Breathing Life into History
Danny Wells
Danny's talks, courses and tours 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.

There are currently over twenty five talks on offer to groups societies and schools.
These cover aspects of architecture, art, local history, literary heritage and social history.
The talks, which are illustrated with Powerpoint, last approximately one hour, but can be tailored accordingly.


Derbyshire Walls
Derbyshire Walls - Harry Epworth Allen


Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton in Hobson's Choice


Torch Light Alley
Gustave Dore


The Secret Gardens




Holly Cross Church, Ilam


Little Bo Peep
Walter Crane


Xmas 1888



"Can these dry bones live?"
Henry Bowler (1856)

 

 

Thomas Cook 1901

Lord Curzon

Great Exhibition
Paxton's Crystal Palace


1. An Appreciation of the Southern Peak
A whistle-stop tour of the Derbyshire Dales and Staffordshire Moorlands exploring the contrasts and varieties of the area.

 

2. Art of World War 1
British paintings reflecting the changing nature of war, featuring artists such as Paul Nash and  Stanley Spencer

 

3. Ashbourne - Gateway to Dovedale
Medieval market town and its Georgian heyday; the Romantic movement and lots more…

 

4. ‘Back to the Land’, the Cult of the Countryside
Exploring the alternative movement in late Victorian England, with examples from the local area.

 

5. ‘Cheers’
The history of pubs and drink

 

6. ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’
Insights into life in the nineteenth century as seen through Victorian narrative art.

 

7. Ilam, ‘the place where heaven and earth touch’.
Focusing on the 18th and 19th centuries in the delightful estate village close to Dovedale.

 

8. Leek, ‘the Queen of the Moorlands’.
Exploring Victorian times with an Arts and Crafts flavour in Leek, ‘the town that silk built’.

 

9. Lest We Forget
One Hundred Years of Remembrance and Commemoration

 

10. "The Age of Great Cities.’
 The development of towns and cities in Victorian England

 

11. The Art of Derbyshire
A personal look of favourite art in and of the County

 

12. ‘The City of Dreadful Night’
Poverty and social reform in the East End of London in the late Victorian period

 

13. The English and Gardening
A social history of an English obsession.

 

14. The Fascination of Churches
Observations on some of the wonderful churches in the Derbyshire Dales and Staffordshire Moorlands.

 

15. ‘The Golden Age of Children’s Picture Books & Nursery Rhymes.’
The art work of Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway.

 

16. The Gothic Revival in Staffordshire
Appreciating the work of major architects such as Pugin, Street, Bodley, Scott and Shaw in the county where they left a rich legacy of Gothic Revival church building between 1840 and 1890.

 

17. The Great War-shattered illusions
The romanticised image of war on the run up to 1914 and the shattered illusions thereafter, including the works of some of the WW1 soldier poets.

 

18. The Pubs of Ashbourne
Looking at the history of pubs in Ashbourne

 

19. The ‘Romance of the Derbyshire Dales’
Unmitigated horror or Fairyland? Looking at how the area has been perceived over time, with romance in the air.

 

20. The Victorians and the Christmas Season
How and why the Victorians repackaged and reinvigorated Christmas and the importance of Charles Dickens.

 

21. The Victorian Way of Death
Death was ever present in nineteenth century life. Not as morbid as it may sound, we take a fascinating glimpse into Victorian attitudes to death.


 

 

 

SIX FAMOUS VICTORIANS
WITH LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS
.

22. Catherine Booth
‘The Mother of the Salvation Army’ - Born in Ashbourne, Catherine was a major inspiration behind the Salvation Army, and left a lasting legacy to the world.

 

23. ‘Cook's Tours'
The achievements of Thomas Cook and Son in opening up popular travel.

 

24. Lord Curzon of Kedleston, The Viceroy of India.
A talented, colourful and controversial statesman who presided over the Indian Empire at its apogee.

 

25. Florence Nightingale
‘The Lady with the Lamp’

 

26. Joseph Paxton
‘The busiest man in England’ - Gardens, conservatories, parks, architecture and lots more.

 

27. "Blessed by Pugin"
A.W.N. Pugin – ‘The Father of the Gothic Revival’.

 


Forthcoming Open events.............. Click here for details