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2017 Programme & News

Reports from our meetings
Download printable PDF files here

September 2016
Ann Featherstone
The Victorian Fair:
freaks and

February 2017
Pete Smith:

Rufford Abbey

Coming next…!

27th Mar
History of Listed Buildings & Conservation Research
Annette Willoughby

23rd Jan  
AGM & Social evening

27th Feb
Rufford Abbey by Pete Smith

This talk will explore the history of Rufford Abbey during the Victorian and Edwardian periods; from 1800 to 1938 when the house and its contents were sold by the Savile family. It will correct a number of assumptions which have been mistakenly repeated about the architects and dates of the various alterations carried out at the Abbey during this period and will be illustrated with a large number of historic photographs which show the house as it was before its partial destruction in the 1950s. 

27th Mar

History of Listed Buildings and Conservation

Research by Annette Willoughby

This talk is based on Annette's research and takes us from the start of the conservation movement, through the shift of focus from individual monuments such as Stonehenge, to the whole area approach that we see with conservation areas. We look at how this change affects living buildings and why protecting heritage matters, using Southwell as a case study.

24th Apr  

Nottingham's Arboretum and other Historic

Green Spaces  by Judith Mills

The creation of Nottingham's Arboretum, together with other historic green spaces, was a result of the town's 1845 Enclosure Act.  This talk will explain the background to the Act, explore the inspiration for the Arboretum, and discuss how the Arboretum has been used, managed and developed over the years.

17th May

Guided tour of Kelham Hall

Kelham Hall is a magnificent Victorian house, built in 1863, set within 88 acres of parkland. It has a rich history as the ancestral home of the Manners-Sutton family, along with its use as a theological college for an Anglican Order of Monks. The distinct design features of renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott make it a fascinating place to visit. The guide will take us on a tour around the ground floors of the Hall, and let us into some of Kelhams secrets.

3rd June

Guided tour of Nottingham Arboretum  

This walk looks at the history of the park, outlining why it is a Grade II star listed site. In addition to the places of interest there will be an overview of the variety of trees, including the oldest specimens.

9th July

Robin Hood tour of Nottingham with Ezekial Bone

Join Ezekial Bone to explore Nottingham, learn about its history and discover the truth of Robin Hood. The tour takes in the town centre in a circuitous route and we'll be stopping for refreshments half way round at the Malt Cross where we will also see the caves. The tour finishes at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem with ales and good times! Robin Hood Lives!

25th Sep

Adventures on Wheels - Cycling through local history by Stephen Cooper

Join Stephen on a virtual bike ride, exploring some of Nottinghamshire's  historic places. Some are famous, like Newark Castle, but be prepared for some surprises too.

23rd Oct

The Pentrich Rising by Michael Parkin

The Rising at Pentrich in Derbyshire took place in the difficult period following the Napoleonic War. Many historians held the view that England was never closer to a full-blown revolution than during the period 1815 to 1820. With leaders still looking over their shoulders at the French Revolution, the country under an enormous burden of post-war debt and the economy on its knees, the government resorted to dubious tactics in order to survive. Quite a story from a small Derbyshire village!

27th Nov

'Fools & Horses', the Victorian circus

-  Ann Featherstone

The history of the Victorian is one of high success and dreadful failure, of fires, falls and fabulous feats. Of horses, equilibrists, aerial acts and clowns, and the men and women who rode, tumbled, swung and gagged. Of ‘Lord’ George Sanger whose circus was pitched at Windsor Castle to perform for Queen Victoria. And Charlie Keith who invented the first iron circus. This talk provides a fascinating insight into this little known aspect of Victorian entertainment

All talks take place at Lowdham WI Hall and start at 7.30 and are followed by tea or coffee afterwards. New members and guests always welcome.