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European History

Meeting Details

Meeting DayFriday
LocationAbbot Hall Social Centre
Co-ordinator(s)Mike Howse

What we do

The first meeting of this new group was on 11 June 2009 and we decided to start by studying France - since then we have moved on to other countries, including Spain and Russia.

The idea is that one or two members prepare a talk, not necessary with a PowerPoint presentation. Members can also just read aloud what they have found in books, on the internet and other sources.
It will be much appreciated if there is a summary with the facts available for the members after the talk to take home. This will keep members (also new ones) up to date with what we have done so far.


November 2018

Our first two meetings this autumn have been very successful. We have set a (meandering)time line to take us through to the New Year and have welcomed new members.

At our October meeting we had two presentations -one on Napoleon’s invasion and creation of Kingdoms in Italy in the period up to 1815, and another on Byron’s time in Italy. Theses provided an interesting contrast between the politician and the poet.

Next month we will be looking at Italy from about 1815 to 1850; Napoleon in Elba; and San Marino and microstates.

As always, we are fortunate to have so many members who are willing to contribute.


August 2018

Last September the group started on a two-year study of the history of Italy after the fall of the Roman Empire until modern times. This has been a very successful and enjoyable year because of the contributions of so many. We have been able to understand the historical importance of the city states and looked at different aspects of Italian culture.

We have not stuck to a simple time line so at our last meeting for instance we had presentations on the state of Genoa, Caravaggio life and his paintings, and the colonies of Genoa and Venice.

We have now arrived -tired but happy! – at the beginning of the 19th century and so our themes next year will be around the unification of Italy, Garibaldi et al, the rise of Fascism, Mussolini, Italy’s role in the two World wars and then modern Italy etc etc.

We will be starting again on Friday September 14th meeting at 10am at the Abbott Hall Social Centre in Kendal. Newmembers are very welcome.

Mike Howse

November 2017

We have begun to unravel the divisions and disunity of the Italian Peninsula following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Today Phillip gave a fascinating presentation of the rise of the Papal States - as much theology as history. Julia then gave an illuminating account of the life of St Francis of Assisi.

Unfortunately the group remains full but if anyone would like to join please contact me or Fieke and we will let you know if anyone leaves.

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