Family Background and Life of Richard III by Graham Mitchell

Wednesday November 1st 2023

Mr Mitchell is membership officer and treasurer of the Yorkshire branch of the Richard III Society. His talk will cover the family background and life of Richard as Duke of Gloucester, the two crimes of usurpation and infanticide of which he is unjustly accused, what may have happened to his nephews and, finally, the real King Richard III.

“After 500 years of gross misrepresentation, Richard Plantagenet deserves to be assessed as a real person, not a lurid pantomime villain.”

A Visit to Harrogate by Postcard before WW2 by Keith Burton

Wednesday December 6 th 2023

Keith Burton has been a member of Bilton Historical Society for many years, and is the society’s newsletter editor. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, went up to Merton College, Oxford, and then taught Mathematics in Bradford, Portsmouth, Essex, Harrogate and York, before retiring.

Keith and his wife Jean have collected postcards for many years and he is also a very keen philatelist and wordsmith. He has entered many crossword competitions and has appeared as a contestant on the television programme Countdown. His talk is about the postcards they have amassed regarding Harrogate before the second world war. It is based on the idea of a visitor coming to take the cure.

John Sheepshanks, 3rd Vicar of St John’s by Alan Gould

Wednesday February 7 th 2024

Alan Gould is a member of the society, its secretary, interim treasurer and a member of the study group. Alan was born and bred in Bilton and went to the Endowed School then onto Harrogate Grammer School. He worked in the chemical industry and lived in the Netherlands for much of his career.

This talk presents the findings of our research into John Sheepshanks (1834-1912) an austere High Church Anglican and third Vicar of St John’s, Bilton. He was a pioneering missionary during the Canadian Cariboo Gold Rush, and made epic journeys across North America, the Pacific and Asia. He married whilst in Bilton and started a family before moving to Anfield, Liverpool as the incumbent of St Margaret’s, where he founded a school. He had seventeen children, wrote several books and was noted for his pastoral work and attention to his clergy. He finally became Bishop of Norwich.

Berenblum and the Bari Bombs by Andy Wilson

Wednesday March 6 th 2024

Andy Wilson is the Engagement Manager for Yorkshire Cancer Research, a Harrogate-based charity.

He will tell you the story of the discovery of chemotherapy and how Issac Berenblum, a Leeds based cancer researcher, funded by the charity back in the 1920’s, made an inadvertent discovery that helped to change medical history. Incidents in both World Wars also feature, including the bombing of a top secret cargo ship in an Italian harbour and a discovery made in field hospitals behind the French front line.

Encountering the Etruscans by Professor Joyce Hill

Wednesday April 3 rd 2024

Joyce Hill is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Literature. She is an international authority of the transmission of Christian culture in early medieval Europe.

The Etruscans flourished as a confederacy of city-states in central Italy from the tenth to the first century BC, when the Romans achieved mastery of the entire peninsula. They left few written records, so our view of them has long been biased by the Romans’ dismissive depictions of them as decadent and pleasure loving. The illustrated lecture will show how modern archaeology has overturned this stereotype and given us a new vision of this intriguing society.

We are so grateful to welcome Prof. Joyce Hill once again. She has written this talk very recently and we are one of the first to hear it. Knowing how wonderful Prof. Hill is at giving these talks, we are sure you will be well entertained and amused by her wonderful presentation.

Old Vicarage

Old Vicarage

The Gardeners Arms

Gardeners Arms

St. John's Church

St. John's Church