Evening lectures are held at Bluecoat C. of  E. Academy, Birmingham Road, Walsall. WS1 2ND, on the second Wednesday of the month from September to April, starting at 7.30pm.

Afternoon lectures are held at The Methodist Church Rooms, Anchor Road, Aldridge. WS9 8PT, on the fourth Wednesday of the month from September to March, at 2.30pm

Evening Lectures for the Season 2017 – 2018

This year we have again endeavoured to produce a varied programme of lectures which we hope will be of interest to all of our members.  We would again like to thank the support and help of our ‘Technical Advisors’ who ensure that we are fully prepared and able to support our speakers, and of course to our reserve speakers who are always there – just in case!

Our evening programme begins on 13th September with Sue Fraser, Collections Assistant and Volunteer for N.T. Sudbury Hall. Sue’s talk ‘Sudbury Hall and The Museum of Childhood’ will cover the hall, the Vernon Family, a brief introduction to the Museum of Childhood and the redevelopment programme introduced in 2006.

Sudbury Hall

Click to read about Sue’s talk

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Many of our members were disappointed when our next speaker had to cancel due to health reasons BUT we are delighted to let you know that on 11th October David Fletcher makes a return visit to deliver his lecture on ‘The Great Explorer – Sir Ernest Shackleton’.  David has worked in Antarctica for 44 years, completing four winters and forty-four summers.  This lecture is probably the most exciting and incredible tale ever told!

Ernest Shackleton

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We next welcome Caroline Bendix who works as a Library Conservationist. On 8th November Caroline will relate to us in her lecture ‘Conserving the National Trust’s Libraries’ just how she does this and the many libraries she has worked in.  Members may recall having seen Caroline ‘in action’ when restoring the collection at Hanbury Hall.

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On 13th December Max Keen, local historian will present his lecture on ‘Richard lll – The Last Yorkist King of England – Hero? Murderer? Loyal Brother?’   We now know that King Richard’s death at the Battle of Bosworth effectively ended The Wars of the Roses. It was only recently that his body was found under a car park in Leicester, to be reinterred at the city’s cathedral.  Max delivers in costume, which promises to be very dramatic and not for the faint hearted.

Richard lll

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A welcome return talk by Andrew Lound with Penelope Ferguson on 10th January 2018. They will deliver a truly remarkable presentation – ‘The Story of the Great War’ as told through the eyes of a generic British Soldier – Tommy Atkins and his wife Alice. The letters and diary entries are taken from original material. The whole story is supported by period images, music, sound effects and numerous props.  We see Tom change from a civilian to a ‘tommy’ as a British Infantryman and Alice change from a civilian to a V.A.D. Nurse – a very emotional presentation in this anniversary year.

In the trenches

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On 14th February Dr. Gill White, whose previous lecture on Bess of Hardwick was very well received, returns to deliver ‘Embroidered with Woodbine and Eglantine’. Textiles provided the interiors of Elizabethan aristocratic houses with colour, glamour, textiles and symbolism. This talk looks at designs, techniques and uses of these textiles, as well as the subject matter and the Elizabethan fondness for decoding hidden messages and devices.

Elizabethan embroidery

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On 14th March Joe Hawkins, Head of Landscape at Hagley Hall will deliver his talk ‘Dig Deep, Dig Down and Dirty!’     We always enjoy listening to the escapades and challenges that have faced Joe in his working life and now that he has moved to another grand property we look forward to hearing more.

Hagley Hall

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Our Annual General Meeting on 11th April will be followed by an entertaining lecture from Geoff Tristram, talented artist, author and raconteur! Geoff‘s talk,  ‘An Evening of Things That Annoy Me or Five Fingers and a Thumb’ will try to get you to agree with Geoff about things that  annoy him and may annoy us all?  Geoff suggests and hopes that by the end of the evening that you will be either cheering or waving flags in agreement.

Geoff Tristram

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Afternoon lecture programme 2017 – 18

Our afternoon programme begins on 27th September with a return visit from Liz Taylor, who on this occasion, will be delivering her talk, ‘Land of The Long White Cloud’ – a journey through the scenery and wildlife of the three main Islands of New Zealand. A trip that contained new experiences and taught Liz much about respect and conservation… and fulfilled long held dreams of seeing penguins other than in a zoo.

The beauty of New Zealand

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We next welcome on 25th October a new speaker, Michael Fisher, author and former research scholar at Keele University, who has a special interest in the works of A.W.N. Pugin. Michael’s talk, ‘A.W.N Pugin: The Staffordshire Connection’ will tell us where some of Pugin’s finest work may be seen.  Augustus Pugin was an English architect, designer, artist, and critic who is principally remembered for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. His work culminated in designing the interior of the Palace of Westminster in London, Michael, a Staffordshire man, has been accumulating a rich store of knowledge about architecture in this area.

St Giles Church Cheadle

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On 22nd November a return visit by Peter Preece whose talk ‘Every Picture Tells a Story Part Two’ follows on from his previous talk which covers other natural history subjects taken in the United Kingdom and Europe. These include owls, herons, storks, wading birds and a few ‘oddities’ to end on, not related to nature.

Great blue heron

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Reminder: No afternoon lecture meeting at Aldridge in December

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Into the New Year and a talk on ‘Africa! Continent of Superlatives’ by David Keith Jones on 24th January. This presentation takes us across the length and breadth of Africa to experience the earth’s largest desert, longest river, biggest inland delta, tallest sand dunes, largest alkaline lake, biggest waterfall, greatest geological feature, biggest primate, largest bird, heaviest, fastest and tallest land mammals and the last surviving ‘Wonder of the Ancient World!’

African cheetah

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Another interesting talk by Ray Sturdy for our members on 28th February.  This time Ray will broaden our knowledge and understanding of ‘China’s Ancient and Modern Wonders’ An intriguing mixture of traditional and modern life, stunning scenery, vast rivers, bustling cities and many ornate royal palaces and at Xian, the amazing Terracotta Warriors.

Terracotta Warriors

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Our 2017 – 2018 afternoon programme ends with a very welcome return by Ned Williams on 28th March.  Ned’s talk – ‘Reflections of a British Landscape’ takes a look at the way in which the British landscape has been portrayed by artists and then by graphic artists – turning it into a subject much used in transport and tourism advertising.   Ned suggests that “probably every one of us has an image of a favourite transport poster, many of which are landscape pictures.”

Transport poster

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We wish to thank members for recommending speakers.  Please continue to do so. Some recommendations are included in this programme and in our 2018 – 2019 lecture programme.

Margaret Wood – Speaker Secretary