Breathing Life into History
Danny Wells
Danny's talks and courses celebrate the history of the Victorian age.
There is also a strong focus on the Derbyshire Dales, Staffordshire Moorlands & London's East End.
His aim is to unlock the past, discovering, stimulating and creating a greater understanding of these areas.

 

Forthcoming Events

 

COURSES


An Appreciation of the Derbyshire Dales and the Staffordshire Moorlands

The Course: The Derbyshire Dales and the Staffordshire Moorlands are areas of great beauty and fascinating variety. The course offers an understanding of the area through its architecture, art, history, work and landscape. There will be a focus on the 18th and 19th Centuries seeking the legacies of both the Romantic Movement and the Gothic Revival. It is intended to include a fieldtrip to the market town of Leek the ‘Queen of the Moorlands.’

DATES: Commencing Tuesday 3 March 2015 (11.00 am-1.00 pm) for five weeks finishing Tuesday 31 March 2015. Architectural Field Trip to Leek on Wednesday 25 March 2015 (am)

VENUE: All Saints Community Hall (Catholic Church), Belle Vue, Ashbourne

TO BOOK : Contact Derby WEA (01332-291805); derbyoffice@wea.org.uk.

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Darkest England and the Way Out

In London’s East End in the late 19th century at the heart of Britain’s vast empire, poverty and crime were manifest. With Jack the Ripper lurking amidst the ‘stained slums of Empire,’ this course will explore the world of Dr. Barnardo, the Booth’s Salvation Army, Canon and Henrietta Barnett, Angela Burdett- Coutts  (the ‘Queen of the Poor’), Frederick Charrington, Annie Besant and other social and political reformers in their attempts to reform or redeem the society they lived in. There will be opportunities to reflect on how successful they were.

DATES: Friday 13 March – Sunday 15 March 2015

VENUE: Alston Hall, Alston Lane, Longridge, Preston, PR3 3BP

TO BOOK: Alston Hall. Tel: 01772-784661; e-mail: alstonhall@lancashire.gov.uk

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Famous Victorians
Victorian Britain was an age of great dynamism, creativity and change. This course will look at five ‘movers and shakers’ of the time, exploring their lives and achievements:

  • Joseph Paxton, ‘The busiest man in England.’- gardening, engineering and architecture.
  • Florence Nightingale, ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ –nursing and army reforms;
  • Catherine Booth, ‘The Mother of the Salvation Army’ –poverty, religion and social reform;
  • Thomas Cook, ‘The Julius Caesar of modern travel’ – popular tourism;
  • Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India-imperialism, politics, conservation.

DATES: Sunday 10 May- Tuesday 12 May 2015

VENUE: Higham Hall, Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9SH

TO BOOK:  Higham Hall; Tel: 017687 762 76; e-mail: admin@higham hall.com

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Exploring Gardens from the Armchair
(A pilgrimage in search of the art and meaning of gardens and gardening)

Gardening is arguably the most popular activity in contemporary Britain. We will go in search of meanings and symbolism invested in gardens and flowers; as well as exploring how they have been depicted by British artists. The main focus will be Georgian and Victorian Britain and the first half of the 20th century. This course could be accused of dwelling on the romance of gardening rather than the hard graft!

DATES: Sunday 22 November- Tuesday 24 November 2015

VENUE: Higham Hall, Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9SH

TO BOOK:  Higham Hall; Tel: 017687 762 76; e-mail: admin@higham hall.com

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‘Our Final Lot’: Death and Immortality

Not as morbid as it may sound! Focussing mainly on the 19th and 20th century, we will explore customs associated with death and funerary practices; monuments and effigies; graveyards and cemeteries; death in art and literature and the impact of religion, war and improved medical practices on funerals and commemoration.

DATES: Tuesday 24 November- Thursday 26 November 2015

VENUE: Higham Hall, Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9SH

TO BOOK:  Higham Hall; Tel: 017687 762 76; e-mail :admin@higham hall.com

 

 

New Talks and Tours in the pipeline

Illustrated Talks:

- Flowers in Art

ART OF THE CHRISTMAS CARD         Now ready!!
One hundred years of the Christmas Card (c 1846-1940s)

 

 

CRUISE TALKS

Famous Victorians

The course will look at five ‘movers and shakers’ of the Victorian Age. We will explore their work and achievements, analyse their qualities and assess their effectiveness in their respective fields:

  • Joseph Paxton, ‘The busiest man in England.’- engineering and architecture;
  • Florence Nightingale, ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ –nursing and army reforms;
  • Catherine Booth, ‘The Mother of the Salvation Army’ –poverty, religion and social reform;
  • Thomas Cook, ‘The Julius Caesar of modern travel’ – popular tourism;
  • Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India-imperialism, politics, conservation;

DATES: Monday 7 – Monday 21 July 2014

VENUE: ‘Boudicca’- Greenland’s Glaciers and Great Lakes Cruise
 
TO BOOK: Fred Olsen’s Cruise Lines 0808 256 7721

 

 

BOOKS

I am currently seeking publication for the following book:

EAST OF POPLAR IN MANDALAY
Lives at the heart of Empire 1888-1951

This is a story of the rich and turbulent history of Poplar and the East End of London and its relationship to Empire and Indian subcontinent in particular.

It is explored through the life of James (‘Pop’) Wells of Wells’s Junk Shop in the East India Dock Road, Poplar with the focus on the late Victorian period and the first half of the 20th century until the Festival of Britain in 1951. 

This is a story of a particular person in a peculiar place in a time of wars and the rise and fall of an Empire.

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CATHERINE BOOTH
‘The Mother of the Salvation Army’

This biography is almost finished! Then I shall be looking for publication in 2015 which is the 150th Anniversary of the Salvation Army.