Bemerton Talks

On the first Wednesday evening of the month we will invite a guest speaker to talk on an area of general interest.

All are welcome, and admission is free. There will be a retiring collection to cover expenses.

Doors open at 7:00 and the talk starts at 7:30.

There will be the opportunity to purchase refreshments beforehand, and to ask questions afterwards.

Further details of the Spring 2019 programme are given below.

Wednesday 6th March 2019

Robert Key

Broken Britain?  

My Thatcher Years to the Brexit Jungle and Beyond

Robert was MP for Salisbury for 27 years. He served Margaret Thatcher as Poll Tax Minister and John Major as ‘Minister for Fun’. A Salisbury boy, after Cambridge he was a schoolmaster in Edinburgh and at Harrow School before his election to Parliament. Rob has served on the General Synod of the Church of England and sung tenor with the Monteverdi Choir and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Freeman of the City of Salisbury.


Rob will talk about the city and nation that shaped his early life, the values, aspirations and social changes since then, and political figures he met and worked with. How did international admiration for Great Britain degenerate into collapse and ungovernability? What of our future?



Wednesday 3rd April

Susan Greaney

New sites, new discoveries and new ideas:

Recent research in the Stonehenge landscape

Over the past 10 years, our understanding of the landscape around Stonehenge has been transformed. Excavations by both university-led research teams and developer-funded commercial archaeologists have uncovered extraordinary new sites including a Mesolithic occupation site, an early Neolithic enclosure and a late Neolithic village. Other discoveries have come from large-scale geophysical surveys, aerial photographs of parchmarks and analysis of collections in museums. This talk will describe these new discoveries and explain how they are changing our understanding of the monument and its landscape.

Susan Greaney is an archaeologist and specialist in British prehistory and the interpretation of archaeological sites. She currently works for English Heritage as part of the properties research team and is undertaking a part-time PhD at Cardiff University.


Wednesday 1st May

Leslie Self

History of Healthcare in Salisbury

Lesley will tell us about some of the work being done by ArtCare, the charitably funded arts-in-health service working at Salisbury Hospital for more than 25 years. They curate the historical archives at Salisbury Hospital; these range from the 1760s to present day and include the General Infirmary, Odstock Hospital (now SDH) and many other sites around the city. They provide a fascinating insight into medicine, healthcare and social history of the city for the past 250 years. The collections include estimate 50,000 photographs, documents, instruments, textiles, books and more. ArtCare were successful in a Heritage Lottery Fund bid in December 2015 for £40,000 towards sorting, recording and sharing the historical archives which can be viewed online www.salisburyhealthcarehistory.uk

Lesley has worked for ArtCare as exhibition organiser and permanent collection curator since 2002. Lesley was the ArtCare lead for dementia environments, Intensive Care Unit, Hospice, Quiet Rooms & Courtyards as well as history archive projects. Lesley volunteered for 5 years with Salisbury Museum and National Trust at Kingston Lacy and graduated Bournemouth University School of Conservation Sciences with MA Museums and Collections Management in 2009.


Wednesday 5th June

Chris Romain

The life of a Cathedral Architect- some Personal recollections

Chris will talk about what a Cathedral architect does and how he or she goes about the task of ensuring that the building fabric is maintained in a good state of repair for future generations to use and enjoy, what training and experience is required and how the task is managed.  He will refer to cathedrals in general with particular reference to Worcester, where he was involved over a period of 28 years, 19 of them as the Cathedral Architect.

Chris started his career in 1972 in general practice in Shaftesbury.  He joined the ecclesiastical practice of Potter and Hare at De Vaux House Salisbury in 1979.  Chris specialised in church conservation and repair and was appointed as Inspecting Architect to carry out quinquennial inspections on 360 churches in 7 Dioceses over a period of 40 years, including St John’s at Bemerton.

In his distinguished career, Chris has served on a number of learned bodies involved in architecture.  He is recently retired but sits on the Salisbury Diocesan Committee (DAC) advising the Diocesan Chancellor on applications from churches for approval of repairs and developments to churches in the Diocese.