Farnham & District Museum Society

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Talks Programme 2017-2018

All talks start at 7:45 pm (except Jan 25th and  April 2018)


Entry to the talks is free for members (a donation towards the costs would be appreciated).


Non members are most welcome to attend any talk, there is a charge of £3 for each visitor.








Date:              28th September 2017
Subject:        More House School
Presenter:    Roy Waight


The school has an intriguing history, starting life as the Mount Olivet Monastery, then becoming the Thomas More School for Boys. The pupils were boys who had difficulty passing exams and the story tells of Father Joseph’s creation of the ‘Frensham Circus’ using the boys latent talents.

Roy Waight has recently written and published a history of Rowledge..




Date:              12th October 2017
Subject:        Prehistoric Ireland
Presenter:    Michael Pengelly


Ireland is rich in prehistoric sites, most of which are easily accessible. Its wealth includes more known megalithic art, timbered trackways and gold Bronze and Iron Age hoards than anywhere else in Europe, as well as the earliest known field system. In addition to this abundance of material culture, it also offers an insight into the Celtic world through elements of pre-Christian myth preserved in medieval Irish literature.  To introduce this abundance,


Mike Pengelly, our speaker, will conduct a virtual tour of Irish Prehistory. With an MRes in Archaeology he lectures for the U3A and WEA.




Date:              26th October 2017
Subject:        A Naturalist in Guyana
Presenter:    Martin Angel


Guyana is a country that is predominantly covered with tropical rain forest. The population is an ethnic mix of descendants of freed African slaves and Indians who were brought in after the abolition of slavery to work the sugar plantations. Its geology includes some of the most ancient rocks on the planet. The forests are an extension of the Amazonian forests so the diversity of life is extraordinary. Its great rivers, the Essiquebo, the Demerara and the Cuyuni, provide the main highways for human, animal and plant movements. We will meet some of the extraordinary animal and plant in habitants, look down the great Kaiteur Falls and most importantly learn how to sex a caiman.


Martin Angel is well known for his work with Bourne Conservation Group and was previously an oceanographer.




Date:              9th November 2017
Subject:        Francis Drake Hero or Pirate?
Presenter:    Ian Friel


Ian has over thirty years’ experience in maritime history his most recent research being into the Swash Channel Wreck a 17th century armed merchantman, possibly of Dutch origin, lost off Poole, Dorset. Of Vice Admiral Sir Francis Drake, English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver and politician of the Elizabethan era he asks the question ‘Hero or Pirate?’




Date:              23rd November 2017
Subject:        History of Humanism
Presenter:    Dr John Nichols


If you wondered whether Dr Nichols could cover the History of Medicine in an hour and were astonished when he did you will not be surprised that he is attempting the History of Humanism in the same space of time. Evidence of human-centred philosophy has been found as far back as 1500 BCE in the Lokayater system of Indian philosophy. To convey to us how Humanism moved through the great cultures of the world and into the modern age will be his challenge!




Date:              7th December 2017
Subject:        The Crossword Puzzle
Presenter:    Susan Purcell


The crossword was born in New York on 21 December, 1913. The newspaper the New York World’s Fun Supplement editor wanted to give his readers something new to liven up the cold and gloomy winter days. He experimented by criss-crossing a few words with each other and called his new invention a word-cross. It was a typesetting error one week that led to the transposition of the two halves of the word and to the new catchy name, cross-word.


Susan Purcell is a crossword compiler and editor, and is co-editor of the Puzzler Crossword Solvers’ Dictionary, published by Penguin. 









Date:              11th January 2018
Subject:        The Age of Brass and Glass

Presenter:    Laurence Anslow

Many of you will already know the high standard of Laurence’s Lectures, as he speaks at U3A Project Launches, where his talks have included ‘The History of the Universe’ & 'Time in Space'.  As leader of the U3A Astronomy Class his knowledge is wide and varied.  He has recently been instrumental in developing The Woking Planetarium. His talk on Victorian telescope makers and Astronomers includes two local observers – Richard Carrington and Walter Goodacre.




Date:              25th January 2018
Subject:        Rock Steady – The Gibraltar Story

Presenter:    Paul Whittle

Paul’s talk was cancelled in January 2017 due to bad weather but we have been lucky enough to rebook him to hear the fascinating history of this British military bastion, just 6.7 km in area – its heritage, fortifications and tourist attractions.

Paul previously spoke to the Society about the Hill Stations of the Raj.


This meeting will start a little earlier at 7.30.




Date:              8th February 2018
Subject:        The Dramatic Art of the London Underground

Presenter:     Mike Grundy

The dramatic events, famous figures and major artworks from 10 centuries of London life are comprehensively displayed in the permanent art that adorns over 90 of London’s Underground stations.
Created by a wide range of leading artists since the 1960’s, the majority of the Underground art refers to key passages in the history of the local area served by each station. These include the 1294 building of the memorial Cross at Charing for the Queen of King Edward I, the doomed Doric Arch of 1840-1960 at Euston and the bright colours of the Arms of England’s bawdy and “Merry“ Monarch, Charles II, 1660-1685. Other stations have taken images from nearby major institutions. These include the Renaissance art of the National Gallery (e.g. Botticelli’s “Venus and Mars” above), Tudor portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, rare and extinct species from the Natural History Museum and ancient artefacts from the British Museum




Date:              22nd February 2018
Subject:        The Story of the Lily Bell 11

Presenter:    David Rose

 military aircraft crashed at Hurst Farm, Jacobs Well on the 25th October 1944. At the time it received only a few lines in the Sunday Times and David Rose and Graham Collyer when they were writing their book ‘Guildford the War Years 1939-40 could find no more information. A few years after Frank Phillipson contacted David and the full story of Lily Bell 11 was revealed.





Date:              8th March 2018
Subject:        Menageries

Presenter:    Cherrill Sands –

Cherrill Sands, garden historian and Chairman of the Surrey Garden Trust will show how royal courts and aristocrats used menageries to illustrate their power and wealth.



Date:              22nd March 2018
Subject:        Secret Lives of Ladybirds

Presenter:    Andrew Halstead

Andrew was, before his retirement, the RHS’s Principal Entomologist. Called Ladybugs in America and Ladybirds in the UK the species is considered a useful insect preying on agricultural pests but what else should we know about ladybirds?


Date:              12th April 2018
Subject:        The Art of Heath Robinson

Presenter:    Mike Miller

William Heath Robinson, English cartoonist and illustrator is best known for his drawings of ridiculously complicated machines for achieving simple objectives.  The term ‘Heath Robinson’ entered popular language during the 1st World War to describe any unnecessarily complex or implausible contrivance.  Living in Cranleigh during the inter-war years Michael Miller will tell us about William Heath Robinson’s life and work and his connections with three other Cranleigh artists – Lawson Wood, Frank Swinnerton and Joseph Longhurst.

This meeting will start a little earlier at 7.30.


The talk will be followed by the AGM.



































Poulnabrone Portal Tomb