Dianne Mannering

Location: Alton, Hampshire
About Dianne Mannering, creator of this website...

I retired early because I wanted to write a book and I realised that if I didn’t get on with it, it just wouldn’t happen.  My original talks were based round the royal and noble characters in my two history books – see bottom of  page for information. My talk Born To Rule was supposed to be based on a new book – but the book never happened though the talk has been very popular.

About my talks...

My talks are all Power Point presentations and I use approx 100 illustrations in each talk, often using my own cartoon sketches when I can’t find suitable graphics. I supply my own equipment though I’m happy to use in-house equipment when it is available.  All of my equipment is PAT compliant.
Talks last between 50 and 60 minutes and I have a longer version for organisations who like a break during the presentation.


My Fee is £120 within ten miles of my home in Alton, Hampshire, if the venue is further afield modest travelling expenses will apply. For clubs and organisation in Alton such as the Alton WI  there’s no fee at all, I’m happy to come and meet my neighbours and  ‘do my bit’ for the community where I’ve chosen to live.
I moved to Alton in Hampshire in February 2017 and I am very keen to get established in the area, so if you are interested in my talks, but don’t like my fees – then give me a ring and lets talk about it.

I still have connections with the Midlands and will accept bookings in East Midlands, West Midlands Warwickshire, Leicestershire etc.


My Contact Details:

01420 84226


John Dudley and the Nine Days Queen

Talk by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering - John Dudley and the Nine Days Queen

Was John Dudley Duke of Northumberland the acquisitive tactician that historians have made him out to be?  In my book A Crown for Staffordshire I’ve given a chapter to the man who put the unfortunate, tragic and undoubtedly unwilling sixteen year old Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England for nine days back in the 16th century. It all ended in tears and lost heads, but in my opinion John Dudley wasn’t the power crazy, grasping schemer that historians would have us believe. I honestly reckon that the poor fellow has had an undeservedly bad press for the last 500 years and I’m doing my best to shed a little new light onto what happened back then. John Dudley played out his role against the glittering Tudor back-drop, hobnobbing with King Henry VIII and attending several of his marriage ceremonies and the christening of his son Prince Edward to whom he became a surrogate father when the boy inherited the throne. He made a dangerous enemy of King Henry’s eldest daughter Princess Mary, (later to become Queen Mary – better known as Bloody Mary) on account of a clash of religion and at the end of the day, Mary was his downfall.

Born to Rule

Talk by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering - Born to Rule

I promised the Kings Bromley History Society that I’d create this talk after I mentioned to them that there had been about 42 Kings and Queens since William the Conqueror (how many depends on who you include) but only about a dozen of these rulers were actually ‘born to rule’ ie born the first son of the ruling monarch or his heir, such as Prince Charles (King George VI had no sons so when his eldest daughter, the then Princess Elizabeth who was his heir, gave birth to Prince Charles he was ‘born to rule’). So, looking at the statistics, less than a quarter of our monarchs were actually born to do the job! ….. how did that happen?

I’ll be delighted to tell you in my fast moving light hearted tour through ten centuries of Kings and Queens, the good, the bad, the ineffectual, the murderous and the down right reluctant – its a fun talk and imparts a lot of gossipy tit-bits.

A 1960's Business Woman in a Mans' World

Public Speaker in Hampshire Dianne Mannering talks about her career 'A 1960's Business Woman in a Mans' World'

The talk covers the period before the days of ‘same job – same pay’, Rotary wouldn’t accept women, wouldn’t tolerate them in fact, and even the Insurance Companies for whom I produced business were bemused and even confused about the fact that it was a woman at the helm. Lots of laughs, lots of reminders of how it was when men seemed to consider that if a woman insisted on being in business, then surely a baby linen shop should be the pinnacle of her ambition.
This really is a very light hearted look at how it was, there’s no serious burning of bras – I promise.  Actually, men’s Probus groups love this talk.  The men sit there chucking and nudging each other as though to say ‘she’s right… we did think like that back then, didn’t we’  I think they are affably amazed at just how their attitudes towards women in business have changed over the years.

Send Us Some Women

Public Speaker in Hampshire Dianne Mannering talks about the voyage of the Lady Juliana from Gallions Reach to Sydney Cove Australia with a cargo of female convicts in 1789.

There were very few women aboard the First Fleet which sailed to Australia in 1787. It had been decided that once settled in Botany Bay, Governor Phillip would send to the Friendly Islands (now Tonga) to collect a party of native women who would act as a stabilising influence for the garrison (comfort women) and a breeding bank for the male convicts who would be given land when their sentence was served. However, Phillip soon realised that the harsh conditions of the Sydney Cove colony was no place for gentle, grass skirted females and instead, he wrote home to England asking the Home Secretary Lord Sydney to send out some women.
It so happened that Newgate Gaol was bursting at the seams with women – murderers, thieves, pick-pockets, drunks and prostitutes. The Lady Julian set sail in July 1789 with its reluctant cargo and this is the story of the voyage and how these unprepossessing women reinvented themselves and helped found Australia.
None of these women were important enough to have their portraits painted for posterity, nor were the sailors who crewed the Lady Julian – so many of the illustrations in this talk are my own water-colour creations – you can see some of them here.

The fee for this talk – £150.00

Public Speaker from Hampshire Dianne Mannering presents her talk Send Us Some Women.
susw.Lincoln coach 320x240

Esther Curtiss was usually the worse for drink. She’d go out in the evening, pick someone’s pocket or turn a trick for the price of a gin and likely as not, spend the night wherever she fell asleep. One morning a London gent found her sleeping in his outdoor privy. He told her to clear off and not withstanding the lamentable state she was in, Ester lifted his wallet as she left. That evening, even more drink befuddled and minus her boots Ester turned up at the gent’s home again. He called the local comptor and she ended up on the Lady Julian bound for Botany Bay.

Once news got out that Lord Sydney had commissioned the Lady Julian to take prisoners to the new colony in Australia, counties up and down the country started sending their ‘disorderly women’ to Gallions Reach where the ship was birthed. During March 1789 thirteen women including Sarah Whitelam, Mary Rose and a woman in her 60’s were taken from Lincoln Gaol and hoarded onto the top of a coach. There they sat, roped and chained for the entire 36 hour journey.

Public Speaker in Hampshire Dianne Mannering presents her talk Send Us Some Women.
susw.007mjessop-The Getaway320x240

Eliza Sulley ran three working girls who specialised in thieving from their clients. Two were already in Newgate when young Mary Bateman hid the watch that she’d stolen from her customer under Eliza’s mattress thus implicating the bawdyhouse keeper in the theft. Eliza ended up with her working girls in Newgate and they were all transported together – so, basically, the government paid for Eliza to relocate her business!

Four women – one with a young baby – escaped from The Lady Julian on the night before she sailed from Gallions Reach. They got the ‘watch’ drunk and climbed over the side of the ship into a waiting boat.

Buy a set of 15 “Send Us Some Women” postcards £5.00 including p&p


Washday on the Lady Julian. Esther Curtiss who lost her boots on a drunken spree, Catherine Heyland who was pardoned at the eleventh hour from her sentence of burning at the stake and Sarah Whitelam who was already pregnant by the ship’s cooper.

Quarreling over a sailor! There were abour 30 sailors and over 200 women on the Lady Julian. Sharing a sailor’s hammock was something of a perk because you had someone to fight your corner and you didn’t have to sleep on the crowded orlop deck where thieving and bullying were rife.

Talk created and presented by Public Speaker Dianne Mannering "Send Us Some Women"
Public Speaker Dianne Mannering created her own illustrations for her talk Send Us Some Women  which tells the epic voyage of the Lady Julian which arrived in Australia with a cargo of convict women in 1790.

When the women realised that what you caught, you ate, they begged borrowed and most likely stole fishing equipment and learned to fish. This considerably enhanced their diet and the women would have been in a much better state of health at this time than they were when they first clambered aboard their floating prison.

The women fed and cared for the animals on deck. Looks like Maggie Wood won the fight over sailor Eddie Burgis – she’s pregnant and the other woman isn’t.

Public Speaker Dianne Mannering created  her own illustrations for her talk Send Us Some Women  which tells the epic voyage of the Lady Julian which arrived in Australia with a cargo of convict women in 1790.
Public Speaker Dianne Mannering created her own illustrations for her talk Send Us Some Women  which tells the epic voyage of the Lady Julian which arrived in Australia with a cargo of convict women in 1790.

Thief Jane Forbes was thirteen when she gave birth to sailor Will Carlo’s baby. We don’t know how old Will Carlo was. Maybe he was a mature sailor who should have known better than to get a 13 year old girl pregnant when she was hardly in a position to refuse his advances. Or, was he just a lonely, unhappy lad, an orphan perhaps, sent to sea at 13? – it wasn’t an unusual fate for a young boy back then…. Nelson was only 12!

Many of the women got pregnant by the sailors on the voyage and the genes of these ship-born babies were a unique gift to Australia – though of course, that fact wouldn’t have been appreciated at the time! The breeding pool in the new colony was small, so the genes that the sailors so willingly and thoughtlessly ‘donated’ helped enlarge and diversify that gene pool.

What people say about my talks

Send Us Some Women – talk at Tadley and District U3A on 16th May 2019

Wow, what a great talk yesterday. So much information.  I was astonished to hear just how long it took the Lady Julian to actually get to Botany Bay, with so many hold ups.
I thought that your water-colours were superb and really generated a connection with the women and their travails.  Really good.
At this early stage I have had many comments fed back to me on how much your talk was enjoyed.  More will filter through as the time goes on.
For your information you attracted an audience of some 220 which was good bearing in mind that a lot of our people were on holiday.
Roland  Higgins

Born to Rule  – talk at Sarum U3A Wiltshire on Wednesday 19th October 2016

Just a quick message to thank you again for the splendid talk you gave us this morning! It was highly entertaining and went down a storm with our members.
I hope you enjoyed visiting us as much as we enjoyed having you and your great talk! All the best and hope to see you again sometime in the future.
Sue Tranter

Send Us Some Women – talk at Chester Lecture Society 3rd November 2016

The main purpose of this email is to thank you for your most entertaining and informative presentation last night. You have obviously done a lot of research and with the help of your amusing watercolours it brought your characters alive, as of course they were once.  The feedback over coffee afterwards was very good and I hope that you were pleased with the way it went.Thank you again Dianne.
Tony Orde
Postcards - Lady Juliana sailed with a cargo of women from Gallions Reach in July 1789.

Send Us Some Women

Buy the set of 15 Postcards for £5.00. The water-colour pictures that I created to illustrate my talk Send Us Some Women proved to be so popular that I have had 15 of them printed.


Buy a set of 15 “Send Us Some Women” postcards £5.00 including p&p

Buy the book A Crown for Staffordshire

A Crown for Staffordshire

I wrote this book at the same time that I created my talks about the barons and noble families who, over the centuries gave their kings so much hassle trying to snatch the crown of England - sometimes they won - sometimes they didn't.
There is a section about John Dudley which inspired my talk "John Dudley and the Nine Days Queen".

Buy a signed copy of my book A Crown for Staffordshire £11.50 including postage

Buy The Staffordshire Millennium Embroideries by Dianne Mannering

The Staffordshire Millennium Embroideries

This is my book about the history of Staffordshire and it is lavishly illustrated on every page with Sylvia M Everitt's Staffordshire Millennium Embroideries.

Buy a signed copy of my book The Staffordshire Millennium Embroideries £11.50 including postage

Dianne Mannering Contact Details:

01420 84226