“All The World’s a Stage”: Shakespeare in India.

A Talk by Michael Norman Smith

Did you know about Shakespeare’s visit to India? It was a long time ago of course. He was enormously popular, and many thousands were in his audiences. Intrigued? Why not be led by an expert guide on this journey involving drama, travel and history, not to mention comedy and romance. It is a tale worthy of the Bard himself and could be titled not Romeo and Juliet but Raj and Jennifer.

Michael is Chairman of The Wimbledon Society Local History Group and commissions the talks we have been providing for your interest and information. He is a teacher, writer and actor who has lived locally for over fifty years.

Leonie Cooper, London Assembly Member: The Workings of Local Government”

Leonie Cooper represents Merton and Wandsworth on the London Assembly and has been a
Wandsworth Councillor since 2006. She has a particular interest in environmental sustainability and energy conservation. She chairs an economy committee that has considered high streets and the economic impact of the pandemic on businesses. Leonie talks to us about the workings of local government in the context of the London Assembly.

Merton Park Studios

Clive Whichelow reveals one of the best-kept secrets in British film history, the Merton Park Studios which were used by some of the biggest names in the business including actors Peter Sellers, Michael Caine, Rita Tushingham and directors Joseph Losey, Joan Littlewood and Lindsay Anderson. Action films, comedies, musicals, sci-fi films and the famous crime series Scotland Yard, Scales of Justice and Edgar Wallace mysteries were all made there as well as adverts, children’s films and wartime propaganda films – even a Walt Disney film. Find out what really went on at this criminally overlooked studio

Secret Wimbledon and Southfields

Ruth Mansergh, an author who has had nine books published, will reveal all in her talk.
She will be reflecting on the less salubrious side of local life over the centuries. Criminals were attracted by opportunities offered by the environs of the Common. It appealed as a hunting ground for highwaymen and  provided a useful location for illegal duels.

Polka Theatre: Past, Present and Post-pandemic!

Lynette Shanbury is Executive Director & Joint CEO of Polka which is one of the few theatres in the UK dedicated exclusively to children. Based in Wimbledon since 1979, Polka creates world-class theatre to entertain and inspire young audiences.

A Head Gardener’s Year

Mark Saunders has been Head Gardener at Fittleworth House in Sussex since 1997. His office is a 19th century potting shed. His photography has won prizes and his kitchen garden stands as an example. In his presentation he illustrates the changing seasons.

Two Summers: Nixon and Trump by Greyhound bus (18th February 2021)

Tim Albert grew up in Lingfield Road about which he spoke to us previously.  His early career was as a journalist and he is now an author. His latest book ‘Two Summers: Nixon and Trump by Greyhound bus’ has recently been published.

‘In 1969 the 22-year-old Tim Albert spent three happy months travelling 12,000 miles around the United States on Greyhound buses. Half a century later – to the day – he set out to revisit his trip, armed with his original 30,000-word diary.

Would he find the America of President Trump much altered from the America of President Nixon? How would Greyhound bus travel have changed in a world flooded by motor cars and electronic devices? And would his 72-year-old body last the course?’


John Evelyn (21st January 2021)

Julian Pooley from the Surrey History Centre shares with us the story of this environmental pioneer in whose footsteps we walk.

John Evelyn was a 17th Century diarist virtuoso and horticulturalist born in Surrey at Wotton. His family gained wealth through the gunpowder industry. His diary was published first by the early 19th century antiquary William Bray.

The John Evelyn Club was founded by Richardson Evans in 1904 – this became the Wimbledon Society some 50 years ago.

 A Walk in the Village (10th December 2020)

A talk given by Asif Malik to Wimbledon Society members about the Society’s work in Wimbledon Village

Merton, Morden and Mitcham (11th November 2020)

A historical talk by Mick Taylor on the changing faces of Merton, Morden and Mitcham