Organisations looking to fill engaging slots in their talks programmes for members will surely find just the job from the selection of talks offered below. Most talks take approximately one hour and are fully illustrated. To book a talk send an email via the link below, and provide a contact number.

A Crown Story
Site of Camp Toll

Nurseries and malting, treadwheel and commenting; and much evasion of dues. All can be discovered within a few hundred yards of The Crown PH – although many locals had other names for this spot.

Camp: the Place on the Hill
Camp Hill settlement

No better place to live than near a stream or two, and watch the militias at play – or work. To live here was once to live life on the edge and beyond. We worked the land and saw the railway arrive; we also witnessed the hamlet change before our eyes. Eventually, they brought the school to us – well, almost.

Beaumonts: a Story of Two Manors
Second Beaumont Manor

One missing manor, then another; a Cromwell connection and then a takeover. People have been fed from the land here for two millennia. Nowadays, everyone seems to want to live here, but there is still archaeology to be had.

Fleetville: a Game of Consequences
Bycullah Terrace Fleetville

There was no planning or order here; no-one in control. But there were plenty of opportunities; and penalties to be paid as well. Politics played a major role, and some of the social issues of the time left their mark. This is the talk where we actually discover the origin of St Albans' Own East End.

Flicks in Fleetville
Saturday children's cinema

St Albans' fourth cinema; the one no-one's even heard of. But it did exist. No-one paid to see a show there, and the entrepreneur who came to run it had already cut his teeth in bigger towns and at grander show buildings. Wasn't Fleetville lucky? However, the biggest show of all was the drama played out at the Town Hall.

Hill End: What Lies Beneath
Hill End surviving ward block

This is the story of a missing community; one that came, lived out its existence and then disappeared. It was a community dedicated to the social and medical care of thousands of patients over a period of a century. Today, there is a new community forging different lives; but this is the story of what was.

East to Smallford
Three Horseshoes PH, Smallford

This is not a "nothing" area; it is a little place full of connections; its history runs quietly deep. Both road and rail have linked disparate communities, and their members have played a part in some of the country's key economic and social changes, from leisure to food, and fashion to education.

St Albans' East End: an Overview
Flooded Sutton Road – Sutton Lakes

This talk builds the story of the east side of the city, and carved out its largest parish, St Peter. From a largely agricultural base, unable to sustain its large workforce, the district grew homes and factories instead. Thus it became the engine house of St Albans.

Letting Herts Advertiser Photos Tell the Story
Bombed homes Herts Advertiser photo

The Herts Advertiser has witnessed the entirety of the East End's history – and more. And from the first decade of the twentieth century the newspaper illustrated its reports with photographs. The speaker re-photographed all of those which were published following a massive act of historical vandalism. He chooses thirty pictures which chart a story of the city through the inter-war years and into the modern era.

The Chalk Rooms of London Colney
Tytttenhanger Lodge school

Villages tended to be forgotten in the developing role of children's education. Classrooms there were in London Colney, though they might not have been easily recognised as such; note the absence of play spaces. How fortunate everyone considered the 1930s to have been when, for the first time, villagers could say with pride, "now that's a proper school."

Cell Barnes: What Lies Beneath
Cell Barnes children's ward

The second talk of the pair; the daughter institution of adjacent Hill End. Its life began in the 1930s and, like its parent, pioneered treatments and therapies to provide better lives for its patients. They then went out into the world to make it happen. Newcomers have since arrived to build new lives.

Paying the Price
Paying a toll

Many people paid dearly; while others played the evasion game. This is the story of the Reading & Hatfield Turnpike Road – the 18th and 19th century Hatfield road in all its controversial glory. We think we suffer from potholes; you should have seen it then.

A Collection
Stanton horse and cart St Peter's Street

This talk comprises a small collection of three or four shorter stories. The composition will vary according to the occasion, depending on the venue or topicality. But they will inevitably include accounts you are unlikely to have previously encountered.

Letting Photographs Tell the Story
Youth group from St Paul's

It doesn't matter where they come from, but arrive they do. In boxes and albums from attics and cupboards, there is an increasing collection of pictures now available to share. Each one tells a particular story related in some way to Fleetville or the wider East End. This talk uses twenty-five such images. Sit back and enjoy.


Speaker Mike Neighbour

Mike Neighbour

You're never going to kill story telling, because it's built into the human plan. We come with it.
Margaret Atwood, poet, novellist, essayist and environmental activist.