Brian Margetson

Location: Wareham, Dorset
About me...

Having spent a career designing buildings and other structures I have now semi-retired allowing me to focus on my other interest, public speaking. I have a great deal of experience in presenting and have previously been President of Bristol Speakers Club. I have given talks to audiences as diverse as The NHBC, Civic Societies, Women’s Institutes and Retirement Homes.
My passion is to make my presentations entertaining and lively. I strongly believe any topic can be interesting if well presented.

About my Talks...

My talks are powerpoint presentations and I provide my own projector, laptop and if required I can bring along a screen.
The talks can vary in length from approx 30 minutes to approx 60 minutes – whatever is required.
All of my talks are now available as Virtual presentations (Zoom etc)


My fee for a presentation starts from £50 depending on distance involved.

My Contact Details:

07765 408930

The Search for Great Grandmother’s Farm

The Search for Great Grandmother’s Farm

This moving presentation follows my personal personal journey to seek out any remains of my great grandmother’s farm. Spurred on by mother’s many amusing stories of her childhood summers at the farm, a plan was hatched to travel deep into the former state of East Germany in the summer 2017 and search for remnants of those happy days.

Let me tell you more about the Russian occupation of eastern Germany, its subsequent partition and the eventual re-unification of Germany. Hear about my Mother’s last days at the farm which were far removed from the joys of those carefree summer holidays.

Is the farm is still there? There’s only one way to find out – join me for this fascinating talk!


A Peculiar Victorian Enterprise

Want to hear about the company that holds the record for being in receivership? Discover how The Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway Company accomplished this dubious honour. Let me take you down the line of fragile optimism upon which the enterprise was promoted and the desperate measures taken to survive, and survive it did for 43 years.

Along the way, I’ll introduce you to Colonel Stephens, undisputed king of Britain’s small and quirky railways. Creaking infrastructure from the start, hand-me-down equipment, you just couldn’t make up this story.

Crossing the Severn

Sit back, grip your seats and let me take you on a perilous voyage of man’s attempts to secure a reliable means of crossing the Severn Estuary. Two major ferry crossings, one tunnel and three bridges later, we may have finally cracked it.

The magnitude of the task can be best summed up by famous civil engineer Thomas Telford…”one of the most forbidding places at which an important ferry was ever established…..”. If the passage was perilous, the service was little better. Nicholson’s Cambrian Travellers Guide of 1840 warned “…. the boatmen are, of course, rude in their manners, indifferent to the comfort of their passengers and well-practiced in the art of extortion…”.

Come along to this presentation and be fascinated by the tales of fleeing royals, glorious failures and feats of cutting edge engineering.



Planes and boats and Trains

Join me and celebrate two hundred years of scheduled channel crossings to continental Europe. Let me tell you how the execution of a ferry captain helped turn the world against the Kaiser in WW1. Discover how a breakdown in simple communication led to a major maritime disaster.

Be prepared for a captivating account of how commerce and enterprise resulted in no less than six different technologies being employed in order to grab some of the action of this lucrative transport market. Only the fittest survive, now there are just two means of getting abroad. Find out which technology has outlasted all of the competition.

Ghosts, Royals & Ferrymen

Having spent 25 years creating a unique photographic archive and an intriguing catalogue of anecdotal stories of Britain’s small working ferries, I can’t wait to share this fascinating presentation with you. The talk includes an immensely varied collection of strange craft, interesting individuals and unusual locations. And of course, there are the weird and wacky stories that go with each of these ferries.

Stand by to be entertained with a light hearted presentation which focuses on river, estuary and inshore ferries, from rowing boats up to the Isle of Wight ferry.

The Search for the North West Passage

Let me tell you all about the North West Passage, and the story of its exploration. The booming trade with the far-east spurred on by the Industrial Revolution had one major pitfall, to break out of the Atlantic Ocean and reach the far-east (before the Suez or Panama Canals existed) required a hazardous voyage around the Cape of Good Hope.

Discover how a succession of brave explorers attempted to discover a shorter sea route around the top of North America. The final link of this “North West Passage” remained elusive. Hear how two competing exhibitions, a state sponsored mission led by Sir John Franklin and a more modest affair led by John Rae – a privateer, attempted to discover this missing link.

This absorbing talk will entertain by contrasting the two vastly different approaches and the two vastly different outcomes of these ventures. In typical Victorian fashion, the villain reaped fame and the hero infamy.

The Mysterious Loss of the SS Waratah

In the early morning of 27th July 1909 the Waratah overtook a steamship, and sped ahead eventually slipping from sight over the horizon. The officers on the bridge of the slower steamer would not have realised at the time there’s was the last positive sighting of Waratah. To this day, no debris, no bodies and no wreck has ever been found. She simply vanished with her 211 passengers and crew. Let me intrigue you with the story of one passenger, Claude Sawyer, who had disembarked at the previous port having suffered premonitions of this ship’s demise, and succeed in adding an additional swirl of mystery to the loss.

Did she succumb to a giant wave, was she fundamentally unstable, or perhaps an alien abduction was involved? There are no shortage of wild theories as to the cause of her disappearance, and the audience can choose their favourite after hearing of the abundant side plots that enrich this fascinating mystery. I will also add a couple of observations not picked out by other authors.

I can deliver this talk without powerpoint as a Stand Alone presentation.

Brian Margetson Contact Details:

07765 408930

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