Your HA Virtual Branch

Keep learning with our online programme of talks

Published: 29th July 2021

Your branch from home

The HA Virtual Branch is a great way to keep your history up-to-date, whether you are working or relaxing, all from the comfort of your home. The branch is available to everybody, and recordings of the talks are made available online after the event for HA members.

*LIVE - Monday 27 September, 7.30pm

A Silent Village: Life and Death in Occupied France 

In this talk Robert Pike joins us to discuss his research for his latest book Silent Village: Life and Death in Occupied France which explores life in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane before, during and after the infamous massacre and destruction by Nazi Germany that took place on 10 June 1944.   

Robert Pike is currently a PhD student at Cardiff University. His doctoral research is entitled An Interdisciplinary Approach to Rural Resistance in Nazi-Occupied France. Robert previously taught French and History in secondary schools and co-authored many commercially available courses for learners of the French language. 

His first book, Defying Vichy: Blood, Fear and French Resistance, tells the story of the origins of the Resistance in the Dordogne. It was described by Robert Gildea as “Pacey and engaging, [...] a fascinating contribution to the field.”

Book here


*LIVE - Wednesday 13 October, 7.30pm

The Partitions of Poland, their Repercussions for German-Polish Relations and their Legacy 

Professor Karin Friedrich joins us to discuss the Partitions of Poland, their repercussions for German-Polish relations and their legacy.

Professor Friedrich has held the chair in Early Modern European History at the University of Aberdeen since 2013. She is co-director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies and works with the Centre for Polish-Lithuanian Studies at the University of Aberdeen, and currently serves as chair of the German History Society UK.

Her book publications include The Other Prussia. Poland, Prussia and Liberty, 1569-1772 (2000, Polish transl. 2006, AAASS Orbis Prize 2001) and Citizenship and Identity in a Multi-National Commonwealth. Poland-Lithuania in Context, 1550-1750 (Leiden, 2009). She is currently finishing a monograph on Traitor or Patriot? Bogusław Radziwiłł (1620-1669) and the Dilemmas of a Transnational Aristocrat under contract with Routledge. 

Book here


*LIVE - Wednesday 17 November, 7.30pm

The Searchers: The Quest for the Lost of the First World War

Historian Robert Sackville-West joins us to talk about the topic of his book The Searchers: The Quest for the Lost of the First World War. By the end of the First World War, the whereabouts of more than half a million British soldiers were unknown. Most were presumed dead, lost forever under the battlefields of northern France and Flanders. This, however, was only the beginning of a search that would span a century into the present day. In The Searchers, Sackville-West brings together the extraordinary and moving accounts of those who have dedicated their lives to the search for the missing. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.  

Robert Sackville-West studied History at Oxford University, then worked in publishing. He now chairs Knole Estates, the property and investment company which – in parallel with the National Trust – runs the Sackville family’s interests at Knole, the house in Kent where his family have lived for the past 400 years. Robert is the author of the critically acclaimed Inheritance: The Story of Knole and the Sackvilles (2010) and The Disinherited (2014). 

Book here

*LIVE - Rescheduled date tbc

The Secret Horsepower Race: Western Front fighter engine development 

Calum E. Douglas will join us in conversation about his book The Secret Horse Power Race about World War 2 aviation engine development in Europe. His book explores the fight to be the best engineers during wartime and how that was crucial to winning the technology battle that could help to dominate the skies. Following six years of research and writing, the book has been a huge success amongst those with an interest in aviation and technological history, military historians and anyone keen to know how the conflicts of the twentieth century have made huge differences to all our lives. In this talk we will discuss the writing of the book and some of the key themes that it addresses.  

Calum E Douglas is a trained mechanical engineer specialising in piston engine design and development who is just as interested in how technology developed and impacted on history as he is in the machines themselves. 

Booking coming soon 

Past lecture recordings

If you missed our Virtual Branch talks from earlier this year, recordings of a number of the talks are available here:

Local HA Branches at the Virtual Branch

The HA has over 45 local branches around the country. Some of these have been able to return to their venues for their monthly talks around lockdown. Others have decided to make their branch programmes online via Zoom – this provides a wonderful opportunity for you to see some of the great lectures that occur across the country as part of the HA. Check our branch calendar for full listings.

About the HA Virtual Branch talks

Your HA virtual branch is open to all – whether you are a member or not; for general interest, teachers and students alike. Some of the talks are pre-recorded, and others allow you the opportunity to listen live and pitch your questions to the historian presenting. This page will be updated as new talks are agreed.

If you're a teacher don't forget that we will also continue to run our regular calendar of CPD webinars - view the secondary webinar calendar here and the primary calendar here.