• William Tyler

Thursday 14th May JW3 Lecture Synopses

Morning: Floods

We begin with a general introduction pointing out the effects of climate change. We then tackle the first of our three main topics for the morning - Coastal Flooding, including a look at The 1953 Floods in Eastern England. Next we turn to Inland Flooding, ie from rivers, concentrating on the River Yangtze Flood in 1931.

The story of The Yangtze ends with a piece about the loss of animal and plant life which then moves to the third section of the morning on the topic of human interference with nature, Taming the Flood, and the difficult questions this raises. As an example we shall look at The Fens in the middle of the 17th century.

During the course of the morning we shall encounter Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Evil Saturday,Wuhan, the last River Dolphin, and Oliver Cromwell!

Never say I am not eclectic in my stories!

More books: Taming the Flood by Jeremy Purseglove, and on Cromwell, Antonia Fraser's wonderful biography.

Afternoon: Imperial Berlin 1871-1918

The hopes and wishes of 1871 were to be turned to dust is our opening theme. The rise of political opposition, especially in Berlin, forms our next section, before we move on to the disaster which was the accession in 1888 of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Our focus next returns to life in Berlin during this half century; Yet for all its bustling activity and economic prosperity beneath the surface in Berlin, and wider, political opposition to the Kaiser was fermenting. The Kaiser believed that a nationalistic war would bind the new Germany together. It didn't. Our final look will be at the terrible impact of the war on Berlin itself. Our story ends with mounting chaos in a defeated and broken 2nd Reich.

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