Evening lecture – 13th September 2017

Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood

Our season started in September with Sue Fraser, Collections Assistant at N.T. Sudbury Hall (specifically working with The Museum of Childhood) since 2005.  Sue has also been a volunteer guide at N.T Sudbury since 1996 and weren’t we fortunate to have such an excellent and well informed speaker!  In her talk “Sudbury Hall and The Museum of Childhood” we heard about the Vernon family and how they, to secure their family fortunes, married into more wealth.  They seemed to have large families in pursuit of a male heir.  We were told how the property transferred across the family.  All this was brought to life by Sue’s talk and through the magnificent full length family portraits at the Hall. After the interval we learned how The Museum of Childhood was successful in securing a Lottery Grant – enabling a hardworking and dedicated team to save this unique collection for future generations to enjoy. We look forward to welcoming Sue again in the future.


Afternoon lecture – 27th September 2017

Land of the Long White Cloud

A welcome return to Aldridge Methodist Church and our Afternoon Programme for 2017 / 2018 with Liz Taylor presenting ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’.

Liz related her experiences as a member of a small group, touring New Zealand, seeing wildlife, wonderful views and meeting many challenges along the way, including being able to speak and pronounce the language.  As Liz said ‘ too many consonants’.  We all thought she did better than we could. Many of our members had either been to New Zealand or are planning to go in the near future. Liz either whetted appetites with the spectacular images of snowcapped mountains   and verdant green pastures or enabled those who have travelled to recall those wonderful landscapes.


Evening lecture – 11th October 2017

Teutonic Encounters

Sadly, our speaker David Fletcher was unable to deliver his lecture on 11th October. Through our website we were able to notify members of this and to advise members that we were most fortunate in that fellow member Dr. Chris Morris would deliver his lecture, ‘Teutonic Encounters’.  Chris related childhood experiences of living in Germany, whilst his father served in The Royal Air Force and how, many years, later he too was stationed in Germany in The RAF with his own young family.  They made the most of exploring the beautiful country and appreciating and revisiting many of those sites. Over the years Chris has become so interested in travel, his photographs of recent visits to Germany were stunning with amazing landscapes, beautiful buildings with wonderful architectural features with many forms of street art  all helping to make a very pleasant environment.  A most interesting evening and many tips on places to visit when next we travel to German.


Afternoon lecture – 25th October 2017

A.W.N Pugin – “The Staffordshire Connection”

On 25th October our members received a wonderful illustrated and well informed talk from our speaker Michael Fisher on A.W.N Pugin – “The Staffordshire Connection”.  Michael’s enthusiasm and passion for his subject was most infectious. 

We saw breathtaking architectural works, splendid church interiors with examples of church ‘plate’ all reflecting the revival of Gothic style architecture – an excellent talk. Look out for Michael’s next visit to Walsall National Trust Association but NEXT time at Blue Coat Academy- we need to see those images on a much larger screen.

St Giles Church Cheadle


Evening Lecture – 8th November 2017

Conserving the National Trust’s Libraries

Caroline Bendix’s lecture on ‘Conserving the National Trust’s Libraries’  on  8th November  was delivered with great enthusiasm. We learned just how Caroline, in this very specialised work as a Library Conservationist, uses her many skills and knowledge to safeguard these treasurers from many threats – human, animal, natural and man-made. We saw the many processes employed to ‘save and restore’ items, heard of the  time and team work needed, the setting up of the service in a property and  we had an insight into the pleasures Caroline  found in these items – a handwritten note that the buyer of the book had ‘got it a a knock down price at a market ‘-  We also learned that her work also involves liaising closely  with project managers  of properties  –  especially when it comes to making changes to  antique furniture in order to ensure that magnifient  libraries will be preserved  safely for future generations to enjoy. Caroline is shortly to undertake  conservation work at Baddesley Clinton. We were all invited to say hello there.

Afternoon lecture – 22nd November 2017

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Two

This afternoon we welcomed Peter and Margaret Preece to give their talk “Every Picture Tells a Story Part Two”.  Having heard Part One in February 2016 our audience looked forward in anticipation to seeing the next instalment.  Peter’s photography of bird life is second to none.  He explained how he set up his hides and sometimes waited for hours to get the right shot.  Many of the pictures were taken near his Warwickshire home with others as far afield as Scotland and Northern Spain.  We saw everything from the common garden birds to owls, other birds of prey, water fowl and storks.
Peter started photography as a hobby in retirement and has won many competitions.  He is ably assisted by Margaret who also acts as his merchandise manager, selling his prints, calendars and CDs.  Once again another excellent lecture.

barn owl


Evening Lecture – 10th January 2018

The Story of the Great War

Our first lecture of the New Year was again an excellent dramatic presentation, by Andrew Lound and, making her debut at Walsall National Trust Association, his wife, Penelope Ferguson, on ’The Great War ‘.  We always look forward to Andrew’s presentations, because as Chris Morris said in his vote of thanks – they are of a very high standard, well researched, supported by factual evidence of source materials and always delivered in a powerful and passionate manner…… and this time both Andrew and Penelope portrayed the sensitivity and emotional side of war and its impact on human relationships. Very moving presentation with members hanging on to every word and image, beautifully done – you could have heard a pin drop.


Afternoon lecture – 24th January 2018

Africa! Continent of Superlatives

Our first afternoon lecture of 2018 was on 24th January when our speaker David Keith Jones had us all engrossed in his excellent lecture on’ Africa! Continent of Superlatives’.  A very informative and amazing lecture with stunning images, delivered with great enthusiasm, left us all wanting for more!  This was a wonderful photographic journey through a vast continent. We will book David for a future date but next time for an evening lecture so that hopefully all of our members will be able enjoy another of David’s wonderful talks.   


Evening Lecture – 14th February 2018

Embroidered with Woodbine and Eglantine’

This evening saw a most welcome return of speaker Dr Gill White whose talk turned out to be a master class on Elizabethan textiles in furnishings that could be found in the wealthiest mansions of that period. Gill is an accomplished and natural story teller. She engaged us all with the political intrigue hidden in the embroidered messages. She showed us the social expectations of the day leading the ‘public’ to believe that all was well – the poor were happy in their station of life under the guidance of their betters – we also saw how keeping up with the fashion in the way of collecting ‘textiles via art or furnishings’ was to be admired and copied.  Gill explained the many different materials used to produce   such wonderful pieces of art including precious metals.  Never again will we walk past those dull and dreary wall hangings in N.T  or other properties without stopping to look for those clues and remembering  Gill’s  enthusiastic and well researched talk . – Don’t miss her next time!


Afternoon lecture 28th February 2018

China’s Ancient and Modern Wonders

On 28th February we again welcomed Ray Sturdy, one of our most popular speakers at Aldridge. This time Ray’s talk was on ‘China’s Ancient and Modern Wonders’. Ray made comparisons on a visit he had  made  to China some 30 years ago with a more recent visit. We saw not only how the western influences are bringing about changes in this country  but also how many of the architectural features have been ‘bulldozed’ to make way for many modern buildings which really have become status symbols celebratng the growth of China’s economy. There are many wonderful buildings  and geographical features to see and still scenes of an earlier lifestyle especially within  the river industries. It seems you can still purchase that ‘little red book’ !


Evening Lecture – 14th March 2018
Jewels of Northern Italy. Ravenna, Florence and the Gates of Paradise

David Keith Jones is a professional photographer and Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
After David’s excellent lecture on ‘Africa’ at Aldridge in January we were determined to book him again, but this time for an evening lecture. This happened sooner than we thought, as we had to change the March evening event and David was available at short notice. We were rewarded with, not one, but two brilliant talks. David took us on a visual journey through Northern Italy with high quality photographs which linked seamlessly with his narrative. He used his extensive knowledge of the country to inform us of the history and architecture of towns such as Brescia, Parma and Aosta. The detail in his slides of the cathedrals of Milan and Florence was outstanding.


Margaret Wood

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