Speaker’s Name Brian Kerr

Speaker's NameBrian Kerr
Are you an Individual or represent an Organisation / Company?Individual
EmailEmail
Telephone / Mobile Number01525 403014
07736 911508
Would you be able to present In Person, via Zoom or either?Both In Person and Zoom
What equipment do you need to be provided by hosts? eg Screen, laptop, projectorscreen, projector and laptop which is compatible with the projector
Any travel restrictions? Such as Time or DistanceNo
What are the charges? Such as Travel Expenses, Charge for talk.£50 total- no travel expenses
Speaker's BiographyBrian Kerr trained as a soil scientist and has spent most of his career working and writing on landscape and agricultural topics both in the British Isles and overseas. Now based in Ampthill he has taken an interest in countryside issues in Bedfordshire and in 2014 published a book on the county which traces the history of the modern landscape. A second publication followed in 2019 and this traces the impact of people on the landscape. In January 2021, Eventispress published a third book which is national in reach and provides an overview of issues from climate change to re-wilding which are likely to impact on how we see the countryside in Britain change over a decade. This book is deliberately provocative asks the question: What do we expect from the countryside? In 2023 the first book in the list was updated and substantially revised. Brian Kerr is also a tutor at the Rothsay Education Centre in Bedford.Publications
An Unassuming County: The Making of the Bedfordshire Countryside. Eventispress 2014 and a
Second edition 2023.
A Certain Degree of Magnificence: People in the Bedfordshire Landscape. Eventispress 2018
How to Value a Skylark: The Countryside in a Time of Change. Eventispress 2021
TalkDurationSummary
The Story Behind the View-the Making of the Bedfordshire Countryside40 minutes max : questions welcomeThis Presentation is an introduction to the countryside of Bedfordshire beginning with its geological foundations and linking this to the present pattern of land use and agriculture. The talk is based on a publication entitled, An Unassuming County: The Making of the Bedfordshire Countryside, which is now in a second edition (2023). This presentation provides a simple framework which is a useful guide to understanding the various distinctive areas within Bedfordshire. This talk invites the audience to ask more questions of what they see and perhaps take an active interest in present day countryside and its future.
From Erik the Bald to Nigel de Albini: the Domesday Book in Bedfordshire40 minutes max : questions welcomeThe preparation of the Domesday record throughout most of the counties of England, including Bedfordshire beginning in 1086 provides an intriguing snapshot into the land holdings at this time of radical change. As one historian puts this: William had conquered the kingdom all over again, this time statistically and in a form no disgruntled Motte and Bailey baron would ever overcome.
We meet many characters in this account including the previous owners, and their tenants and the new estate owners such as Nigel d’Albini. The estate lands are given a value, we are told the number of pigs any woodland.
How to Value a Skylark: The Countryside in a Time of Change40 minutes max : questions welcomeThis presentation is based on a book of the same name, published in January 2021. Essentially the book and the 35-minute presentation pose the question: What do we expect from the countryside? The pandemic and lockdown in 2020/21 have forced a rethink of previous held views. Issues such as health and diets; food security; the aspiration to plant more trees across Britain; and an understanding of the part nature plays in mental health and wellbeing; are all part of an increasingly crowded agenda. The book and this presentation are illustrated by images from across the UK.
It’s a Hole-A big, big Hole: The Extraction Industry and the Bedfordshire Landscape40 minutes max : questions welcomeThe geology of Bedfordshire has provided resources for a variety of extraction industries over a long period, the best known being the brick clay workings of the Marston Vale. Additionally, there are other less well-known mining and quarry operations winning coprolites, Fullers Earth and industrial sand from the landscape. This has left Bedfordshire with a residue of abandoned mining sites which are now important as brown field development areas, nature reserves, and leisure facilities. This presentation includes the hard rock quarrying of chalk and sandstone; the sand and quarrying industry based in Leighton Buzzard; and other extraction sites.
From Open Fields to Fletton Bricks: A history of landscapes in Bedfordshire from John Bunyan to the Malcolm Stewart40 minutes max : questions welcomeTwo historical figures bookend this period of change in the Bedfordshire landscape. Bunyan walked through the countryside of the county as a tinker and this gave him an intimate knowledge of the landscapes which he used in his allegorical writings. Stewart had the business acumen to move the brick making industry on to a commercial basis and the political and practical approach which supported the Land Settlement Association communities in Bedfordshire at Potton and Wyboston
Cities with Walls of Water: How the Dutch used water in times of war.40 minutes max : questions welcomeFrom the mid-16th century, the Dutch state employed a system of defense lines to protect towns and cities from invasion. This novel technique made use of strategic flooding of low land in times of need. A carefully engineered system of defensive forts was constructed linking dykes which could be breached, flooding areas to a pre-calculated depth-too deep for a man to wade across easily, but not deep enough for boats to be deployed. The forts are still in good condition and now tourist attractions. This Presentation explains this typical use of resources by the Dutch and is illustrated by slides