Meetings and Excursions

Coronavirus Update - Virtual Talks Programme

With regret, the Society has postponed its regular events, activities and Friday talks programme until it is safe to meet. However the Society can offer members the opportunity to participate in an exciting new ‘virtual’ lecture programme from September through to March.


The Pastons and Great Yarmouth - Controlling the Hinterland (September 4th)

Dr Robert Knee (57 minutes)

Dr Rob Knee, Chairman of the Paston Heritage Society, talks about the links to Great Yarmouth of the various members of the Paston family from the early 1400s to the 1700s, with the final demise of the family as Earls of Yarmouth. The lecture was recorded at the Paston Footprints/Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society conference in October 2019.


Britain and the Legacies of Slavery (September 18th)

Prof Catherine Hall (42 minutes) 

Once abolition was secured, Britons were keen to overlook slavery and emphasise the memory of emancipation. But Britain and Britons benefitted in multiple ways from slavery including William Barth, timber merchant and mayor of Great Yarmouth in 1824, 1826 and 1836. He married Jane Jeffries, the daughter of Samuel Jeffries, a Jamaican planter. Jane was to claim compensation for two enslaved people in 1823.

The talk asks the question whether British history should be reconsidered to take into full account the role of the many slave-owners who lived here?

Professor Catherine Hall is Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College London.

What Really Happened at the First Moving-Picture Shows? (October 16th)

Professor Ian Christie (49 minutes)

The reception of moving pictures in 1894-96 has been much mythologised. Were spectators really frightened of an approaching train? Did they imagine seeing their departed relatives reanimated on screen? How much attention was actually paid to this new phenomenon among so many contemporary novelties and wonders? Moving pictures may not have been the innovation once claimed, but within a decade few could doubt that they had become a major force in changing the Edwardian world.

Professor Christie is a renowned British film scholar and currently Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck, University of London and a Fellow of the British Academy. 

He has researched and published on many aspects of film history, including Eisenstein and Russian cinema, Powell and Pressburger, Gilliam and Scorsese, and is a regular broadcaster on cinema.


Admiral Lord Nelson in Context (November 20th)

Assistant Professor Evan Wilson (50 minutes) 

Vice-Admiral Horatio, Lord Nelson, is among the best-known and most-studied figures in naval history. This lecture will put Nelson in the context of the officer corps from which he emerged. By looking at the thousands of other officers who fought alongside Nelson, we can uncover a more complete picture of him and the navy in which he served.

Evan Wilson is Assistant Professor in the John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research at the U.S. Naval War College. 

A Virtual Tour around St Nicholas Minster (December 18th)

Dr. Paul Davies (50 minutes)

St Nicholas Minster is probably the oldest building in Great Yarmouth. Dr. Paul Davies, the society's Chair, who has written extensively on the building and related topics, provides us with virtual tour of the building. He will be available to answer questions during the talk.

Dr. Paul Davies is a member of a number of prominent societies in the town including the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, Great Yarmouth Minister Preservation Trust (Chair), Great Yarmouth Civic Society and Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society (Chair).


Cotman in Normandy (January 15th) by Tim Wilcox

John Sell Cotman, long considered one of the greatest exponents in the field of watercolour, made three visits to Normandy, in 1817, 1818 and 1820. In 1822 he published two monumental folio volumes, Architectural Antiquities of Normandy with the support of the Yarmouth banker, Dawson Turner who had accompanied him abroad and employed him as drawing tutor to his children.

The Cotman in Normandy exhibition at the Dulwich Gallery took place between October 2012 and January 2013. This talk was given at the opening of the exhibition by Tim Wilcox the curator at the time.

Tim Wilcox held curatorial posts in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Hove Museum and Art Gallery (Director) and the British Museum (Department of Prints and Drawings). A self-employed curator and consultant for 15 years, he has worked for Tate, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Asia House and Norwich Castle Museum among many others.

This talk by the Timothy Wilcox, Curator at Dulwich Art Gallery introducing an exhibition of Cotman's work in 2012. It has particular relevance to Gt Yarmouth due to Dawson Turner's sponsorship of his trip. Dawson Turner's support for Cotman is explained in some detail.

This session takes place on January 15th 2021 and is available until February 19th 2021.


Roman Coins From Rivers and Wells in Britain: Hoards or Gifts for the Gods? (February 19th)  with Roger Bland

37 minutes


Among the 3,300 coin hoards known from Britain, there is an interesting group of finds that come from rivers and wells, such as the more 12,000 coins found when the baths at Roman Bath were drained in the 1970s, seen here. Other large groups are known from the river Thames at London Bridge, the Tees and Hadrian’s Wall. Why were these groups of coins deposited in these watery places and are they hoards? The talk will look at this intriguing group of coins as a case study of research into the huge number of Roman coin hoards known from Britain.

Roger Bland, OBE, FSA is a British curator and numismatist. At the British Museum, he served as Keeper of the Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure from 2005 to 2013, Keeper of the Department of Prehistory and Europe from 2012 to 2013, and Keeper of the Department of Britain, Europe and Prehistory from 2013 to 2015. Since 2015, he has been a visiting professor at the University of Leicester and a Senior Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge.

This session takes place on February 19th 2021 and is available until March 19th 2021.

GYLHAS is grateful  to the various societies and speakers who have made their material available for use in this programme.

The programme consists of pre-recorded presentations which will be available at the date and time of the normal meeting (3rd Friday in the month at 7.30pm) and for one month afterwards. Members can create accounts on the Virtual Programme website and take part in a ‘chat’ during and after the presentation, and post discussion questions to be picked up and responded to by other members in the period after the ‘virtual’ meeting.

Click here for more details about how to access these talks.