Arthur Ransome: author and adventurer

Dr John Ridley

Yorkshire & Humber
Notice Period:
Regular (more than one month's notice)
University Lecturer
Paid: £40 - £80
22nd January 2022
Literature | Reading | Sailing | Lake District

Face to Face presentations are available in Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East

In his illustrated talk John explores the life of Arthur Ransome and his most famous children's book, 'Swallows and Amazons'. Written towards the end of his career as a journalist and foreign correspondent, this adventure story, set in the English Lake District and evocative of a time between the wars, has been enjoyed by generations of children and adults. But why was it so successful? Could it have been a combination of Ransome's spirit of adventure, his love of the Lake District, his passion for sailing and, not least, his distinctive writing style?


'Thank you Dr Ridley, for joining us via Zoom from Yorkshire this evening and giving us your interesting and informative talk on Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series.

For me, your recollections of his family holidays in the Lake District as a young boy brought back nostalgic memories of my childhood trip to Coniston Water and Peel Island after seeing the film.

Your talk was full of little known historical facts about Arthur Ransome and his life, his love of sailing as a child and while married to his second wife Evgenia, he seems to have spent much of his free time around small boats and ‘messing about in them’. You have demonstrated this pastime heavily influenced his writing and seems to have been the perfect form of escapism for him.

To me, Swallows and Amazons was set in a more innocent time and I think we can all benefit from stepping out of our mad world at times and be charmed by his tales brimming with fictional adventure and simple plots.

We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves listening to you tonight and wish you success with future Zoom talks. Hopefully one day we might all meet in person should you decide to visit Devon. Thank you!'

(Gwen Duchesne, Uplowman WI, Devon, May 2021)

Views: 441 | Enquiries: 2

About Dr John Ridley

John's teaching experience has been in primary and secondary schools and in April 2009 he retired after twenty-one years as a primary headteacher. He trained at Ripon College (Leeds University) and completed an MA in Primary Education at the University of York. As a Research Associate with the National College for School Leadership, and with their sponsorship, he completed his Doctorate in Education in 2010 and worked for the Open University, tutoring 'Children's Literature and 'Learning and teaching in the primary years', until 2020. Now fully retired, John volunteers for the National Trust and enjoys cycling and sailing. Through his talks, John raises funds for the charity Education Support, the only UK charity dedicated to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and education staff in schools, colleges, and universities.

Talks are available online and include PowerPoint presentations

Face to Face presentations are available in Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East

Previous Bookings: Wesley Guild Richmond, Wesley Guild Cotherstone, Newton-le-Willows WI, East Witton WI, Richmond U3A, Harrogate Friendship Club, Ure WI, Bedale Methodist Church, Bainbridge WI, Richmond Mothers’ Union, Melsonby WI, Wensleydale Wives, Bedale Probus, Northallerton Stroke Forward, Staindrop Over 60s, Swale WI, Ingleton WI, Ravensworth WI, Richmond WI, Manfield WI, Gayle Ladies, National Trust Supporters in Knaresborough Golf Club, St Agatha’s Gilling West, Kirby Sigston WI, Harrogate Ladies’ Forum, Upper Wharfedale Field Society in the Octagon Theatre Grassington, Wetherby Classic Car Club, East Witton W I, Richmond WI, Cleveland Outlook, Out and About in Yorkshire (Knaresborough), Cameo Richmond, Staindrop WI, Sessay Tuesday Club, Women in Middleham, Stainton and Streatlam WI, Cotherstone Over Sixties, Sessay Tuesday Club, Burneston and Carthorpe WI, Thirlby Local History Group, Haxby and Wigginton Local History Group, Barkisland Active Together, Barkisland Cricket Club, Halifax, Ben Rydding MHA Ilkley, Bardsey-Cum-Rigton WI, Scorton Buddies and Thirsk U3A.

2021 Zoom Bookings: 2.01.21 Thurlow WI, Suffolk; 14.01.21 Chanctonbury Probus Club, West Sussex; 24.02.21 Retired Leaders in Education, Avon; 18.03.21 Rotary Club of Marlow; 09.04.21 Early Birds WI (Cambridge Federation of WIs); 05.05.21 Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society; 13.05.21 Uplowman WI Devon; 18.05.21 The Rotary Club of Richmond, North Yorkshire; 01.06.21 Little Aston WI; 04.06.21 National Trust, North Cheshire Centre (a supporters group of NT members); 10.06.21 Stratton Probus Club; 16.06.21 Maney Probus Club, Sutton Coldfield; 08.07.21 Elm Tree & Fairfield Women’s Institute, Stockton-on-Tees; 16.08.21 Roding Valley U3A and 29.09.21 Essex Federation of Women's Institutes

2022 Face to Face Bookings: 18.01.22 Pudsey Friendship Group; 20.01.22 Knott End Golf Club, Ladies’ Lunch; 14.03.22 Richmond WI; 15.03.22 Thoralby WI; 30.03.22 Wetherby U3A; 12.04.22 Worsall WI; 22.08.22 Filey Ladies’ Fellowship; 29.09.22 Women in Fellowship, Pannal; 12.10.22 Northallerton U3A; 18.10.22 Middleham Women, Key Centre; 20.10.22 Poppleton WI

Comments: 'Thank you so much for giving us an excellent talk last night. We found it very entertaining and I’ve had some excellent feedback. We also had a record audience for your talk. Good luck with your future zoom talks.' (Chanctonbury Probus Club, January 2021)

'It was a pleasure to have John speak to us at our U3A meeting. He was very informative and amusing. We all thoroughly enjoyed his talk and look forward to seeing him again at some future date.' (Thirsk U3A, March 2020)

'Thank you so much for your talk on your very interesting and rewarding career. Your pupils were indeed lucky to have such a dedicated teacher/head teacher. Your talk evoked many memories for the retired teachers amongst us.' (Little Aston Evening WI, May 2021)

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