On a crisp, late February evening, Shrewsbury High School opened its doors to over 300 guests, buzzing with excitement, all keen to hear from acclaimed anthropologist, writer and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts.

Professor Alice took to the stage to rapturous applause, with the audience made up of all ages including a large number of SHS and local students.  Her visit, the most recent in a series of An Evening With… events run by the school, was wildly anticipated with students at the school keen to meet her before she took to the stage. Luckily for some of the girls, Professor Alice invited them to join her for a pre talk supper at the school. Nimue Dorsett-Vyse, a Year 6 pupil commented- “I really enjoyed the evening, talking to Alice was a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to talk to someone like her, and now when I grow up, I now want to be a forensic scientist!”

Professor Roberts is an academic, writer and broadcaster, interested in the structure of humans, how we function, and our place in the wider environment. She studied for a medical degree at the University of Wales then, after a period as a junior doctor, took up a post at the University of Bristol, teaching anatomy while studying for a PhD in palaeopathology. After early appearances on Time Team, Alice’s media career took off in 2005 when she was one of the original presenters of the hugely popular BBC TV series Coast. Since then, she has presented more than a hundred television documentaries, ranging across human biology, history, and archaeology. She is also a successful author, her latest book ‘Crypt’ was released the day after her talk, and she was kind enough to stay behind and sign pre-released copies of the book to the very long line of guests who stayed to meet her after the talk.

‘Crypt’, the final instalment of her highly acclaimed trilogy, explores the experience of life, death, and disease in the Middle Ages and beyond. The audience grimaced and winced as Professor Alice displayed images from the book and explaining, in great depth, how gouges and grooves on these ancient bones had indicated to her how these unfortunate humans had met their grizzly end. Professor Alices’ charismatic and engaging style aroused laughter as she discussed incurable epidemics, plagues, brutality, and leprosy! Keira Mayhew, a Year 11 SHS student summed the evening up perfectly, saying “Throughout the evening she explained things clearly and in an interesting way so that the audience was captivated. During the lecture she spoke about her new book, Crypt, and we learnt everything from scientific facts such as Nitrogen-15 can alter the results of a Carbon Radiogram, to the history of her research. Prof Roberts showed us that it’s definitely not just a man’s world out there with her empowering speech.”

Look out for more familiar faces appearing as part of the school’s An Evening With… series as Shrewsbury High School gears up to celebrate its 140th birthday. Whether your daughter is a budding archaeologist or not, Shrewsbury High School invites you to their Whole School Open Day on the 28th September 2024. Visit shrewsburyhigh.gdst.net or call 01743 494038 to arrange your visit.