Farnham & District Museum Society

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Talks Programme 2018-2019

All talks start at 7:45 pm (except April 2019)


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:              September 27th 2018
Subject:        From Romans to Normans the Birth of the English Parish Church
Presenter:    Dr Frances Hurd


As an experienced public speaker Dr Frances Hurd has a PhD in History and was an Ofsted Inspector for 19 years.  During that time she continued her historical research.  As a former Regional Officer for the Churches Conservation Trust, responsible for the Trust's properties in Hampshire, East Wiltshire and Sussex she has in depth knowledge of the emergence of local centres for Christian worship, from Roman Britain through to the Norman Conquest and how the development of the parish church went in parallel with an increasingly large role for ecclesiastical control of everyday life, particularly the key events of birth, marriage and death.




Date:              October 11th 2018
Subject:        Peregrine Falcons
Presenter:    Keith Betton


Keith Betton Vice President of the British Trust for Ornithology and Chair of the African Bird Club, after his wonderful talk on the Red Kite, returns to talk to us about Peregrine Falcons.




Date:              October 25th 2018
Subject:        John the Painter
Alan Turton


In these days of heightened terrorist alerts, it is easy to forget that this is not just a contemporary phenomenon.  One of the first terrorists was home-grown, and his name was James Aitken, alias James Boswell, alias James Hill, alias James Hind, alias…
In his Justification of his Conduct, Aitken wrote, ‘Do beating drums, and flying colours, purge a band of robbers and murderers of all guilt?  Does it signify as to the nature of the crime, whether he who commits it wears a red coat or a brown?  whether he holds a painter’s brush in his hand, or a general’s truncheon?...if in the field, let him carry arms; if not, let him light a torch’. The country was terrified by his exploits and the king was debriefed at the height of the scare and indeed offered a personal reward for Aitkin’s capture.  The Bow Street Runners were sent in pursuit and Habeas Corpus suspended but eventually the villain was apprehended in Odiham.  Alan Turton, well known to society members, returns to speak to us.




Date:              November 8th 2018
Subject:        From 2000 BC to 2000 AD the Plague
Dr Tim Mason


Dr Tim Mason is a Microbiologist recently retired from full time teaching at Portsmouth University.  He says he is ‘genuinely fond of the creatures in his discipline and he finds it hard not to be on their side.  It’s fascinating to see an epidemic get underway!  One has a ringside seat to watch the combat, sometimes mortal combat, between man and microbe’.  Recent archaeological discoveries have shown evidence of plague as far back as 2000BC and Tim will trace the history of this disease to modern times.




Date:              November 22nd 2018
Subject:        Crime in the 2nd World War; Spivs, Scoundrels, Rogues and Worse
Presenter:    Penny Legg


At a time of national emergency, the average person could be forgiven for thinking that crime rates would go down as everyone tried to help the war effort. However, the reality was that criminals saw the war as an opportunity to exploit the emergency conditions and those with a previously unblemished reputation found themselves tempted off the straight and narrow.  Penny Legg shows how and why crime was committed during the Second World War and what became of those Spivs, Scoundrels, Rogues and Worse who strayed into the underworld.  Penny Legg is an author of local, military and history books, magazine and newspaper articles and returned to university in 2017 to study for a Masters in Publishing at Kingston University.




Date:              December 6th 2018 
Subject:        Hans Holbein, Painter, and the Reformation
Rt Revd Dr Christopher Herbert


This talk by Rt Revd Dr Christopher Herbert ,Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics, University of Surrey (and well known Farnham resident) will explore in some detail Hans Holbein’s remarkable portrait paintings, his enigmatic life and the ways in which his paintings have shaped our understanding of the Tudor Court.








Date:              January 10th 2019
Subject:        T
he Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Presenter:    Anthony Morton

Old college Sandhurst was opened in 1812 and Anthony Morton curator of the prestigious Sandhurst Collection will give us the history of the Military Academy. The Sandhurst Collection was formed in 1970 to preserve and collect items of historical merit directly relating to the history of the academy and its predecessors.




Date:              January 24th 2019
Peasant Art in Haslemere

Presenter:    Lindsay Moreton

For many years Joseph King and Godfrey Blount, the main forces behind the Peasant Arts Movement in Haslemere, collected examples of art and craft created by European peasants. This provided inspiration to their workers in the various handicraft industries established at Haslemere, as items were originally displayed on shelves in the workshops.  The Peasant Arts Society, flourished from 1894 until the early 1930s. Haslemere Museum holds much of The Peasant Arts Society collection and Lindsay Moreton, Curator at the Museum will talk to us about the history and collection.




Date:              February 7th 2019
Prehistoric Astronomy

Presenter:     Mike Pengelly

Whilst Stonehenge is the best known Prehistoric observatory, our ancestors started their fascination with the stars tens of thousands of years earlier.  To introduce this fascinating subject, Mike Pengelly, our speaker, will reveal how the ancients regarded the sky at night. With a Master’s in Archaeology, he lectures on archaeology for the U3A and WEA.




Date:              February 21st 2019
Subject:        River Kwai Railway - The True Story

Presenter:    Paul Whittle

Paul Whittle, who talked to the society recently on Gibraltar has agreed to visit again with his talk on the infamous Burma-Thailand WW2 ‘Death Railway’, the iconic 1957 film – and the many differences between fact and film making.




Date:              March 7th 2019 
Life and Labour in a Country Village – or Learn to Love your Ag Labs

Presenter:    Jane Lewis

A talk based on a study of a rural village on the Surrey/Hampshire border which reveals the often hidden lives of agricultural workers in the latter half of the 19th century.  The talk focuses on the changes to agricultural life in general during this period, and also how these changes affected individuals and small communities.  It also explores some of the many sources that can be used to discover more about agricultural labourers up to the outbreak of the First World War.  Our speaker from the Surrey History Centre is Jane Lewis.


Date:              March 21st 2019
Subject:        Aspects of the Romano-British Tile Industry

Presenter:    David Bird

David Bird discovered archaeology at university and supervised on excavations on a wide variety of Roman sites in England, Wales and Libya.  He was Surrey County Archaeologist until 2006 but has always maintained an interest in the Roman period and has published articles on gold-mining, the Claudian invasion and the Roman period in Surrey and the SE, especially religious sites and the countryside around London. In ‘retirement’ he chairs Surrey Archaeological Society’s Research Committee and its very active Roman Studies Group. Current research interests arise from the results of Group excavations at Abinger and Ashtead, in particular limekilns, tileworks and the functioning of villas within the countryside. His talk ‘Aspects of the Romano British Tile Industry is based on research that arose as a result of trying to understand what was going on at Ashstead.


Date:              April 4th 2019
Subject:        Hampshire Heiresses

Presenter:    Michael Hicks

Medieval Hampshire was dominated by Church landowners. Aristocrats’ lands lay mainly on the periphery and were outliers of major estates focused elsewhere. There were two substantial properties, Christchurch in the south-west and Basing in the north. A big turnover in landholders between 1300 and 1550 is deceptive, since the name changes result not from sale of lands but from inheritance through the female line. In almost every case an heiress or heiresses carried their inheritance to a new family. Hampshire heiresses had a key role in changing the composition of the Hampshire elite. Michael Hicks, our speaker, is Professor Emeritus, Department of History at the University of Winchester.

This meeting will start a little earlier at 7.30.


The talk will be followed by the AGM.