Programme: 2018 – 2019

All meetings are held (unless otherwise stated) at 7.30 p.m. in the Lord Mayor’s Room of the New Walk Museum, Leicester (entrance is via the front door: for disabled access please use the wooden access ramp, off the Museum Car park.) Car parking is available on the adjacent streets, and the Museum is within walking distance of the railway station and major bus routes. The room is open from 7.15 p.m. and proceedings usually finish around 9.00 pm.  Last year’s programme can be found here.


1st October 2018
President’s Address

Digital Humanities: Old wine in new bottles

This will be followed by a social gathering. The Lord Mayor of Leicester will attend.

15th October 2017

The Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity

Professor Sir Michael Marmot
Director of the Institute of Health Equity, University College, London

Taking action to reduce health inequalities is a matter of social justice. In developing strategies for tackling health inequalities we need to confront the social gradient in health not just the difference between the worst off and everybody else.  There is clear evidence when we look across countries that national policies make a difference and that much can be done in cities, towns and local areas. But policies and interventions must not be confined to the health care system; they need to address the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.  The evidence shows that economic circumstances are important but are not the only drivers of health inequalities. Tackling the health gap will take action, based on sound evidence, across the whole of society.

Sponsored by De Montfort University


22nd October 2018 at 5.30 pm in the Ken Edwards Building at the University of Leicester

University of Leicester Centenary Lecture

History and Memory: the first 100 years of the University of Leicester

Professor Gordon Campbell FBA

29th October 2018

Shelley’s Women

Professor Kelvin Everest
A.C. Bradley Professor of Modern Literature, Liverpool University

Shelley’s relationships with women caused great controversy during his short life, and continue to do so to this day. The lecture will consider the successive adventures, catastrophes and mysteries of these relationships, including those with his first love Harriet Grove, his first wife Harriet Westbrook (who committed suicide), his second wife Mary Shelley, her step-sister Fanny Godwin (who also committed suicide), and his entanglements with Emilia Viviani and Jane Williams among others. The lecture will attempt to set these affairs in the context of Shelley’s radical idealism.

Sponsored by the University of Leicester

12th November 2018

Victoria and Albert Museum: The Past and the Future

Dr Tristram Hunt
Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum


Lecture held in Partnership with New Walk Museum

26th November 2018

Sacrifice and Remembrance

Mr Jeremy Prescott
Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)

This presentation evolved when Jeremy Prescott was Chief Executive of the charity RCC (Leics & Rutland) as he thought of ways of supporting rural communities in their commemoration of the 100th anniversary of WW1. The presentation which received Heritage Lottery funding  covers the scale of the sacrifice in that war, the evolution of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, personalities involved, stories behind some of the headstones and how we now  commemorate the fallen in recent conflicts.

7th January 2019

Joint lecture with the Geology Section

Speaker and title to be announced

21st January 2019

Challenging Times

Professor Andrew J Pollard FMedSci
Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity. University of Oxford

Typhoid causes a serious and potentially fatal disease in parts of the world where the population has access only to poor water quality and inadequate sanitation. The Salmonella bacteria that cause it carry genes which make it resistant to antibiotics and recent spread of resistant bacterial clones has made the disease almost untreatable in recent outbreaks. Typhoid essentially disappeared from Europe and North America as positive pressure mains-water supplies and water purification were introduced. Engineering works are the solution to typhoid infection but investment in this important public health intervention in the poorest regions of the world is slow and construction will take years. To improve health today, new vaccines hold promise to control the disease and stem the rise in antibiotic-resistant infection.

Sponsored by the British Science Association

4th February 2019

Leicester Mercury Media Lecture

Title to be announced

Professor Jean Seaton
Professor of Media History, University of Westminster, Official Historian of the BBC

Sponsored by Leicester Mercury

18th February 2019

The Chemical Cosmos

Dr June McCombie
School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham

Over recent years astronomers have realised that chemistry plays a crucial role in controlling the evolutionary cycle where stars are formed from vast clouds of gas and dust, then age and then die either simply by cooling down or in the spectacular brilliance of an exploding star. With the help of chemists, they have created a new scientific discipline, astrochemistry, which seeks to understand the important role that chemistry has to play in our cosmos.

So, let us take a look at how astrochemists explore a chemically controlled cosmos using the tools of a chemist and an astronomer and the personal journey of one astrochemist into this field of work.

Sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry

4th March 2019

Saving Bumblebees

Professor Dave Goulson FRES
School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex

Joint lecture with The Natural History Section

Bumblebees are amongst the most important of wild pollinators; many wildflowers would not set seed without them, and they are the main pollinators of crops such as tomatoes, blueberries and raspberries. Sadly, many bumblebees are in decline, with 3 species now extinct in the UK and the first global extinction recently occurring in USA. These declines are symptomatic of broader environmental damage that threatens our future wellbeing; the fate of man and bees are inextricably linked. Dave Goulson will discuss the drivers of bee declines, and the many things we can all do to halt and reverse them.

11th March 2019

The Peach Lecture

Experiencing Design

Mr Sebastian Conran
Product and Brand Development Consultant

This lecture will focus not only on design being a rigorous and discerning activity concerned with ‘Engineering Experiences’ to create a ‘Perception of Value’; but also Conran’s personal career during four decades of change from UK being an analogue manufacturing hub to culture being driven by digital technology.

Lecture held in association with the University of Leicester 

5.30 pm, Ken Edwards Building University of Leicester

18th March 2019

Speaker and title to be announced

Lecture sponsored by Loughborough University

26th April 2019

Annual General Meeting

followed by a recital by young musicians from the University of Leicester, directed by Dr Paul Jenkins (6.45 start)

Refreshments will be served in the interval