History Inc.

History Inc. Newsletter



Dear students/delegates

We hope you are all keeping well and safe in this difficult time.

I am writing on behalf of the MANCENT history and literature tutors who have been providing courses and day schools in Manchester locations (Cross Street Chapel, Union Chapel, Emmanuel Church, Stockport and Chorlton venues) for many years.  As you will be aware, we are not able to offer courses in the conventional ways in the summer term.  If the situation vis-à-vis face-to-face meetings changes in the summer (from July onwards) and it becomes possible to offer courses, we will of course let you know.

However, we are going to offer a programme of classes through the online conference facility Zoom - https://zoom.us/

We have tested the platform and find it to be remarkably easy to use and accessible.  Here is what we plan to do.

Welcome to Zoom History – 21 & 22 April 2020

Keeping the usual 1.30-3.30pm time slots for Tuesday and Wednesday classes we are offering two free online taster sessions:


Tuesday 21st April 1.30-3.30

A series of short talks by tutors offer a chance to orientate yourselves with Zoom video conferencing and iron out any technical issues

Kevin Harrison

Prime Minister struck down by the flu.  In September 1918, in Manchester, the PM  was struck down by a raging flu pandemic.  How the 1918-19 'Spanish' flu nearly carried off Lloyd George, a fifty-five year old prime minister.

Tim Cockitt

In the early months of WW1, in East Africa, Kaiser Wilhelm’s navy dominated Lake Tanganyika, which was strategically important.  To counter the German presence on the lake, the British sent the extraordinary and eccentric Lt. Commander Spicer-Smith, equipped with the secret weapons “Mimi” and “Toutou”, on a 10,000 mile journey ... the story is a classic “Boy’s Own” adventure.

Birgitta Hoffmann

Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and East Africa in WWI.  The one theatre of war in which Germany remained undefeated in November 1918.


Wednesday 22nd April 1.30-3.30

The second in our series of short talks by tutors offer a chance to orientate yourselves with Zoom video conferencing and iron out any technical issues

Dave Kissack

Inventing the future - Tesla and Edison.  One a tragic visionary who died in relative obscurity and poverty, the other a prolific inventor who would hold more patents than any other in history and would become one of the most famous men of his time.

Creina Mansfield

Basil Dean masterminded a worldwide organisation to bring entertainment to the troops during WWII, yet he did not receive the expected knighthood after the war, and ENSA did not join the victory parade. Was it because the entertainment was Every Night Something Awful?


Alan Sennett

Listening to Britain – Humphrey Jennings and wartime film propaganda.  A brief look at the “only true poet of the English cinema”. Polymath, British surrealist, a founder of Mass Observation and a key figure in the British documentary film his great moment was WWII.   He helped construct the propaganda image of the ‘people’s war’ and offer a vivid portrait of the nation in sound and pictures. 


Booking and Further Sessions

We would like to find out whether there is a demand for this and for further sessions.  Hence, we are making the introductory sessions free.  If there is interest in further weekly sessions, we plan to charge £5 per two-hour online session. 

It would be very helpful if you would email me if you are interested and have thoughts about this initiative: Alan Sennett at – a.sennett@open.ac.uk

Best wishes






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