The Lectures take place between 1st October and end of March, at Bethesda Church Hall, Gt. Norwood Street, CHELTENHAM, GL50 2AP at 2.30pm. on the FIRST Thursday of each month. In the 2019-2020 season there will no longer be any evening meetings as it has been impossible to find a suitable venue.
The admission price for all meetings payable, on the door, £3 Members & £4 visitors. 


Talks we have enjoyed

THE NT IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE, an evening talk held on 18 February at the Gloucestershire Deaf Association in Barnwood, Gloucester.

A lot of hard work went into this initial evening talk about the National Trust in Gloucestershire given by Matt Stanway, a Lead Ranger from Ebworth. Particular thanks are due, as well, to all the volunteers who came to help.

The talk was well received. As well as explaining the extent of land owned or controlled by the Trust in Gloucestershire, Matt covered aspects of the work that a lot of the audience did not know about.

He illustrated this by describing the work to sustainably reduce the speed of runoff from streams on NT land, so as to ameliorate serious flooding in the Stroud area. He also explained his colleagues work with other landowners to improve the management of all their land for the benefit of wildlife. This includes linking up natural corridors along hedgerows, farm and woodland to join up isolated pockets of fauna and flora. In addition he described how the herd of Belted Galloway cattle managed by the Trust helps to manage open areas for the benefit of the natural environment.

To the relief of the willing volunteers who attended, all the chairs were set out and put away by the GDA caretaker, and the audio-visual equipment was all provided on site and included a hearing loop.

A bonus for the audience was a short presentation by Jayne Smith who manages holiday bookings in the NT South West region. She explained about the surprising variety of accommodation that is available. Both Matt and Jayne stayed on for refreshments and to answer lots of questions at what was a very enjoyable event.

As an experiment to extend the reach of the centre outside its core area of Cheltenham the evening worked well. A speaker from the Jet Age Museum has been arranged for the afternoon session in March 2021, and another is being sought for an evening session. More details will be available in the August newsletter and the events card published with it. All members and guests will be welcome.

Bill Cronin


HELEN ROBERTS ON THE NATIONAL TRUST'S DIFFICULT YEARS 1943-1971, with particular reference to Newark Park

When I first arranged this talk I hadn't realised that Helen was going to illustrate only Newark Park, but never mind, she is an accomplished speaker and we all enjoyed her talk.

Newark Park was gifted to the Trust in 1949 but the house was quickly described as "a place of no importance whatsoever". It was in poor condition to begin with, and the various tenants who struggled to run it as a nursing home were lumbered with a repairing lease, with some of them not even understanding what this meant for them. Helen used amusing cartoons of dogs to show the unspeakable conditions the tenants allowed in the cellars where the dogs were shut up. She had found photographs of the families who ran the place as a nursing home but she was unable to show them, as she couldn't trace their heirs to obtain permission.

Robert Parsons, a wealthy Texan, was the saviour of Newark Park, throwing money and love at it from 1971 until his death in 2000. His partner, Michael Claydon, opened the property in 2001. There has been no tenant since he retired in 2012 but Newark Park is still open, thriving and popular with visitors.

Julph Miers

Julph and Helen Roberts

Photo by Jan Turner


                                              The Lectures Sub-Committee at work.

When your list of lectures comes through in your newsletter every year please give a thought to the hard-working members of the Centre‘s lectures sub-committee. This six-member subcommittee ably chaired by Jan Turner, organise, arrange and run the lecture series for the benefit of members on a completely voluntary basis.

They are fortified only with copious cups of tea or coffee and a substantial supply of quality biscuits provided free of charge by the host. The meeting in September reviews progress and details of the organisation for the coming season‘s lectures and tried to anticipate possible problems. It seeks to ensure that speakers arrive, are properly introduced, looked after and paid. Critically the sub-committee tries to ensure that the audiovisual equipment arrives in a working order, the pay desk is manned and that the key for the premises is collected and returned. Additionally, some of the committee members have the responsibility of the storage and carriage of the equipment to the two venues. 

The meeting in November concentrates on the choice of speakers. That is followed by sometimes tortuous attempts to contact them and sort out availability. This follows a strict procedure written by the subcommittee Minute Secretary and endorsed by the sub-committee members. Subsequent meetings monitor progress and identify issues arising during the season.

During the long summer break, they are busy ensuring that lecturers will turn up, have all the equipment required and that the publicity is provided for the newsletter, website and the 'What‘s On' section of Radio Gloucestershire

Recently innovations by the sub-committee are a investigation of the hearing loop and audio equipment systems in both venues and the introduction of a free guest pass for members to invite non-members to one of the evening series of talks.  All this is intended to give good quality lectures at a reasonable charge of £3. 


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