Category Archives: Meetings

Programme for 2022-2023

All meetings are held at Radley Parish Church, Church Road, Abingdon OX14 2JN starting at 7.30 pm. Non-members are welcome – a donation of £2.50 is suggested.

Monday 12th September 2022 at 7.30 pm
Annual General Meeting followed by A Guide’s Guide: Working in Historic Houses in the 21st century
Speaker: Sarah Somerville
Sarah is the Visitor Services Officer at Shaw House, a Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house situated on the northern edge of Newbury and managed by West Berkshire Council as a visitor attraction and conference centre. As well as guiding tours of the house, Sarah manages events held at Shaw House and the gift shop there. Her talk highlights the varied skills needed to work in a historic house seeking to pay its way while being part of the local community in the 21st century.

Monday 10th October 2022 at 7.30 pm
Keble College and The Light of World by Holman Hunt
Speaker: Lizzy Rowe
Lizzy looks at the origins of Keble College and tells some of the fascinating stories about its early days, focusing in particular on The Light of the World, the famous painting by William Holman Hunt that hangs in its Chapel. Lizzy teaches art history and leads guided tours of Oxford city centre and the Ashmolean Museum.

Monday 14th November 2022 at 7.30 pm
From Axtell to Zacharias: the men who built Oxford
Speaker: Liz Woolley
The talk examines some of the characters involved in the city’s enormous expansion during the Victorian period including builders, architects, property developers and landlords. Fortunes were made, reputations were lost, regulations were ignored, and political careers were boosted. Liz is a local historian specialising in aspects of Oxford and Oxfordshire, with a particular interest in the city’s ‘town’ as opposed to ‘gown’.

Monday 9th January 2023 at 7.30 pm
The History of the Railway from Didcot to Oxford
Speaker: Laurence Waters
Laurence draws on his extensive knowledge of local railway lines to tell us the history of the railway from Didcot to Oxford. Laurence has written several books about the Great Western Railway, the latest being Railways of Oxford: A Transport Hub that Links Britain. He is the Photo Archivist of the Great Western Trust at Didcot Railway Centre.

Monday 13th February 2023 at 7.30 pm
Thames Bridges between Oxford and Abingdon
Speaker: Keith Parry
After the Norman conquest, major bridges across the Thames were established at Oxford, Abingdon and Wallingford, initially as wooden structures and later as stone. Keith’s talk focuses on the older road bridges, particularly those in Oxford, Grandpont and Oseney, and Abingdon. Keith is a voluntary researcher at the Maidenhead Heritage Centre and a trustee of The Historic Towns Trust

Monday 13th March 2023 at 7.30 pm
The History of the Radley Lakes area up to 2000
Speaker: Richard Dudding
Until commercial gravel extraction began after World War II, the area known today as the Radley Lakes was farmland. Richard, Club archivist and secretary of the Radley Lakes Trust, describes the history of the area from the Iron Age to 2000. His talk offers a preview of the history chapter of a forthcoming book on the Radley Lakes story.

Monday 3rd April 2023 at 7.30 pm
The History of Oxford University
Speaker: Alastair Lack
Alastair read modern history at University College Oxford. After a career working for the BBC, he now lives in Oxford where he is a Green Badge Guide. Alastair is thus well-placed to present what might be called a ‘whistlestop stop tour’ of the history of Oxford University.

Note change of day to the first Monday of the month to avoid Easter Monday.

Monday 8th May 2023 at 7.30 pm
Growing up in a 1950s Corner Shop
Speaker: Josie Midwinter
Josie’s parents, Henry and Esther, ran Midwinter’s Grocery Shop in Didcot opposite the railway station where Josie grew up. Josie describes her memories of her childhood there and the role of corner shops at that time. Josie, a retired minister in the Church of England, has returned to her roots in Didcot for her retirement.

Monday 12th June 2023 at 7.30 pm
Glimpses of the Other Oxford through the Eyes of a Victorian Mission

Speaker: Emily Greig
Oxford’s population grew rapidly in the second half of the 19th century as streets of terrace houses were built in the new suburbs. Emily describes the work of a local Mission church in helping to improve the lives of people in poorer suburbs such as East Oxford. Emily recently completed a masters in English Local History at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education.

Monday 10th July 2023 at 7.30 pm
50 Years in the Thames Valley Police Force
Speaker: Christine Bovingdon-Cox
Christine joined the Thames Valley Police Force in 1973 and worked in various departments including Child Abuse Investigation, Major Crime, Counter-Terrorism, Protection for the Royal Family and Members of Parliament, and Professional Standards. In recognition of her remarkable career, Christine received a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021.

August: No meeting

Monday 11th September 2022 at 7.30 pm
Annual General Meeting followed by:

Cemeteries of Oxford – More than a Century of History
Speaker: Trevor Jackson
Oxford today has four municipal cemeteries plus a number of parish cemeteries and churchyards. Trevor tells the story of the development and closure of cemeteries in the city over the years. Trevor was Oxford City Council’s Manager of Cemeteries for 12 years following his retirement from the RAF.

Programme for 2021-2022 announced

All meetings are held at Radley Parish Church, Church Road, Abingdon OX14 2JN starting at 7.30 pm. Non-members are welcome – a donation of £2.50 is suggested.

Monday 13th September 2021 at 7.30 pm
Annual General Meeting followed by Radley in the 1930s and 40s – impressions from oral history
A presentation from the Club’s Oral History Group drawing on information from the ‘Radley Remembered’ series of interviews in the Club’s oral history recordings

Monday 11th October 2021 at 7.30 pm
The Land of the White Eagle: The Story of Poland

Speaker: Hubert Zawadzki
The talk describes the turbulent and complex history of Poland from its medieval origins to the present day. Dr Zawadzki, a former history teacher at Abingdon School and a member of Wolfson College Oxford, is the joint author of A Concise History of Poland and has appeared on BBC programmes involving Poland.

Monday 8th November 2021 at 7.30 pm
The Harcourt Arboretum: one of Oxfordshire’s brightest botanical jewels
Speaker: Timothy Walker
The Harcourt Arboretum at Nuneham Courtenay was founded in 1835 by the Harcourt family and annexed to the University of Oxford Botanic Garden in 1963. The talk looks at the 180-year history of the site and some of the highlights of the 130-acre Arboretum. Timothy is a former director of the Oxford Botanic Garden & Harcourt Arboretum.

Monday 10th January 2022 at 7.30 pm
Romans of Oxfordshire: Roman settlement and impact in the local area
Speaker: Marie-Louise Kerr
The talk covers the Roman invasion of Britain, life before and after the Romans arrived, and examples of Roman remains, archaeological finds, and sites of Roman occupation in Oxfordshire. Marie-Louise is an experienced museum curator caring for a wide variety of collections, and describes herself as ‘a curator without a museum’.

Monday 14th February 2022 at 7.30 pm
Oxford Preservation Trust – opening doors all year round
Speaker: Stephen Dawson
Stephen is the Operations and Development Manager of the Oxford Preservation Trust. In addition to organising the annual Oxford Open Doors weekend, the Trust is responsible for the management of various heritage sites and the protection of buildings and items of architectural significance in and around Oxford – work that never stops.

Monday 14th March 2022 at 7.30 pm
Poor Law in the 18th Century: the crisis in the parishes
Speaker: Deborah Hayter
The talk discusses the reasons for the increasing struggle by many parishes during the 18th century to pay the poor rate to growing numbers of poor people, and the variety of schemes they adopted to try to ‘balance the books’. Deborah is a tutor at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education, specialising in rural and landscape history.

Monday 11th April 2022 at 7.30 pm
Professors of Rowing’: The Early Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races
Speaker: Mark Davies
The talk details the early history of this famous and competitive event, highlighting the unusual alliance of Town & Gown in the crucial role played by the Thames’ watermen and boatbuilders in equipping and training the early Oxford crews. Mark is a local author and guide specialising in the history of non-university Oxford, with a particular focus on the city’s waterways.

Monday 9th May 2022 at 7.30 pm
Members’ interests
A chance for members to tell us about a person, place, event or object of interest to them which they’ve researched and wish to share their findings with us.

Monday 13th June 2022 at 7.30 pm
From Axtell to Zacharias: the men who built Oxford
Speaker: Liz Woolley
The talk examines some of the characters involved in the city’s enormous expansion during the Victorian period including builders, architects, property developers and landlords. Fortunes were made, reputations were lost, regulations were ignored, and political careers were boosted. Liz is a local historian specialising in aspects of Oxford and Oxfordshire, with a particular interest in the city’s ‘town’ as opposed to ‘gown’.

Monday 11th July 2022 at 7.30 pm
The Great Stink! Engineers, sewerage systems and the Victorian battle against dirt
Speaker: Tom Crook
The talk discusses the notorious ‘Great Stink’ of summer 1858 in London, its causes and the approach adopted to combat the problem. Tom is a Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at Oxford Brookes University.

August: No meeting

Monday 12th September 2022 at 7.30 pm
Annual General Meeting followed by:

Apples! The myth and mystery of England’s favourite fruit
Speaker: Tim Healey
Many fascinating facts are presented in this talk which has five themes: myths, the history of apples, apple rituals, working with apples, and local varieties. Tim is an Oxford-based writer, broadcaster and musician, making his third visit to the Club

July 2021 meeting cancelled

We had hoped to make our meeting on 12 July the first one face-to-face in Radley Church since March 2020. Unfortunately, this is now not possible as the Prime Minister announced yesterday that the remaining coronavirus restrictions will remain until 19 July and the speaker is unable to give his talk virtually by Zoom.

We very much hope to be able to resume our programme of speaker meetings in September.
See the Events Calendar for details