Village Hall Talks at Wootton-By-Woodstock

The project was conceived to raise funds to renovate the village hall in Wootton-by-Woodstock, which was built almost entirely from timber ninety years ago. Following a decade of successful events, much of the refurbishment has been completed. So, all proceeds will now be donated to the Wootton Conservation Trust, which bought and manages the extensive Jubilee Meadow - a Local Nature Reserve open to all and one of the most popular features in Wootton

The David Rooney Talk

The David Rooney Talk

7.30pm Friday October 11th

David is a writer and award-winning curator specialising in the history of time, cities, technology and engineering. He spent over twenty years working in two of the UK's top museums - Royal Museums Greenwich, where he was Curator of Timekeeping; and the Science Museum, where he was Keeper of Technology and Engineering until 2018, before going freelance.

David returns to Wootton by popular demand, having spoken on two occasions. This time, he will present his lively and hard-hitting talk called "The Politics of Precision: Standard Time and Violent Protest", David will tell the story of time in fin de siècle political protest and its aftermath. In 1894, the Royal Observatory Greenwich was hit by a bomb carried by a French anarchist who accidentally killed himself – in a gruesome fashion – in the process.

In 1913, the Royal Observatory Edinburgh was struck by a time bomb left by suffragettes. He will ask why were national observatories the target for these violent attacks? Standard time represents national identities and demonstrates the power of global empires and government control. For activists campaigning to change political structures, time was therefore a target for violent protest, or "propaganda of the deed", and the results hit the world’s headlines with deadly force.

In 2011, David spoke in Wootton about Ruth Belville, known as the Greenwich Time Lady who - along with her parents - sold people the time. They set a watch to Greenwich Mean Time, as shown by the Greenwich clock, each day before "selling" people the time by letting them look at the watch and adjust theirs. Subsequently, in 2014, David gave a talk on the remarkable life of Alan Turing, considered the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, who played a significant role in code-breaking at Bletchley Park

David was lead curator of the Science Museum's RIBA-award-winning Mathematics: The Winton Gallery , designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, as well as its critically acclaimed exhibition Codebreaker: Alan Turing's Life and Legacy. He also co-curated the Royal Observatory's award-winning Time Galleries and more recently was this year science curator for the National Maritime Museum's major exhibition, The Moon, described by the Daily Telegraph as a :fascinating and ambitious show"

Jonathan Meades wrote that David's first book, Ruth Belville: The Greenwich Time Lady was "an engrossing and eccentric slice of London history ... constantly surprising, crisply written, beautifully detailed". The Times commented that "Rooney tells a story that Dickens would have loved". David has since written books on the cultural history of mathematics and the political history of traffic.

David's fourth book, due out in 2021, is a history of civilization told through the history of clocks. This ambitious and wide-ranging popular account is grounded in 15 years of research and will reveal why civilizations make clocks and how the story of timing is the story of us. --

To reserve seats, please contact us through the "Contact Us" link above

(Children over 16 welcome)

The Dominic Sandbrook Talk

The Dominic Sandbrook Talk

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7.30pm Friday November 22nd

Dominic is a historian, author, broadcaster and journalist - he has written and presented many documentaries on the BBC, starting with the four-part documentary series, The 70s, for BBC Two. He has since made series about Britain in the Cold War (Strange Days), the history of science fiction (Tomorrow's World) and the history of Britain's modern popular culture (Let Us Entertain You), as well as the TV series, The 80s - and a programme about the German car industry, called Das Auto.

For BBC Radio 4, Dominic has written and presented a range of programmes, including documentaries on the early days of radio, our obsession with anniversaries and the history of Prime Minister’s Questions, as well as a 15-part radio history of the Post Office, which has since been released as an audiobook.


Dominic is well known for his series of books exploring British history since the 1950s - so far, he has published five volumes, with the most recent, called Who Dares Wins, just published.. The first volume, Never Had It So Good, covers the period from the Suez Crisis to The Beatles in the rly 1960s. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Anthony Howard described it as a "rich treasure chest of a book" who said he had "respect for the sweep and scope of the author's knowledge".

The second book, White Heat, covers 1964-70 and the rise and fall of the Harold Wilson's Labour government. Writing in The Times, Leo McKinstry said: "Sandbrook's book could hardly be more impressive in its scope. He writes with authority and an eye for telling detail".

The third and fourth books, State of Emergency and Seasons In the Sun explored British history in the 1970s, and were adapted for television. The fifth volume, Who Dares Wins, covers the first years of the 1980s, including such issues as the first Thatcher administration, the Falklands War, the New Romantics, the birth of home computers....and, as Dominic points out sadly, the tragic decline of Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he is a season ticket-holder..

Dominic, who lives in Chipping Norton, has written for almost all Britain's major newspapers, as well as some international papers, but he now writes exclusively for the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times. He has written a monthly column for BBC History Magazine since 2006.--

To reserve seats, please contact us through the "Contact Us" link above

(Children over 16 welcome)

Village Hall Talks - Wootton By Woodstock


All Talks Start
At 7:30pm

Tickets Cost
£8 For

Max Capacity

OX20 1DZ

John Lloyd & John Mitchinson Talk, Summer 2009

Local Links

The Woodstock Bookshop

The Killingworth Castle

Adrian Arbib Photography

Wootton Stores - The Village Shop

Robin Laurance Photography

Ashmolean Museum

The Bodleian Library - Exhibitions and Events

Woodstock U3A - University Of The Third Age

Woodstock Music Society

Woodstock Literature Society

Wootton Community Website

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