Melanie Gibson-Barton

Location: Dymchurch, Kent
About me...

I am an experienced full-time speaker and give talks in the mornings, afternoons and evenings and I enjoy regular repeat bookings. I simply love providing my talks and meeting audiences. I charge a competitive fully inclusive fee – I do not charge per mile – and I bring all my own equipment so you can sit back and relax.
I have passed auditions to become a registered public speaker and regularly speak at AGMs and Group meetings. I give my talks without reading from notes. Over the years I have increased the number of subjects that I offer to reflect my expanding interests. You can be confident of a high-quality, informative, entertaining presentation accompanied by colourful powerpoint slides for your audience.

I have delivered my talks to an enormous variety of groups of all sizes over the years. From auditoriums to a conservatory in a back garden, from Annual Council Meetings for WI Federations and AGMs to meetings of National Trust, U3A, military societies, WIs, horticultural, friendship, church, Rotary, ARA, Probus, Soroptimists, CSMA Boundless, Trefoil and Oddfellows societies. From audiences of 600 to a twice-yearly booking for five ladies in South London and from After Dinner Talks to afternoon tea parties.

I do my best to step in at short notice if you have a speaker cancel – just ask.

About my talks...

I currently offer seventeen talks but continue to add new talks to my repertoire, including talks commissioned by organisations for commemorative events.
I bring all my own equipment for venue talks – I’m entirely self-sufficient! – including a screen and sound system – so your audience will hear my talk. An electric wall socket and parking is all I need.

I love providing my talks in venues but I am also delighted to provide my talks via my Zoom – I delivered my talks via Zoom during Lockdown – and those national and international audiences are now inviting me to their venues to provide further talks.

There’s more information about my talks on my website – scroll to the bottom of my talks and click through on the link


I am delighted to accept bookings in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Essex, London – also Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire – and often well beyond the Home Counties for a competitive, fully inclusive, fee – I don’t charge per mile – and I may be able to step in at short notice.

My Contact Details:

07900 637171

Elizabeth Barton – the Maid of Kent - 1506 - 1534

This young visionary of Aldington in Kent was so dangerous to Henry VIII, Ann Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon that she had to be executed.  Hear why in this commissioned talk.  The talk includes the work of artist Lauren McMahan.

The Belgian Royal Family – murder, madness and mayhem?

For a monarchy that has only been in existence since independence in 1830, be assured there’s lots to tell.  Explore, too, their links with the British Royal Family.

“Prima!” said a Belgian audience member in East Grinstead.  “Brilliant!” St Lukes Ladies, Rochester.

The Suffragettes and the Suffragists - Votes for Women

This thought-provoking talk presents a much wider insight into the struggle, including the early, often overlooked, pioneers of women’s rights. Originally commissioned for the centenary of Leigh WI.
“Tremendous research and local stories too!”
“Delighted!” – members of Leigh WI

Ostend – more than just fish and flip-flops

An insider view of the history this popular City by the Sea to explore sandcastles, ferries, royalty, artists, architecture, wars and herring. “Fascinating!” Wanstead & Woodford U3A. “Your extensive research made it a most interesting talk. I certainly gained knowledge” Tangent Club Chairman

Paaschendaele To Peace? Did the war end in 1918?

An illustrated talk providing an overview of the events of the final months of The Great War and into the 1920s. From the Battle of Passchendaele, the Russian Revolution, the Germans’ Spring Offensive, the arrival of the Americans, the Last Hundred Days, the Armistice in 1918, the rebuilding, the Treaty of Versailles and the aftermath in Germany. Did the war end in 1918 or did it only pause?

‘Really interesting’. ‘Lots to make us think’ Canterbury Cathedral Friends Society

Bruges – it’s more than just chocolate!

This talk presents an insider’s view so that even those who know Bruges well will feel inspired to visit again. “Our members are booking their Tunnel crossings already!” reported a delighted host.

“Thank you for your interesting talk, we were very keen to learn about Bruges. Our members were impressed with your talk without notes – something very few speakers seem able to do these days. On behalf of our WI members: thank you very much.”

Wandering in Flanders Fields

This talk brings to life the well-known and certainly the less well known First World War sites in Flanders in a themed way that will appeal to all elements of the audience. “Each time you told us something new you then came again with an entirely different angle. Fantastic”

“It’s great for family history background. Research so often touches on the First World War”. “This will really help us plan our touring holiday.”

“The topic was very well researched, Melanie had good quality photographs and delivered her talk in a meaningful, well-spoken and poignant manner” – Lyminge History Society

Parks and Gardens of Flanders

Explore the distinctive style of Flemish gardening. A wide-ranging talk appealing to garden lovers, walkers and armchair gardeners. “Lots of ideas for our garden society to visit”. “First Class!”- a member of Sutton-at-Hone Horticultural Society.
An informative and fun talk written to appeal to a wide audience – not just gardeners!

Uncovering the Treasures of Bruges

A talk especially designed for audiences interested in the arts.

“This is just to say how good it was to meet you last evening and how much we all appreciated your talk. You spoke so naturally and with an obvious love of somewhere very special. Lots of tempting reasons to visit Bruges! You inspired us with your enthusiasm for the place – “Uncovering the Treasures of Bruges” couldn’t have been a better title.” Wye Arts Association

Ten and More Famous Belgians

There’s some surprises in store with this wide ranging talk – and way more than just ten famous Belgians!
“If someone says Belgium to me, I tend to think Art, chocolates and beer, so it was interesting to hear Melanie’s Famous Belgians talk and realise there are many more reasons to be grateful to this country.” – U3A.  “Plenty of ‘well I didn’t know that’ moments!” – Probus

The Life and Times of Edith Cavell

Exploring the story of the British heroine who died in Brussels in 1915.  Presenting the experience of regular visits to Brussels to research the hospitals and homes where Edith worked in her nursing career, as well as the place of her execution – a humbling experience.  The Life and Times of Edith Cavell talk tells her story supported by photographs of existing artefacts of her life.  “Her story needed to be told and you told it!” – Hythe Civic Society.

I have been delighted by the comments of members of Edith’s family and relatives of the key players who have attended the talk.

Wandering on the Somme

A companion talk to my Wandering in Flanders Fields talk, visiting the known and less well-known sites of The Somme.  Be inspired by today’s beautifully restored landscape that witnessed momentous days during the First World War.  The talk contains other sights to see in the beautiful Somme area of France – be assured it’s “way more than the usual mud and trenches”.


Eva Braun – Victim or Contriver?


Hear the story of the woman who devoted her life to Hitler. The material of the talk is sensitively presented in order to appeal to a wide audience.

“Fascinating” – member of West Pevensey Historical Society, Sussex.

Three women, One Man – Glamour, Wealth and Heartbreak

A thought-provoking talk revealing how the lives of four mystery icons intertwine in their pursuit of wealth, status and power.  Can money ever buy love and happiness?

“I joined the Rotary to hear intelligent, well-researched talks – and you just gave one!”

The History of Morris Dancing – with a chance to try!

Hear about the history of the most English of dances … or is it? A fun talk giving the story of the many different style of Morris to be seen at the Rochester Sweeps Festival, Tenterden Folk Festival and Faversham Hop Festival – and a pub near you !

And So To Ted - a History of Teddies and Other Bears

A wide-ranging, fun talk of Bear Essentials to appeal to arctophiles and bear lovers! Be sure to bring your bears along to hear the talk!
Rest assured this talk is designed with mixed audiences in mind. “brilliant presentation – the members’ feedback was hugely positive” Croydon U3A. The ‘And So To Ted’ talk was enjoyed in Oxfordshire by a celebrity audience member: Archibald Ormsby-Gore, the treasured bear of Sir John Betjeman.

Melanie Gibson-Barton Contact Details:

07900 637171

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