Mark Lewis

Location: Epping, Essex
About this Speaker...

Mark is a freelance artist, designer-silversmith and semi-retired university lecturer who has enjoyed a wide-ranging teaching career. Until the summer of 2009, he was a Principal Lecturer in the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design at London Metropolitan University. He currently lectures part-time at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London and is a visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Horners. Mark is also a folklorist and has been an active member of the Folklore Society since 1987, speaking regularly at their conferences around the UK. Mark has a particular interest in unusual local customs and rituals and in 2013 he published a book on the folklore and popular customs of the church.  Furthermore, he is a pharologist (passionate about lighthouses!) being an active member of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers and a founding member of the World Lighthouse Society.

About his talks...

All talks are illustrated with a powerpoint presentation and are of 50-60 minutes duration with time for questions and answers. Mark offers a diverse range of talks and a full list is available on request.

All equipment can be supplied including a screen although happy to use in-house equipment where available.  I am available day and evening and sometimes at short notice.


Fees start from £55 plus travel expenses – petrol or second-class rail fare.  For large groups (100+) I charge £80

I will travel to  Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, London, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire and West Midlands and whilst I will consider travelling elsewhere I may require overnight accommodation.

My Contact Details:

020 8504 5840

07981 757426

Sentinels of the Sea – The Amazing History of Lighthouses

A general introduction to “pharology” – the study of lighthouses and other navigational aids, giving an outline from the prototype – the Pharos of Alexandria, through the evolving history of their construction, methods of illumination, operation and maintenance, the lives of the keepers, including some of the extraordinary heroic stories associated with them.

A Mark of Quality - The History and Practice of Hallmarking

One of the oldest forms of consumer protection explained; assaying techniques described and guidance given on how to read and interpret a hallmark and how to spot forgeries.

The Customs and Traditions of the City of London

An exploration of the colourful pageantry, customs and ceremonies in the City of Londons ‘Square Mile’; the Churches, Worshipful Companies and Civic customs, including the popular annual Lord Mayors Show.

Cribs, Cards and Christingles - The Origins of Christmas Traditions and Customs.

 A talk which explores how our colourful Christmas traditions and customs came into being and how they are celebrated. The presentation also includes some of the lesser-known folklore including Jesse Trees, Chrismons, Mumming Plays and Wassailing.

Talismans and Taboos at Sea - The Folklore of the Mariner

Exploring Sailors luck-bringing amulets and superstitions; tattooing traditions; ships in bottles; animal mascots; figureheads; seamen’s forbidden goods; women at sea; parsons, pigs and playing cards.

Beat Boys - Beat!!  The Curious History of Beating the Bounds

A detailed look at this ancient custom which has seen many revivals in the present. The talk explores all its eccentric accompaniments and the ways in which it has variously functioned as a blessing, a purification and a means of confirming parochial boundaries.

Making an Entrance: The Meaning of Doors

An exploration of some of the most significant objects in our material world, that we use all the time, but rarely notice and which are loaded with symbolic meanings and folkloric associations. Doors also reveal much about the life and character of their owners!

Tying the Knot - The Folklore of English Marriage

This is the oldest institution in human history and weddings the world over have produced some of the most diverse and colourful customs. This talk explores the nuptial beliefs, customs and superstitions of England and Wales, including elopement to Gretna Green, Fleet Marriages and rural Smock Weddings.

The Tidal Thames – its Folklore and Traditions

Exploring the rich tradition of lore and legend in the tidal reaches of London’s River, including pagan gods, riverside taverns, ghosts, ceremonials, frost fairs, tales of smuggling and pirates. (Guided walks around areas of the Tidal Thames are also offered).

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Celebrating the life and work of this illustrious poet, artist and social reformer, who pioneered a movement that reacted against the soulless machine production of the Industrial Revolution. Morris attempted to promote joyful labour, the enjoyment of fine craftsmanship and simplicity of expression.


The World of Art Nouveau.

This radical new style of art and architecture developed in Europe at the end of the 19th Century and was characterised by a spectrum of contradictory images and ideas that embraced the spirit world, fantasy and myth. The talk explains its origins, the key exponents of the movement and its eventual demise.

The World of Art Deco.

A celebration of this highly influential and design style that first appeared in France after World War I and flourished internationally from the 1920s to the 1940s. Characterised by bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation, Art Deco came to represent luxury and glamour in a technologically progressive world.

London through Artists’ Eyes.

The story of London’s life, landscape and social manners, explored through the work of artists down the centuries to the present day. The talk aims to show the continually changing visions of Britain’s capital city.

Mark Lewis Contact Details:

020 8504 5840

07981 757426

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