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Oxford Water Walks

Historical & Literary Walks & Talks, and Books by Oxford Towpath Press

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Most of my WALKS are for pre-booked tours (starting at £60 inclusive for up to 20/24 people). However, if you as an individual, or as part of a small group, would like to come on a Christ Church Meadow ‘Alice in Waterland’ walk, do please still feel free to get in touch at oxfordtowpathpress@gmail.com, as it may be that you can join others in a similar situation or join a pre-booked larger group. Or, for £30 for up to five people (lasting 90 minutes or so), you can suit yourself as to start time time and exact route.

Not sure? Have a look at my (unmantained!) ‘Customer Comments’ page !


Stamford Georgian Festival (Lincolnshire) – Sunday 29 Sept. at 3pm

Stamford Talk

Talk: James Sadler, Oxford pastry cook and English hot-air pioneer – some Lincolnshire associations

James Sadler, an Oxford pastry cook, defied the constraints of his upbringing to become the unlikely first Englishman to build and fly an air balloon in 1784. Against the vivid backdrop of Georgian England, Mark Davies outlines the life of this astonishing adventurer, engineer, naval chemist, and inventor, exploring the ups and the downs of his amazing career.

The talk will also highlight several Lincolnshire associations with the origins of flight and realte the stories of some of the first women to fly, including the truly ‘adventurous lady’ who was the passenger on the first ever ascent from Stamford in 1825.


Families in British India Society talk: London – Saturday 12 October at 3pm

Talk Jharkhand and Assam – non-members welcome but registration required

Talk: One word, two Indian journeys, four Anglo-Indian families, and a 1000-year genealogy: Tracing Anglo-Indian roots: two journeys of discovery

Stemming from an unexpected find in the Census of 1881 that his grandfather had been born in Calcutta, Mark embarked upon two trips to India to search for more information. The first trip was thwarted by weather and insurgency, but in 2018, Mark succeeded in visiting Lesliganj in Jharkhand, named for his progenitor, Matthew Leslie (c.1755-1804), a senior E.I.C. official who lived all his adult life in India. But there was much more to learn, and Mark’s investigation was to take him in a full circle, to unexpected family connections back in his home town of Oxford. Mark had discovered a treasure trove of ancestry.

This talk willbe preceded by another at 1.30pm about Captain Thomas Bowery, who published the first Malay-English Dictionary.


Museum of History of Science, Broad Street, Oxford – Thursday 24 October 6pm

NooseToKnife Talk

Talk: ‘Noose to Knife’: anatomical studies in Oxford.

Oxford has been an important centre of medical science since the early days of the University. An important element in the advancement of anatomical knowledge was the availability of corpses for dissection and for lectures to medical students. These were held at the current History of Science Museum prior to the establishment of a formal Anatomy School at Christ Church in the mid-1700s. A principal source of human bodies was the gallows of Oxford Castle, and in this talk Oxford local historian, guide and author Mark Davies will tell the stories of some of those individuals who, whatever their misdeeds while alive, did at least make unwitting and unwilling contributions to medical advancement after their demise.


Oxford Canal Pub Walk and Talk –  Thursday 14 November at 5.30pm

Canal Pub Walk and Talk

The economic and social importance of two city centre canalside pubs, and some other nearby landmarks, outlined in a short twilight walk starting at the Lighthouse and a talk in the cosy study in the Oxford Retreat (formerly the Nag’s Head), with a drink and time to warm up. Please book through Eventbrite.









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