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Primrose Hill Summer Lectures

Each year in June and July we organise a series of talks at St Mary’s to engage people in and beyond the Christian community with issues confronting our society.  The talks are held on Wednesday evenings and are followed by questions.  There is also an opportunity to buy books and meet the speaker after the talk.  We are very proud of our growing success and the quality of our line-ups over the years. You can listen to recordings of previous lectures in our Archives :

Sign up to our mailing list for info regarding the Summer Lectures and other events.

The talks run from 7.00 – 8.00pm including Q & A.  Bookselling follows.  Doors – and the bar – are open from 6.30PM.


Single lecture: £12/£10 concessions (OAPs, unemployed, students)
Full Series: £60/£50 concessions  (one ticket per lecture)
Children under 16: free (a donation is encouraged)

Book online for any of the lectures in the series by clicking link below and going to our Eventbrite events page. (Online bookings are subject to a small booking fee)

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6th June: Nick Crane: The Making of the British Landscape

How much do we know about the place we call ‘home’? The British landscape has been continuously occupied by humans for 12,000 years, from the end of the Ice Age till the twenty-first century. It has been transformed from a European peninsula of glacier and tundra to an island of glittering cities and exquisite countryside.

Nick Crane, President of the Royal Geographical Society, presenter of the BBC Series Coast and Great British Journeys (among others) and author of The Making of the British Landscape (2016) will take us on a geographical journey through time, revealing the ancient relationship between people and place and the deep-rooted tensions between town and countryside. As Britain lurches from an exploitative past towards a more sustainable future, this is the story of our age.

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13th June: Rowan Williams: A Christian Response to the Refugee Crisis

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in 2017 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. How should we respond to this unprecedented crisis? How do we balance human compassion and tolerance with genuine concerns about increasingly stretched resources and attacks on Western values and traditions?

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will provide his thoughts on a Christian response to the Refugee Crisis, speaking about the biblical approach to strangers and wanderers, the spiritual need for openness of the stranger and the risks of exclusive nationalism.

20th June: Miranda Seymour: In Byron’s Wake: Women of Science

In 1815 Annabella Milbanke married the notorious Lord Byron; the following year she left him, taking their baby daughter, Ada. Eight years later Byron was dead. 
The women, however, lived on: Annabella did pioneering work in education and social reform, becoming one of the most progressive reformers of Victorian England; Ada – the future Ada Lovelace – introduced to mathematics as a young child, predicted our modern computer age and became a passionate astronomer, employing Faraday’s experiments with light refraction to explore the analysis of distant stars.

In the bicentenary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, often regarded as an early example of science fiction, literary critic and biographer, Miranda Seymour, will speak about these three women of science, drawing on the scholarship of her new book In Byron’s Wake and her reissued biography of Mary Shelley.

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27th June: Mike Brearley, in conversation with David Kynaston: On Form? Or Off? 

What is being ‘on Form’? How does it relate to being ‘in the zone’? Are these states in the laps of the gods, a matter of which side of the bed we got out of that morning? Or is there anything we can do to make their arrival more likely? From time to time we all take wrong turnings on our journeys. Though we miss the safety of the already known, this is not all bad. Form and change often grow from loss and difficulty. Losing our way is an opportunity for serendipity. Sadly Ed Smith, with whom Mike Brearley was going to be 'in conversation' on the 27th June, has had to pull out. Fortunately, Mike has already secured another co-speaker,  David Kynaston.  David is a historian and has just co-authored a book on cricket broadcasting called Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket.  

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4th July: Clemency Burton-Hill: Music Every Day

Have you ever heard a piece of music so beautiful it stops you in your tracks? Or wanted to discover more about classical music but had no idea where to begin? 
According to Clemency Burton-Hill, presenter of Radio 3 Breakfast, the Proms and Young Musician of the Year, ‘the only requirements for enjoying classical music are open ears and an open mind.’ Clemency joins us to talk about her new book Year of Wonder, in which she chooses one piece of classical music for each day of the year.

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11th July: Helen Pankhurst: The Story of Women’s Rights: How Far Have We Come?

In 1918 some women won the right to vote. 100 years later, how far have women come? How much have women’s lives changed? And where might women aim to be by 2028, the centenary of the equal franchise?

Helen Pankhurst, women’s rights activist, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, leaders of the British suffragette movement, joins us to talk about her new book Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now.

You can also buy tickets from:

Parish Office. Contact us or call 0207 722 3238 for information
Primrose Hill Books 134 Regent’s Park Road, Greater London NW1 8XL
Call 020 7586 2022

Tickets are sold on the door subject to availability. 


All proceeds will go to support the outreach activities of the Church, such as the Cold Weather Night Shelter for the homeless and the St Mary’s Community Trust, a youth work project for those at risk of social exclusion, and to maintain the fabric of the church.