Online Events


*Note for members* - booking information will be emailed to all members with an email and subscribed to our mailing list.  


Online ‘Conference’ Outline – September 2020

Charge to members - £2 per session, or all sessions for just £18.

Non-members - £5 per session, or all sessions plus a year’s NWR membership for just £40

A Note on Timing:

All talks are scheduled to last between 45-60 minutes followed by questions.

The quiz will run for around 2 hours.

We have received some queries on the timing of online events. We do try to accommodate as many members as possible by providing both daytime and evening events. I have also moved the timing of the evening talks back to 6.30pm.

However, as you know, NWR is a member led organisation with a very small budget. As such we only have a tiny, part-time staff team with only one staff member who is not administrative. Staff are unable to work past 8pm and so we do need to ask members to be flexible. Many members have started eating their dinner whilst watching the speakers which seems to work quite well...

Monday 14 September

2pm - Conference opening by Josephine Burt

2.15pm - AGM - Please attend if you are free as we need 75 members to reach our quorum

2.45pm - Awarding our new Honorary Memberships

3.30pm - The Most Heroic Failure of Modern Times – Shackleton’s Antarctic - Jeremy Holmes

When Ernest Shackleton set off to cross the Antarctic for the first time in 1914 he was already a celebrated explorer, but his ship quickly got trapped and then crushed in the ice. He and his crew camped for weeks on an ice floe with only rudimentary supplies, until he decided to sail a lifeboat 800 miles to South Georgia – a feat never before attempted. Arriving exhausted they had to climb a mountain range before eventually finding a remote whaling station and ultimately returning to rescue their comrades. Shackleton’s leadership became the stuff of legend; this talk explains why.


Tuesday 15 September at 6.30pm

Art talk – Women in the Picture, Ann Marie Michel

The best artists you've never heard of! This richly illustrated (colour slides) 45-minute talk examines how women artists are forced through tradition, social circumstance, and sexism into certain roles. Using the life stories of key female artists from different periods and different parts of the world, this lively lecture shows us just what is lost when unconventional women are made to fit into pigeonholes.


Wednesday 16 September at 6.30pm

History of Handbags – Susan Howard

Susan has collected vintage handbags for some 35 years. She now uses her collection and her knowledge about handbags to deliver a witty, polished talk about the history of bags through the decades and how they've gained the status they have today.


Thursday 17 September at 6.30pm

From Art to Zoology: A story of evolution. Katrina Van Grouw

Katrina van Grouw discusses evolution and adaptations in birds, but also her personal evolution from artist to science author. Informative, inspirational, and often very, very funny, she talks in particular about her 25-year journey to create her magnum opus The Unfeathered Bird and her more recent publication, Unnatural Selection. These large-scale, beautiful books each include around 400 illustrations. Virtually all the complete skeletons were prepared and reconstructed at home. Join Katrina as she explains her aims and inspirations, shares her insights about animal anatomy and evolution, and relates how her home was turned upside down as more and more specimens joined the queue.


Friday 18 September at 2pm 

Rosemary Cook – The crimes of Dr Gramshaw

Drawing on her book ‘The Crimes of Dr Gramshaw’, Rosemary will keep us all gripped telling us about Dr F Sidney Gramshaw who worked in Stillington and York between 1873 and 1908, when a national scandal erupted as his personal and professional life imploded and a young governess died. This talk explores the true story of this doctor's life and crimes - the major ones at the end of his life, and the history of deceit and tangles with the law that preceded it.


Monday 21 September at 6.30pm

Nick Dobson – Swinging London

The Sixties saw London cast off the gloom of the post-war years and transform into the bright, swinging centre of style and culture. This illustrated timeline provides a reminder of that groovy, swinging decade!


Tuesday 22 September at 2pm

Helen Dale – Transgender: Interplanetary travel from Mars to Venus?

John Gray suggested that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus — but have you ever wondered what it’s like to feel you are on the wrong planet or to travel from one to the other or about what’s involved?

There has been significant coverage recently on television and in the press about transgender issues but how accurate are the programmes and reports?

The talk will examine the difference between male and female brains — why the sexes behave differently and, perhaps, help attendees to understand each other better.

The session then looks at Helen’s own personal journey, how she hid her secret for decades, how she came out to friends and family and at work – with humorous anecdotes on the way; her thought processes as she decided whether transition was appropriate; the treatment involved and her life post transition and surgery.


Wednesday 23 September at 2pm (tbc)

Shops and Shopping – The small shop through the ages. Dr Janet Pennington

We take shopping for granted nowadays, using our local shops (if we still have them) and going to the supermarket. We can even order on-line and have a home delivery at our convenience. How different was it for our ancestors – would we recognise a medieval shopfront in our own High Street? How many have survived? And what about shop signs and shop names – how have they changed? Do you have shop keeping ancestors? Who really said that we are ‘a nation of shopkeepers’?


Thursday 24 September at 6.30pm

The craft of the silversmith. Penny Wheat

A lively and amusing talk based on 36 years as a lecturer at Stafford College. Lavishly illustrated with many items of silverware and jewellery etc.


Friday 25 September at 6.30pm

The Big NWR Quiz 

The equivalent of the conference dinner whereby the idea, in true NWR style, is to meet other members you do not know. All participants will be randomly put into teams of 5-6 people and time will be allocated to introduce yourselves following the first round. All abilities welcome!


Creative Women:

Event Image

Interviews by Marion Molteno with remarkable women

Thursdays at 6pm on Zoom, October 2020 - March 2021


15 October 2020 - Journeys Without a Map: A Writer’s Life

Jen Marshall Haugen, international development worker interviews Marion Molteno on her new memoir


Thursday 29th October at 1.30pm

A History of Witches - Sandy Leong

Behind the stereotypical image of the witch flying on a broomstick wearing a back pointy hat lies a long history of trials, persecution & torture that claimed the lives of hundreds of women & men. The first English Statute was brought in by Henry VIII in 1542 when no one was safe from the accusation of witchcraft. This talk explores the history of magic, witches & witchcraft.

Sandy Leong is an historian, passionate about bringing history to life and is a lively and entertaining speaker. She specializes in the Tudors, an exciting time in the country as it was changing fast; and in the Viking period, who are much more than the stereotype of raiders in horned helmets.


12 November 2020 - Music For Dogs

Carol A Caffrey, Irish actress and poet performs Paula Meehan’s one-woman play & talks about returning to creativity later in life


10 December 2020 - Story Cafe

Wendy Kirk, of Glasgow Women’s Library talks about running a read-aloud group in the East End of the city & how she balances work with raising two children


14 January 2021 - Be an Angel

Pauline Prior-Pitt, poet and artist reads from her collection of poems about women’s lives & talks about life as an artist in the Outer Hebrides


11 February 2021 Poetry Breakfasts and more

Anna Dreda, founder of the Wenlock Poetry Festival talks about running an independent bookshop & encouraging a community of local poets


11 March 2021 - The Art of Translating Fiction

Deborah Dawkin, translator from Norwegian talks about the challenges & rewards of sharing someone else’s story