Wharf Talks


TEA TIME TALKS 2024 – MONDAY AT 2PM 29/02/24

                                                             CALL THE BOX OFFICE ON 01822 611166         OPEN MON-SAT 11.15am-2.15pm and 6pm-8pm TICKET PRICE includes cuppa and cake



MAY 13th      RIP OFF BRITAIN – Stories of a Trading Standards Office 

By John Hillier

JOHN HILLIER:  Trading Standards Officer in South Wales Local Authorities for over 30 years

TALK:   No boring bits about detailed legislation! Just true stories of dealings with the public, criminal investigations carried out, people who were sent to jail and things that happened during that time. Some weird, some funny and a lot to put Trading Standard Officers on our guard!


MAY 20th        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 9 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 coming back, by popular demand, to share more of his experiences and stories about Dartmoor Farming and the challenges for a farming family’s life on Dartmoor. 




JUN 3rd       TAVISTOCK RAILWAYS - By Bernard Mills

BERNARD MILLS:  Railwayman of 57 years railway service, working in the ticket office at Tavistock North for the last 18 months of the station’s life. Always took a camera to work and as a  lifelong railway enthusiast has been photographing railways for the better part of 6 decades. Has written a number of books on railways.

TALK:   A journey from Monksmead where the new railway station for Tavistock will be. Whitchurch, which as the crow flies, is not a mile, but this trip is by train with many then and now features showing the great changes of half a century or more going through Tavistock North to change at Lydford and return via Tavistock South.


JUN 10th     DANCE A FEARFUL JIG -  By Alison Huntingford

ALISON HUNTINGFORD:  Local author of historical fiction which is based on my own family history, and therefore is authentic, gritty and carefully researched.                                       

TALK: It is common knowledge that Dartmoor Prison, built in 1809, was first used for Napoleonic prisoners of war until 1816. However, a much earlier institution in Peterborough, purpose built for these POW, had long since faded from memory.This was the first ever prisoner of war camp in Britain and yet its history has been forgotten in the mists of time.  It was unusual in that it allowed officers from the camp inmates to go out on parole and mix with the local population, thus leading to many a romantic liaison. The talk will cover: the activities and conditions at the prison camp, parole, punishments, escape attempts and infamous characters.


JUN17th     CHARLES  CAUSLEY -  By Malcolm and Sylvia Wright

MALCOLM and SYLVIA WRIGHT: career in Further Education. Developed the first website devoted to Causley before becoming Chairman of the Charles Causley Society and then Secretary of the Charles

Causley Trust. Both he and his wife Sylvia were heavily involved in the annual Charles Causley

Festival. They have lived in Launceston for nearly forty years.

TALK: Charles Causley (1917-2003) was born in Launceston and, with the exception of War Service, lived there until his death. He worked as a primary school teacher while establishing himself as a poet with an international reputation.

With the use of rare photographs and recordings, this talk examines those aspects of Causley’s life which influenced his work, both as a writer of adult and children’s poetry, and looks at his reputation, of which Philip Larkin wrote “Your truth, your sense/ We count on as a sure defence”.



CHRIS STEWART:  Member of :- The British Traditional Molecatchers Register,The Guild of British Molecatchers and The Association of Professional Molecatchers.

TALK: The Life and Habits of the Mole – Talpa Europaea

Will cover Geographic Range and other strange moles around the world, Biology and Behaviour, Food, Reproduction, Habitat &Territories, Predators, Reasons for Control, Methods of control and trapping, Superstitions, Myths and Ancient Names.                 There will be a short video films showing behaviour and habitat.


JUL 1st       TRAVEL THROUGH  BRITAIN 1782   By Kevin Dickens

KEVIN DICKENS: Trustee of Tavistock Museum. Manages the Merrifield and Thorington photo archives at the museum.

TALK: The year '82 has been a crisis year in every century since 17th century. 1782 is no exception. Previously (in 2019) Kevin did a talk at the Wharf on travelling through Devon in 1682, so this is a sort of sequel, with some comparisons. He will be looking at national events and how they impacted on Devon, using travel as a sort of medium for all that. 1782 is the year that Britain loses the War Of Independence to USA  - 4th July being Independence Day.

JUL 8th     PEOPLE and WILDLIFE OF the MASAI MASU -  By Peter Brinsden

PETER BRINSDEN:   Known for the treatment of infertility in couples. From 1989 to 2006 he was the medical director of Bourn Hall Clinic in the UK, a leading centre for the treatment of fertility problems, and where about 6,000 babies have been conceived using IVF and other assisted conception treatments.

TALK:   Peter Brinsden is an enthusiastic wildlife photographer. He recently had the privilege of travelling to the Masai Mara in Kenya. In this lecture he describes his journey, the dramatic wildlife and the wonderful Masai people.



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: For 10 years John has written a weekly column ‘The View from Britain’ in the Indian Sunday Guardian. Last July he was invited to join a journalist’s trip to Israel, interviewing Israeli politicians and ‘movers and shakers’ in the country. He also visited many of the places which made the news during the horrendous event on 7 October last year. This talk will cover that visit and weave in the latest dramatic events in that unstable region.


JUL 22nd  CREATING A WILDLIFE GARDEN         By Gavin Haig

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

TALK:  A heavily illustrated talk which is a presentation of a journey through Gavin’s development of habitats to encourage birds, butterflies, mammals, reptiles and amphibia, emphasising ponds, trees, nest boxes and

islands of wildflowers which attracts wildlife to come and flourish close to home. Tiverton Hospital Wildlife was the WINNER of a National competition .


JUL 29th    BACK TO THE   FUSCHIA – By Mike Follett

MIKE FOLLETT: Member of the British Fuchsia Society. Former chairman of the Exeter Fuchsia Society.

TALK:  Mike grows and has shown at many local and National Fuchsia shows. His talk includes how he grows the plants and his journey into showing. There will be a chance to purchase plants on the day.










  • Voucher for THE BOX OFFICE treat someone special to                             a voucher towards a visit to the cinema, music, live broad cast or talk.
  • Voucher for THE CAFÉ to go toward lunch or a cuppa and cake.


















The Home Front in the Second World War. Felicity Goodall – 2nd Sept

At eleven o’clock on September 3rd 1939, Britons gathered round their wireless sets to hear Neville Chamberlain’s announcement that ‘this country is at war’. Over the next six years, the population knitted for victory, dug for victory, and endured rationing and shortages. Felicity Goodall spent 18 months in archives reading contemporary diaries and letters to build a picture of what life was really like for ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.