Christmas Social – A Georgian Christmas, with Bedford Gallery Quire, Tuesday 10th December
Its that time of year, the Christmas festive season is fast approaches again. Once more we have a super programme lined up for our Christmas social. The Christmas social is undoubtedly one of the sheer joys of this society, so do make an effort to come along. You will not be disappointed. And by all means bring friends with you.
This year The Bedford Gallery Quire, will be providing the musical entertainment. They are part of the movement to resurrect the folk tradition, coined ‘West Gallery Music’ by Thomas Hardy, The Quire was formed in 2003 and is a group of singers and instrumentalists performing musical pieces from the ‘West Gallery’ period, around 1700 to 1850. West Gallery music is often seen as an anarchic musical attribute of the parish church until reforming Victorian clergy suppressed them in favour of the more governable, surpliced, choirs singing in the chancel that we know today. Besides playing fiddles and flutes they will be performing traditional music on some less familiar instruments including flagelettes, an ophicleïde, and a serpent – a rare sight indeed.
We will again be providing sandwiches, etc., as well as drinks, but members are welcome to bring additional seasonal fare. It would be helpful if you haven’t already done so , it you would book as soon as possible. This enables us to tell how many spaces available for non-members. David Smith will be there on Tuesday to take bookings and your £5.00, or send him a cheque with form in the Almanack, or at very least email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you are coming and pay on the night.
RETURN TO KENT – EXPLORING THE NORTHERN AND WESTERN PARTS OF THE COUNTY
This year we are pleased to announce that we will be returning to Kent to visit some of the historic houses and building in the northern part of the County. For those who were lucky enough to join us for our tour of the Castles of Kent in 2016 will remember the outstanding visits to Leeds Castle, Penshurst, Dover Castle, Walmer Castle, Lullingstone Roman Villa, Igntham Mote and Hever Castle. This year we are visiting our weekend is filled with visiting some of the other areas of this County. For a printable copy of the itinerary for this years vivist to Kent please click [here].
Day 1 (Friday 15th May)
DARWIN AND THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Our weekend starts with a visit to Darwins House in South London. This is a unique place where the renowned scientist lived and wrote the book ‘On the Origin of Species’. We will have a tour of the house, with narration by Sir David Attenborough, and the chance to walk around the gardens and greenhouses.
RIVERHILL HUMALAYAN GARDENS
In the afternoon, we venture on to Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, first established in 1840 by John Rogers. John was one of the founding members of the Royal Horticultural Society and a contemporary of Charles Darwin. The gardens are renowned for their fine collections of rhododendron, azaleas and specimen trees as well as the woodland bluebells. There is also an Edwardian Rock Garden, rediscovered having lain forgotten for nearly 70 years.
We are staying at The Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Near Maidstone.
Day 2 – Saturday 16th May
We start our day at Scotney Castle. This building has a long history dating from 1137. From 1778 the house was occupied by the Hussey family until it was left to the National Trust in 1970. The main part of the house was built in 1837 by Edward Hussey III from sandstone quarried from the grounds of the old castle. We will have a tour around the house and also the opportunity to visit the walled garden and the extensive grounds and gardens.
In the afternoon we visit Maidstone Museum, established in 1858. The museum is said to be one of the finest and largest, outside of London, with exhibits of fine art, human and natural history.
Day 3 – Sunday 17th May
We head south in the morning to Smallhythe. The village was a small thriving shipbuilding port. We visit Smallhythe Place. This early 16th Century timber framed house was bought by Ellen Terry, a renowned Victorian Actress, in 1899 and stayed in the family till it was transferred into a museum in 1928 by Ellen’s daughter. The barn has been converted into a small theatre where a diverse programme of productions are still performed throughout the year.
CHAPEL OF ST THOMAS A BECKET
In the afternoon we venture into Capel where we will visit the church of St Thomas a Becket. A small Norman church, rebuilt in 1639 after a fire. This is a Grade 1 listed building under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. it has a striking post roof and extensive wall paintings that cover the walls of the nave.
Day 4 – Monday 18th May
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL AND CHARTWELL
We are spending the day at CHARTWELL, the family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill.
Chartwell was the much-loved Churchill family home from 1922 and the place from which Sir Winston drew inspiration until the end of his life. The rooms remain much as they were when he lived here, with pictures, books and personal mementoes evoking the career and wide-ranging interests of a great statesman, writer, painter and family man. We will explore the house with a guided tour giving us a unique insight into the life of Churchill, his family. We all know that Churchill was an avid painter who produced over 500 pieces of work and we will be able to see many of his paintings and artwork in his studio.
There is an excellent cafeteria where we can get lunch and afterwards wander around the hillside gardens that are said to reflect Sir Winston’s love of the landscape and nature. There are over 80 acres of woodland, walled kitchen garden, waterfalls and lakes and beautifully manicured terraced lawns. Lady Churchill loved roses and you can wander around her lovely rose garden. Winston even designed and built a playhouse, the ‘Marycot’ for his youngest daughter Mary, and this should be open for viewing.
We are ending our trip with a cream tea at Chartwell before boarding the coach and heading back to Huntingdon.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the lecture and presentation of the Goodliff Awards for 2020 have been postponed and will be rescheduled for later in the year.
The Society’s President, Dr David Starkey will talk about ‘The Uses of History’ and present the Goodliff Awards for 2020.
More details to follow shortly
More details of this excursion are to follow shortly
Dr Steven Parissien will talk about the Palace House, Newmarket. More details about the talk will be provided shortly
This will be a ticketed event, joint with the Huntingdonshire History Festival
Visit to Leighton Bromswold Church
The visit has been rearranged for Thursday 17th September, at 3.30 p.m. Meet outside the church, 2 metres apart unless with a person is part of your household/social bubble.
The visit is by kind arrangement with Hugh West of Leighton Bromswold, author of a new, Goodliff Award-supported, guide. Hugh will be giving us a talk and showing us round this ‘wonderful church’ (Pevsner), celebrated for its association with George Herbert and his friends the Ferrars of Little Gidding, but having much else of interest, both earlier and later in date.
At completion of the visit and tour of the church we shall be having tea in the church.
We know that many members have been isolating during the pandemic and may be wary of coming, but consider that most of us have been doing the same and we shall take all sensible precautions, so the risk is very low. Please bring with you a face mask and wear it whenever appropriate. In order to ensure social distancing within the church we have to limit places to 15 members, so act quickly to book your place now by emailing David Smith email@example.com or phoning him on 01480-350127. Deadline is Sunday 13th September. There is a charge of £5.00. Please bring this in cash on the day so it can go straight into an envelope.
Our apologies to those who are at work and unable to join us. We did not lightly change the timing of this from the original plan of an early evening visit followed by optional meal in the Green Man, but on this occasion and after a postponement to September it seemed best.
This year the social restrictions imposed due to Covid19 mean we have to hold a virtual Christmas Social this year. Our President, David Cozens, will talk to us about the Edison Bell Company of Huntingdon. Edison Bell Company was one of the most significant feature of Huntingdon’s industrial history. David promises to entertain us with a range of musical from his wide collection of historical 78rpm records and recordings that were manufactured in Huntingdon on contemporary equipment. .
This is going to be an exciting look back at how we used to entertain ourselves with Festive music in the early 20th Century. I remember sitting down with my grandparents in their parlour with the wind up gramophone, listening to their collection of 78rpm records. Though we cannot join one another in quite the usual convivial way we can do so digitally. So, pull up a chair, pour yourself and others a glass of something festive and lets toast one another to a Happy Christmas.
The details of how to access the Zoom Meeting will be published to all our members nearer the date. These talks are open to non-members, who should email David Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org .uk requesting the link to the talk a few days in advance.
Look out for other virtual meetings in the New Year.
Visit to Leighton Bromswold:
The visit, originally planned for 2020 and reluctantly postponed, has been rearranged for Thursday 16th September, at 4:30pm. Meet at the church, where a cup of team will await us. The visit is by kind arrangement of Hugh West, of Leighton Bromswold and the a author of a new, Goodliff Award supported, guide. Hugh will be giving us a talk and showing us around this ‘wonderful church’ (Pevsner), celebrated for its association with George Herbert and his friends the Ferrars of LIttle Gidding, but having mush else of interest, including the famous 17C pulpit and readers desk.
After the tour there will be a chance to stroll around this small village before we all retire to the the George pub in the village of Spaldwick for a meal.
To book email David Smith on email@example.com or phone on 01480 350127. Book by Sunday 12th September.
We will be holding the Goodliff Awards presentation for all awards given in 2020 and 2021 in the prestigious surroundings of the Assembly Rooms in Huntingdon Town Hall. Sadly, the Covid pandemic prevented us being able to present the awards in 2020. This year we are delighted to be able to present the Award Certificates to everyone who won an award in both 2020 and 2021.
Our President, Mr David Cozens, will make a tribute to Phyllis Goodliff whose generosity we have to thank for enabling the history and heritage of Huntingdonshire to be preserved, researched, better understood and enjoyed by all. If you want to see a list of those being presented with an award see our Goodliff Awards page. This year we have an amazing variety of projects, popular and academic, spanning many centuries, types of history, covering the length and breadth of Huntingdonshire. We are not asking recipients of awards to tell us about their projects specifically but after the official ceremony, there will be the opportunity to meet with all of the awardees and enjoy some light refreshment and drinks.
Do come and congratulate the successful applicants for these awards. Unfortunately, due to the available space in the Assembly Rooms this event is open to members only, Goodliff awardees and their guests.
Who can dispute that the English singing tradition is alive and well? Perhaps not since the choral societies of the 19th century have we seen such a growth in music-making with the voice in our communities. But, the rise within the decade of the British Military Wives choirs from that at Catterick Camp under Gareth Malone to currently 72 bases worldwide has been amazing. We are fortunate to have one of the best on our doorstep that has been rehearsing remotely this past year but is now back together, preparing to provide entertainment for our annual Christmas Social. Do come and hear something very special.
This year, mindful of cross-infection risks, we shall be providing all food and drink for refreshments. Our charge of £10 per person goes towards this, to the hire costs of the room and to a donation towards the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA).
The Social evening is only open to members, their families and guests. If you want to join us for the event please contact David Smith, Treasurer, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone 07886 640177. The cost is £10 per person.