Farnham & District Museum Society

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Talks Programme 2021-2022




All talks start at 7:45 pm (except April 2022)


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 23rd 2021
Subject:         Frank Austin, brother of the more famous Jane

Presenter:    Dr Cheryl Butler



The lesser known story of Jane Austen’s sailor brother Frank who rose to become Lord Admiral of England is told by Dr Cheryl Butler, Hon. Fellow the University of Winchester and Board Member for the Hampshire Trust.  


Frank’s is a fascinating life of great achievement and Jane drew upon the lives of her sailor brothers in her novels Persuasion and Mansfield Park.




Date:              October 7th 2021
Subject:        Working the Wey – bargemen of the Wey Navigation around 1700

Presenter:    Sue Jones


The Wey Navigation opened in 1653 and ran for a century between the Thames at Weybridge and Guildford before its extension in the 1760s to Godalming.


While much has been written about the Navigation’s construction, less is known of the people who worked on it in its early days. Sue Jones will discuss the Navigation in its first century focussing on the bargemen who worked it, their boats and their trade.


This work formed part of a dissertation for the Master’s in Local History at Oxford’s Department of Continuing Education, where Sue is now studying for a doctorate on the economy and demography of early modern Surrey.




Date:              October 21st 2021
Subject:        Neolithic Temples of Malta

Presenter:    Mike Pengelly


Mike Pengelly returns to talk to us about the earliest inhabitants of Malta who arrived around 5200 BC from Sicily using rafts.  They were megalithic temple builders and Mike will show us some of the oldest structures in the world that still exist.




Date:              November 4th 2021
Subject:        George Abbott Man of the World

Presenter:    Nicholas Bale


Described by the Chambers Biographical Dictionary as ‘a sincere but narrow minded Calvinist’ this son of Guildford led an eventful life becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 1611.  Nicholas Bale, local historian and Friend of Guildford Museum will talk on his life and the reason behind his endowment of a hospital in Guildford.







Date:              November 18th 2021
Subject:        The Life and Loves of Ada Lovelace

Presenter:    Dr. David Taylor


Dr. David Taylor, Chairman of the Surrey History Trust and a Trustee of Painshill Park Trust invites us to look at the life of Ada Lovelace.  Born Augusta Byron she was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron and was a mathematician and writer known chiefly for her work on Babbage’s mechanical general purpose computer.




Date:              December 2nd 2021 
Subject:        Louisa Twining

Presenter:    Rt Revd Christopher Herbert



You might imagine that the art of Lobbying is a 21st century phenomenon. Not so. Louisa Twining, born in London in 1820, used all her charm and formidable networking skills to ensure great improvements in British Workhouses in the 19th century. Unfortunately, her significant and pioneering work has largely been forgotten. Even members of the Farnham and District Museum Society might not be aware of her.


This lecture by the Rt Revd Christopher Herbert will try to reinstate her in the pantheon of British Victorian social reformers and heroes. It’s a story that deserves to be told.










Date:              January 13th 2022

Subject:         Postal Reforms in early Victorian England

Presenter:     Lawrence Anslow


The Penny Black is, perhaps, the most famous postage stamp in world. It represented the culmination of a lot of hard work to reform, what was then, a very expensive postal service.


This talk covers the background to this story and features more examples of stamps from other countries who followed our example. Many of these issues are excellent examples of the engravers art. Lawrence Anslow has spoken to the society previously and is well known to members of the U3A.




Date:              January 27th 2022

Subject:        Florence Nightingale

Presenter:    Roy Waight

"Florence Nightingale is famous for creating the modern profession of nursing. Impressive as that is, she achieved even more. Her work on hygiene and public sanitation helped save millions of lives both here and across the world. She was a creative statistician and a visionary thinker in various fields. Her reflections on religion are fascinating and she was a proto-feminist. Perhaps the greatest and most influential of Victorian reformers, she had various contacts with Farnham. Her achievements, and these contacts, will be covered in Roy Waight's talk, originally compiled for the 2020 Farnham Heritage Open Days."




Date:              February 10th 2022

Subject:         Farnborough Aviation History

Presenter:     Dr.Graham Rood


Dr.Graham Rood is the Secretary of the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust and he returns to give us the second half of his fascinating talk on how Farnborough’s aviation history has contributed so much to the development of aeronautical science over time.




Date:              February 24th 2022

Subject:        Roman Settlement in North Farnham and the surrounding area

Presenter:     Anne Sassin Allen


Anne Sassin Allen is well known for her work on the ‘Finding Farnham Test Pit Project’ and is looking forward to a new dig in September 2020 to look at Roman Settlement in North Farnham. Anne will report on her findings.




Date:              March 10th 2022

Subject:        Ongoing excavations at Silchester

Presenter:    Professor Mike Fulford


This talk was cancelled in 2020 due to Coronavirus and luckily Professor Mike Fulford was free to take up the last unbooked speaking slot in our 2022 season.


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:              March 24th 2022

Subject:        The Eton College Collection

Presenter:    Eleanor Hoare


Eton was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore” to provide free education to 70 poor boys who would then go on to King's College, Cambridge, which he founded in 1441.


Eleanor Hoare is the archivist for the Eton Collection and will give an overview of the College’s history as well as touching on the wonderful collection of rare books and manuscripts, art and artifacts, and photographs which play a role in the everyday life of the college and are used extensively in teaching.




Date:              April 7th 2022

Subject:        Accents and dialects

Presenter:    Susan Purcell


Why are there so many regional accents in Britain? Why are some accents more favoured than others? Why do some accents survive – and even thrive – whilst others, such as the rural Surrey accent, die out?


Susan Purcell will consider these topics in her talk, and will give details of the distinctive vocabulary and other features of the old Surrey dialect. Susan is a linguist who has written several books on grammar and other language matters, and previously spoke to us very amusingly on the History of Crosswords.


This meeting will start a little earlier at 7.30.


The talk will be followed by the AGM.