King’s Talks 2024

King’s Talks 2024

The first of our 2024 year-round talks takes place in March!

Friday 22 March
6-7pm £7
200 Years of Gloucester Docks 
Histories & Stories from the Port 
Tony Conder
Ivor Gurney Hall, King’s School Gloucester


Gloucester Docks, the most inland seaport in Great Britain, opened to the firing of guns and the ringing of church bells in 1827 and its history offers a fascinating glimpse into Victorian city and maritime life. Heralding the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival in May, historian Tony Conder tells the story of the Tall Ships that came from the Continent, the Baltic and North America, the people who worked on them and the townsfolk that lived alongside. From dock policemen to sailors, he offers a compelling portrait of Gloucester in the Victorian Age telling the stories of the people and events that shaped the 160 years of the working port.


Tony Conder is one of Britain’s leading experts on canals and waterways. For 25 years he was Curator of the British Waterways Collection, opened Gloucester’s National Waterways Museum in 1988 and took its collection to national designated status in 1999.

With grateful thanks to our King’s Talks sponsors: Allstone, Hazlewoods, The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire’s Trust and King’s School, Gloucester.

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King’s Talks 2024 Events

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fri22mar6:00 pmfri7:00 pm200 Years of Gloucester Docks Histories & Stories from the PortTony Conder

Previous King’s Talks:

With Carlton Green, and Bernard Westcarr: Windrush 75: Welcome to Gloucester,

Both born in Jamaica they came to live in Gloucester in 1957 and 1960. They joined Gail Johnson, whose book A Long Five Years explores the lives of older Black citizens in Gloucester, most of whom came to the City from Jamaica in young adulthood, to talk about their lives and experiences in the city. Marking the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush and Black History Month, this special event was curated and chaired by Carole Francis-McGann of the St Ann Society of Gloucester.

With Del Barrett: Dorothy & Friends: Pioneering Photographer Dorothy Wilding

Did you know the first woman appointed as the Official Royal Photographer and one of the most influential figures of her age was born in Gloucester and bought her first camera on Cheltenham High Street? Del Barrett, chair and founder of Hundred Heroines, transported us back to the glamour and gossip of London’s Roaring Twenties and Hollywood’s Golden Age as she told Dorothy’s incredible story.

With Matt Cass and Paul James: Do you really know the history of Gloucester? Well think again!

Did you know that Humpty Dumpty was created in Gloucester during the English Civil War, that Gloucester Cathedral was destined for demolition, that a Gloucester poem kept Nelson Mandela’s spirits up in prison, that the Beatles played at Wetherspoons or that the vacuum cleaner was invented here? Paul James and Matt Cass revealed the City’s fascinating secret histories explored in their book 100 Facts, Myths & Legends about Gloucester.

With David Evans: Are school days really the best days of our lives?

Historian, archivist and former Deputy Head of King’s School David Evans lifted the lid on the intriguing history of Gloucester’s oldest schools and some extraordinary pupils. From Gloucester’s John Stafford Smith, who wrote the US national anthem ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, to the 14th century schoolboys allowed a pig’s bladder to play ‘mob football’ in the streets of medieval Gloucester on Shrove Tuesday. David Evans talked about his recently published book, The Ancient Schools of Gloucester to kick off the first season of the Gloucester History Festival’s King’s Talks.

With grateful thanks to our King’s Talks sponsors: Allstone, Hazlewoods, The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire’s Trust and King’s School, Gloucester.

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