Farnham & District Museum Society

Home     About Us     Contact Us     Membership     Talks Programme     Seminars     Journal     Publications      

Talks Programme 2019-2020

All talks start at 7:45 pm (except April 2020)


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 26th 2019
Subject:        Billy Biscuit’ the Colourful Life and Times of Sir William Curtis
Presenter:    Nicholas Brazil



Nicholas Brazil author, film maker and photographer will tell the remarkable story of Sir William Curtis MP, who rose from humble beginnings as a baker in Wapping to become a self-made millionaire, banker and shipping magnet who was the centre of Georgian society for over fifty years.  A friend and confidant of Kings, Czars and Prime Ministers, he was the last great merchant Prince of Regency England.




Date:              October 10th 2019
Subject:        The Lost Countryside
Presenter:    Chris Shepheard


From his book of the same title, written when he was at the Rural Life Centre, Chris will present a selection of photographs showing how country life has changed since the dawn of photography and reflect how the farming system and rural society have gone through a period of change more rapid than ever before.




Date:              October 24th 2019
Subject:        Birds of the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica
Presenter:    Keith Betton


Keith Betton has visited the society twice to talk about the resurgence of Kites and Peregrine Falcons.  Keith travels extensively as part of his work as a contributing Editor to Nature Travel Network and this talk is the result of a trip he took recently to the South Atlantic.




Date:              November 7th 2019
Subject:        The Dependants  Cokeler Communities of the Surrey/Sussex Border Villages
Presenter:    Roger Nash


The Society of Dependants was a Christian sect founded by John Sirgood in the 19th Century and their stronghold was West Sussex and Surrey although their influence did not extend as far as Farnham.  Roger Nash, who is a local historian and President of the Rudgwick Preservation Society will tell us the history and about the people of these Cokeler Communities. .




Date:              November 21st 2019
Subject:        Chalk cut figures
Presenter:    Andy Skinner


Chalk figures are a uniquely English phenomenon and their intriguing and enigmatic appearances beg all sorts of questions about their creation, meaning and the ancient links between people and our landscape.  This talk is a whistle-stop tour of this incredible subject, focusing on the three 'ancient' figures: the White Horse Uffington, the  Cerne Abbas Giant and the Long Man of Wilmington. 


Andy Skinner works at SeaCity Museum and Tudor House & Garden, Southampton, as part of the education team. His research interests include ancient history, the Great War and the RMS Titanic.




Date:              December 5th 2019 
Subject:        The Golden Age of Postcards
Michael Miller 


The period between 1902 and 1914 when the Great War broke out is known as the Golden Age of the Postcard and with six deliveries a day in large towns it is hardly surprising that the Postmaster General’s report revealed that between 1902 and 1910 six billion postcards were sent.  Michael Miller who spoke to us so brilliantly on Heath Robinson returns, I am sure with many beautiful examples of the postcards produced at that time.









Date:              January 9th 2020
 The Diary of Dick Perceval

Presenter:     Becky Edmonds

Becky Edmonds, who finding Dick Percival’s diaries by a Brighton roadside twenty years ago, has been creating a ‘web series’ using the diaries.


Dick Percival lived at The Grange in Farnham in 1919 with his father Sir Edward Maxwell Perceval and mother Norah Mayne.


The diaries start in 1925 and record life at Charterhouse, 1920’s Berlin, his round the world trip in 1937, the events which brought him to Bletchley Park and much much more.




Date:              January 23rd 2020
Subject:        Talking to each other in the Iron Age

Presenter:    Paul Goodenough

Paul Goodenough was educated at Bristol Grammar School and joined an electronics company in the defence industry in 1953, obtained a BEng degree in 1959, retiring in 1999. He then studied archaeology at Reading University obtaining a MA in 2004.


Since then he has worked on digs in Berkshire and lectures to various organisations such as U3A. He is a trustee of the Surrey Heath Archaeology and Heritage Trust.


His talk starts with modern Welsh and Gaelic and tracks back to the early Brythonic and Goedelic languages spoken in Britain and Ireland in the Iron Age using linguistics and archaeological evidence. Given the diffusion of artistic styles and knowledge of iron working across North-West Europe in the Iron Age, Paul’s lecture investigates the possibility of a lingua franca through which people communicated




Date:              February 6th 2020
Subject:        Farnborough Aviation History

Presenter:     Dr. Graham Rood


Dr. Graham Rood is the Secretary of the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust and his talk will tell a little of how Farnborough’s aviation history has contributed so much to the development of aeronautical science over time.




Date:              February 20th 2020
Guildown Saxon Cemetery excavations in Guildford

Presenter:    David Bird

Guildown Anglo-Saxon cemetery was discovered in 1929 during landscaping works in the garden of Chalk Hill, Guildown Avenue.  In total, 223 burials were excavated by Colonel O H North and A W G Lowther, of which less than thirty contained finds, mostly dating to the late 6th century.


The site has been further investigated by David Bird, our speaker, who was Surrey County Archaeologist.  He will describe both the dig and the findings and future projects on the site.




Date:              March 5th 2020
Subject:        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 who was due to speak to us last season.


Date:              March 19th 2020
Subject:        Ongoing excavations at Silchester

Presenter:    Mike Fulford,


The Society is very privileged that Mike Fulford, who is Professor of Archaeology at Reading University, has agreed to come to speak to us about his ongoing excavations at Silchester.


Professor Fulford has been leading the team of students, volunteers and professional archaeologists since excavations began in 1997.


He was recognised for his Services to Scholarship by a CBE in 2011.


Date:              April 2nd 2020
Subject:        Gottlieb Leitner

Presenter:    Richard Freeman

A fascinating man, born in Pest, Hungary in 1840. By 10 he was fluent in Turkish and Arabic and most European Languages and at 15 was appointed interpreter to the British Commissariat in the Crimea. Buried in Brookwood Cemetery, Leitner was instrumental in the building of the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking and for setting up a centre for the study in Europe of oriental languages, culture and history also based in Woking.


Richard Freeman, our speaker, is a member of the support team at the Lightbox Museum in Woking. A Leitner exhibition will take place at the museum in October-November 2019.



This meeting will start a little earlier at 7.30.


The talk will be followed by the AGM.