Dr Francis Burroughes

Location: Yeovil, Somerset
About The Speaker...

Lecturer and after-Dinner Speaker, for W.Is., Rotary & Round Tables, U3As.,and special interest groups and societies. Francis is now retired, but in his long career he has been a school-teacher, and director of several companies. In his spare time he has been a church organist for over fifty years, a keen flower arranger, and a conductor of numerous choral societies, operatic societies, and musical groups. He is an acknowledged authority on antique glass, and is often requested to provide samples for television programmes, or give his expert advice. He has many years experience as a public speaker, and is always complimented on the fact that he is clearly heard at the back of a large hall, even without a microphone!

About his Talks...

All his talks, except for ‘The Man who Re-built Wessex’ (for which he provides all the equipment required to show slides), are ‘stand alone’ requiring no equipment, and he brings from his own collection historic and valuable items which members are able to examine for themselves.


Bookings within 10 miles Yeovil (home address) – £50.00 and no travel expenses. Bookings outside a ten miles radius of Yeovil – £75.00 plus travel expenses at 35p per mile.
For groups of 40 or less please make contact so that a discount on the fee can be negotiated.
Francis is happy to speak to groups in Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire and Hampshire, and Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Groups further afield are invited to make enquiries to see if a “mini-tour” can be arranged.

My Contact Details:

07730 526166

The Wonderful World of Glass

Over the last few years this has proved to be one of the most popular talks Francis has given. From his own personal collection, he brings historic and valuable items of glass, for members to examine for themselves, which illustrate the whole history of glass-making from 3,000 B.C. to the present day. He is an acknowledged expert on the history of glass, and is often asked to lend pieces and speak about them for various television antiques programmes.

Romans, Vikings, and Merchant Slavers

A follow-up talk to the previous, aimed for the more specialist group, such as a local history or archaeological society, or a U3A group. This talk, also illustrated with examples of glass of special historic significance, deals with the history of glass-making in the West Country.

Can You Play Jerusalem?

Francis has spoken to many hundreds of the Ladies of the W.I. across the West Country. Most of the meetings have been memorable for the welcome and the hospitality he has received. However . . . sometimes the unexpected happens. Here are some of the funniest moments from the life of a speaker ‘on the W.I. circuit’. He promises strict anonymity!

Seated One Day at the Organ......

For over 50 years Francis has been an organist in churches ranging in size from those seating over 2000 people to tiny village churches seating less than three dozen. Weddings, Funerals, special services, all provide hazards for the unsuspecting organist . . . and that is before we get on to the subject of clergymen, choirboys, and congregations! This is the real low-down on the view from the organ bench, and may feature a church near you!

A Victorian Head Gardener

Francis’ father started his career in Horticulture as gardener’s boy on a large estate just before the First World War. Hear about the fascinating life of the Victorian country estate, which has now entirely vanished. Learn the correct way of mowing a lawn with a horse-drawn mower, how to grow grapes, pineapples and cucumbers, and why and when William Robinson’s butler had to serve his master with a pear on a silver tray. You will also discover why the Ministry of Defence issued thousands of stirrup pumps to the Home Guard in the Second World War.

Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage

Francis has conducted or produced over two hundred Amateur Operatic Society productions, and not all the drama happens on-stage! This talk distils the essence of that peculiar hobby of amateur dramatics, and stars a donkey, an orange wig, and a fire siren, among a host of other guest appearances!

The Man Who Re-built Wessex

As an architect, Benjamin Ferrey (1810 – 1880) has been almost forgotten. Yet in his time he was staggeringly successful, building and restoring over 200 churches, houses, and public buildings in the West Country and beyond. Many buildings in Dorchester are by him, and Wells Cathedral owes much of its present appearance to the work he did there, as does Christchurch Priory and Romsey Abbey. He was also responsible for laying out the original street plans of the new sea-side resort of Bournemouth. Francis is shortly to publish a monograph about this remarkable man, whose buildings are often unacknowledged and under-rated. This talk, lavishly illustrated with slides, will prove of general interest, but will be of particular interest to local history societies, and those interested in art and design and Victorian history in general.

Calling all Flower Clubs......

Francis has been active in Flower Clubs for half a century, and is an experienced demonstrator. He offers talks and demonstrations to Garden Clubs and Floral Societies. Please contact him to discuss titles, and your specific requirements and the budget you have for flowers, etc.

What people say about my talks

“Undoubtedly the best speaker we have had this year.”
“Your talk was so funny, and we have learnt such a lot. Please come again.”
“My Committee insists that I book you again next year. Please say you are available.”
“He kept over 600 members at our W.I. County Meeting spell-bound for an hour when he filled in for a speaker who failed to arrive on time. Unhesitatingly recommended!”


“I have attended several of Dr Burroughes talks, all of which have been informative and very amusing. Some of the valuable glass which we were able to hold and closely inspect were amazing, as were other items of “Guess what this is ?” from his gardening memories.
Above all his dry whit, interesting and knowledgeable talks were very much appreciated by his audience.”

Heather  –  March 2023

Dr Francis Burroughes Contact Details:

07730 526166

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