Dr Stephen Goss

Location: Reading, Berkshire
About The Speaker...

An academic historian published in peer-review journals; an after dinner speaker in high demand, who has been a popular speaker in local historical societies and community groups for a decade.

With me you get history based on the highest standard of research and analysis – presented in an engaging, witty and enjoyable way. I tailor my talks to suit your audience; I guarantee you will be fascinated with the insights and hear humorous anecdotes which will stay with you.

I am also a multiple award-winning tour guide with 100% positive reviews on TripAdvisor. If you would like to combine a talk with a walking tour, please contact me.

About Their Talks...

Each of my talks are accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. I can provide laptop, projector, microphone and speaker if necessary.

However, as an Ulsterman, I can address any size of audience effectively without aid, and nonetheless ensure it is engaging. Let me know what you need and I am happy to accommodate.


My standard fee for an hour-long talk is £75.

However, my fees are negotiable for longer talks, extended courses, seminars, and combinations of talks and walking tours.

My Contact Details:


The war that no one wanted: the origins of the First World War

We have recently marked the centenary of the outbreak and conclusion of one of the most shattering conflicts of the Twentieth Century.

This talk/course outlines the international developments that resulted in the First World War. It will cover the unification of both Italy and Germany, the domestic situations in the great powers and key European players, the impact of empire-building and the situation in the Balkans. The intricacies of international relations in the period are outlined to provide an understanding of why Europe was plunged into such a devastating war. Weaving these considerations together, it will put the First World War in context and explain why a dispute in south-eastern Europe was so quickly transformed into a fight to the death for the Continent’s great empires and powers.

'No tolerance of undeserving rank and splendour': the wit and satire of Gilbert & Sullivan

Discover the witty commentary on contemporary society with a look at the stories behind some of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most famous – and less well known – pieces of music.

Uncover the thinly veiled satire of some of the plots, what motivated Gilbert to write certain operas, and unmask the characters which were deliberate parodies of certain specific Victorian politicians and notables.

The talk/course not only provides context to the operas, but also gives an insight into British society, history, culture, and world view in the Victorian era. If you are interested in British Nineteenth Century history – this is the talk for you.

‘Half sunk a shattered visage lies…’ statues in our towns and cities and the once celebrated citizens they remember

In June 2020 the Bristol statute of slave trader and philanthropist Edward Colston was toppled, defaced and thrown into Bristol Harbour. Our towns and cities are dotted with statutes which we pass on a daily basis without a second thought; how much do you know about the figures previous generations saw fit for civic commemoration?

This talk highlights local statues, the life and times of the individuals they celebrated in the community and broader context, and provides all the information needed in the tear down versus retain argument.

The Secret history: Britain and the Cold War

This talk/course looks at the contribution and response of the UK to the Cold War. Starting in 1945 and continuing to Britain’s significant role in the collapse of the Soviet empire, it covers some of the most intense moments of the international conflict.

Revealing the impact that global tension had on the UK as a whole, it takes the international conflict down to the local level; how would where you live have fared? Was your town or city on the Soviet target list?

The talk/course reveals how the various elements of society responded. The approach adopted by communities, the press, the main churches, students and other opinion formers is revealed. Additionally, amongst other revelations, clandestine arrangements, debates over nuclear weapons in Northern Ireland, the plans for secret bunkers and covert co-operation between the Catholic Church and the – supposedly – neutral Irish Government to stop communism in Italy are all revealed.

The untold story of the local impact of the Cold War and HM Government’s plans for a post-apocalyptic Britain.

From Partition to Protocol: the history of Northern Ireland

The European Union (EU) is proposing to take the UK to court over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Northern Ireland was the sticking point over a negotiated deal to leave the EU. Teresa May’s government was dependent on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party – who objected to and helped bring down her exit deal.

This talk/course explains why there is a ‘Northern Ireland’, its history, the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement, and why it has been such a bone of contention for London and Brussels as the UK has attempted to unentangle itself from the EU.

Dr Stephen Goss Contact Details:


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