The Signalman: a spine-chilling tale for the New Year - 14 January 2016 : see events page


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Silence is Golden: An Evening of Cinema from a Century Ago

Thursday 10 December 2015 £10



Join us for a double bill of film from a century ago with live piano accompaniment. performed by pianist and composer Martyn Niele, who will be improvising the score.

Scrooge 1913: a British film based on the 1843 novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens starring Seymour Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge.

The Tramp  1915: the first real appearance of Chaplain’s famous Tramp persona, which, for the vast worldwide audience that adored him, the laughter induced was the antidote to the anxieties and concerns of their lives. Praised as a miracle cure in the First World War, Chaplin’s films were even shown to injured soldiers. Film projectors were specially fitted to project onto the ceilings of field and base hospitals.

The Signalman: a chilling tale for the new year, performed by Gerald Dickens

Thursday 14 January 2016 £10.50Book now

Starts at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm

Describing an errie encounter between two men the anonymous narrator of the story and a railway signal man, The Signalman is Charles Dickens’ most atmospheric and spine-chilling ghost story. Dickens often performed it himself as part of his tours to theatres up and down the country. 

Now here is the unique opportunity of seeing the story performed by his great-great-grandson, acclaimed actor Gerald Dickens. 

Material Memories: The Art of Mourning Jewellery in the Victorian Era.

Thursday 18 February 2016 £7Book now

 7.30pm.  Doors open at 7pm

Through their physical proximity to the body, jewelled goods are highly personal objects. Jewellery has the power to create strong memories, either through its materiality or in invocations implied through inscriptions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Victorian mourning jewellery.

In this talk, Dr Natasha Awais-Dean illustrates the art of mourning jewellery in this period and explores its sentiment and significance to the people who wore it.

Douglas Adams in the 21st Century: a talk by Jem Roberts

Friday 11 March 2016 £7Book now

Starts at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm

To mark the birthday of Douglas Adams, comedy historian and Adams' official biographer Jem Roberts examines how the universe has changed since the loss of the visionary humourist 15 years ago and how we are now living in the world he predicted at the end of the last century – with exclusive readings from the unpublished Adams archive.

Jem Roberts is the official chronicler of the nation’s favourite radio comedy I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and the nation’s favourite sitcom, Blackadder. His third book, DOUGLAS ADAMS: THE FROOD was published as a 35th Anniversary Celebration of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Mrs Henry Wood - Victorian Bestseller: A talk by Dr Andrew Maunder

Thursday 14 April 2016 £7Book now

Doors open at 7pm starts 7.30pm

One of the grandest marble tombs in Highgate Cemetery belongs to Ellen Wood (1814-1887). Under the familiar trademark `Mrs Henry Wood’ she was one of the most popular novelists of the nineteenth century outselling Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Unlike them, however, this diminutive figure who lived much of her life as an invalid is no longer a household name. In her own day she was famous for scandalous novels dealing with adultery, murder, alcoholism, forgery, the most famous of which East Lynne (1861) became a famous stage play and film. It is one of the plays of this novel which contains the famous line: 'Dead, dead, and never called me mother', making Wood synonymous with powerful brand of weeping melodrama. Wood is a curious figure, a very `respectable’ woman who became a celebrity on the basis of lurid novels but who after the First World War became forgotten. This talk will examine Wood’s life, her appeal for Victorian readers and what she tells us about the illusory nature of fame.

Andrew Maunder is Head of English at the University of Hertfordshire and is the author of books on nineteenth century crime and of biographies of Bram Stoker and Wilkie Collins.

The Frock Coated Communist: The Life of Frederick Engels a talk by Dr Tristram Hunt MP

Thursday 26 May 2016 £10Book now


Friedrich Engels is one of the most attractive and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous mercantile family in west Germany, he spent his career working in the Manchester cotton industry, riding to the Cheshire hounds, and enjoying the comfortable, middle-class life of a Victorian gentleman. Yet Engels was also the co-founder of international communism - the philosophy which in the 20th century came to control one third of the human race. He was the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, a ruthless party tactician, and the man who sacrificed his best years so Karl Marx could write Das Kapital.

In this talk Tristram Hunt examines the diversity and exuberance of Engels's era: how one of the great bon viveurs of Victorian Britain reconciled his raucous personal life with this uncompromising political philosophy.