Wharf Talks



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A retrospective approach to ceramics during a career spanning over 60 years of potting, teaching and writing all over the world, Peter is a prolific maker of mainly porcelain pieces which illustrate a wide range of inspiration, designs and techniques.


ARP 17th        THE HEALING GARDEN                                      By Gavin Haig

The illustrated talk lasts about an hour, and encourages us to attract wildlife into our gardens for their well-being and survival, as well as ours! The Tiverton Hospital wildlife Garden is an example of a healing and restorative garden, which the staff value as much as the patients, because they relax, and count the butterflies, rather than the viruses! They also count the birds and hedgehogs!

GAVIN HAIG: Practised as a sugeon and doctor with a passion for attracting wildlife into our gardens. Developed award-winning Wildlife Garden at Tiverton Hospital.


APR 24th        SCAMS – DON’T FALL FOR THEM…          By Deborah Cunningham

Deborah works for Yorkshire Building Society and has heard all the scams….she is here to try and ensure people aware of the pitfalls out there. The more  information we can have the sooner these scammers will realise they will not always get away with it….





MAY 8th       CORONATION BANK HOLIDAY - CLOSED                               


MAY 15th     LOST DEVON By Felicity Goodall

FELICITY GOODALL Former journalist for regional newspapers before spending several

years as  freelance correspondent in Norway. Work appeared in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The New York Herald Tribune and Business Week. Written 5 popular history books and written a play and community pantomimes.

TALK:Devon's colourful past may still be visible in its street names and pub signs, but in fact much of the region's history has been obliterated - through

necessity, social change and the demands of the outside world. The traditional

occupations of farming, fishing, pottery, copper and tin mining, wool

production and quarrying and have all seen change over the past several

hundred years. Many of these industries are now lost, replaced instead by

Ever-expanding tourism.


MAY 22nd     CAVES AND THEIR ICE AGE HISTORY     By Malcolm Hart


Emeritus Professor of Micropalaeontology, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth

TALK: In many parts of South Devon (e.g., Plymouth, Buckfastleigh, Torbay) the Devonian Limestones host extensive cave systems, many of which were explored in the 19th Century by William Pengelly and the Torquay Natural History Society. These caves contain a wealth of fossil remains, including mammoths, cave bears, hyenas, large sabre-toothed cats, etc., as well as the remains of early hominins (and their tools). This led Pengelly to write some of the earliest papers on the ‘Antiquity of Man’ and developing a chronology for the cave deposits. Kents Cavern is one of the most famous caves having links with Agatha Christie and Beatrix Potter. Its fossil record is, however, extremely important. Across Tor Bay, on Berry Head there are caves that are now at sea level and these contain a marine record of, probably, the last three ice ages and their associated interglacials. This makes the area almost unique in having both a terrestrial and a marine record.

Coupled with these areas are the finds of Cattedown Caves in Plymouth and the recent discovery of megafauna in the new developments of Sherford (Plymouth). Coupled with other features such as raised beaches and submerged forests, South Devon has a near unique record of cave history as will be presented in this lecture.




JUN 5th          MERMAIDS, SADISM and CANNIBALISM – SHARKS!                       By Douglas Herdson                                 

DOUGLAS HERDSON Free lance fish and fisheries biologist. Degree in Zoology at Swansea and then worked at Dale Fort Field Centre. Researched mudflat ecology and worked as a fisheries biologist in Bahrain and Ecuador. Information Officer at The National Aquarium in Plymouth. Still collects reports on fish from around Britain and Ireland.

TALK:  Sharks – a boring fish? Certainly not! The lives of sharks and their relatives continue to amaze.


JUN 12           THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER             By Barbie Thompson

BARBIE THOMPSON  Local Historian & lecturer. Extensive knowledge of local maritime.  Specialties: West Country 18th & 19th Century maritime history having lectured at Exeter Maritime History Conference at Exeter University, presented a paper for the Britannia Naval Research Association at their 10th Annual Symposium, St Anne's College, Oxford University and at the International Conference at London University and invited to present a paper at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.

TALK: The people of the USA celebrate Flag Day on 14th June each year but not many of us in the UK know the story behind the adoption of the flag, also known affectionately as the Stars and Stripes or Old Glory. The flag has become a powerful symbol of Americanism. Proudly flown on many occasions – a barometer of public opinion accurately reflecting the current mood of the country.


JUN 19th        BECOMING A ZOO COO and the FUTURE OF ZOO CONSERVATION                                                                 By Coral Jones

CORAL JONES BSc Biomedical Science, Plymouth. MSc Zoo Conservation Biology, Plymouth. BIAZA Conservation Education Committee Member. Chief Operating Officer for

Dartmoor Zoo.

TALK: Coral Jonas is the Chief Operating Officer of Dartmoor Zoo but how did she land a job running a zoo? Coral will talk you through what it’s like to run a zoo, explain why zoos are so important to the future of animal conservation and put you in the position to make tough decisions. You’ll take away interesting facts and thought provoking ways in which we can live harmoniously with wildlife.                                                                                                                                                     


JUN 26th         THE WAR IN UKRAINE – THE ORIGINS AND THE END                           By John Dobson

JOHN DOBSON  Graduate of London and Southampton Universities. 31 years in Royal Navy (final job – Naval Attaché, Moscow). Cabinet Office working for John Major PM. Owner/operator of a group of nursing homes. Since 2016 columnist for Indian Sunday Guardian and is a Visiting Fellow at University of Plymouth

TALK: John will give a talk on Ukraine with up to date information as well

as some background history.


JUL 3rd           DEVON PLACE NAMES                                         By Richard Hesketh

RICHARD HESKETH  Freelance writer and photographer with a strong interest in local history. Published over 60 titles and written numerous articles for various publications.

This talk offers an introduction to the subject focusing on key aspects of Devon place name study. There will be an outline of the originand evolution of Devon place names with explanations of common place name elements such as “ton”, “ford”, “leah” and “ham”.


JUL 10th         THE SECRET WILDLIFE OF DARTMOOR           By Paul Rendell

PAUL RENDELL  ’Dartmoor Paul’, was born in Plymouth and became enthusiastic about Dartmoor from an early age. Fascinated by the moor’s industrial archaeology and its wildlife. Left school and trained as a chef. Became Head Gardener at Devonport Dockyard but Dartmoor called! He now writes many articles for various publications, founded and edits “Dartmoor News” and has been DNP Guide for over two decades and is a member of the Moorland Guides.

Looking specifically at the plants and wildlife found on the moor, in the woods and in the rivers.


JUL 17th          PARAMEDIC: STORIES FROM THE FRONT     By Joe Bryant                                                                       

JOE BRYANT  Paramedic and First Aid Instructor.  With SW Ambulance Service. DipHe in Paramedic Science and Paramedicine and emergency pre-hospital care, University of West England.

TALK:I will be talking about Life as a Paramedic working within front line emergency Paramedicine with funny stories, a little interaction, equipment talks and questions


JUL 24th  DON’T PUT YOUR DAUGHTER ON THE STAGE                                    By Francis Burroughes

FRANCIS BURROUGHES Now retired, but in his long career he has been a school-teacher, and director of several companies. Has been a church organist for over fifty years, a keen flower arranger, and a conductor of numerous choral societies, operatic societies, and musical groups. An acknowledged authority on antique glass.

TALK: Francis has produced or conducted over two hundred Amateur Operatic productions and not all the drama happen on stage. This talk stars an orange wig, a donkey, a fire siren among other guest appearances!


JUL 31st          GREENWELL FARM                                               By Mat Cole

MAT COLE  Mat Cole and his family farm a traditional upland beef and sheep hill farm at Greenwell near Yelverton. His family business strives to find that sweet spot between a thriving farming business and a thriving living landscape and environment.  He has written his farming article for Links Magazines for the past 8 years, he is a Director of Dartmoor Farmers, marketing beef and lamb direct to customers across the south west.

TALK:  Mat is looking forward to sharing his experiences and stories about Dartmoor Farming and the challenges  for a farming family’s life on Dartmoor.