Danny Wells, Breathing Life Into History

Danny WellsDanny’s talks and courses celebrate the history of the Victorian age. There is also a strong focus on the Derbyshire Dales, Staffordshire Moorlands & London’s East End. His aim is to unlock the past, discovering, stimulating and creating a greater understanding of these areas.

Danny Wells is a history enthusiast,  qualified as a history teacher in the 1970s and has spent 25 years in community development.

He has an MA Degree in Architectural History (University of Keele) and his particular interests are social and cultural history with a focus on Victorian England.

‘Breathing Life into History’ was established in 2004

Current talks with a focus on Gardening

  • Art of the Garden – One Hundred Years of Gardens in British Art c 1850-1950 –  Gardens have proved to be a rich source of inspiration for artists. This illustrated talk is a celebration and appreciation of paintings of British gardens in the Victorian age and first half of the 20th century. We will explore symbolism within the paintings and issues relating to society, culture and style.
  • The English and Gardening – A social history of an English obsession – Gardening is arguably the most popular activity in contemporary Britain. This talk will explore meanings and symbolism invested in gardens. The main focus for these two talks will be Georgian and Victorian Britain and the first half of the 20th century.
  • Joseph Paxton – The busiest man in England – From a humble Bedfordshire background Paxton became the Head Gardener at Chatsworth in Derbyshire by the age of 23. ‘Ask Paxton’ was the advice given to anyone in any kind of difficulty following his incredible design of the ‘Crystal Palace’ for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851. But there is so much more to the man for whom Charles Dickens described as a workaholic ‘whosevery leisure would kill a man of leisure with its hard work’. A titan of the Victorian era.

Current talks with a focus on Christmas

  • Art of the Christmas Card – One Hundred Years of the Christmas Card c.1840s-1940s -The first Christmas Card appeared in Britain in the 1840s. By the 1880s following the invention of the chromolithographic process and developments within the postal system, millions were being exchanged each year. We will explore their art and changes in styles through to the Edwardian Age, WW1, inter-war period and up to WW11.
  • The Victorians and the Christmas Season – This talk explores the influence of the Victorians on Christmas as we know it today. The Victorians repackaged older traditions and customs that suited their new sensibilities, ideas and concerns. It is said the Victorians: ‘mixed the ingredients of the English Christmas to create an extremely rich plum pudding’. Many of these changes took place early in Victoria’s reign, including the arrival of the Christmas Card, the Christmas Cracker and new-found popularity of the Christmas Tree. We will explore why and how the Victorians re-energised and transformed the festive season.

Danny Wells, Breathing Life into History, www.history-talks.co.uk 

Phone 01335 350536 or email danny.wells@history-talks.co.uk

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