Winter Programme 2014/2015

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.


10 October 2014          “The History Of The Harvest Festival”

Speaker :  Andrew Sankey.

Andrew Sankey works as a garden designer/landscaper, nurseryman and lecturer. His passion is working with plants and he began his garden design business in 1990. Since then he has designed everything from tiny front gardens in England to vast turf mazes in Minnesota, USA. His specialism is cottage gardens and borders creating harmonious drifts of colour that give that wonderful sense of the English garden throughout the summer. His lecturing started in the late 1980’s, beginning by running gardening courses at the various Field Study Centres such as Flatford Mill in Suffolk. Since then he has gone on to give talks and run courses throughout the UK and undertakes a yearly lecture tour in the USA.

This talk traces the celebrations of this important rural festival from Saxon times to the present day. Corn dollies, the “harvest home”, stoking and gleaning and the part played by the eccentric Rev. Hawker.


14 November 2014       “Nottingham Goose Fair”

Speaker:  Frank Earp.

Frank Earp has over forty years of experience working with history, folklore and earth mysteries. He was born in what he claims to be an old haunted farm house in Wollaton, Nottingham and this inspired him to take up his life-long passion for Nottinghamshire’s folklore and history. He has written and published a series of books as well as articles for the Nottingham Post. He also conducts and leads guided walks and talks around Nottinghamshire on a number of topics. He is also the owner and director of the “Three Stones Project” with the aim of scaning the ‘Hemlock Stone’, ‘Bob’s Rock’ and the ‘Druid Stone’ all of which are in Nottinghamshire.  At the beginning of 2014 Frank will be writing a book for History Press on ‘The A-Z guide to Nottinghamshire folklore’.

The City of Nottingham is World famous for its Castle and its associations with ‘Robin Hood’. However, the City is host to an annual event, ‘The Goose Fair’, which draws in more visitors in a four day period than do Nottingham Castle and all of the other attractions in a year. How many of those thousands of visitors know the origin of this ancient event, which has over 800 years of recorded history? This talk tells that story.


12 December 2014       The “Pleasure Palace” of Bolsover

Speaker: Ian Morgan.

From an early age Ian became captivated by the intrigues and history of England’s colourful past, and as well as having specialist knowledge of crime and punishment from times past he is a published author on historical and crime subjects and has made many appearances on radio in that context. These include articles for BBC Sheffield, BBC Lincolnshire, BBC Nottingham and BBC Derby and many more. As well as giving guided walks around historical locations he also spends much of his time travelling the country giving illustrated talks and lectures to groups. Ian also gives his time to English Heritage to act as a guide at a number of their properties, primarily Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire. His writing goes from strength to strength and he has now quite a following.

Inside the ‘Little Castle’ at Bolsover lies a mystery. Bolsover castle has long since been known as a playground for the rich and powerful, but just what is the hidden meaning in the artwork? Can you figure out the secret message that lies within these 17th century masterpieces as we take a tour of this ‘Pleasure Palace’? When William Cavendish, the grandson of the legendary Bess of Hardwick, left us this puzzle he was showing us that he had a real sense of fun and a sharp mind….or was he?


09 January 2015          “Virtuous Inclinations, Hearty Love and True Liking – Love and Marriage in Seventeenth-Century England”.

Speaker:  Ann Blackett.

Ann currently works at the National Trust’s Woolsthorpe Manor, the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton, but her past life has included the Scout Association, Marks and Spencer, and ten interesting years at the Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury where she taught worship and sacraments to young friars on the Theology course.

In 2013 Ann was involved in putting on ‘A Wedding at Woolsthorpe’ – a celebration of the 1666 wedding of Isaac Newton’s half-sister, which included researching wedding customs from the seventeenth century for the display and for special talks for visitors to the Manor. It is this work that forms the backdrop for her talk which takes the audience on a tour through love and marriage in seventeenth century England. It includes stories of real people, with interjections from contemporary diaries and the wedding service.


13 February 2015         “Local Curiosities”

Speaker:  Arthur Payne.

Arthur has been a member of Melton Mowbray Photographic Society for almost thirty years, during which time he has gained several distinctions. He was employed by Pedigree Petfoods for 29 years, then after taking early retirement worked for Jessops Photographic for 12 years before moving to Currys for 3 years.

This talk, provided on behalf of the Melton Mowbray Photographic Society, covers eighteen places within an approximate twenty mile radius of Melton. We will see photographs and hear stories of unusual headstones, public houses, the haunted butcher’s shop; the gravestone with a wall going through it and the story of Mrs Van de Elst.

The speaker thinks it unlikely that members will have heard all the tales before.


13 March 2015             “The Bug We All Love”

Speaker:  Fiona Ure.

Fiona is currently the Collections Access Officer for Home and Family Life at Leicestershire County Council. She has worked for Leicestershire Museum Service for 12 years as a Curator and Social Historian following earlier careers, one of which included being a nurse and led to her interest in old fashioned remedies.

This talk is the story of Ladybird Books and will take members back to their own childhoods when Ladybird books were a common site in many households.


10 April 2015                The History Of The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)

Details: To Be Confirmed.