What We Do
Evelyn Wrench Lecture Series

The ESU Kansas City Branch hosts many prominent authors and scholars including ESU’s own Evelyn Wrench Lecture Series named after our founder. These renowned British and American speakers present programs on a wide range of  topics, including but not limited to, current events, history, language, literature, art, architecture, and travel.

In September, 2023, the Kansas City Branch was privileged to welcome Dr. Andrew Lownie direct from London who presented an intriguing program on his book, “Stalin’s Englishman: Guy Burgess, the Cold War, and the Cambridge Spy Ring.” The notorious English-born Soviet spy, Guy Burgess, was one of the most fascinating and utterly ruthless men who betrayed his country to the Soviet Union. Lownie is a best-selling author, journalist, and one of Britain’s most acclaimed biographers.

In March 2022, the Kansas City Branch hosted former British Ambassador to China, Sir Christopher Hum KCMG. Amb. Hum has been observing developments in China for over forty years: he lived there for ten years as a diplomat and was British Ambassador to China between 2002-2005. He regaled audiences with his insight into US-China diplomatic relations.

In May 3, 2016, the Kansas City Branch hosted Robert Hulse as part of the Evelyn Wrench Lecture Series. Hulse is the Director of London’s Brunel Museum. The lecture was co-sponsored with the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City. In his lecture, Hulse introduced the audience to an extraordinary Victorian Englishman, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) who is regarded as Britain’s most famous engineer and considered the Englishman who changed the world. His first project, the oldest tunnel in the London subway, changed the shape of our cities. His last project, the Great Eastern steamship, changed the pattern of world trade. Everything Brunel did, by land or by sea, he did with flare and showmanship worthy of Frank Lloyd Wright. Both worked beyond the parameters of established practice. Like Frank Lloyd Wright, Brunel was flamboyant as well as prolific. Like him, he was stylish, cutting a figure as a man of fashion, a collector and patron of the arts. The lecture program had an in-person attendance of approximately 200 and a livestream audience estimated at over 800.  We invite you to watch Robert Hulse’s fascinating and, at times, quite humorous lecture about Isambard Kingdom Brunel.


Another Speaker series, the Fulbright-Robertson Visiting Professor of British History lecture program at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri,  has had British speakers give presentations to ESU Kansas City members over the years.

Selection of past guest speakers in ESU Kansas City Branch: