Winter Programme 2016/2017

Winter Programme 2016 – 2017.

Fri 14th October.

“200 Years of the Old Grand Union Canal”.

Speaker: Mike G Beech –  Museum Keeper and Company Secretary.

This talk broadly covers the last 200 hundred years of the man-made inland waterways, but is based on the waterways around Foxton and Foxton in particular. It is intended to talk about the human side of the canals not just the structures. The talk starts not with canals but with other things going on at the time when our first canals were being built.

Fri 11th November.

“A History of Kirby Bellars”.

Speaker: Dr Alan Fox – Local Historian and Published Author.

Today the village of Kirby Bellars is still small despite an influx of new houses in the 1960s and since. However the large size of the church and the fascinating earthworks around the village hint at an intriguing history. In medieval times there was a priory here. Important people connected with the parish include John of Kirby who became Bishop of Ely, and Sir Roger Beler who was murdered in 1326. Sir Erasmus de la Fontaine, son of a Huguenot refugee, destroyed much of the village to create Kirby Park around his newly-built mansion in the 1630s. More recent lords of the manor were descendants of John Manners, third Duke of Rutland.

Fri 9th December.

“Melton Mowbray – Aspects of Local History”.

Speaker: Robert Brownlow – Experienced Speaker and Author.

This talk is a series of personal memories and reflections of Robert’s as someone perhaps rather more acquainted with Melton Mowbray and it’s history than other residents of the town. He draws heavily on his upbringing as the son of the well-known local historian Jack Brownlow and his book “Melton Mowbray – The Queen of the Shires”.

Fri 13th January 2017. 

“The Last Naval Hero” : Our Local Man  – blessed with the ‘Nelson  touch’, matinee-idol  image  … and something of a bounder !

Speaker: Roy Smart.

The extraordinary story of local man, David, 1st Earl Beatty, who rose with meteoric speed from humble Cadet to First Sea Lord, Statesman, and renowned public hero of the Great War. This is the tale of his rise to fame and fortune, his central and controversial part in the “The Battle of Jutland” which took place in the North Sea and is commonly regarded as the greatest battle and greatest surrender in maritime history. It brought David Beatty immense fame, celebrity and not a little notoriety and it propelled him onto the world stage as a Statesman, during which time he lived a ‘Downton Abbey’  life-style of immense riches, marital strife and scandal before his passing and internment in the shadow of Nelson in The Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.  2016 marks the Centenary of the Battle of Jutland.


Fri 10th February. 

“Conscientious Objectors and the First World War”.

Speaker: Helen Playdon.

Through the stories of individual conscientious objectors Helen hopes to explain how and why some men were led to take this very unpopular step. Some of those involved were famous, some still active in politics when Helen arrived in Britain in the mid-1960s, but many were unknown and unheralded.  All of them made the difficult decision to stand up for their beliefs.
Fri 10th March. 

“Newark During the English Civil War”.

Speakers: Glyn Hughes and Kevin Winter – Chairmen of the Battlefields Trust (East Midlands).

This talk will focus and talk about why Newark became a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War; the three sieges of the town; and King Charles’s surrender to the Scots.  If time allows, it will also include references to Melton Mowbray.
Fri 7th April.(avoiding Good Friday).

“Wonderful, Wily, Wicked, Wallis”.

Speaker: Julie Ede – Local Historian and Speaker.

A woman without the advantage of beauty, nevertheless she possessed determination, tunnel vision, was charming, articulate and became one of the most famous faces of the 20th century.

It is well known that even with his two mistresses Edward, Prince of Wales, (the future Edward VIII) was depressed, repressed, miserable and tortured. After he met Wallis, his friends commented that he was suddenly a fulfilled and confident man. King Edward VIII declared that Wallis Simpson was the most wonderful women in the world, not everyone agreed. What magic did Wallis weave?

This talk and somewhat risqué, presentation begins in 1918 and ends on their controversial wedding day.