Walking up the Khyber Pass with a Kalashnikov, dining with Shakespeare and 40 years of Kodak in Harrow - these and many other trips into the past are being laid on by the National Trust. The programme for its much-loved series of talks has been announced for next year.

Edgware and District National Trust meetings

January 21: An "Armchair Walk" through Harrow Hill's Amazing Past, by Don Walter Don is a local historian and author and he will take us on an "armchair" walk around Harrow on the Hill, illustrated with 120 slides and providing fascinating information on the architecture and the people of the hill. Don began his writing career as a reporter for the Harrow Observer in the late 1940s and has written nine books. In 1999 he was commissioned to write the official millennium history of the borough.

February 18: Filming at Trust Locations, by Harvey Edgington Harvey is the National Trust's broadcast filming co-ordinator and will be talking about his average day, explaining how he promotes the Trust for filming, and sharing some behind-thescenes stories.

March 18: RNLI, by Keith Cunningham The illustrated talk will be about the history of the RNLI, a few of its lifeboat stations and the current activities of one of the nation's "favourite charities", a comment heard so many times as people put their coins and notes in Lifeboat boxes.

April 15: The Life and Work of Sir Christopher Wren, by Andrew Davies Mathematician, astronomer, MP, inventor, pioneer of blood transfusions and finally an architect - Sir Christopher Wren was a man of many talents. Andrew Davies, author, broadcaster and tour guide will explore Wren's tremendous legacy, which ranges from St Paul's Cathedral through to palaces, monuments, churches, almshouses and much else. Fully illustrated with many rare slides.

May 20: My Life in the World of Entertainment, by Frank Williams Frank played the vicar in the much-loved BBC comedy Dad's Army.

The actor gives an account of his life on stage and screen with the hit show.

June 17: Whitefriars Glass, The Harrow Years, by Mike Beech In 1923 Whitefriars moved its glass-works from the City of London, where it had been producing a very broad range of everyday and sophisticated glassware, to Wealdstone in Harrow. During the Wealdstone years, up to the closure of the glassworks in 1980, Whitefriars continued to produce the best quality and most imaginative coloured glass to meet the changing tastes of post-war Britain. We look at the influence of the key designers during this period, particularly William Wilson and Geoffrey Baxter, the latter being responsible for the famous textured range of products, including the 'drunken bricklayer', 'cello', and 'coffin' vases.

Finally, we look at the circumstances leading to the sudden closure of this famous traditional glassworks, result

ing eventually in the demolition of the Wealdstone site.

July 15: The Royal Air Force Museum, by David Keen The talk will cover the story of flight at Hendon. Starting with the founding of The London Aerodrome by Claude Grahame-White in 1910, we shall go on to look at the role played by RAF Hendon in the First World War, the great air pageants of the 20s and 30s, the importance of the airfield during the Battle of Britain and the Second World War and the opening and development of the Museum.

September 16: Hampton Court Palace, by Phillip Johnson Philip is currently the customer services manager and head warder at Hampton Court Palace, where he has been for 16 years.

Previously he taught history and classical studies for a number of years after graduating from Oxford University.

Philip is particularly passionate about engaging with young people and history and regularly does guided tours for students and others

As 2009 is the 500th anniversary of Henry Vlll coming to the throne, Philip will be taking you through Hampton Court Palace through a series of pictures and talking about the life of this extraordinary monarch.

October 21: The Gunpowder Plot, by Richard Thomas This is a look at the background of the Powder Treason and the involvement of Catesby, Percy and Guido Fawkes and the 10 other conspirators who laid the plot.

Richard examines closely the events of early November in 1605, follows the flight and fate of the conspirators and hears of the trials and executions of those who were captured.

November 18: Frosts, Freezes and Fairs, by Ian Currie A look at some great winters of the past 1,000 years, when even the mighty Thames froze and fairs were held on the ice.

Ian is a graduate of geography and Earth science and was a teacher for 20 years.

He is co-author of the book about the 1987 hurricane entitled Surrey in the Hurricane, and has written a London version. He is a columnist for Garden News and now presents Weather Watch on BBC Southern Counties each week-day morning.

Harrow National Trust Association talks

January 5: The Life of Samuel Johnson, by Stephanie Pickford In 2009 we celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Johnson, the lexicographer, critic and poet who famously declared that 'when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life'.

This talk will journey through the life of Johnson, from his birth to his struggles as an impoverished hack writer, to his later fame as 'Dictionary Johnson' and one of the greatest wits London has ever known.

Stephanie Pickford is the curator of Dr Johnson's House, located off Fleet Street in London, and is a regular speaker on Johnson and the 18th Century.

February 3: Great Churches of the City, by John Garrod More than 40 astonishingly varied churches, many of them the work of Sir Christopher Wren, are crowded into the greatest financial centre in Europe, the City of London. Architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner called them "a group of buildings without parallel anywhere in the world".

In this talk we will explore some of these wonderful churches, look at their variety, and marvel at how well so many of them were rebuilt, or restored after the devastation of the Blitz in 1940 and 1941, and the Great Fire of 1666.

John Garrod is a retired insurance official, a Freeman of the City of London, a registered City of London Guide Lecturer, and a London 'Blue Badge' guide.

March 4: Up the Khyber with a Kalashnikov, by Dr Audrey Hogarth Audrey tells us about an audience with the President of Pakistan and his visit to the Khyber Pass under armed escort. This was at the invitation of the Chief Minister of the NW Frontier Province and he was received by the Khyber Rifles with luncheon in their Officers' Mess. This, together with his accounts of a tour of Islamabad, a visit to the tribal areas and attending a modern-style wedding, gives an insight into a Pakistan that is not often seen.

Thursday, April 2: London's Shops -The World's Emporium revisited, by Susan Jenkinson Harrods, Bond Street and Covent Garden market are as well known to most visitors as Big Ben and the British


Susan is a London-regis-tered Blue Badge Guide, based in Greenwich, who particularly enjoys leading walking tours throughout the capital as well as guiding in the Houses of Parliament.

May 6: 40 Years at Kodak, by Tony Earle An amusing talk, opening with a brief history of photography and the founding of Kodak in Harrow. After 40 years in Research and Development, Tony retired from Kodak as principal scientist, with over 80 worldwide patents.

June 2: The English Genius - A Look at English Popular Art, by Andrew Davies We all know and revere the fine art that dominates our art galleries, but just as interesting is the popular art, which is found all around us in everyday life. From Victorian gin-palaces to old iron-work, from Valentines and Christmas cards to postcards, advertising posters and comics, from music halls to fair-grounds and flea-pits, here is a tradition of English popular art which is vivid, colourful and direct. It has certainly brought pleasure to millions of people.

July 1: Meals and manners in Shakespeare's time, by Shirley Newton This is a light-hearted look at the attitude to foods and the importance of correct table manners in Shakespeare's time.

Shirley taught in a Southwark school and in the 1980s got involved in efforts to rebuild Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on Bankside, where she was employed and asked to produce food for 'authentic' productions.

6 August: A Circle of Stage Fire: Charles Dickens and the Theatre, by Frances Hughes John Ruskin said that Charles Dickens lived in 'a circle of stage fire'. Dickens said of himself: "I was an actor and a speaker since I was a baby". At the age of 20 he was granted an audition at Covent Garden Theatre, but could not attend because of illness. The following year he had articles published and put all thoughts of the professional stage behind him. Nevertheless, the theatre dominated his imagination.

In this talk we follow Dickens' literary and theatrical career and look at the painters and caricaturists such as Cruikshank, 'Phiz', Maclise and Frith, who captured the essense of Dickens and his characters.

7 September: Public Statements and Private Lives in British Church Monuments, by Jane Kelsall Church monuments are the most commonly found examples of sculpture in this country. We look at the changing symbolism of death and immortality, from medieval to modern times, and will study representations of the human figure. No one will go home feeling depressed after this thoroughly entertaining lecture.

The pious and noble images presented for posterity in church monuments will be contrasted with the human failings we find in the private lives of the people they commemorate.

* The talks taking place at the Edgware and District National Trust Centre on Wednesdays cost £3 and start at 7.45pm.

Harrow National Trust Association's talks are at the Harrow Arts Centre, Elliot Hall, Uxbridge Road, Hatch End. The events are free and start at 7.45pm. For more information call the Harrow branch on 020 8866 9272 or Edgware and district on 020 8427 5406.