Breathing Life into History
Danny Wells
Danny's talks & courses are an eclectic mix of social and cultural history.
Victorian Britain features strongly as does art history and gardens.
Geographically there is a focus on the Derbyshire Dales, Staffordshire Moorlands and the East End of London.

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

Chaplin with Ghandi in Canning Town 1931
Chaplin with Gandhi
in Canning Town
22 September 1931

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. "A Garden Within Doores"
A social history of flowers and plants in the home


2. 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.

3. Art of the Christmas Card
One hundred years of the Christmas Card (c.1846-1940s)

4. Art of Flowers
An appreciation of flowers in art whilst exploring meanings and associated symbolism and the language of flowers.


5. Art of the Garden
One hundred years of British Art of Gardens (c.1850-1950)

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


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


8. ‘Cheers’
The history of pubs and drink


9. ‘East End Life Through the Lens of a Camera
Snapshots of life and culture in the East End of London as captured on camera from one World War to another


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


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


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


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


14. ‘Our Marie’
The life and times of Marie Lloyd and the Music Hall


15. The Art of Derbyshire
A personal look of favourite art associated with this fine County.


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


17. The English & Gardening
A social history of an English obsession.


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


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


20. 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.


21. 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.


22. 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.


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


24. 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.


25. Art & the East End
Exploring the significance of art in East End history from 1600 through to World War II.



26. 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.


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


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


29. Florence Nightingale
‘The Lady with the Lamp’ Her life and achievements.


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


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