Winter Programme 2013/2014

Between October and April inclusive, at 7:30 pm on the second Friday of each month, MM&DHS members meet up and listen to talks from visiting speakers on a wide range of historical topics. The current venue is the Sage Cross Methodist Church.

Click on the map to the right to enlarge the view.


Winter Programme 2013/2014

11 October 2013

“Brooksby’s History, Myths and Legends” by Malcolm Britton.

Malcolm was appointed to Brooksby College staff in 1971 as a lecturer in agriculture and for 14 years he was a warden residing on the college campus. After a number of managerial positions he is now almost fully retired but still conducts school field trips and other visits around the college estate. As churchwarden and treasurer of St Michael & All Angels Church he has been instrumental in raising funds for a significant restoration of the church in 2007/08 and is currently planning for the repair and cleaning of the Jutland memorial and other memorials in time for the centenary of the Battle of Jutland in 2016.

This talk looks at the story of Brooksby – from a deserted mediaeval village, to a 21st century college. It will include a virtual guided tour of the Brooksby estate and parish church and a talk about some of the many influential families who have resided in the Hall.


8 November 2013

“Why Melton Mowbray is the Historic ‘Capital’ of Foxhunting” by Michael Clayton.

Michael Clayton, is well known as a journalist and author and is chairman of the Museum of Hunting Trustees at Melton Carnegie Museum. For 25 years he was editor of ‘Horse and Hound’ and now speaks on the growth of foxhunting in 18th and 19th century Leicestershire and the influence it had on Melton Mowbray and the terrain of the surrounding countryside.  He is also the author of many books on foxhunting and last year published ‘A history of the Belvoir Hunt’.

In this talk Michael will speak about the growth of foxhunting in Leicestershire in the 18th and 19th century. It will also include how this influenced the development of Melton Mowbray and the terrain of the surrounding countryside.


13 December 2013

“Melton Mowbray – The History of the Town Estate” by John Southerington.

John Southerington is a Director of W. Southerington & Sons Ltd a local removal company that was established 121 years ago by his grandfather. John’s ancestors on his Mother’s side lived at Little Dalby during the 18th Century and were farmers and according to contemporary records of the time made Stilton Cheese which they sold to the gentry as they travelled through the area and also to Smithfield Market in London. John is well known for his voluntary work and during the past 20 years he has raised more than £830,000 for local charities and for the Town Estate.

This talk reveals the results of delving into the Town Estate records to uncover ‘snippets from the past’ that will help us to have a better insight of how the Town Estate has evolved over the centuries and by looking at some of its history.

NB – The talk will be followed by Christmas drinks and nibbles at a cost of £3 per person, monies to be paid at the November meeting.


10 January 2014

“Taking The Waters – A Look At Spa Resorts” by Bob Gibson.

Dr Bob Gibson MA, PhD, FTS is a freelance researcher and lecturer with experience tourism, transport and local history. Past work has included ‘A history of Hinckley’s public choral groups dating back to 1838’ and research on ‘Visitors to English Parish Churches’. Also, in connection with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown in 1607 and on behalf of the Virginia Tourism Corporation he tracked down investors in the 17th century London Virginia Company whilst earlier work on the UK origins of Maryland’s original settlers resulted in the award of Honorary Citizenship of Maryland in 1996. His continues to research a number of topics whilst finding the time to give talks to a variety of groups such as ours.

This talk examines the social history of health tourism through the development and growth of spa towns and resorts from Roman times to the present day ‘spa hotel’. It views this development against a background of changing medical knowledge and fashions with a concentration on the 17th to 19th centuries.  A further aspect of the topic is the social feel and status of the successful spa town including references to some of the Leicestershire locations that, at different times, have aspired, most unsuccessfully, to become a part of the spa or health industry.


24th January 2014

“A Moment in Time” – Wicklow Lodge Military Hospital 1914 – 1919 by Derek Simmonds.

Derek Simmonds is a born and bred Meltonian. He was educated in the town before leaving school to serve an Electrical Apprenticeship at Herbert Morris of Loughborough. After a short spell at Holwell Works he joined Pedigree Petfoods where he then worked for 25 years both here in Melton and in America. In 1997 he started his own Management Consultancy business  but many will remember him as a Scout Leader, Marathon Runner, Cyclist (often long distance), Trustee and Chairman of the Town Estate, Qualified Pilot and now Writer.

This talk is a story that begins with the “Call To Arms” in 1914, then through the Planning for the Sick and Wounded returning to Leicestershire and the Formation of “Wicklow Lodge” as a Military Hospital on 2nd January 1915. As the story unfolds we will look at “Caring for the Sick and Wounded”, at a nurse by the name “Cecelia Webb” and of course the “Patients”. Finally we hear about the hospitals closure on 19th April 1919. All of this will be accompanied by pictures from that period.

It should be noted that all of the profits from the sales of Derek’s book – “A Moment in Time – Wicklow Lodge Military Hospital 1914 – 1919” are going to the “Help for Heroes” charity and at the time of writing donations exceed £150.


 14 February 2014

 “The History Of The National Trust” by Alan Tyler.

Alan Tyler is a retired Chartered Surveyor and University Lecturer. In addition to being a speaker for the National Trust he is also Chairman of the Leicester Association of National Trust Members.
This talk takes us from the time when the Trust was formally constituted on January 12th 1895, when it was vested with the power to ‘promote the permanent preservation for the benefit of the Nation lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest’. This will also include references to its early acquisitions and its development up to the 21st century with a brief look at its wide range of activities.


14 March 2014

“The History of Tuberculosis (TB)” by Kevin Feltham.

Dr Kevin Feltham obtained his doctorate in Microbiology from the University of Leicester in 1975 and has worked in academic and health service laboratories as well as in industry as well as publishing widely. He now works part-time for an East Midlands general hospital and as an elected councilor of Leicestershire County Council since 2001.

Tuberculosis has plagued man since prehistoric times. It infects about 9 million people, and cases have increased by 25 per cent over the last 10 years in England alone, and it kills almost 2 million each year, according to the World Health Organization. Many historical figures have succumbed to this ancient disease and despite radical treatments; it continues to hit the headlines today.


11 April 2014

“The Medieval Soldier 1066-1485 – A Knight and His Followers” by Gareth King.

Gareth King  is currently a primary school teacher who has been giving talks for the past ten years. These have covered a range of topics including “Death in Anglo Saxon England”, “Battles in the Midlands” and “Life in Medieval England”.

The “Knight” is what most people think of when they think of the Middle Ages but who was he, how did he earn a living, what did he do when there was no one to fight, what did he do as a pastime and when the time for battle arrived what did he wear and how did he fight? In the talk we will consider the person behind the legend.

NB – Tonight is also the date of the AGM which will follow the usual introductions; it will be followed by the talk above.


If you would like to visit us as a guest speaker, please contact:

Vaughan Gregory – MM&DHS Secretary.


Telephone: 01664 569922