Speaking

Looking for a speaker who will engage your audience
with an amusing, interesting and informative talk?

Invite published author and inspirational speaker, Rupert Matthews. Whatever the size or make up of your audience, Rupert is an ideal speaker to make your event as memorable as possible.


About the Talks
Rupert’s talks are lively, informative and fun. They are carefully tailored to suit audiences of all backgrounds, ages and tastes. Rupert has spoken successfully to WI, Probus, Round Table, Rotary, U3A and social groups of all kinds as well as to lecture groups, library talks and educational establishments.

All talks come in standard 20 minute, 40 minute and 60 minute versions, plus questions afterwards, but most can be made to suit any time slot you have available. Most talks are illustrated by a screen presentation, though some involve costume changes. Rupert brings his own projector & screen, unless you prefer him to use your facilities.

Rupert offers not only general history talks, but also talks specifically highlighting local areas, such as Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire or Berkshire or dealing with season events including Christmas, St George's Day, St Patrick's Day and St David's Day. See the listings below.

For how to book Rupert, please scroll down to after the list of talks.


Endorsements
"A number of members commented on the different slant you gave to the subject which was refreshing and interesting. I was impressed you delivered the talk and the answers to questions without any notes. I plan to invite you back to speak again." - Probus Group in Kent.

"All the members enjoyed your talk immensely and I will certainly keep your details for another time."
 - WI Group in Surrey.

"WOW.........what a truly excellent pitch yesterday at the Hawth!!" - Probus Group in Sussex.

"We really enjoyed the talk. members commented on your lack of notes and knowledge of the subject" - Ladies Probus Group, Kent


Three New Talks for 2017


Girl Power - Women at War from the Amazons to the 21st Century
In this talk, Rupert Matthews looks at the ways women have been involved in warfare from ancient times to the present day. Starting with the mythical Amazons, and the truth that lies behind the legend, Rupert looks at some of the great women warriors of history such as Boadicea, Zenobia of Palmyra, Artemisia of Caria, Mavia the Arab, Lagertha the Viking, Tomoe Gozen the Samurai, Joan of Arc, Mary Ralphson, Joanna Salter and Mary Dixon before looking at the mass participation of women in 20th century warfare through the WRNS, WAAFs and ATS of World War II. Includes a screen presentation.



Blitzkrieg - Analysis of a Legend
The Germans achieved startling victories in World War II with Blitzkrieg, a tactic used as recently as the Gulf War of 1990, but what exactly is “blitzkrieg”  and how does it work?
Includes a screen presentation.


A History of Christmas Food
Mince pies? Roast Turkey? Bread Sauce? Mulled Wine? Christmas Pud? Whatever your favourite, you will find it here. A look at how Christmas foods have changed and evolved over the centuries to produce the luxurious feasts we enjoy today. Starting with the very first Christmas of all, this talk traces favourite festive foods over the centuries, explaining how and why Christmas foods came and went. We look at some famous excesses as well as more everyday foods and drinks to be enjoyed by all.

Includes a screen presentation. With samples to snack on!


Other Popular Talks Available

General Talks


The History of Buttons - A tale of skinny German ladies, frustrated Tudor chambermaids, Hungarian warriors, plastic, diamonds, silver, gold, tin, steel and more buttons than you can shake a stick at. Costumes. Samples to pass around.  Includes a screen presentation.



The Norman Conquest - Some 950 years after the Battle of Hastings it is time to reassess the Norman Conquest and its impact on Britain’s culture and history down to the present day. Was the Norman Conquest as all encompassing as the traditional account has it, or have historians been misled by the very solid stone buildings of Norman cathedrals and Norman castles which have masked the essential continuity in English society and culture over the 11th century? Includes a screen presentation.



Shackleton's Furthest South - Of all the explorers from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration only Ernest Shackleton never lost a man to the horrific conditions. Time and again Shackleton set new records of endurance and southernmost positions. If Shackleton failed to be first to the South Pole, he did complete astonishing feats of exploration and scientific endeavour. In the centenary year of Shackleton's greatest feat - steering an open boat across 800 miles of the Antarctic Ocean to rescue his men - this talk celebrates the career of a remarkable man. Includes a screen presentation. 

The Escape of Charles II - After being defeated at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, the young king went on the run from Cromwell’s vengeful Roundheads. With a price of £1,000 on his head (today around £800,000), Charles spent 7 weeks on the run. After famously hiding up an oak tree, dressing as a maid servant and being mistaken for a Roundhead colonel, Charles was running out of options when he arrived at a pub in Sussex and met the humble coal merchant who would save his life. This talk tells the thrilling tale of Charles’s 7 week escapade through Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex to escape the axe, and the people who helped him. Includes a screen presentation.


The Coronations of Henry VIII - King Henry VIII, the greatest of the Tudor monarchs, was crowned twice, and planned two others that never took place. This talks looks at why Henry had himself crowned more often than any other English monarch, and what the symbolic details can tell us about his changing character and his changing kingdom. Includes a screen presentation.


The Battle of Waterloo - Learn how the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon, Emperor of France, the colourful figures involved, their exploits and the truth behind that famous quote “Up Guards, and at them.” Includes a screen presentation.

The Suffragettes - As we approach the centenary of women gaining the vote in Britain, this talk looks at the long history of women's suffrage disputes in this country. The talk highlights the tumultuous years of 1906-1918 when "Votes for Women" dominated politics and constitutional arguments. Includes display of Suffragette memorabilia. Includes a screen presentation.

Commanders at Waterloo - You might have heard of the Duke of Wellington and the Emperor Napoleon, but what about Ney, Blucher, Picton, Soult, Uxbridge, Grouchy or Colborne. This talks looks at the key commanders involved in the Waterloo Campaign and assesses how their characters and decisions impacted on the outcome. 
Includes a screen presentation.




Jack the Ripper - The truth behind the lurid tales and horrific murders that horrified Victorian London and have fascinated the world since. How did he kill? How many victims were there? Why was he never caught? FULLY UPDATED in the light of latest revelations.  Includes a screen presentation.

The Dambusters - In May 1943, a single RAF bomber squadron set out to change the course of the Second World War by bombing and destroying the great dams that powered the German armaments industry in the Ruhr Valley. This is their story. 
Includes a screen presentation.

Magna Carta - The Great Charter of 1215 is heralded as the foundation of British freedoms, liberties and constitutional democracy. But how did the Magna Carta come about, what does it actually say and is it really as important as it is said to be?
Includes a screen presentation.

Myths and Legends of the First World War -
From the Angel of Mons and the Phantom Piper of Polygon Wood to the Gurkha with the Silver Kukri and the Crucified Canadian, this talk ranges over 4 years of war and mystery. Includes a screen presentation.

The Female Pope - For many centuries it was accepted almost without discussion that the priesthood, and pastoral work more generally, was exclusively a male domain. Women had a role within the Christian Church, as nuns or lay workers, but the giving of the sacraments was seen as a male preserve. And yet for centuries rumours and legends have swirled about that one woman did get to be pope in Rome. The Catholic Church has always denied the stories, but they refuse to go away.
It is now time to look anew at these old stories and try to discover the truth that lies behind them. Rupert Matthews looks at the legends of a Female Pope and uncovers the startling truth that lies behind them. 
Includes a screen presentation.

Women in the Age of Chivalry - How women led in the world of chivalry. This talk focusses on the lives of four extraordinary women and what their careers can reveal about the role of women in medieval Europe.  Includes a screen presentation.


RAF Bomber Command at War - Rupert’s father served in Bomber Command during World War 2. In this talk Rupert takes a chronological look at RAF Bomber Command from 1939 to 1945, its triumphs and disasters and the effect that the bombing of Germany had on the war. 
Includes a screen presentation.

The Dam Busters - Some of the lesser known facts behind the story we all know from the movie. 
Includes a screen presentation.

The Wreck of the Titanic - Answers to all those unsolved riddles and misconceptions about the greatest shipwreck of all time. The talk explains why so many died, why the Titanic was steaming at high speed when ice was around and exactly why having too few lifeboats was normal at the time. 
Includes a screen presentation.

Yeti! - Are the legendary man-apes of the world real? This talk also deals with Bigfoot in North America, the Yowie of Australia and other similar cryptids (animals rumoured, but not proven, to exist). 
Includes a screen presentation.

The Arrowstorm
- The great English victories at  Crecy and Agincourt and the key to the longbow’s success in battle.
Includes a screen presentation.

Hitler’s Forgotten Secret Weapon
- How the Germans nearly won the Battle of Britain. One of the most extraordinary stories of World War 2 which was successfully hushed up in 1946 to avoid embarrassing those involved. Now the truth can be told. 
Includes a screen presentation. 

The Real King Arthur - The truth behind the legend. Rupert has advanced a new theory that puts Arthur into the context of his time and explains exactly why one man could inspire such a variety of legends.  Includes a screen presentation.

Richard III - The great villain of history, or a misunderstood hero? Hear the evidence and make up you own mind, including how his grave was discovered. This talk traces Richard's background and life before studying the evidence for and against his alleged crimes.  Includes a screen presentation.

Jane Austen and the Military - Jane Austen includes several characters in her novels who are (or have) been in the military. This is not surprising as through most of her writing career Britain was locked in a  titanic struggle against Napoleonic France in which battles such as Trafalgar and Waterloo were fought. But what does she tell us about the military of her time, and how accurate are her accounts?
Characters to be touched upon include: George Wickham (Pride & Prejudice); Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility); Sir John Middleton (Sense & Sensibility);  Mr Weston (Emma); William Price (Mansfield Park); Mr Price, snr (Mansfield Park); Frederick Wentwork (Persuasion); Admiral Croft (Persuasion); James Benwick (Persuasion).
Includes a screen presentation.
 


Surrey Talks

Surrey, Then and Now - A century of change in buildings, landscapes, lives and society across Surrey told in photographs old and new.  The talk covers all corners of Surrey, looking at different aspects of society, technology and lifestyles.
Includes a screen presentation.

Ghosts of Surrey - Learn what real ghosts are like, the differences between ghosts, apparitions and poltergeists and why you should consider building an extension, as well as Rupert's encounters with the paranormal. This talk is adapted to your local area with local examples of hauntings. 

Heroes of RAF Fighter Command in Surrey - This talk concentrates on the men who fought in Fighter Command from bases in Surrey during World War II. It traces the course of the war, highlighting the Battle of Britain, but is mostly concerned with the exploits, mishaps and characters of the men themselves. Includes a screen presentation. 

How the Steam Railways came to Surrey - A look back at the early years of railway expansion in the county. As well as looking at the rail lines themselves, the talk looks at the great personalities of the age of railway expansion, describes the county before the steam engines came and looks at the way the society and culture of the county changed as a result?

The Surrey Puma - Hundreds of people in the charming English county of Surrey have reported seeing a big cat - usually identifying it as a puma or cougar. This would be a bizarre thing to prowl around this most English of counties. The puma is native to North America, not England, and it is a ferocious hunter that preys on deer, wild sheep and other large mammals. And yet the sightings persist. So does the Surrey Puma really exist?


Sussex Talks

Ghosts of Sussex - Learn what real ghosts are like, the differences between ghosts, apparitions and poltergeists and why you should consider building an extension, as well as Rupert's encounters with the paranormal. This talk is adapted to your local area with local examples of hauntings. 

The Kingdom of Sussex - For centuries Sussex was an independent kingdom - It's name is derived from that of its people, the South Saxons. It had its own dynasty of royal rulers, its own culture and its own laws and system of government. This talk looks at those years, showing how this early medieval kingdom impacts on the county today and the influence it had on the wider lands of the English.


Kent Talks


Ghosts of Kent
- Learn what real ghosts are like, the differences between ghosts, apparitions and poltergeists and why you should consider building an extension, as well as Rupert's encounters with the paranormal. This talk is adapted to your local area with local examples of hauntings.

Hengest, The First King of Kent - For centuries historians credited the pagan barbarian warrior Hengest and his brother Horsa with destroying Roman Britain and ushering in decades of chaos and bloodshed that ended only with the rule of English kings a century later. Recent revisionist historians have debunked the story, but who really was Hengest and what influence does a man who died 1500 years ago have on modern Britain. 
Includes a screen presentation.


Berkshire Talks




The Lost Railways of Berkshire - There were once more than half a dozen branch lines connecting towns and villages across Berkshire to the mainline railways running into London, but most of them are now long gone. This talk looks at the heydays of steam in Berkshire, and explains what remnants are still there to be seen - if you know where to look.  Includes a screen presentation.

Ghosts of Berkshire - Learn what real ghosts are like, the differences between ghosts, apparitions and poltergeists and why you should consider building an extension, as well as Rupert's encounters with the paranormal. This talk is adapted to your local area with local examples of hauntings. 


Hampshire Talks

Jane Austen and the Military - Jane Austen includes several characters in her novels who are (or have) been in the military. This is not surprising as through most of her writing career Britain was locked in a  titanic struggle against Napoleonic France in which battles such as Trafalgar and Waterloo were fought. But what does she tell us about the military of her time, and how accurate are her accounts?
Characters to be touched upon include: George Wickham (Pride & Prejudice); Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility); Sir John Middleton (Sense & Sensibility);  Mr Weston (Emma); William Price (Mansfield Park); Mr Price, snr (Mansfield Park); Frederick Wentwork (Persuasion); Admiral Croft (Persuasion); James Benwick (Persuasion).
Includes a screen presentation.

Ghosts of Hampshire - Learn what real ghosts are like, the differences between ghosts, apparitions and poltergeists and why you should consider building an extension, as well as Rupert's encounters with the paranormal. This talk is adapted to your local area with local examples of hauntings. 


Seasonal Talks


The Biography of Father Christmas
- A great seasonal favourite for November or December following the legendary career of Father Christmas from pagan god through his encounter with a Christian saint to his modern incarnation as the patron deity of commercialised Christmas. Costume changes.

The Real St George (St George's Day is 23 April) -
A biography of England’s patron saint and how his legend developed from his death in ad303 through to the present day.  Costume changes.

The Real St Patrick (St Patrick's Day is 17 March) - Famed as the patron saint of Ireland, Patrick actually came from somewhere near in England. This talk looks at the truth behind the image and explains how Patrick is connected to Ireland and the hugely important legacy he left behind him at his death in about the year 490. 
Includes a screen presentation.
 

The Real St David (St David's Day is 1 March) - A biography of Wales’s patron saint and how his legend developed from his death in 589 through to the present day.  Includes a screen presentation.



Note: All talks come in 20 minutes, 40 minute and 1 hour versions and Rupert is happy to take questions afterwards. Some talks involve a powerpoint show. Rupert will bring along his own projector, but will bring his rather cumbersome collapsible screen only if your venue cannot provide one.


How to Book
You can book Rupert Matthews for your event by phone or by email.
1 - By Phone. Call Rupert’s wife Joanna on 01737 356197
2 - By Email. Contact rupertsbookings@gmail.com
Please remember to include the date and time when you will want Rupert to attend your event.
* Rupert’s standard fee is £70 per booking, plus £25 per hour for over 2 hours.
* Weekend fee is £95 per booking
, plus £25 per hour for over 2 hours.
* Travel costs: The first 20 miles from Epsom will be free, after that an expense of 30p per mile will be charged. This will calculated for you at the time of booking.
Rupert generally speaks to events in London and Southeast England, but will travel further afield if expenses are met.
* Please note that for bookings in 2018 the standard fee will rise to £75 for a single talk and £250 for a full day.

References




Press Reviews




Rupert Matthews the History Man