There is a BIG History weekend coming to St George’s Hall

Liverpool historian Ken Pye and St George’s Hall Liverpool are excited to announce the full programme of guest speakers for this year’s fascinating and insightful World Heritage Big History Weekend which is back bigger and better for 2017.

The two-day event takes place on Saturday 29 April and Sunday 30 April in one of the most historic and iconic venues the city has to offer. The event will take place between 10am and 5pm on both days and a series of eight talks by special guest historians will take place across the weekend where the audience will be given an insight into a variety of local subjects.

Saturday’s guest speakers include Ken Pye who will focus on Liverpool’s renaissance from a fishing village to a major port on the world stage. 

Ken’s fascinating and entertaining tale of how Liverpool was founded and grew into one of the most important ports and cities in the world will be an eye opener to everybody in attendance. The story continues of why Liverpool was so influential and what then happened to make it all go so wrong. The audience will discover how Liverpool lost, but then found its way again, to become re-born as the World Class City it was always destined to be.

This talk, by popular local historian and broadcaster, Ken Pye, will be beautifully and fully illustrated. Ken says his audience should be prepared to “Be inspired! Be very, very inspired!”

Steve Binns MBE will host Should Liverpool Have Built St George’s Hall? Steve poses the question, and has some interesting and varied answers!

Looking for the Fourth Beatle – The Search for The Beatles’ 18 Drummers is presented by David Bedford. Yes, you know about Ringo Starr, and probably Pete Best and a couple of others. But can you name 18 drummers who played with the group from The Quarrymen to The Beatles?

The Local History Question Time Panel comprising of Ken Pye, Ian Murphy, Steve Binns MBE and Richard MacDonaldwill give audience members the chance to pose their local history questions to a panel of expert historians, who may just know the answer!

Dean Johnson will be treating the audience to his talk – The Lost Everest Mountaineers of Birkenhead. In words and music, the story of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine… Did they conquer Everest before Hilary and Tensing? Come along and you might just find out!

Ken Pye

Gavin Chappell kicks things off on Sunday with the unique story of the Wirral Smugglers. The talk will cover the fascinating story of the communities of smugglers that plagued the Wirral coats during the 17th and 18th centuries, on both the Dee and the Mersey.

Ken Pye returns for day two with Curious and Amazing Tales of Merseyside. This talk will be a glorious mixture of funny, fascinating and historically accurate tales from across the City. It is expected to be a very entertaining and surprising talk – one not to be missed.

Claire Moorhead will present the story of Joseph Williamson and his subterranean excavations in Tunnels of Joseph Williamson at Edge Hill in Liverpool and Spencer Leigh will dive into the fun and exciting history of The Cavern Club with 60 Years of The Cavern.

Bringing an end to proceedings will be Gill Hoffs with A Tale of Two Shipwrecks. When the William & Mary wrecked in the Bahamas in 1853, Captain Stinson attempted to commit mass murder; when the White Star Line’s ‘Victorian Titanic’ sank near Dublin a few months later, Captain Noble tried to save everyone on board.  Find out more about some of the heroes and villains hiding in Merseyside’s maritime history!

Local history fans and geology enthusiasts can look forward to a full programme across the weekend, including a diverse choice of talks, guided tours and exhibitor stalls. 

Tickets for the special guest talks and the Question Time panel event are £2 each. Admission is payable on the door, free entry for under 16s. The admission cost will support the restoration of the iconic Minton Tiled floor in the Great Hall of St George’s Hall Liverpool.

St George’s Hall Minton Tiled Floor

Visitors can also look forward to meeting representatives from a range of groups and societies from across Liverpool City Region who specialise in local history, family history and heritage.

More than 50 groups and societies will be exhibiting throughout the weekend including the Friends of Williamson Tunnels;Liverpool History Society; Liverpool Record Office (Central Libraries); Merseyside Polonia; and West Kirby Museum.

Visitors to the World Heritage Big History Weekend at St George’s Hall Liverpool will also have the opportunity to discover and explore the iconic venue through a Privileged Guided Tours which take in the Great Hall, Concert Room, Courts and Catacombs. Tickets for the tour are £3.50.

St George’s Hall Concert Room

Joint organiser Ken Pye from Discover Liverpool commented: “One of the undoubted highlights of the weekend is the exciting talks programme. Choose from the menu of entertaining and informative hours, each one presented by one of Merseyside’s most popular and respected expert historians.  From The Beatles to Smugglers; from the story of Liverpool’s rise, fall and Renaissance to Tales from The Cavern; and from Mickey the Chimp to Buffalo Bill, there’s fun and fascination for all.”

St George’s Hall General Manager, Alan Smith said: “We are delighted to announce these talks. We have managed to secure fantastic guest speakers and listening to what they have to say about our wonderful city will prove truly fascinating.” 

Refreshments will be available to purchase from the Heritage Café.

For more information visit



Event: World Heritage Big History Weekend

Date: Saturday 29 April / Sunday 30 April 2017

Time: 10am – 5pm

Admission: £2 on the door

Tickets: £2 Guest Talks / £2 Question Time / £3.50 Tours – tickets can be purchased on the door or bought in advance from St George’s Hall Heritage Centre



St George’s Hall Liverpool

The Great Hall

St George’s Place

Liverpool L1 1JJ


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