Virtual Talk: The Motel in America

This talk will explore the early development of a distinctly American form of lodging, the motel. A child of the automobile age, the ‘motor hotel’ first flourished during the Depression and experienced its heyday after World War Two. Dr Cara Rodway, Deputy Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, and Chair of the British Association for American Studies, will share her passion for these ordinary yet surprising and evocative places and discuss what they have come to represent in contemporary American culture.

Watch the full talk and Q&A below:

Virtual Talk: ‘A Mere Matter of Marching’?: The War of 1812, The Battle of Queenston Heights

“The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching” -Thomas Jefferson, 1812

Mallory Horrill, PhD student at University College London, Institute of the Americas, House Manager and Curator of the Emery Walker Trust, and former Operations Manager of Benjamin Franklin House, will be speaking on the Battle of Queenston Heights, a seminal battle in the War of 1812. This talk will explore why the United States entered into war with Great Britain (referred to by some as the ‘Second War of Independence’) and discuss in detail the Battle of Queenston Heights, the first major battle in the war. Mallory is especially interested in identity and will explore how this battle and the larger British victory of the War of 1812 impacted and shaped the formation of the Canadian identity. 

Watch the full talk and Q&A here:

Virtual Talk: The Story of Thomas Paine by Paul Myles

In this talk, Paul Myles will look at the life and times of Thomas Paine and his role in the American Revolution, focusing on his time in the town of Lewes and the Case of the Excise Officers. 

Paul Myles was an engineer who managed large construction projects for 25 years. In 2009 he moved into history when he oversaw a major festival in Lewes to mark the 200th anniversary of Paine’s death, which led to the publication of two books: Thomas Paine in Lewes, 1768-1774: A Prelude to American Independence, released in 2009 with a new edition hot off the presses this year, and The Rise of Thomas Paine and the Case of the Excise Officers published in 2018. He is also a board member and officer of the Thomas Paine Society UK.

Watch the full talk and Q&A below:

‘Changing the World’ Writing Resources for KS2-3: Webinar for Teachers and Home Educators

In collaboration with Newington Green Meeting House and The Museum of Methodism & John Wesley’s House, we have created digital resources for Ks2-3 (Us Grades 4-8) to inspire their writing. All of our unique historical sites are about making the world a better place and celebrating people that championed these changes.

The webinar below was recorded on 20 May 2020 to introduce teachers and home educators to the resources created by each site and how to use them with students.

You can download the Benjamin Franklin House resources here

You can download the Newington Green Meeting House resources here

You can download The Museum of Methodism and John Wesley’s House resources here

Please don’t hesitate to contact our Education Manager if you have any questions about the webinar or resources.

 

His Final Chapter: Benjamin Franklin’s Busy Final Five Years

In this lecture, Dr. George Boudreau explores Dr. Franklin’s last years, a sometimes overlooked, but essential part of the great man’s life.  Starting with his final visit to England on the way home from ambassadorial service in Paris, the illustrated lecture explores his reputation in the Empire after America secured her independence, and then the changes he encountered in the newly United States when he returned to Philadelphia.  Franklin’s family dynamic, developing ideas about abolition and slavery, encounters with a new American economy, and continuing fascination with the scientific realm all vied for time in his busy mind as he helped write the Constitution of the United States and new Pennsylvania government.  This sage did not go gently into that good night.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here:

Virtual Talks Available Online!

If you missed one of our Virtual Talks, they are available on demand on their respective event pages and through our YouTube channel here

Past Virtual Events 

Character Virtues for the 21st Century by Dr Marcia Balisciano

What is good character? Why does it matter? Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century had an abiding faith in the power of good character to improve quality of life for an individual and society at large. As a young man, Benjamin Franklin identified 13 character virtues.  What were they?  Did they improve his character and are they instructive for ours?

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

 

Endell Street – The trailblazing women who ran a military hospital in WWI

Join author and journalist Wendy Moore, who acts as a judge for the Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize, as she discusses her latest book, Endell Street (published in the US as No Man’s Land). This military hospital was run entirely by women and played a key role in the treatment of injured British soldiers during World War One. It was situated just minutes away from Franklin’s former home on Craven Street.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

Benjamin Franklin, The Early Years

Join the House’s Education Manager, Eleanor Hamblen, for an exploration of Benjamin Franklin’s early years. From his childhood inventions to the time he spent as an apprentice to both his father and brother prior to his first visit to London in 1724. Uncover the formative experiences which shaped this Founding Father as we remember him today.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

Reflecting on the US Primaries

Philip Davies, Professor Emeritus of American Studies, De Montfort University, discusses what the primary season holds and reflects on the months since the opening contests in Iowa and New Hampshire: both the winnowing of a huge field of Democratic hopefuls and the fortunes of those Republicans with the temerity to challenge President Trump.  Looking forward he will speculate on what to expect from the Democratic and Republican Conventions, and anticipate the routes that might be taken to Election Day in November.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

Franklin and the Joys of 18th Century Cooking

Join the House’s Operations Manager, Caitlin Hoffman, in exploring the savoury (and unsavoury!) 18thCentury diet and how Benjamin Franklin might be considered an early foodie. Discover why the Georgians drank beer in the morning and how Franklin introduced some of his favourite foods from the colonies to his London hosts.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

Benjamin Franklin in London – the British life of America’s Founding Father

George Goodwin, our Honorary Author in
Residence at Benjamin Franklin House, captures the fullness of Dr Franklin’s life in the heaving metropolis of 18th century London. He describes Franklin’s friendship with men such as Joseph Priestley and the notorious Francis Dashwood, charts Franklin’s political cooperation with Prime Ministers William Pitt the Elder and the Marquess of Rockingham, and details the final antagonism with the ‘mangling ministers’ in Lord North’s administration which ultimately made Franklin the fiercest of American patriots. In a highly illustrated talk, George tells Benjamin Franklin’s London story with wit and verve.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

His Final Chapter: Benjamin Franklin’s Busy Final Five Years

In this lecture, Dr. George Boudreau explores Dr. Franklin’s last years, a sometimes overlooked, but essential part of the great man’s life.  Starting with his final visit to England on the way home from ambassadorial service in Paris, the illustrated lecture  explores his reputation in the Empire after America secured her independence, and then the changes he encountered in the newly United States when he returned to Philadelphia.  Franklin’s family dynamic, developing ideas about abolition and slavery, encounters with a new American economy, and continuing fascination with the scientific realm all vied for time in his busy mind as he helped write the Constitution of the United States and new Pennsylvania government.  This sage did not go gently into that good night.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

What Would Benjamin Franklin Think About Facebook? (Fulbright Lecture Series) 

As both a publisher and postmaster, Benjamin Franklin frequently had to confront the vexing challenge of squaring the ideals of truth and liberty with the realities of immorality and the threat of harm to private and public interests.

Amy Werbel, Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom and Professor at the State University of New York-Fashion Institute of Technology, ponders how the prospect of greater censorship of social media, Franklin’s experiences and views, shed necessary light on our best path forward in tumultuous times.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

The Story of Thomas Paine by Paul Myles 

In this talk, Paul Myles will look at the life and times of Thomas Paine and his role in the American Revolution, focusing on his time in the town of Lewes and the Case of the Excise Officers.

Paul Myles was an engineer who managed large construction projects for 25 years. In 2009 he moved into history when he oversaw a major festival in Lewes to mark the 200th anniversary of Paine’s death, which led to the publication of two books: Thomas Paine in Lewes, 1768-1774: A Prelude to American Independence, released in 2009 with a new edition hot off the presses this year, and The Rise of Thomas Paine and the Case of the Excise Officers published in 2018. He is also a board member and officer of the Thomas Paine Society UK.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

‘A Mere Matter of Marching’?: The War of 1812, The Battle of Queenston Heights

“The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching” -Thomas Jefferson, 1812

Mallory Horrill, PhD student at University College London, Institute of the Americas and House Manager and Curator of the Emery Walker Trust will be speaking on the Battle of Queenston Heights, a seminal battle in the War of 1812. This talk will explore why the United States entered into war with Great Britain (referred to by some as the ‘Second War of Independence’) and discuss in detail the Battle of Queenston Heights, the first major battle in the war. Mallory is especially interested in identity and will explore how this battle and the larger British victory of the War of 1812 impacted and shaped the formation of the Canadian identity. 

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

The Motel in America

This talk will explore the early development of a distinctly American form of lodging, the motel. A child of the automobile age, the ‘motor hotel’ first flourished during the Depression and experienced its heyday after World War Two. Dr Cara Rodway, Deputy Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, and Chair of the British Association for American Studies, will share her passion for these ordinary yet surprising and evocative places and discuss what they have come to represent in contemporary American culture.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here

The value of being luckily wrong

There is only so much we understand. There is only so much we make sense of in advance. Are we spending too much time trying to be right, and too little time simply maximising our chances of getting lucky?

Join Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK and Board Member of Benjamin Franklin House, for this fascinating talk.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here.

Franklin the Innovator 

Join us on a whistle-stop tour of Franklin’s many ingenious inventions, from the lightening rod to the glass armonica and the Franklin stove. House Education Manager, Eleanor Hamblen, will reflect on how Franklin’s scientific process led him to become one of the key figures of the Enlightenment and how his discoveries have shaped our modern world.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here.

Fuelling Democracy: Ben Franklin and Coffeehouses 

Join us for a talk on how Benjamin Franklin used the stimulating environment of coffee houses to help shape his early political ideals by our Operations Manager, Caitlin Hoffman. These public and social establishments were centres of the 18th century Enlightenment and provided a foundation of early American politics.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here.

 

Upcoming Virtual Events

True Grid: François-Marc-Louis Naville and his moral tables

Wednesday July 15th, 3pm London/10am NY

Harro Maas, professor in history and methodology of economics at the Centre Walras-Pareto for the history of economic and political thought at the University of Lausanne,  will use the words from the diary of François-Marc-Louis Naville, a turn-of-the nineteenth-century Genevese pastor and pedagogical innovator, as a cue to examine his use of Benjamin Franklin’s tools of moral calculation and a lesser known tool, Marc-Antoine Jullien’s moral thermometer, to improve his moral character.

For more information and how to register for this talk follow the link here. 

The Rise of the Private Banker in Franklin’s London

Wednesday July 22nd, 3pm London/10am NY

Dr Perry Gauci, Tutor in Modern History at Lincoln College, Oxford University, will speak on the development of the banking profession in mid-Georgian London. In common with many of his fellow London residents, Franklin benefited from the increasing availability of specialist banking services, and this talk will examine the social and cultural impact of the private bankers, several of whom were located close to Craven Street. Both in their business and their sociability, the bankers were a dynamic force, and acted as key intermediaries within metropolitan society.

For more information and how to register for this talk follow the link here.

 

 

Virtual Talk: Benjamin Franklin in London – the British life of America’s Founding Father

 

For fifths of his long life, Benjamin Franklin regarded himself as British. In 1757 he arrived in London as one of the most celebrated scientists of his age and as a political representative who fiercely advocated a Great British empire of North America. From his London home in Craven Street, here in what is today’s Benjamin Franklin House, he fought to keep that ambition alive right up to March 1775, when he was forced to take ship for America to escape arrest by the British authorities.

George Goodwin, our Honorary Author in Residence at Benjamin Franklin House, captures the fullness of Dr Franklin’s life in the heaving metropolis of 18th century London. He describes Franklin’s friendship with men such as Joseph Priestley and the notorious Francis Dashwood, charts Franklin’s political cooperation with Prime Ministers William Pitt the Elder and the Marquess of Rockingham, and details the final antagonism with the ‘mangling ministers’ in Lord North’s administration which ultimately made Franklin the fiercest of American patriots. In a highly illustrated talk, George tells Benjamin Franklin’s London story with wit and verve.

As well as great friend of this house, George is an Eccles Centre Makin Fellow at the British Library, was the 2018/9 Busey Family Fellow at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, and has twice been a Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. George is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

George’s book, Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, UK; Yale University Press, USA), was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

Among the review praise was T H Breen’s comment, in the Times Literary Supplement, that “George Goodwin captures as well as any recent biographer just why Franklin’s contemporaries found him so captivating.”

You can order your UK copy here and US copy here or here.

 

Virtual Talk: Reflecting on the US Primaries

Philip Davies, Professor Emeritus of American Studies, De Montfort University, discusses what the primary season holds and reflects on the months since the opening contests in Iowa and New Hampshire: both the winnowing of a huge field of Democratic hopefuls and the fortunes of those Republicans with the temerity to challenge President Trump.  Looking forward he will speculate on what to expect from the Democratic and Republican Conventions, and anticipate the routes that might be taken to Election Day in November.

Watch the full talk and Q&A below:

Virtual Talk: What Would Benjamin Franklin Think About Facebook?

As both a publisher and postmaster, Benjamin Franklin frequently had to confront the vexing challenge of squaring the ideals of truth and liberty with the realities of immorality and the threat of harm to private and public interests. While he advocated fiercely for the rights of journalists, Franklin also committed himself to restricting material from his publications that “might countenance Vice, or promote Immorality,” as well as “such things as might do real Injury to any person.” Always, he worried that “an evil magistrate intrusted with power to punish for words would be armed with a weapon the most destructive and terrible.” As we ponder the prospect of greater censorship of social media, Franklin’s experiences and views shed necessary light on our best path forward in tumultuous times.

Amy Werbel, Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom and Professor at the State University of New York-Fashion Institute of Technology, is the author of Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Watch the full talk and Q&A here:

 

Virtual Talk: Franklin and the Joys of 18th Century Cooking

Join the House’s Operations Manager, Caitlin Hoffman, in exploring the savoury (and unsavoury!) 18th Century diet and how Benjamin Franklin might be considered an early foodie. Discover why the Georgians drank beer in the morning and how Franklin introduced some of his favourite foods from the colonies to his London hosts.

Watch the full talk and Q&A below: