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Anthony Poulton-Smith | Birmingham City Council

Anthony Poulton-Smith

£100 including travel (negotiable)
Equipment required
Size of audience
Day or evening
Subjects covered
  1. Origins of Place Names - Following an initial 20 minutes or so when I cover how I got interested in the subject and what it takes to research, and thus produce the book, I open it up to a question and answer session. This means the audience get the answers to the questions which intrigue them and not just those which interest me and also means the speaker has no more knowledge as to what is coming than the audience does, leaving plenty of opportunity for me to reveal my rather quirky sense of humour.
  2. Origins of Pub Names - My talks last for approximately an hour, although with so many examples the list is almost endless. A brief introduction to the history and a look at the names developed, I examine a selection of local names before opening it up to a question and answer session.
  3. Not the Normal Paranormal - Here the hour or so sees how I was introduced to the subject and began to write about same, how I research the stories, and my own experiences. A snippet or two from each of my paranormal books ends with the tale of the oddest of telephone calls (which I still don't understand) and then questions from the audience.
  4. When Nature Calls - Pop to the loo, go, flush, wash. Nothing could be simpler in the modern world but it wasn't always like this. Our parents, grandparents, and earlier generations had to toddle off down the path to the privy at the bottom of garden. During warm summer days the hole in a board with no flush or sewage system sounds bad enough - but after dark and in the depths of winter armed with only a candle? A number of narratives from the Toilet Tales of Yesteryear and told as only the British can.
  5. Animal Myths: a look at some of the quite ridiculous explanations given for the fauna we know so well.
  6. Humorous Etymologies: we know what they mean today, but won't believe how some of these words began and in what context they were used.
  7. Ley Lines: Examination of ancient trackways, how they were laid out and why.
  8. Salt Routes: the original trade route, why it existed and why these routes are still in use today.
  9. Watling Street: this famous 'Roman' road and why it is more than one road and was a road before the Romans were ever thought of.
  10. When Nature Calls: the toilet, the history of the privy
  11. The Saxon Era: a revealing look at the so-called Dark Ages, revealing why they were anything but 'dark'.
  12. The Fastener Industry: an engineer's non-technical look at nuts, bolts, screws and washers.
  13. Talking Butts: the many odd ideas, generally accepted as part of history, which have no basis in fact.