Sandy Leong

Location: Loughborough, Leicestershire
About the speaker...

Sandy Leong is an historian, passionate about bringing history to life and is a lively and entertaining speaker. She has a popular series of entertaining, light hearted talks on general historical subjects. However she specialises in the Tudors, an exciting time in the country as it was changing fast; and in the Viking period, who are much more than the stereotype of raiders in horned helmets.

She is an international, professional speaker, and published author, married to a Malaysian, spending time living and working in the UK & Malaysia. She has had a lifelong career as an educator and developer of people; she is a qualified teacher, past CEO of a Racial Equality Council; Guest Lecturer at Universities and Colleges of Further Education; a regular speaker at conferences; guest speaker with P & O, Fred Olsen and Saga cruise ships; and sought after speaker for U3A’s, WI’s, Historical Societies and other groups.

Other interests include, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for a large Charity and a Past President of Loughborough Speakers Club, holding the Advanced Speaker Award.

About her talks...

All talks & presentations are written to last for 45 minutes; the subject is brought to life with a powerpoint presentation.


£85 for talks delivered in Leicestershire, outside of Leicestershire travelling expenses are added (between £10 – £25 depending on location).

My Contact Details:


Food of the Gods – When Chocolate was Worth More than Silver

The Aztecs believed that cocoa seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom. The Spanish took the bean back to Spain in 1528 and kept its’ source a secret. By 1520 chocolate had arrived in England and the first Chocolate House opened in 1657. The Quakers were instrumental in making it popular, the Swiss refined it; and now we can’t seem to do without it! The God of wisdom gave us chocolate – I’m not sure if it was a wise move!

All for the Love of Sugar

Sugar influenced the slave trade and was used as a medicine; it was a luxury for the rich and now has the reputation as a comfort food and many people crave it. Elizabeth I was so fond of it her teeth turned black. Few foodstuffs have had such an impact on human beings as sugar.

The Golden Age of Coffee Houses

Coffee Houses in the 17th and 18th centuries played a central role in life in the cities; they were where men met to discuss the new ideas of the time and conduct business with wits sharpened by caffeine instead of being dulled by alcohol. Coffee Houses served coffee, chocolate and tea, provided their customers with newspapers and were where many of our national institutions began. It is said that they fuelled the Enlightenment.

Mocha, Latte & the Wine of Araby – A Short History of our Love Affair with Coffee

In the 17th century it was believed that coffee had medicinal properties; In 1600 Pope Clement gave his permission for Catholics to drink it; the first Coffee House opened in England in the mid 1600’s.; Our love affair with the coffee bean goes back several centuries, before becoming a popular drink on the high street.

The Great Tea Robbery

Perhaps the greatest theft of trade secrets in the history of mankind. Robert Fortune, a young Scotsman went to China to steal their secrets of tea. Travelling disguised as a Chinese merchant by the name of Sing Wa, he went where no westerner had been before, into the interior of China. An amazing tale of 19th Century industrial espionage to bring the best tea to Britain.

A Nice Cup of Tea - A Potted History of Tea

The British answer to any problem or crisis is often a cup of tea! If you have had a shock or an upset someone will make you a nice cup of tea. But how did the British love affair with tea start? It is a fascinating tale of adventure, taxes, criminality, temperance, rationing and a morale booster in World War I and II and of a Duchess who established the ritual of afternoon tea.

Spicing Up Our Lives – A History of our Passion for Spices

Spices have been important to mankind for a long time, they have been used for culinary purposes, as preservatives and as medicine. At times they served as a currency – you could pay your rent in peppercorns; the quest for them caused wars and made men fortunes.

Santa Claus & All Things Christmas

Christmas is celebrated all over the world. A Christian festival that is enjoyed with traditions and stories. But who was St Nicolas and how did Santa Claus come about? Who developed the story of Santa’s reindeer and when did sending Christmas cards start and why do we put a fairy on top of the tree? Come and listen to a history of the origins of well-loved traditions.

When Christmas was Cancelled! - A History of Christmas.

The Christmas celebration that we know today has been a long time in the making as a religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration in the northern hemisphere, before the arrival of Jesus. Christmas has been celebrated in different ways over the centuries and was even cancelled when England was a republic!

Hidden Meanings of Place Names

The origins of place names gives a fascinating insight into Britain’s past history. Some place names come from the earliest inhabitants of Britain but many are associated with our invaders who have left their mark. Did you know that Nottingham used to be called Snotts Settlement? Some place names have evolved over the centuries and others have stayed the same and some aren’t what they seem.

The Bishop’s Finger – A History of the Public House

The British public house started life as a Roman Wine Bar and dates back over 2000 years. Ale was central to the Anglo Saxon sense of community, the place to get a drink often marked by using a bush as a sign; by 1577 it is thought that there were 17,000 alehouse, 2000 inns and 400 taverns in England many with really interesting names that are still with us today and can trace back their origins.

What’s in a Name? – The Origins & Meanings of Surnames

Your surname links your family across generations and each has a story to tell. It may tell you where your forbears originated from, what their work was or social status or even if they had a distinguishing feature. It was the Normans who insisted we had one and Henry VIII who insisted the fathers surname went on a child’s birth certificate. We use them every day, take them for granted and yet they are one of our most personal and interesting possessions.

Hey Diddle Diddle: History & Meaning of Nursery Rhymes

Passed on down through the generations from parents to children, nursery rhymes have been part of our childhood. Many are veiled commentaries on political events and people in power, using subtle references and clever word play. Some nursery rhymes have it all, like a good film, royal scandal, illicit love affairs and bloodshed.

Mad as a Hatter: Origins & Meanings of Sayings

Some people could say that I’m as mad as a hatter because I’m fascinated by the origins of the sayings we use in everyday conversation. There are more sayings than you can shake a stick at. For any doubting Thomas’ out there I’ll let the cat out of the bag and pull out all the stops to entertain you, with stories of how the sayings we use all the time, came about.

Black Cats, New Moons & Ladders: Origins of Superstitions

A belief in luck and fate are the key components of superstitions and that they can be controlled by various actions of human beings. Do you throw salt over your shoulder if you spill it? Know that it’s good luck if you see two magpies together; wonder if things didn’t go as planned because it was Friday 13th and touch wood for good luck? But where did these beliefs originate?

Specialist Talks

What audiences say about my talks

‘A really interesting speaker, kept me enthralled all the way through her lively delivery’
‘Sandy is lively & entertaining, delivering an eclectic mix of talks’

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