Category: Zoom Talks


Brad Ashton

Zoom meeting Tuesday 8th February at 2:30pm

Brad Ashton
Brad Ashton – Job of a Laughtime

Keynote speaker Brad Ashton will keep SoFA entertained with amazing numerous and humorous back stage stories. He had the pleasure (and sometimes displeasure) of writing TV comedy for Ken Dodd, Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, Bruce Forsyth, Frankie Howard, Hylda Baker, David Frost and Bob Monkhouse, amongst others.

Be prepared for some startling revelations!

This Zoom meeting replaces the cancelled February face to face meeting, which is unable to go ahead, due the temporary closure of the Royal Clifton Hotel.

If you are not a member, but would like to attend this Zoom session, any of our events or interested in joining our Association, please complete our Contact Form.

Japan, Bowing to Tradition, Zoom talk by Jim Holmes

Japanese Umbrellas - SoFA

Jim Holmes kindly agreed to talk to our society on Tuesday 29th June on the subject of Japan.

Jim is a documentary photographer working on commercial projects and humanitarian interventions around the world.

Over 30 years of travel has taken Jim to some of the most remote and extraordinary places on earth including Japan.

Jim gave a very interesting and informative talk entitled Japan, ‘Bowing to Tradition’. He entertained us with stories from the northern ‘snow country’ to the southern tropical beaches explaining that Japan is a diverse and complicated country. Jim also informed us how Japan has integrated very traditional aspects of it’s culture into modern society.

Jim spoke of micro cars to beer from machines and houses to tatami mats. He explained how Japan is not quite what you imagine, as tradition meets modernism.

We would like to thank Jim for a very interesting and entertaining presentation for the Southport and Formby National Trust Association.

To read more information and view Jim Holmes’ photographs please visit his website here

If you are a member of the National Trust, and would like to join our local Association please complete our contact form

Article supplied by Lois Hughes

Weird and Wonderful Liverpool, Zoom Talk by Ken Pye

Image of Ken Pye
Ken Pye, Weird and Wonderful Liverpool Zoom Talk
Ken Pye from Discover Liverpool

Ken Pye, a historian of all things Liverpudlian, has given several presentations to our Association. His talk, Weird and wonderful Liverpool, on 25th May covered some of the more unusual stories of Liverpool’s past.

Dr Solomon set up a practice in late 18th century Liverpool after purchasing a degree from Edinburgh University. He promoted his remedy ‘Balm of Gilead’ as a cure-all and through astute marketing it became very popular. Dr Solomon became extremely wealthy as a result and, upon his death, was buried in a magnificent tomb which sadly no longer exists. The main ingredient of the Balm was brandy so despite no medical efficacy probably did make people feel better.

The 18th century also saw the establishment of zoos as a form of entertainment and at one point there were seventeen in the Liverpool area. Liverpool Zoological Park survived into the 20th century and in the 1930’s one of it’s star attractions was Micky the chimp. He was used as a goal keeper, a task at which he was very successful. Micky was too successful and people started kicking the ball at him rather than trying to score. Eventually he’d had enough and made his escape. After throwing roof tiles at his pursuers he was finally cornered and shot. Micky’s body was stuffed and exhibited in Lewis’s Dept store until the building was bombed in the blitz. A very sad story.

It was surprising to learn that there are the remains of an Iron Age hill fort under the present city. Its inhabitants, the Brigantes, were fearsome people. Daubed in a blue woad dye they went naked into battle which successfully kept the invading Romans at bay.

An up to date trawl through the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ section of the Liverpool Echo provided some Liverpudlian humour, intended or otherwise. A traffic warden named his daughters Scarlet, Amber and Jade, but perhaps the character of Liverpool was revealed in a funeral announcement. A lady rang to give details of her husband’s funeral. The copy-taker informed her that she had one line left in the notice and after a moments thought the lady said ‘Car for sale, £1000 o.n.o. Apparently she sold the car.

Ken Pye’s light hearted delivery deserves a live audience but even via Zoom he conveys his affection for Liverpool and its inhabitants. A most entertaining talk.

For more interesting weird and wonderful Liverpool tales visit Discover Liverpool

Would you like to join our Association? If so please complete our contact form

Article supplied by Richard Hughes

Sandscape – John Dempsey

John Dempsey, Green Sefton

SoFA members enjoyed an interesting Zoom talk entitled ‘Sandscape’ given by the experienced Green Sefton Engagement Officer, John Dempsey.

Sandscape, John Dempsey, Green Sefton
John Dempsey, Green Sefton

John is a key part of the group looking after Sefton’s coastal and dune system.  Members benefitted from both his job experience and his lifelong interest in nature.  He was able to illustrate the talk from his library of photos. 

An excellent speaker, he covered the historical timeline from 7000 year old sediment beds through links with the Vikings and into the 21st century.  He included interesting details of local motoring and aviation history, a maritime heritage with details of wrecks along our coast and fascinating details of the natural features and creatures populating our coastal area.  John explained the ever changing and expanding characteristics of our coastal landscape and the impact global warming is having on the local environment.

During his talk John also covered the work being done by other local conservation groups, such as Gems in the Dunes.

In many ways, as John described, “we have the lion’s share” of some of the nation’s interesting species and fauna.  Thanks to John’s presentation there is so much that stimulated members’ interests and enjoyment.

Please use our contact form if you would like to join our association.

Article supplied by Frank Hyland

Women of Courage – Frank Hyland

Frank Hyland SoFA Chairman - Women of Courage Zoom Talk
Frank Hyland – Zoom Talk

Frank Hyland, our Association Chairman, gave an illustrated Zoom talk, entitled ‘Women of Courage’. Following a career of over 35 years as a Government Health & Safety Inspector, Frank drew on historical material to which he had access to form this talk.

In 1893 women successfully fought against male prejudice to join the normally male dominated field of the Factory Inspectorate. Lucy Deane Streatfield, one of the original women to join the Inspectorate, was the first person to raise concerns over the use of asbestos as early as 1898.

Frank described the challenges and changes faced by the first women Factory Inspectors, or Lady Inspectors as they were called. He focused on the achievements of female Inspectors during the two World Wars, and their development in post war times.

The early female pioneers, including Emily Paterson, who founded the Women’s Protective League, May Abrahams, Mary Patterson, and Rose Squires; all had a remarkable strength of character and covered amazing distances in the course of their work, which eventually covered England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Their contribution and determination in achieving safe standards for workers in a range of industries was remarkable.

This fascinating presentation on ‘Women of Courage’ was enjoyed by attendees from the comfort of their own homes.

You are most welcome to join our Association, please use the ‘Contact Us‘ page to request and application form. Please note that you need to be a member of the National Trust too.

Article supplied by Edwina Alcock

Zoom Talk – Women of Courage


Our very own Frank Hyland will be entertaining us with our second Zoom talk. Women of Courage, the First Women Factory Inspectors is on Tuesday 30 March at 2.30pm

Women of Courage’ describes the challenges and changes faced by the first ‘Lady Inspectors’ as they were called. We follow their contribution and their determination to achieving safe standards for workers in a range of industries. We look in particular at the achievements of women factory inspectors during the two world wars and their development in post war times.

In a career of over 35 years as a government health and safety inspector. Frank Hyland worked with some notable colleagues and had access to historical material included in this talk.

We will issue an email to our members in advance of this Zoom talk, with a link to the session.

If you are interested in joining SoFA please contact us using our Contact Form