Society Lecture – Railways of Mid-Anglia @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Mar 9 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Railways of Mid-Anglia with Tony Kirby

railway_history_east_angliaExpect more than trains, this is not just for railway buffs. Tony Kirby will examine the history of these lines in the context of the social and economic history of the area.

Tony Kirby was Principal Lecturer in History and Coordinator of Strategic Planning at Anglia Ruskin University before retiring in 2008. He is a former President of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society and Chairman of the Cambridgeshire Records Office, and is now Secretary of the Cambridgeshire Association for Local History and the Cambridgeshire County Advisory Group on Archives and Local Studies.

Society Lecture – Fen Drainage – The People who drained the Fens @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Apr 6 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

The People who drained the Fens: Promoters, Engineers and Workers – Dr Philip Saunders.

This is a change to the originally advertised programme. Unfortunately, Dr Stephen Upex, who was to speak on Saxons in Huntingdonshire, is unwell and will be unable to talk to us on Thursday 6 April.  We wish him the very best for a full recovery. 

We are fortunate that our own Chairman, Dr Philip Saunders, will delight us with a different perspective of the drained the Fens. He will be expanding upon a short talk that was given to the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership conference in November 2016. We tend to think of the history of fen drainage in terms of organisations, mills, engines and drains.  However, without the promoters of drainage driven by economic necessity/profit, the engineers who designed the drains and waterways and the workers who toiled to dig the drains none of the changes to our landscape would have happened. Although not especially focused on  Huntingdonshire, it should be remembered that a substantial part of the county fell within the Great Level of the Fens commonly called the Bedford Level.  This is also a topical issue as the Cambridgeshire Records Society has recently reprinted Jonas Moore’s Mapp of the Great Levell 1658 and Dr Saunders will bringing copies of the map to the talk.

President’s Lecture and 2017 Goodliff Awards Presentation @ Assembly Rooms, Huntingdon Town Hall
Oct 12 @ 7:15 pm – 10:15 pm

Our President Dr Simon Thurley (former Chief Executive of English Heritage) will present the Goodliff Awards this year to the successful applicants in the prestigious surroundings of the Assembly Room in the Huntingdon Town Hall.

After the presentations Dr Thurley will entertain us with a talk, ‘Houses of Power‘ on what places shaped the English Tudor world.

What was it like to live as a royal Tudor, why were the residences built as they were and what went on inside the walls and who slept where and with whom? Our President come to talk about his new book about Tudor royal architecture and reflects on the Tudor monarchy’s perambulations in Huntingdonshire.

There will be an opportunity to purchases his new book ‘Houses of Power The Places that Shaped the Tudor World‘, with book signing.

Society Lecture – John Berridge of Everton and the Evangelical Revival (Nigel Pibworth) @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Nov 9 @ 7:15 pm

John Berridge of Everton and the Evangelical Revival.

We all know of the Wesleys and of the lay persons like Hannah More and Wilberforce. Others will know of Lady Huntingdon, Henry Venn and Charles Simeon, but John Berridge is comparatively neglected in publications of the evangelical awakening spreading through the countryside in eighteenth century England. Even in Huntingdonshire where he was vicar of Everton-cum-Tetworth, his exploits and impact have been all but lost.

Our speaker is his biographer and has recently edited a volume of the man’s letters, and will seak to enlighten us on how his unusual approach to open-air preaching and directness of speech earned him his reputation of being quite eccentric. 

Society Christmas Social – 7th December @ Assembly Rooms, Huntingdon Town Hall
Dec 7 @ 7:15 pm – 10:30 pm

Christmas Social Evening with Entertainment by the Society

This year for a change we have decided to offer the society some home-grown seasonal entertainment. The programme is under development and will be announced later. Likely items are at present: Liz Davies with give us an insight into local Christmas Customs, and we will have a pictorial interlude by David Cozens of some of his historic magic lantern slide collections, and others will do traditional and topical readings. We are also hoping for a musical soloist to entertain us with some Christmas favourites. If any one would like to ‘Do a Turn’ then please let David Cozens know on 01487 814229.

We will again be providing sandwiches, etc as well as drinks, but members are welcome to bring additional seasonal fare. Guests are always welcome.

Tickets are £5 per person to include food.

Please return the booking slip on page 3 of the Almanack to David Smith, 16 Dove House Close, Godmanchester. PE29 2DY (01480 350127) 

Society Lecture – Stirling to Essen (Roger Leivers) @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Jan 11 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

The Godmanchester Stirling Crash – New pictures and untold family stories.

In 2012 the Godmanchester Community Association received an email inquiring about an aircraft that had crashed very near to Godmanchester during the Second World War. The email was given to Roger and not realising at the time this led Roger on a 5 years research project that resulted in a successful book telling the story of the crew and the aircraft. But the book really tells you of the emotional and heart rending stories of the crew and their families, the trials and tribulation of flying this gigantic aircraft often dogged by technical issues, and follows the lives, and tragic deaths, of everyone associated with the fateful aircraft and crew.

In 2015 Roger was awarded a Goodliff Grant by the Society to help publish his book ‘Stirling to Essen The Godmanchester Stirling: a Bomber Command Story of Courage and Tragedy.

Roger Leivers is coming to update us on his project on the Godmanchester Stirling crash.  It will be rather different to what he has spoken about before, so don’t make the mistake of believing you’ve heard it somewhere else before. 

Copies of is book will be available to buy on the night.

Society Lecture – History of Houghton Grange (Bridget Flanagan) @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Feb 8 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Cootes, Constables and Chickens – a History of Houghton Grange (Bridget Flanagan)


Bridget will explore the chequered history of this building and show there is much of interest before its sad decline from Edwardian magnificence to a government scientific centre and the present dereliction.

There is very little documented information about the Grange prior to its use as a poultry research business. We know the house was originally built for a Mr Harold Coote. It was a large house situated on the banks of the river Ouse and was approached from the main Huntingdon to Houghton road through a long avenue of lime trees. To the south, terraced gardens led down to the river through extensive lawn areas.

The house has lain empty for nearly 25 years and is slowly decaying into sad disrepair. 


Society Lecture – A Landscape through Time – the A14 Project @ Methodist Church, Huntingdon
Oct 10 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Wednesday 10 October A Landscape through Time – A look at the Archaeology of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme.

Please note the following important dates including some changes: This and subsequent Lectures: These will be on Wednesdays at our usual venue, Huntingdon Methodist church.  From this month onward the usual day of meetings will be the second Wednesday, as the church is no longer available regularly to us on Thursday evenings. 

Emma Jeffery, Senior Archaeologist at MOLA Headland Archaeology will talk about the astonishing discoveries taking place as a result of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme.  A walk through centuries of history from prehistoric settlements, pottery and ditches, Roman broaches and pottery production, medieval village lost and found. 

Click on the picture for a larger and printable version of the poster.

The lecture this evening will be free to non-members

Society Presidents Lecture and Goodliff Awards @ Huntingdon Town Hall
Nov 15 @ 7:30 pm – 9:45 pm

The King, the Actress and the Cardinal: the birth of London’s West End.


Dr Simon Thurley’s lecture this year is entitled The King, the Actress and the Cardinal; the birth of London’s West End. The King and the Cardinal one can make a fair guess at, but the Actress is a little more difficult. Come along if you want to know who they are. It is bound to be another revelation on the extraordinary history of our capital city.




The evening will start off with the Goodliff Award Ceremony when Dr Thurley will present awards to:

Jane Adams, St Peter and St Paul’s Parish Church Alconbury – the publication of an information booklet and childrens guide to the church.

Jane Watson, publication of a booklet on the history of Barham village.

The Cromwell Museum Trust (Stuart Orme) – design and production new external signage and display boards.

Beth Davis – publication of the WW2 memoirs of Bert Goodwin.

The Nene Valley Archaeological Trust (Dr Stephen Upex) – magnetometer survey of the walled area of the Roman town of Durobrivae.

All Saints Church Elton Reformation Committee (Joanne Borrett) – publication of information booklet/story board about the stained glass windows and Saxon crosses.

Peter Cooper – Development and publish on-line interactive maps of Holywell-cum-Needingworth.

Huntingdonshire History Festival (Mike Addis) – funding in support of the 2018 History Festival. 

The Norris Museum (Sarah Russell)– Production of learning session materials entitled, ‘Cromwell the Man, Friend or Foe?’.

Roger Reynolds – Publication of a book, ‘Ramsey at War’ covering the period 1939 to 1946.


Society Christmas Social 2018- A Tudor Evening with Hexacordia @ Assembly Rooms, Huntingdon Town Hall
Dec 13 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Christmas Social Evening—A Tudor Christmas

This year our Christmas gathering will have a Tudor theme, with entertainment from the accomplished early music group Hexacordia. for more information visit their website

We have this year the highly-talented early music group Hexachordia to provide us with ‘A Tudor Christmas’ programme.  There are naturally costs in that and we are making the effort to widen invitations through other local history societies.  We expect therefore that the social to be well attended.  If you want to come therefore please send David Smith your reply slips from the Almanack or from attached leaflet with cheques now.  Do not rely on coming without booking on the night.  I would not want any member to miss out because we are booked up.  The charge for members is £8, for non-members £10.

To book contact David Smith through our contacts page