Chris Payne
Detective Chief Inspector George Clarke
Charlie Payne
William Morris Hughes

The current talks that I offer cover four main subject areas:

1. The detection of crime in mid-Victorian London e.g.:

‘A Very Unusual Article’;  Detective Chief Inspector George Clarke  of Scotland Yard 1862-1878.

Based on my book 'the Chieftain', the talk Includes the North London Railway murder, the Plaistow Marshes murder, the Fenian Conspiracy, the suspicious deaths of Charles Bravo, Elizabeth Brigham and Madeline de Tourville, the Turf Fraud trial and the Trial of the Detectives.

The Eventful Life of Superintendent James Jacob Thomson 1837-1902.

The story of a 'Gentleman Copper'. James Thomson was the son of a Scottish merchant and an Italian Countess who was a Scotland Yard detective between 1862 and 1869 before  transferring to the uniformed Branch where he became Superintendent in the central London areas of Covent Garden and Holborn.  He was also engaged in several  secret missions overseas in his retirement. The talk includes reference to murders of prostitutes, the Fenian Conspiracy and the Clerkenwell explosion, rouble forgery and missions to Russia; the sensational trial of the transvestites 'Stella' and 'Fanny' (Boulton and Park);  the Jubilee Plot and the Parnell Commission.

2. A Soldier's Perspective of the First World War; based on the personal correspondence of a member of the 'Poor Bloody Infantry' (PBI) [click here for talks relevant to Western Front Association branches] e.g.

How British Conscripts Helped to Win The War 

Including the background and procedures of conscription; different perceptions and experiences of conscripts and volunteers; conscript training; experiences of  war on the Western Front during late 1917-1918, when the 'all arms' warfare strategies developed by the Allied armies ultimately secured a victory.

Charlie's War; Tales of a Derbyite Conscript: Part 1, 1916-1917.

Covering experiences of army training with the Yorkshire Regiment in Clacton and West Hartlepool, first experiences of trench warfare with the 2/5th battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment on the Western Front in France, and at the Battle of Cambrai.

Charlie's War; Part 2, 1918-1919

Including the German Spring Offensive , the Second Battle of the Marne, 'The Last 100 days' (including the crossings of the St Quentin Canal and the River Selle), and participation in the Army of Occupation in the Rhineland.

3. The Politics of the First World War War, illustrated by the experiences of a Dominion Prime Minister e.g.

"The Little Digger": The impact of William Morris Hughes (the Australian Prime Minister) on the Great War and its Aftermath

Background to the career of Billy Hughes; his emigration from the UK and  early years in Australia; Prime Ministerial career 1915-1923 including his attitudes to German internment and industry, the White Australia Policy, his visits to the UK in 1916 and 1918, the Conscription plebiscites and his participation in the Paris Peace Treaty negotiations in 1919.

4. Biological Pest Control and Integrated Pest Management [the subject area in which I spent most of my professional life]

Diverse ways to control insect pests without chemical pesticides

The talk describes biological control strategies developed for the control of pests in greenhouses, orchards and other crop production systems.  A diversity of approaches can be deployed for pest management including parasites and predators, resistant crop varieties, naturally-occurring chemicals and other crop-production techniques that modify the behaviour of insect pests in ways that reduce their capacity to cause major crop damage.

I am an experienced speaker and lecturer and have presented talks at a wide range of national and international venues, ranging from meeting rooms in village halls, to presentations at Scotland Yard, the Houses of Parliament, numerous UK conferences and at  meetings in continental Europe, East Africa, North America and New Zealand.

I would normally request a small fee and reasonable travel expenses, but will consider reducing or waiving any fee if the event will allow me to sell copies of my relevant publications to interested customers.  A  talk  would normally occupy 50-60 minutes and would be suitable for a general audience.  I am happy to adapt my talks to cater for an audience with more specific interests, and would be delighted to respond to any questions.

My talks would be based around a Powerpoint presentation. I can provide a small data projector suitable for audiences of up to 50-60 but  for larger audiences I would require access to an appropriate data projector and, at all venues, would need a screen or suitable blank wall! Specific details of the talks that may be of particular interest to branches of the Western Front Association can be found by clicking here.

For further information, please contact me via my Guestbook page or directly via email to