12th September 2018

Evening Lecture

The Restoration of 78 Derngate: the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Our 2018 / 2019 Lecture programme started on 12th September 2018 with Robert Kendall. Trustee and Chair of The Friends of Derngate presenting an illustrated talk in celebration of 78, Derngate.   Robert outlined just how this building developed through patronage and challenging working relationships between Wenman Bassett-Lowke and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. However, the result is amazing; a small house in Northampton now visited by people from all over the world to see this building with stunning designs both in fabric and furnishings.

We could all see why Robert is so passionate about 78, Derngate and I think he has convinced us we need to visit.


26th September 2018

Afternoon Lecture

”Fakes, Forgers and Frauds”

On 26th Sept 2018 a return visit of Graham Sutherland delivering his talk ”Fakes, Forgers and Frauds” really confirmed that nothing is new. Graham related how throughout history and mirrored in recent times, we can all be taken in by people who are so convincing in presenting themselves as something they are not. We listened to the amazing story of Horatio William Bottomley a former M.P. who appeared many times in the law courts, representing himself and always with a ‘not guilty verdict’ until the day he was legally represented found guilty and served time. We were encouraged to believe that modern technology would help in safeguarding us from some of these crimes – what do you think?

Horatio William Bottomley


10th October 2018

Evening Lecture

Upton House – Saving the Art Collection in a Welsh Slate Mine

On 10th October, Michelle Leake and Brenda MacDonague presented an illustrated talk on “N.T. Upton House – Saving the Art Collection in a Welsh Slate Mine”. This was a fascinating talk accompanied by wartime photographs, copies of exchange of letters regarding the planning and preparations put in place to save these art treasures for the nation during WW2 when invasion was feared. At one time it was thought that art treasures would be sent to Canada but this was thought to be too risky which is why they were eventually stored in a Welsh Slate Mine. We learned that many staff also went to ensure that the paintings would not be damaged, building works were carried out in the mines, and security measures employed with techniques of art preservation employed that are still used today. Lord Bearsted was allowed to include some of his paintings in this project, later returning them to Upton House and making them a gift to the nation which we can all see today in the excellent art collection at N.T Upton House.


24th October 2018

Afternoon Lecture

Tree Planting in Walsall Arboretum

Our members were not disappointed on 24th October when they received a most engaging talk by Tree Wardens: Jackie Cocken and Jo Lester who impressed us all with their enthusiasm for our local park – Walsall Arboretum. As volunteers they have ‘twisted arms ‘ raised awareness, enlisted support and even experienced an emergency situation when a WW1 bomb was unearthed in a tree planting event – all ended safely. The talk ‘ Tree Wardens- Championing Tree Planting in OUR Arboretum’ was very well received – don’t miss them when they make a return visit. Please check with The Visitors Centre in the arboretum for lots of special events that take place.


Margaret Wood

Speaker secretary