12th September 2018
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
”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
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
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.
14th November 2018
“A Trip to Italy” and “A journey down the Rhone”
On Wednesday 14th November, our members were indeed most fortunate in that our speaker David Keith Jones was able to cover an emergency situation and deliver two excellent talks. The first talk “A Trip to Italy” gave us stunning vistas of countryside and cities, each enhanced by David’s skills, architectural knowledge and narration – we hung on to every word. Followed by the second talk “A journey down the Rhone” with spectacular photography by David, who as a professional photographer has won may international awards… we could tell. A talk with breathtaking photography delivered by an excellent speaker. We look forward to his next visit. Find out more about David’s range of talks on his website: www.davidkeithjones.co.uk
28th November 2018
“Portugal – Lisbon to Porto”
On 28th November 2018, one of our members John Llewellyn, delivered a most interesting talk “Portugal – Lisbon to Porto”. John, a much travelled enthusiast, told us about the Pousadas of Portugal, they being architectural and historical buildings which offer excellent and unusual accommodation for travellers. We saw spectacular scenery and some beautiful church buildings and learned how, during religious festivals, many pilgrims would journey there. John told us that when he was in Portugal he wanted specifically to locate and photograph the ‘painted tiles’ of Portugal, to locate and ride on a yellow tram and to enjoy the famous custard tarts – and he did. We saw the evidence in John’s images and were impressed by the artistic tiles displayed on so many public and private buildings, we saw the queues of tourists all wanting a ride on the famous yellow trams and we now look forward to getting some of those custard tarts from our local supermarket. Thank you John.
12th December 2018
‘The Recreation of The Gardens at Hanbury Hall’
On 12th December our members received a most interesting talk from Neil Cook, Garden and Outdoor Manager at N.T. Hanbury Hall. Neil’s talk ‘The Recreation of The Gardens at Hanbury Hall’ was a celebration of the work undertaken there and how source materials such as maps, paintings and inventories, hard work and funding over a period of many years have helped to restore the George London gardens and continue to do so. Neil told us about how changes in garden design were seen as status symbols and often copied to impress – the illustrations certainly impressed us as did the images of the amazing gardens in Holland.
9th January 2019
’Wilful Murder? – The Sinking of the Lusitania ‘
Into the New Year with a return visit by Andrew Lound who on 9th January delivered ’Wilful Murder? – The Sinking of the Lusitania ‘. Andrew always delivers an excellent talk for our members, which is reflected through his research, his enthusiasm and his passionate presentation – he is a great storyteller.
The talk, though tinged with great sadness, gave us an insight into how the horrors of war always affect the innocents and again we question those who made and continue to make such decisions that impact on so many lives – a moving and emotional account.
13th February 2019
The Taj Mahal
On 13th February members received a most interesting and well informed talk from Peter Fitzpatrick on “The Splendours of the Taj Mahal”. Peter outlined the history, architectural, intricate and highly skilled work that can be seen in this world famous iconic mausoleum and did so by linking it into the India of today. We listened as the story unfolded from military conquests, great wealth, family feuds, ambitious leaders, and of course …… harems. A word of advice from Peter; if members are planning to see this for themselves then an early morning visit is the best time – did he say 3a.m?
You Can’t Abdicate and Eat It’
Our afternoon talk on 27th February 2019 attracted a good number of our members to hear Mary Bodfish deliver her talk ‘You Can’t Abdicate and Eat It’. This was an account of the ‘relationship’ that developed between Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Edward, portrayed almost as a hero and dashing figure, was very popular and well liked in his ‘public life’. But in his private life, he greatly indulged in doing what he wanted to do – his image and reputation protected by the press at this time, who were not allowed to publish the ‘real’ story. The press in other countries featured photographs and articles about Edward and Wallis. The royal family, the church and the government were all concerned that a constitutional crisis was looming and must be addressed but Edward, as history relates, abdicated to be with the woman he loved. Mary told us about the financial details and arrangements made to secure and support their future life together. A most enjoyable talk.
13th March 2019
‘Mary Queen of Scots – The Captive Queen’
On 13th March 2019 David Templeton delivered his talk ‘Mary Queen of Scots – The Captive Queen’ for our members. I don’t know if anyone else thought, as I did, that the intrigue, passion, plots and escapes were being mirrored in The Houses of Parliament this very day. David had done a great deal of research and was able to give us insights into this story of how Mary was deliberately and, over time, denied so many aspects of her royal status during her enforced period of ‘captivity’ – all in very devious ways in the name of religious and political powers. A most thought-provoking talk.