Michael Parkin

Location: Swanwick, Derbyshire
About the Speaker...

As a qualified management trainer and legal advocate, Michael has been speaking to groups, small and large, for many years. Since retirement he has expanded a lifelong interest in history and is involved in several research groups. He has a degree in politics and law and has published legal text books. Latterly, he also published books on the Pentrich Rising and a children’s introduction to the First World War. His main periods of interest encompass radicalism and revolution, 1720 to 1860, including the industrial revolution, and the intensively interesting period of 1919 to 1939.

About his talks...

The talks are usually supported by a PowerPoint presentation but some involve elements of role-play by key characters. He will come equipped with everything necessary; although if the venue is fitted with a screen or suitable wall, it saves time and effort. The talks normally last from 60 to 75 minutes, but can be adjusted to suit your needs; for example some groups require a refreshment break. Questions, discussions and ‘challenges’ are always welcome!


Fees are £50, plus expenses at cost from Swanwick in central Derbyshire. I am prepared to travel a reasonable distance, but normally in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and North Leicestershire.

My Contact Details:

01773 603071


1. 1817 – A recipe for Revolution

Why did upwards of 400 men from central Derbyshire pick up pikes, scythes and a few firearms and set off to march to London with the declared intention of over-turning the government? Why was the economic and political situation of the working man in the developing industrial areas so bad for some? What was the role of the spy, William Oliver? Was he more than a spy was he an ‘agent provocateur’? Did men really need to be hanged and beheaded? A challenging story from the centre of the industrial revolution!

2. The Making of a Radical

A talk highlighting the life and times of Thomas Bacon a working class radical from Pentrich in Derbyshire. A man deeply involved in the Pentrich Rising but, yet, he disappeared on the day!? What were the radical influences of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century? What role did the loss of America and the French Revolution play? This is a story told partly through the eyes of Thomas and a few others who will relate the tale in their own words.

3. The Long Weekend

This talk trips across the period between the “book ends” of the First and Second World Wars. With some precision, the period began at 11 am on 11th November 1918 when the war ended and ended just after 11 am Sunday 3rd September 1939 when Hitler failed to accept the British ultimatum to withdraw German troops from Poland. It would be facile to think that a world operating relatively smoothly in the early part of the twentieth century could undergo the tragic impact of the First World War and then re-emerge unscathed like an animal waking from a comfortable hibernation and yet, after a few stretches and scratching, begin where it left off. This talk presents overview of the changes, not just in in politics, economics, but in art, entertainment, fashion and social life.
*The talk can be tailored to focus on specific areas if necessary for any group, for example see talk no.4.

4. Nine Days in May

This talk is a detailed portrayal of the General Strike in 1926, its origins, implications and intrigues. I will look at the role of politicians and trade union leaders and, most importantly, the impact on men and their families. This is a fascinating look at a key event in recent history. The story does not lend itself to much in the way of humour – but interesting none the less.

5. Women of The Great War

Before the First World War women were defined by what they could not do rather than what they could do. The Great War changed everything! This talks ranges from the attitude of the trade unions to canary girls and even ladies who took on a fighting role. Finally we look at some of the women who were notable for their actions during the war years.

Countess of Shrewsbury – ‘Bess of Hardwick’


Have you ever wondered how to break the glass ceiling? You need to be ‘powerful’, ‘indomitable’, ‘sensitive’, ‘hard’, ‘scheming’, ‘sexy’, ‘cold’, ‘grasping’ ‘formidable’, and ‘charismatic’.

Bess of Hardwick was all of these and more! She was one of the most important and impressive ladies in English history. In an extremely male dominated world!!!

This talks seeks to answer some of the questions surrounding her rise in prominence from the daughter of a profligate yeoman to one of the richest women of her time. She even experienced two spells in the Tower of London!




New Talk for 2018 - Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of Women Gaining the Right to Vote

Women and the Vote

It was not until 1928 that over half the adult population of Great Britain were granted the right to vote in national elections. Finland, Iceland, Sweden and even the Isle of Man granted this in the nineteenth century.

This story dovetails into the emancipation of women in terms of the law, education, work and social standing. A fascinating story that raises some interesting of gender, social class and prejudice.

The first legislation giving women some limited rights to vote was in 1918. With the centenary in 2018 it presents an opportune time to review the story.

Michael Parkin, Public Speaker in Derbyshire also offers illustrated talks in the following topics:

Minding the Business of Others (spying in the Georgian Period)

Working Women and Climbing Boys (work in the 19th Century)


New for 2017/2018 – please contact me for more details

The Pentrich Revolution

Mary Wolstonecroft

The suffragettes and suffragists to the flappers of the 1930’s.


Michael Parkin Contact Details:

01773 603071


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