Winter Programme 2017/2018

Fri 13th October 2017

“Jesse Boot – An Ethical Entrepeneur” by: Judith Wright – Senior Archivist (Boots UK).

This talk looks at the life of Jesse Boot, highlighting the ethical principles that guided him through not just his personal life but which also shaped the foundations that Boots, as a business, was built upon. Illustrated with images from the archive at Boots, the talk will discuss some of the more hidden elements of his life and personality and reveal the struggles that he fought, and overcame, throughout his years.

Friday 10th November 2017

“The Transformation of St. Pancras”  by: Nigel Lowey.

St. Pancras was a 14-year-old Christian boy who was martyred in Rome in AD304 by the Emperor Diocletian.  In Britain he is better known as a railway station. This talk is for anyone with an interest in history but is not about the railways. Instead it’s about an interesting bit of history, amazing and elegant engineering, world-class architecture and a great story. It describes how the fantastic mid-Victorian Gothic railway cathedral of St Pancras came to be built and how the long-neglected building has undergone a breathtaking transformation.

Friday 8th December 2017

“Food of the Gods – When Chocolate was worth more that Gold” by: Sandy Leong.

The Aztecs believed that cocoa seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom. The Spanish took the bean back to Spain in 1528 and kept its’ source a secret; at first it was worth as much as silver; in 1520 chocolate arrived in England and first Chocolate House opened in 1657; Louis X1111 was so infatuated by chocolate he established a position at Court of The Royal Chocolate Maker to the King; the Quakers were instrument in making it popular, the Swiss refined it; and now we can’t seem to do without it! The God of wisdom gave us chocolate – I’m not sure if it was a wise move!

Friday 12th January 2018

“The Kennedys – Triumph and Disaster” by: John Whitfield.

This talk is basically a very potted biography of the whole Kennedy family, focussing on the more interesting members and not much on those whose lives were less eventful. It tries to set the story in the context of 20th century American history.

Friday 9th February 2018

“The Venice Simplon Orient Express” by: Bill Devitt.

As the speaker was in charge of the location, renovation and recreation of the well-known Venice Simplon Orient-Express in the 1980s, the talk is about this luxury train, including how it gained its international reputation, together with some of the remarkable people who were its passengers.

Friday 9th March 2018

“Robert Blincoe – Nottingham’s Oliver Twist”  by: Peter Hammond – Local Historian.

Robert Blincoe served his apprenticeship within two Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire textile mills during the early nineteenth century. Dubbed the ‘real Oliver Twist’ on whom Charles Dickens may have based his well-known fictional character, Robert and his contempories had to endure terrible working conditions throughout their childhood years. This talk outlines aspects of his life-story, some as told in his own words, supplemented with photographs of the places where he worked, along with additional research. Not for the faint-hearted – but it is real history!

Friday 13th April 2018

“Stoneywell and the Arts and Craft Movement” by: Rowen Roenisch (NT).

The talk is about the relationship of Stoneywell to the Arts and Crafts Movement and focuses on the architect and designer Ernest Gimson.  Starting with a brief look at Gimson’s childhood, education and training the lecture outlines the evolution of his thinking and career and the profound influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement. This includes the links with William Morris, John Ruskin, Philip Webb and the working relationship with the Barnsley Brothers. Finally, the lecture focuses on the cottages at Ulverscroft and specifically Stoneywell.