JTrails Talks and Lectures

JTrails offers a wide range of talks and lectures on Anglo-Jewish heritage as well as the Holocuast in the Channel Islands and in the vicinity of Boulogne in France. We are also able to give talks on the management of Jewish heritage for professional groups.

We give talks to many Jewish groups and organisations, special interest and historical groups, civic societies and colleges. We have been regular contributors to the speaker programme at the national Limmud conference for several years.

All of our talks are lavishly illustrated by Power Point presentations, using the archive of thousands of photographs, taken by JTrails Director, Marcus Roberts, over 20 years and are based on the original research undertaken for JTrails. They can also be combined with trail walks.

The talks are given by JTrails Director, Marcus Roberts, whose expertise on Anglo-Jewish history and heritage goes back to 1989, when he created the first JTrail at Oxford.

Out talks make a great event for many groups and societies and can be booked, either by email via our contact page, or you can call us direct on 0778 476 7188. We charge expenses and a speaker fee which all help to support the work of JTrails.

A selection of our talks are given below, but are not an exhaustive list of all the topics we can cover.

JTrails Talks and Lectures

'A Virtual Tour of England's Jewish Heritage'

This talk will be a visual presentation of the highlights of the JTrails web-trails already created, as well as previews of other key Jewish heritage places across the country, all richly illustrated by the speaker's own photographs. Participants will discover that there is more to Anglo-Jewish heritage than just the East End and Manchester!

'Jews in Medieval England'

This richly illustrated talk covers the fascinating life and times of medieval Jews of England and covers much of the physical remains and archaeology of the Jewry including original discoveries by JTrails. It also shows how some of our perceptions about medieval Jews may not be entirely accurate, especially when we discover that many Christians were money lenders and the story of medieval Jewry is not just one of persecution, but sometimes remarkable collaborations with the host Christian community. We also discover that not all Jews left England in 1290.

'Hidden History: the Jews in Oxford'

This highly illustrated talk covers the amazing story of Oxford's Jews and how they have helped shape the history and landscape of this famous city and have been linked to the story of its famous university from its origins. The story of the community is not only distinguished by its vitality, but also by the leading Jewish personalities who have been associated with the city over many centuries.

'Is Northampton Jewish Heritage Just a Load of Old Cobblers?'

This talk shows the unexpected links of Jews with the town of Northampton from the 12th century (when it was host to famous medieval scholars and rabbis) to the present day and shows how Northampton Jews were key founders of the modern boot and shoe industry in the mid-nineteenth century. It also illustrates the important medieval Jewish archaeology in the town uncovered by JTrails, as the town preserves parts of its medieval cemetery, synagogue, as well as its famous medieval Jewish tombstone.

'The JTrails 'Time Team' Exploration of the Jewish Archaeology and Heritage of Medieval Northampton'

In the summer of 2009, JTrails and Birmingham University, completed their own 'Time Team' survey of the archeology of the Jews of medieval Northampton. This presentation reports in detail the exciting discoveries of our search using ground penetrating radar, and other cutting-edge geophysics techniques, to search the cellars over-laying the site of the medieval synagogue and to explore the medieval cemetery in detail for the first time.

'A Virtual Tour of Jewish Lincoln'

This presentation explores the rich Jewish history and heritage of Lincoln, as revealed in the new Lincoln 'JTrail' and enables the audience to discover the Jewish heritage trail through the city and Cathedral, and to hear about newly-identified medieval Jewish archeological treasures. We will also talk about the difficulties in presenting this heritage and how JTrails and the Lincoln Jewish Community have worked with the Cathedral on the new interpretation of Little Hugh's shrine.'

'Jew and Christian in Lincoln Cathedral'

This talk examines the execeptional and truely un-expected Jewish heritage in Lincoln Cathedral and which is now part of a special Jewish heritage trail in the cathedral. The talk shows how Lincoln Jews may have paid for the cathedral to be rebuilt and the rich references to Jewish legend and learning in the decoration of the cathedral. JTrails research has revealed that local Jewish scholars may well have played a part in the design of the famous West Front Frieze. We also discuss the Lincoln blood libel of 1255 and the remains of the shrine of Little Hugh of Lincoln and how JTrails and the Lincoln Jewish community, in partnership with the Cathedral, replaced the existing interpretation on the former shrine with a text that exemplifies inter-faith understanding and reconsiliation.

'The Foot-Prints in the Concrete - The Forgotten Holocaust in Sight of England'

During the Holocaust, thousands of Jews were deported to the area around Boulogne, as slave labourers on Hitler's 'Atlantic Wall' and secret 'terror weapons'. This heritage and suffering is now virtually erased from history. This illustrated session reconstructs the lost Holocaust of the area and the presenter's quest to find the lost concentration camps overlooking England. We'll try to answer why this heritage has been virtually forgotten, and explore its potential in Holocaust education.'

'The Jews of Brighton and Hove'

This talk evokes the varied and fascinating life, times and history of the Jews of Brighton and Hove and the many buildings and heritage sites associated with them. Jews have been assoicated with Brighton since it became a fashionable resort by the sea and it soon attracted many of the leading names in Anglo-Jewry. It was also the site of the assassination of the first Jewish police chief in England. The Brighton and Hove trail presentation explores one of the most significant Jewish heritage locations in England, and includes the Sassoon roof-top synagogue and the unique Sassoon Mausoleum, as well as Middle Street synagogue, the 'jewel in the crown' of Brighton Jewish heritage.

'Remarkable Jews of the Lake District'

This talk is a vibrant virtual tour of the remarkable Jewish heritage of the Lake District. It will particularly explore how the amazing Jew, Joachim Gaunse, in 1581, revolutionised mining at Keswick; helped defeat the Armada, and became America's first Jew. It will take you to the depths of surviving remote Elizabethan Copper mines, and high up to mountain huts, visited by Gaunse, as well as to the later famous, heavily guarded, 'wad' mines targeted by Jewish smugglers for their precious graphite needed by Jewish pencil manufacturers, in an era when wad was valuable as diamonds.

The Lost Concentration Camps of Alderney

This lecture tells the remarkable story of Hitler's occupation of the Channel Islands, and how Alderney in particular became a place of suffering as the Nazis established slave labour camps on Alderney, which the soldiers call 'Adolf Island'. The prisoners, who came from across Europe, included many hundreds of Jewish slave workers, laboured on turning the island into 'Fortress Alderney'. The talk depicts the history, sites and remains of the camps and the prisoners stories, with a focus on Camp Sylt, which was an SS concentration camp. The lecture asks what has become of this unresolved legacy of the Holocaust and what does it mean for today? The lecture is based on original field-work carried out by JTrail with our partners at Birmingham University.

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