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All our talks begin promptly at 2.30pm except where shown. After the talk we hold a raffle, and then serve tea, coffee and biscuits. We'll usually finish by 4.00pm.

We make a small charge to cover our costs. This is £2.00 for members and £3.00 for non-members.

The talks usually take place at one of two venues:

Swanage -We meet in the hall of All Saints Church, Ulwell Road BH19 1LL. There is a lay-by in front of the church and a small car park at the side. There is also usually plenty of space to park on-street nearby. Buses stop outside. Click here for a map.


Wareham -  We meet in Carey Hall , in Mistover Road, BH20 4BY, where there is ample FREE parking. Nearest bus stop is Wareham Station, about 300 yards away. Click here for a map.

We do our best to alternate between the two towns, but it depends on the availability of both the venue and the speaker.

We try to put the talks in the 'Spotlight' section of The Purbeck Gazette, which is circulated free in the area monthly, and on the 'Events' pages of the Echo Newspapers websites. We also advertise them on posters in various locations.

I sometimes leave some past talks on this page to give an idea of the range of topics we cover.

Date & Venue


Thursday 20th September

Kew - not just a pretty garden - Elizabeth Hedley Purbeck born and raised, Elizabeth has been a guide at The Royal Botanic Gardens for 25 years. She has a wealth of knowledge and stories about the plants and their histories. So, her talk will be a posy of colours and textures about planters and planting, rare specimens and the different seasons from an insiderís perspective. We then visit Kew in November.

Tuesday 16th October

Puffins and Their Kin in Purbeck - Ilay Cooper, the well-known author and photographer, talks about the puffins that, in his boyhood, were widespread along our coast, and how, as teenagers, he and his friends looked after oiled puffins and other auks.

Ilay is a photographer, art historian, traveller, expert on SE Asia and a writer of observant and erudite books on local and exotic subjects eg Purbeck Revealed, The Square and Compass, The Painted Towns of Shekhawati. He has documented buildings, mural paintings and monuments for the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage.

Thursday 15th November

Reminiscences of a Dancing Man - Richard Wirdnam talks about music and dance in Thomas Hardy's writings, with musical examples.

Richard has an immense knowledge of literature and music. Thomas Hardy played a fiddle in his family band so for this talk Richard has combined his love of the tunes collected locally with his love of literature. He will be illustrating the use of and links between the folk tunes referred to in Thomas Hardyís literary works.

Tuesday 15th January

Radical Dorset: 500 years of Protest - Harriet Still The Shire Hall in Dorchester, formerly the Old Law Court, was the centre of official justice and is where Thomas Hardy was a Magistrate, the Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced and murderess Martha Brown condemned to hang.

This beautiful building is now a hub for performances and exhibitions charting the fights for justice by generations of Dorset folk.

Harriet will explore some of the intriguing stories about the popular and grassroots responses to injustice as illustrated in the recent 'Radical Dorset' exhibition.

Thursday 21st February

Stories and Skeletons from the Family Tree - Sylvia McClintock Wright will tell some fascinating tales of her ancestors and families associated with Smedmore House

Tuesday 19th March

An Actorís life for me! - Roger Martin, former Sit-Com actor (Terry & June, No Place Like Home and Dave Allen),  takes us through his life on stage, television and in recent West End musicals, pausing occasionally to raise questions about what it is that makes an actor.

Thursday 18th April
AGM After the formal stuff our guest speaker will be Angela Cott, the Trust's General Manager on Brownsea Island.

This page was last updated 04 January 2019

© The Purbeck Association of The National Trust