Lectures & Gatherings

The autumn of 2020 has arrived. At this time, in any other year, we would be looking forward to meeting at Hampton Hall for our first lecture of the season, a time to socialize with fellow members and old friends. But this year will be different! Covid-19 has taken away our normal routines and our chance to gather together and greet each other.

BUT, all is not lost! Your Wessex Society Executive has been preparing for the season and discussing how to continue our monthly lectures outside our normal venue! We have decided to venture into a "new normal" and offer virtual lectures for the foreseeable months.

Our lectures will be announced monthly in the media and members will be contacted by email as is our usual practice.

Details of these lectures, and how to connect to them, will appear below in due course. Please check back for updates.


A schedule of lectures for 2020-2021 follows:

14 October 2020 at 7:30pm
Speaker: Mr. Ronald Penney, Chair of the Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition
Topic: “Muskrat Falls and the Democratic Deficit”
Abstract: What does the Muskrat Falls Enquiry tell us about the state of civil society in NL and how the democratic deficit led us to the worst public policy decision in our history.
Download a recording of this lecture.

Tuesday 10 November 2020 at 7:30pm
Speaker: Ms. Susan Chalker Browne
Topic: “Remembering Remarkable Women”
Abstract: On November 11, Armistice Day, we pause to remember the men who fought and died in war. Not so much do we pause to remember the women of those times. Now Susan Chalker Browne brings us the stories of some of these women, based on her recent book Mother of the Regiment and Other Remarkable Women of Newfoundland and Labrador. May Furlong, Elsie Holloway, Lydia Campbell, Armine Gosling, and Georgina Stirling were remarkable women who pushed boundaries and made a difference at the turn of the twentieth century. World War One was pivotal in most of their lives. Susan Chalker Browne will highlight the obstacles these women overcame, the tragedies they endured, the incredible success they achieved as well as the ambition, intelligence, and grit they all shared. Five trailblazing women who pressed against the social norms of a century ago and helped change life and attitudes in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Download a recording of this lecture.

09 December 2020
Topic: Reflections on the Wessex Society Beginnings and a Christmas Tradition

13 January 2021
Speaker: Sherry Colford, Fire Chief, St. John's Regional Fire Department
Topic: “Ashes to Innovation: the progression of the St. John's Regional Fire Department”
Abstract: The St. John's Regional Fire Department turned 125 years old in 2020 and with that comes much history. This presentation will showcase where the Department came from, how it looks today, what services it provides and its challenges, and what it will look like moving forward.
Download a recording of this lecture.

10 February 2021
Speaker: Dr. Antony Berger, Earth Scientist, Author
Topic: “Wessex, Lewisporte and Bonne Bay – an historical ramble”
Abstract: A brief account of how the Manuel family from 18th century Wessex fared in Exploits and Lewisporte, and the commercial link between Bonne Bay and Dorset in the early 19th century.
Download a recording of this lecture.

10 March 2021
Speaker: Dr. Andrea Procter
Topic: “A Long Journey:  Residential Schools in Labrador and Newfoundland”
Abstract: The national conversation about Indigenous residential schools has largely overlooked the experiences of Indigenous children in our province. But almost 2000 children attended six boarding schools in Labrador and an orphanage in St. Anthony from the early 1900s until 1980, when the last one closed. Based on her work with the NL Healing and Commemoration project, Andrea Procter will outline the unique history of these colonial institutions and the role of Indigenous leaders in challenging the boarding school system and in creating better educational options for their children.
Download a recording of this lecture.

14 April 2021
Speaker: Dr. Michael Wilkshire
Topic: “Gone but not forgotten: an illustrated history of the French Shore of Newfoundland”
Abstract: The French Shore was the site of both intense English-French rivalry and peaceful co-existence lasting centuries. This presentation, based on French eye-witness accounts, will focus on a particular case of bitter hostility in the 18th century in Bonavista Bay as well as on interactions and daily life on the French Shore in the nineteenth century, accompanied by contemporary illustrations.
How to Attend: Click here and use this password if it is requested: wessex
Audience members can begin connecting online at 7:00pm
Following the lecture, we would like to have your feedback. If you have a comment or question, or would like to offer a suggestion, please send your email to the following address: gfwoodland@bellaliant.net