History Group

David Cheshire

Group Leader: David Cheshire

Venue: St’ Michael’s Parish Centre. Fortnightly.

Day/Time: Tuesday 11.00 am – 12.30 am

Contact: email David here Tel: 01202 820823

Ancient technology centre see report and pictures of History group visit to the centre at Cranborne here

The Group

The History Group is a large and very friendly group of people from all backgrounds. No previous knowledge of history is required or assumed. What unites us is an interest in the topics, which we agree each year, and a strong belief that history should be fun. We particularly enjoy discussion and debate. I email round all my notes before each session. Whether you look at them or not is purely optional; each session is free-standing and everything is explained. If you like history, or like the idea of trying it as a new interest, we promise you a warm welcome. The only qualification required is your interest and enthusiasm and a wish to learn and have fun in good company.


PART 1 –  A World History of Empire

PART 2 – A World History of Science

The pursuit of power is a central theme in human history: power as authority over other people, and power as mastery over nature. As Francis Bacon, the 17th century English philosopher said, “knowledge itself is power”. In this two-part topic we’ll discuss the world histories of empire and of science from the earliest times to the present day.

No previous knowledge is required, just an interest; all will be explained. We’re a large Group, but Verwood u3a were kind enough to give us a nice, airy venue with plenty of space and chairs so numbers shouldn’t be a problem. Please contact me as soon as possible if you have any questions and/or are interested in booking a place for September 2024.

PART 1 –  A World History of Empire

  1. Introduction: empire, emperors and geopolitics
  2. Origins: Mesopotamia and India
  3. East and West: Han China and Rome 
  4. The middle ages: the desert and the sown
  5. Early modern: merchant, soldier, sage
  6. 19th and 20th century: empires ancient and  modern 
  7. Conclusion: the last emperor 

Assyrian Relief
King Ashurnasirpal II with a god

PART 2 – A History of Science

Early Science
Exploring the Unknown

  1. Introduction: the magical origins of science
  2. Science in the earliest civilisations
  3. Greeks and Romans: reason and observation
  4. Medieval science: the light ages
  5. Scientific revolutions: the sleepwalkers
  6. 19th and 20th century science and technology
  7. Conclusion: new frontiers; the universe, genetics and AI.

The Leader

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

2023 – 2024 Notes

Ancient and Modern

2022 – 2023 Notes

English Pastoral

Alfred the Great presentation by Sue Elve

2021 – 2022 Notes

Modern Paradise notes

2020 – 2021 Notes

Stories of Hearts and Minds in the 19th Century

Paradise Regained – Stories of Power & Glory

2019 – 2020 Notes

Autumn/Spring – Paradise Lost


Notes from previous sessions can be seen in the History Archive click here