History of Your Home
As author of a number of local history books, Stephen shares his experience of researching the story of the 17th century cottage in Norfolk which he moved into just 2 years ago. He’ll recount the tales of the owners and residents over more than 300 years, who ranged from Victorian farmers and bricklayers to a wealthy 17th century yeoman. He also describes the various processes and historic documents involved in investigating the background of any historic property so that anyone in the audience can set out on their own journey of historical discovery.
NEEDHAM: The History of a Rural Norfolk Village
A very small village in the Waveney Valley on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, Needham has over 20 listed buildings and a long history. Stephen tells a tale which encompasses Roman coin hoards, Norman knights, a medieval religious protest, and the hard lives endured by a farming community as they are buffeted by the tides of history. The talk covers several dramatic court cases from the Victorian era including a fatal accident caused by drunk driving, and a violent pub brawl which resulted in a trial for manslaughter.
DICK TURPIN - The Myth and the Man
In this presentation I contrast the myth about the "gentleman highwayman" which grew up in the 19th and 20th centuries in magazines, novels, films, and television series with the true story of one of history's most notorious villains who was a violent and murderous thug. I also tell the tales of a number of other highway robbers operating around the UK whose exploits were later attributed to Turpin. As usual the talk contains numerous period engravings, paintings, and photographs along with period poems and quotes.