The TOWER TALKS 2013 – all tickets cost £2 and include refreshments, and proceeds go to the Conservation of St Michael’s Tower (all talks start at 11 am).

Saturday 20 April: “Prisoner of War Camps and Hostels 1939 – 1945″. During WW2 Gloucester and the surrounding areas housed both German and Italian prisoners of war.  Many stayed in the  area and played a vital role in their local community. This is a new talk based on a forthcoming book by Ian Hollingsbee of Gloucester Civic Trust.

Saturday 27 April: “The Life and Works of Will Henley – A Gloucester Poet”. Born in 1849 in Gloucester, Henley lived a life of poverty and in pain.  Nevertheless he was a leader of literary men inspiring the works of Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, H G Wells and many more. His own poems gave hope to world leaders such  as Nelson Mandela and Gordon Brown. This talk was first aired in September 2012 for Heritage Open Weekend – and by popular demand, as people missed it, is being presented once more by Ian Holt of Gloucester Civic Trust. The talk also includes poems from Henley’s “Arabian Nights” and the poem Invictus.

Saturday 18 May: “Who Lives in a house like this?”. First presented for Heritage Open Weekend last year, where people were disappointed not to get a ticket as the talk was sold out, this is an opportunity to see what you missed!  A fascinating “tour” of the cathedral precincts finding out about the buildings surrounding the cathedral – what they were and some of the people who lived in them. Early booking a must! By Geoffrey Johnston of Gloucester Civic Trust.

Saturday 15 June: “Fred Archer – a Gloucestershire Sporting Hero”. Born in 1857, Fred was once the most celebrated jockeys in England. At over 5 foot 8  inches, he was unusually tall for a jockey.  Much of his life was spent on a near starvation diet, endless ‘purges’, and Turkish baths, all of which were eventually to  have a disastrous affect on his health. A talk given by Kevin George of the Gloucestershire Family History Society.

Saturday 22 June: “Welcome to Gloucester”. Stories and amusing anecdotes about famous, fascinating and colourful characters from Kings to commoners who have visited Gloucester through the ages. By Christine Morgan of Gloucester Civic Trust.

Saturday 13 July: “The Life and Times of Jemmy Wood”. A rare opportunity to hear Civic Trust Chairman Robin Morris. Jemmy one of the richest men in the country, and probably the meanest, he inspired the novels of Charles Dickens. The character Scrooge was based on Jemmy Wood as well as other Dickens’ novels “Bleak House” and  “Our Mutual Friend”. Not to be missed! Early booking advisable.

Saturday  17 August: “The History of the Jews and the historical affects on Gloucester”. A fascinating and emotional tale of the Jewish Community and their legacy to the people of Gloucester. A talk by Ian Holt of Gloucester Civic Trust. This was a sell out talk last year and many were disappointed not to get a seat as so many were turned away. Early booking advisable.

Saturday 28 September: “The Story of Bell Making” with Phil Moss. The Rudhall family were prolific bell makers in Gloucester and their bells can be found in many UK churches today as well as in St Michael’s Tower.  Phil’s talk traces the history of bell making over the centuries. Early Booking advisable.

Tickets are available from Gloucester Tourist Information Centre and St Michael’s Tower -programme may be subject to changes beyond our control. Please check for updates.