2017 - 18  LECTURES

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, and at Southam Village Hall at The Close, School Lane, Southam, GL52 2NS at 7.30pm. on the THIRD Thursday of each month usually.

Our next lecture: - THURSDAY, October 5th. 2017 - details are below on this page

The admission price for all meetings payable, on the door, £3 Members & £4 visitors.

The Thursday afternoon meetings to remain at Bethesda Methodist Church Hall until further notice.

The Thursday evening meetings have moved to Southam Village Hall. (Details on how to get there, are given below )

From the  A435 (GE traffic lights) travel along Southam Lane, through Southam village. Turn left into Old Road and left again into School Lane by the War Memorial. Travel 200 yards and the village hall is on your left.

From Prestbury travel towards Winchcombe on the B4632 and just after the Ellenborough Park Hotel turn left into Old Road. Turn left again into School Lane by the War Memorial. Travel 200 yards and the village hall is on your left.

From  Winchcombe travel towards Cheltenham on the B 4632. At the bottom of Cleeve Hill turn
right into New Road and then sharp left into Old Road. Turn right into School Lane by the War Memorial. Travel 200 yards and the village hall is on your left.
                       Please note – there is no access to the village hall from Ratcliffe Lawns.


                                                              2017-18  Lecture Programme

                                       Thurs   5th. October    Bethesda  Church Hall  2.30pm

                        Lecture  'Kamchatka' - a Russian Far-Eastern Jewel  - David Fletcher

 David has provided two excellent lectures for us in the recent past, the first on the Arctic, followed by one on the Antarctic.  This time, he will be telling us about the mysterious Russian Kamchatka peninsula. This huge promontory into the sea is 780 miles in length and extremely remotely located in far north-east of Asia, bounded on the west by the Sea of Okhotsk and on the east by the Pacific Ocean.  

It has a unique flora and fauna that has adapted to an extreme continental climate of hot summers combined with very cold winters. Kamchatka is snow-covered from October to late May. We shall hear about the peninsula’s geography, its climate and wildlife, including the distinctive Kamchatka bears.                                                                                                                                                 Duncan Reid                                                                                                                                                                        


                                   Thurs. 19th October 2017   7.30 p.m   Southam Village Hall

                                                                The Walled Garden at Croome. 

       Chris Cronin will talk on the privately owned Walled (Kitchen) Garden at Croome Court.

This is an independent restoration project funded by Karen and Chris Cronin which are open to the public on special dates throughout the season. Their main aim, as described on their website is “ to attract interest and support from the community at large and to help re-educate ourselves and our children about the importance of sustainable and healthy living”.

The National Trust has written that “… the privately owned historic gardens are a key part of Croome (Court’s) landscape designed by “Capability” Brown. Although the National Trust looks after the rest of the Parkland, the walled gardens are owned by Karen and Chris who acquired it separately and rescued it from ruin in the year 2000.

They have restored many of the buildings and large greenhouses with great care and attention but much more work is still being carried out with the help of a team of volunteers and gardeners”.
                                                                                                Bill Cronin  ( no relation!)

                             Thurs.16th November 2017  7.30 p.m.  Southam Village Hall

                                                  Stowe House Restoration 

Peter Whitlam is both a guide for the gardens at Stowe (National Trust) and for the Stowe House as he is, also, involved with the Stowe House Preservation Trust. Stowe House is open to the public at times set out in their publicity on their websites).

Built by the powerful Temple - Grenville family, Stowe House represents the flamboyant and colourful characters of its creators. Apparently, Queen Victoria was bewildered by its interiors!

In 1922 in the face of demolition, Stowe School saved Stowe House from certain demolition and the use as a school continues to this date.
Stowe House Preservation Trust was founded in 1997 to restore the house and share this special place with a wider public. You can go inside and the lecture will describe some of the most pioneering restoration projects of this century and one of the most excessive homes in England.
Peter is an interesting and well-informed speaker and attendance should be well worth the effort! 
                                                                                                                                         Bill Cronin 


 Thurs. December 7th at  2.30pm at Bethesda Church Hall, Great Norwood Street, Cheltenham,

                                               The People of Bletchley Park.

Bob Skelt worked for GCHQ for many years, became a tour guide at Bletchley Park on retirement and then began to deliver talks about a subject which clearly means a lot to him. He will look briefly at the history of the house before it became Station X and then speak about both the people who worked at this base for the British Government code breakers from 1939 -1952 and about the importance of what they did.



Thursday 4th Jan  2.30pm ‘Dyrham House and Park’ - TBA

Thursday  18th Jan 7.30pm ‘Birds, Tigers and the Taj’ - Arthur Ball

Thursday 1st Feb 2.30pm ‘May Hill and other NT open spaces‘ - TBA

Thursday 15th Feb 7.30pm ‘Developments at Snowshill’– Maurice Heritage

Thursday 1st Mar 2.30pm ‘Newark Park - TBA

24th Mar. 2.30pm. Centre Annual General Meeting – Sacred Hearts Church Hall, Charlton Kings                                                  NB: bring your Centre Membership Card.

                                              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 seven-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 this September reviewed 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 audio visual 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 sub committee 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 request for voluntary contributions for the refreshments on the Thursday evening lectures; 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. 

 The photo below was taken at the September meeting shows Peter Walker, Jan Turner, (chairman), June Stroud, Julph Miers and Ann Nye. Bill Cronin was hiding behind the camera and Duncan Reid had sent his apologies.     


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