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History Group

Group Leader

David Cheshire (01202 820823)

At : The Hub


Tuesday 10.00 - 11.30


Please ensure you contact the Group Leader as places are limited.


Topics for 2019 - 2020

Paradise Lost: Four Stories of Revolution 1688 - 1832

 “The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness” (T.S. Elliot “The Rock”)

We will look at the period 1688-1832, the “long 18th century”, through four stories of revolution. Each story is focused on a different city, each illuminates a different aspect of the modern world, but each is also beset with contradictions. Are these stories of success or failure?

  1. Stability: London

 How Britain evolved a revolutionary form of constitutional and parliamentary government while pretending to be restoring past glories
Sessions to include: the outbreak of political stability; Burke and conservatism; the Great Reform Act of 1832.

  1. Enlightenment: Paris

How the hope and optimism of the Enlightenment gave way to Revolutionary Terror and Napoleonic dictatorship
Sessions to include: the Enlightenment and its enemies; interpretations of the French Revolution; Napoleon “the Great”.

  1. Democracy: Philadelphia

How the American Revolution made it necessary to create a nation
Sessions to include: interpretations of the American Revolution; the Philadelphia Convention; Hamilton and the Constitution.

  1. Energy: Birmingham

How the city of a thousand trades created humanity’s second greatest revolution
Sessions to include: the many fathers of the steam engine; “selling what all the world desires” - Watt, Boulton and the Soho Foundry; interpretations of the Industrial Revolution.

  1. Epilogue: Building Jerusalem

How debates about the Victorian city expressed British responses to modernity
Sessions to include: Pugin versus the Panopticon; debating the Victorian city



Notes from previous sessions can be seen in

History Archive click here


I joined Verwood U3A when I moved here in 2009 as a way of meeting people and keeping my brain active. I have been a member of various U3A Groups, including Family History, Current Affairs and the Reading Group and was a Committee member for a time. I used to be a history teacher and I volunteered to re-start the History Group in 2010. The enthusiasm here for history is tremendous. We enjoy learning together  and I have can safely say that I have never enjoyed history more.


The History Group is a friendly group of enthusiasts from all backgrounds. No previous knowledge is required or assumed and we agree different topics each year. We strongly believe that history should be fun. We enjoy discussion and debate, sometimes in small groups, and look at a lot of historical documents to help us get into each topic. All my notes and handouts are posted on the website after each session by our webmaster Tony Bird (also a History Group member). If you like history, or would like to try it as a new interest, we will give you a warm welcome. No previous knowledge is assumed or needed, just your interest and enthusiasm and a wish to learn.