John Burton was born in 1931. After school in Greenwich, south-east London, national service in the Royal Army Education Corps, and taking a zoology degree at Oxford University, his career spanned periods as Assistant Secretary of the British Trust for Ornithology, an Assistant Editor (Science) with Encyclopaedia Britannica, and finally, from 1960 until retirement in 1988, as a producer in radio and television with the BBC Natural History Unit. He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and a Fellow of the British Trust for Ornithology. He was a member of the Liberal Party's Environmental Panel in the early 1970s and edited the Party's 1971 booklet The Pollution of our Environment. He is the author of five books on natural history subjects and has contributed to several others. He still keeps busy writing in his retirement and to date is the author of more than 260 scientific and popular articles.
The 17th century in England was a period of momentous events: the Civil War, the execution of Charles 1st, the establishment of an English republic (the Commonwealth) under Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector), the restoration of the monarchy under Charles 2nd, naval wars against Holland, the terrible bubonic plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. That we know so much detail about these events from the collapse of the Commonwealth in 1659 is especially due to the vivid, eye-witness diary kept for nearly 10 years by Samuel Pepys. In this talk, John Burton will concentrate on the period of the diary, reading a selection of extracts.
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