Terry Ransome

Location: Nailsea, Bristol
About me...

The talks I offer reflect some of the knowledge gained and experiences enjoyed in two very different aspects of my ‘working’ life.
I worked in the aerospace industry for over 30 years – building and testing satellites and spacecraft. That took me to launch sites around the world, the most memorable perhaps being a launch campaign at the Russian site at Baikonur in Kazakhstan – with the UK’s Beagle2 Mars Probe.
That done, I took early retirement but became heavily involved with the British Schools Museum in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. I managed the museum (as a volunteer) for 3 years, and was a Trustee for 6 years. There, I developed a love of local history, acquired an in-depth knowledge of the early history of elementary education, and became an advocate of lifelong learning.

About my talks...

Talks are all fully illustrated as PowerPoint presentations. I began by speaking to many diverse groups in the Home Counties and East Anglia, and now active in Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire – but I’m happy to travel further afield!
I can bring just a memory stick and use your projection equipment, or I can bring my laptop and projector. As a minimum I will need a screen or a plain white wall to project onto. Try me for short notice talks!


My charge is normally £40 for a talk of 45 – 60 minutes. Outside of the North Somerset / Bristol / South Gloucestershire area please add a contribution of 35p per mile for travel costs.

My Contact Details:

07813 262045

Joseph Lancaster, the Poor Child’s Friend

Joseph Lancaster was a pioneer of elementary education. In 1798 he opened a school for the children of the ‘labouring poor’ in Southwark, London. At that time there was no Government interest in universal education; indeed it was actively discouraged by many in the Establishment.
Lancaster developed a cheap and efficient system for educating large numbers of children. He was soon teaching, singlehandedly, 130 boys in one room.
His ideas became popular; others saw the benefits and founded the Royal Lancasterian Society, which in 1815 became the British & Foreign School Society. Soon, ‘British’ and ‘National’ Schools, followed by ‘Board’ Schools, were opening right across the UK.
The talk shows how Lancaster’s ‘Monitorial System’ worked with 300, 400, or even 600 scholars in one room, and how the Established Church and the Government belatedly accepted, funded, and eventually fully embraced elementary education for all.

Finding Eliza Carr

While I was with the British Schools Museum, we acquired a needlework sampler, worked by Eliza Tabitha Carr and dated 1865. But who was Eliza? What could we find out about her and her school in Bratton?
This talk tells Eliza’s story. She was a West Country girl, born in Wiltshire, a pupil at the British School, Bratton.
The talk follows Eliza through a move to London, and her return to the West Country. It also gives an insight into how girls were taught in the ‘British’ system of education in the mid 1800s.
The talk will be of great interest to local history enthusiasts and family history researchers.

Yuri Gagarin and the Chief Designer

Yuri Gagarin was the first human to orbit the Earth. Some will remember hearing of that momentous achievement on 12th April 1961 – over 60 years ago.
But there is a lot more to the story…..
Yuri came from a peasant background, but his determination to succeed shone through his childhood and youth. His flight into space came at the height of the ‘space race’ and the ‘cold war’. So much of his life story (including his tragic and mysterious death) and the background to his achievement were kept secret by the Soviet Union – until the early 2000’s.
Behind the Soviet space programme was a determined engineer, known only as ‘The Chief Designer’ until his death. His story is equally moving.

To Mars via Kazakhstan

The final highlight in my working life was to work at the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan – from where Yuri Gagarin embarked on his first human spaceflight. It is still busy today launching astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station – and lots more.
I took with me the UK’s Mars Lander Beagle2 – the probe that was ‘lost’ on Mars at Christmas 2003, but ‘found’ 11 years later.
In this talk I tell of my Beagle2 and Kazakhstan experiences – with a postscript on how Beagle2 was eventually found and identified on the Red Planet. A postscript looks at how later Mars probes have fared, and what’s planned for the future.

Filton in Space – 60 Years and Counting

The Filton, Bristol, works of the British Aircraft Company, entered the ‘space race’ in 1956 and provided part of the first British rocket to reach space in November 1957, just a few weeks after Sputnik 1.
The space business continued in the hands of British Aerospace and Matra Marconi Space until in 1999 it transferred elsewhere.
I worked in the space industry for over 30 years and have put together a presentation showing how over 60 spacecraft were launched into space with Filton hardware on board. Of the 60, 47 are still in orbit and most will be there forever.
This talk could be adapted to concentrate on particular aspects of space research or application.

Testimonials & Reviews

“Terry has talked to us on Joseph Lancaster and Yuri Gagarin and both talks were greatly enjoyed by our members. Recommended.”

Brian – Probus Club – Mar 2022

Terry Ransome Contact Details:

07813 262045

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