Meetings or visits are generally on the second Tuesday of the month, and may be half a day for a talk, or a full day for a visit. We aim for a relaxed atmosphere, and technical discussions are normally very limited.
Most visits start mid-morning and include lunch at local cafe or pub in a convivial atmosphere!
The new event calendar for 2020 is below:
Following each event, a summary will be published in the panel below, to show you what you either enjoyed or missed !
For more details contact Tony Samson (01483 282936).
LATEST T&IAG ACTIVITY REPORT
On September 9th, we had the pleasure of watching a YouTube video of an interview with Dr Peter Shaw on the UK Space Industry. Peter had previously hosted T&IAG on a tour of the Surrey Satellite Technology Company based in Guildford, but is now a lecturer at Kingston University who have a Rocket Science lab. After the video Peter was on the Zoom call to answer a number of very interesting questions.
On August 21st, David Lush took on the first half of a 'World Cruise' delighting us with wonderful photographs and stories of the places that he visited in 2013. The first stop was Tenerife and then crossed the Atlantic for visits to Brazil. Unfortunately they were refused entry to Buenos Aires as they were planning to visit The Falklands, which in the end they didn't due to bad weather. They continued to Chile and a view of Easter Islands 'statues' and the onto the Pitcairn Islands, where he left us; we eagerly await Part 2.
On 16th July, Peter Bennett-Davies treated us to a walkthrough of 4 Railway Museums via video and photographs. The first Museum was the National Railway Museum which in 2013 hosted the ‘Great Gathering’ where 6 A4 locomotives had been brought together. A4s were a class of streamlined 4-6-2 steam locomotive designed by Nigel Gresley for the London and North Eastern Railway in 1935. Their streamlined design gave them high-speed capability as well as making them instantly recognisable, and one of the class, 4468 Mallard, holds the world record as the fastest steam locomotive. As well as Mallard, which is on permanent display, there were 2 A4s from outside the UK, one from Canada and one from USA.
The second Museum was one in Ljubljana, Slovenia which contained old steam locomotives, turntable and many interesting exhibits from Slovenia.
The 3rd Museum was at Shildon, near Darlington, which is an offshoot of the NRM in York. It was the location of the first passenger steam railway and has some very interesting exhibits.
The final Museum is at Acton, West London, and is an extension of the LT Museum in Covent Garden. It is essentially the storage overflow and therefore contains many exhibits relating to the history of LT, including buses, trains and many old station signs.
On 2nd July, Tony Elliott gave us an illustrated talk on Trinity House and their ship THV Patricia. Trinity House is the official authority for lighthouses in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Trinity House is also responsible for the provision and maintenance of other navigational aids, such as light vessels, buoys, and maritime radio/satellite communication systems. It is also an official deep sea pilotage authority, providing expert navigators for ships trading in Northern European waters.
Tony had been able to book at week’s trip aboard the Patricia and enjoyed an eventful outing. It is surprising well fitted out and the accommodation was excellent along with the food and drink!
The voyage had certain tasks planned but it is weather and emergencies dependent and some items were not achieved due to having to shelter from a major storm. However Tony did capture on video the rescuing and repair of a major buoy that had been dragged down the Bristol Channel by a ship!
An excellent talk and adventure and one that we will not personally experience.
On 18th June, Mark Blowers gave us a talk on the Nieuport 17 French WWII fighter plane. Mark investigated the history of this plane and its service because he was building a model. He gave us an illustrated talk on the structure of the plane and then a fascinating story of one of its pilots, Charles Nungesser. He suffered multiple injuries during his service, but survived the war to attempt the crossing of the Atlantic; unfortunately he was ‘lost’.
On 4th June, Tony Millership gave us an illustrated talk of his cycling trip to Bulgaria.
This was particularly interesting as it is not a country that is on most of our ‘bucket list’. It gave a good insight into the countryside and it was obvious about the lack of mechanisation in their equipment; horse and carts were very evident. Tony managed very good photographs despite the poor weather.
There was an interesting episode about the group’s failed attempt to rescue a cow from a ditch!
On Thursday 21st May we had our first virtual meeting using Zoom and there were 12 attendees. The subject was London Olympia, discussing the architecture, interesting facts and events over the years. Although it was presented by Tony Samson it was a presentation that Des Samson had given 5 years ago to the Bookham U3A Architectural History Group, A short discussion agreed that we would plan to do a virtual meeting every two weeks, volunteers permitting, until 'lockdown' is over.
On Friday 14th we met at West Horsley Methodist Church Hall to view a DVD about the building and installation of the BP Miller Oil Platform in the North Sea.
The Miller field is situated 270km NE of Aberdeen and production started in June 1992 and produced some 345 million barrels of oil until 2007. The Miller platform consists of an eight-legged tubular steel jacket of 18,000 tonnes and an integrated topside structure taking the total weight to 28,000 tonnes.
John Franklin, who was responsible for the team that designed and built the ‘jacket’ gave a brief introduction and the Q&A at the end was particularly interesting as in the audience were two ex-BP people and somebody who dealt with ‘flare towers’ an integral part of the rig.
On Tuesday 21st we met at West Horsley Methodist Church Hall for a talk by Bob Bryson, chair of Surrey Industrial History Group, on ‘Mechanisation of Agriculture’. This was a fascinating look at the progress made over time from the original manual tools used for farming up to the modern tractors and combine harvesters. It involved the usual inventions by individuals such as Ferguson and then the ‘takeovers’ by large companies like Ford and now Japanese companies.
One notable fact is that we still have enough land to be self-supporting in crops but choose to import rather than grow our own.
On Friday 20th, 31 people met at West Horsley Methodist Church Hall for a short DVD on the Geevor Tin Mine history. A mine that worked from 1911 until 1986 when the collapse of tin prices caused closure due to lack of government support. However in 1993 it opened as a Heritage Centre and is well worth a visit.
It was followed by a presentation of the proposed 2020 programme of events.
The majority then adjourned to the King Billy pub and were joined by some partners for a Christmas drink and chat.
On Friday 6th, 15 of us drove to the Mid-Hants Railway for a Christmas Dinner on their Steam Train service. We met for coffee and then joined the train for a 3 course lunch while the train travelled to Medstead and back to Aylesford 3 times! The service normally goes to Alton bu delayed bridge repairs have curtailed the service. However this had no affect as we enjoyed our food, drink and the views.
On Thursday 17th, 13 of us visited the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. As we arrived there was a major storm but luckily it stopped in time for us to make the coffee shop!
After coffee we joined our guide for a ‘highlights’ tour of the Museum and the remains of the Mary Rose now fully stabilised. The guide, Jan, was excellent and managed to answer all of our questions, and this really is an amazing experience. The wreck itself is illuminated and tableaux are presented on the decks. The relics are displayed in brilliantly lit cabinets with good explanations.
This Museum is to be recommended and you can also visit other parts of Portsmouth Dockyard at an additional cost.
On Wednesday 31st July 15 of us went to Combe Mill on the Blenheim Estate in Oxfordshire.
Combe Mill is a Grade II* Listed Building and is the original sawmill and workshop of the Blenheim Palace Estate. This working industrial museum offers visitors a good insight into what work was like in Victorian times on a rural estate (https://www.combemill.co.uk/). As can be seen on their website, the site has a collection of clocks, engines and a waterwheel as well as a Forge and Pattern Shop.
We started with coffee and very nice homemade cakes and then went inside the Grade II* listed building for a Social History talk. This explained the history of the estate and particularly the sawmill driven by a waterwheel and beam engine which serviced the estate from the 1850s. It went through various guises until electricity arrived and made the equipment redundant. In 1969 volunteers rediscovered the beam engine and opened the mill to the public. In 2011 funding was provided to conserve the building and improve facilities.
After the talk we had a homemade lunch and then tours of the various facilities and the beam engine was fired up for us. The volunteers were extremely knowledgeable and happy to talk and demonstrate their crafts, particularly the clock expert.
We then had tea and homemade cakes before tackling the M25!
The surrounding buildings have been converted to offices and Blemheim do not advertise the mill in their brochures. This means that the level of visitors is low but I would encourage people to visit as it is an interesting and well run piece of history.
On Wednesday 5th June 11 of went to Oldland Windmill in Sussex.
Oldland Mill was built in 1703 and saw service for over two hundred years grinding wheat and grain for local communities. It was a focus for local celebrations during Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.
It was eventually abandoned in 1912 and by the 1980s it was in a sorry state. Only one pair of sweeps (the Sussex term for sails) remained, much of the cladding had either fallen off or was rotten, and the brick roundhouse was falling down.
Inside, the Mill was largely complete. Its remote location had probably saved it from vandalism.
Restoration began in 1980 but the first 15 years were spent stripping the mill to its bare bones.
The main post and windshaft which hold the sweeps were left in place and the rest of the structure built around them, taking care to use as many of the original timbers as necessary.
Construction of the new sweeps began in 2005. As with the rest of the Mill, these were built entirely by hand by skilled volunteers under the guidance of an experienced millwright. All four sweeps, each weighing about half a ton, were finished in 2007.
We were taken round by 2 expert guides who explained the workings of the Mill and a brief history.
We concluded the visit with a very large lunch at the Thatched Inn!
As usual there are pictures on the U3A website.
On Friday 17th May 31 of us celebrated the 10th anniversary of T&IAG with drinks and a buffet at the King Billy. It was a chance to join fellow members and thank those who started the group and reminisce about various talks and outings. There were 5 founder members present and everyone thoroughly enjoyed a glass of ‘bubbly’ and excellent food and service..
On Monday 1st April, 28 of us went to Bentley Priory which was the HQ for Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The HQ was based in a beautiful Grade II* listed country house near Stanmore.
After coffee in a wonderful, volunteer-run cafe, we were split into two groups for a guided tour of the house.
This focussed on the important stories of ‘The One’– Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, ‘The Few’ who took to the air to defend our skies and ‘The Many’ without whose tireless work on the ground victory would not have been possible and discover how technology, leadership and courage forged victory allowing Britain’s darkest hour to also be her Finest Hour.
It started with a brilliant film as if we were in his office during the key period and then continued around the displays of the people and squadrons involved. We then went into the recreated operations room where we were told how the teams worked from using rudimentary radar and manual observations to identify possible incoming enemy aircraft. This info was fed into HQ and analysed and plotted on a map and once verified passed to the relevant sector command that controlled the airfields.
After lunch on the terrace overlooking the Italianate Garden, 19 of us set off for the Battle of Britain Bunker at Uxbridge.
The bunker housed RAF Fighter Command’s No.11 Group Operations Room throughout the Second World War, the room from which most of the RAF’s side of the Battle of Britain was co-ordinated. The Operations Room, in reality, a series of rooms on two levels some 60 feet (18 metres) underground, is reached via 76 steps. The plotting room with its large map table, squadron display boards, balloon and weather states, is exactly how it was when Winston Churchill visited on 15 September 1940.
We sat around this table and were treated to a very informative talk by a guide.
On Wednesday 13th March the postponed talk on ‘LT Underground Art’ was done by John Dodd. He had been volunteering at the LT Reserve Collection at Acton for 10 years where he runs the Buses & Trains tours as well as Art & Posters. He also works cataloguing maps and Publicity. T&IAG had visited Acton a few years go, but we agreed that we hadn’t met.
John prefixed his talk by saying that he was not very knowledgeable about Art but this proved not to be the case. As he went through sample posters over the years he treated us to an insight into some of the more obscure ones and we were surprised at the famous artists whose work appeared. He injected humour and
anecdotes into the talk and everyone agreed that he should be brought back to do another talk.FEBRUARY 2019
On Friday 1st February the planned talk on ‘LT Underground Poster Art’ had to be postponed due to the speaker being snowed in. Instead the attendees were treated to free coffee and biscuits and a viewing of John Betjeman’s ‘Metro-Land’ DVD.
On Friday 14th we had our final meeting of the year that consisted of a talk on a railway museum in Java, with a video, by Peter Bennett-Davies, This was followed by a review and discussion of the programme for 2019 which is pretty much completed and is on the T&IAG website. I then gave a brief talk on London Underground stations designed by Charles Holden that included views of 25 Broadway the original HQ, visited by myself and Des.
We then adjourned for our Christmas meal at the King Billy to be joined by some partners and 37 (yes 37!) of us had an excellent lunch served by very friendly and efficient staff.
On Thursday December 6th, 7 of us went to visit the Westcott Stationary Engine Museum near Dorking.
This had been brought to my attention by a U3A member who went on the Heritage Open Day. Due to illness of Tony who created the Museum, it seemed that this would be the last year that it would be opened. We went to see if we could provide future assistance. However we discovered a very good support system and offered our help to them if required in future.
We then just enjoyed looking at the exhibits in the company of the owner and his ‘helpers’. It was an incredible collection which is a result of years of painstaking work to restore and research the heritage of some of the engines. In addition to the engines there were other notable features; a horse-drawn lawn mower and an ancient plough. Another highlight was an air raid shelter that had been recently strengthened and with added lighting!
We enjoyed coffee and cakes, courtesy of Celia, and we will be back for a full visit next year.
On Monday 29th October a group of us met at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre for coffee prior to a talk from a volunteer at the Guildford Hydro attached to the YA Mill Studio Theatre. The talk gave the history of the inventor of the turbine, James B. Francis, that is installed at the Hydro. He also showed photographs of one of the 32 turbines of the same type, but a much larger scale, installed on the Yangtze River. We then had a guided tour of the Hydro which was very informative.
We then set off up the hill to the Albany for a well deserved drink and lunch.
After a good and efficiently served lunch we set off up an even bigger hill to The Spike where we were met by David our guide dressed appropriately for the master of a Victorian Workhouse. The story of the Workhouse was extremely grim in the way that people were treated when they stayed for one night but David and his ‘partner’ TJ, managed to inject some humour. We had a video and a tour of the ‘cells’ etc.
The Spike is open to the public on Wednesday and is well worth a visit.
On Thursday September 6th, 14 of us went to the Wandle Industrial Museum in Mitcham. The museum was founded in 1983 with the mission is to preserve, store, and interpret the heritage and history of the industries and people of the River Wandle.
The once industrial River Wandle flows through the London Boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth. It rises in both Carshalton and Croydon before its path takes it into the Thames at Wandsworth.
With a fall of 38 metres (126ft) and a length of 19 kilometres (12 miles) it is a very fast flowing river. This made it suitable to power watermills, which it has done since Roman times. A wide range of different industries used water power in their manufacture.
We were given an introductory talk which was very interesting and informative and none of realised how important the River Wandle had been. At one point it was said to be ‘the hardest working river in the world’!
Some of the industries were leather making (Connollly whose leather is in the Houses of Parliament and Rolls Royces), fabric manufacture and dyeing (Libertys and William Morris) and snuff making.
Once we had completed the talk we walked along London Road in Mitcham (very noisy) until we went down to the River Wandle where within minutes it was all peace and quiet. We continued along the river past old mill houses, through Ravensbury Park until we reached Morden Hall Park , a green oasis in the city run by the National Trust, but free entry to all. This tranquil former deer park is one of the few remaining estates that used to line the River Wandle during its industrial heyday. The river meanders through the park creating a haven for wildlife. The snuff mills, which generated the park's income in the past, survive to this day. The western mill has been renovated and it's now used as a learning centre.
We visited the Archimedes Screw which produces power for the Stable Yard café but it was not operational due to low water levels.
On July 12th, 36 of us set off by coach on a glorious sunny day to the Canal Museum at Stoke Breurne, on the Grand Union Canal near Milton Keynes. We arrived early and went to the Boat Inn, which is on the canalside, for pre-arranged coffee. A volunteer from the Canal & River Trust had been arranged to give us an introductory talk over coffee which was extremely informative and interesting. People then had free time until lunch to visit the Canal Museum, which was set up in the 1960s and contains a collection of memorabilia, films and displays, or walk along the towpath which had very informative ‘storyboards’. After an excellent lunch at the Boat Inn we split into two groups for a trip along the canal to Blisworth tunnel. This tunnel is 3,075 yards (2,811 meters) long and is the longest wide, freely navigable tunnel in Europe (it’s wide enough for two narrowboats to pass in opposite directions) and the third-longest navigable canal tunnel in the UK and the ninth-longest canal tunnel in the world and about 143 feet (43m) below ground level. Originally the boats were ‘legged’ through the tunnel by men lying on boards and pushing the boat through by pushing their legs against the tunnel wall. We only went a few yards into the tunnel, but could see the tiny pinpoint of light at the other end.
A thoroughly enjoyable day at a very well run and peaceful area of the country and to be recommended.
Photos are on the T&IAG section of the U3A website.
On June 7th, 12 of us visited Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire. Laverstoke Mill is recorded as far back as the 1086 Doomsday Book and was originally a corn mill and became a paper mill manufacturing banknotes for the British Empire in 1724. until 1963.
Bombay Sapphire's heritage begins in 1761 when distiller Thomas Dakin purchased a site in Warrington, England, with the intention of distilling gin. In 1831, the Dakin family purchased a still, and adapted it to separate the exotic botanicals from the neutral grain spirit, capturing the flavours of the botanicals in the vapour - an artisanal distillation process now known as Vapour Infusion, and still faithfully used by Bombay Sapphire today.
In 2010 Bombay Sapphire set about transforming a 300 year old paper Mill. Working with Heatherwick Studio (of Olympic Park Cauldron fame), Bombay Sapphire sympathetically renovated Laverstoke Mill into a state-of-the-art sustainable distillery to showcase the unique Vapour Infusion distillation process and the ten exotic botanicals that go into every drop of Bombay Sapphire. The botanicals can be explored in their natural state in the stunning Glasshouses designed by Heatherwick Studio which are a perfect juxtaposition to the surrounding Georgian and Victorian architecture.
The tour started with a talk on the history of the site and one of our members found photographs and a printing plate of his uncle!
The second part of the tour was of the distillery which included the smell and touch of the botanicals used in the secret production process. As part of this we all chose the flavours that we liked and that led them to personalise our gin cocktails which we had in the bar as the final and most important part of the tour.
A fascinating and extremely well executed tour and I would recommend anybody going on a public tour.
We then adjourned to a local pub for our usual convivial lunch.
On May 17th 14 of us went on a site visit to Battersea Power Station arranged by Peter Bennett-Davies. This is a site that most of us see regularly over the years and at last there is progress on its re-development, As it is a working environment I had expected to be shown to a viewing platform but we were all kitted out with hard hats, boots, gloves, goggles and hi-viz jackets and escorted into the depths of the site. The scale of the development is eye-watering as it is not just the old power station but large areas of land around it. Phase 1, which is a set of apartments facing the Thames, is occupied and some of the shops and restaurants are opened. However the major project is the power station itself. The inside has been gutted, but the tiling in the turbine hall will be cleaned or replaced as will the windows. The chimneys have been rebuilt with concrete and original colour paintwork and one will have a viewing lift inside it.The brick work is being cleaned but not too much and 2 million extra bricks are on order!
This area will be retail on the ground floor, then offices, mainly Apple, and then apartments.
Access to the Thames Path will be opened alongside the development and a major area will become a public park.
An amazing £9 BILLION project, to be completed by end of 2020, that we felt privileged to have seen first hand so thanks to Peter for arranging.
We are not allowed to load any photographs of inside the site so there is one of us in full regalia outside the power station.
On Thursday May 3rd eleven members went to Studo434 (Classic Cars) and DeHavilland (Aircraft Museum)
We were then allowed to wander at will amongst the hundreds of exhibits including to sit in (or on) them under the watchful eye of a guide..
Numerous Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin (Plus the world’s largest collection of post war Lagondas ) share space with Austin , Morris, Ford and mid market cars like Jaguar, Humber and Rover and foreigners from Ferrari to Trabant and bubble cars – and exotics like Delorean and the Daimler Dart and some interesting motorcycles – and none more interesting and extraordinary than the 48 cylinder motor cycle (see photo).
The collection is fast expanding and has now overflowed Studio 434 (a one time Green Line bus garage) into another larger and brand new building nearby. Our tour included a visit to this amazing structure with four huge floors, high security, high tech lighting, and lifts capable of holding the largest American cars.
After lunch we proceeded to nearby DeHavilland Aircraft Museum.
Museum Curator Alastair Hodgson ( a one time resident in East Horsley)welcomed us and led a fascinating and generous 2 hour tour of his domain. Salisbury Hall is an ancient moated Manor which became the De Havilland design office as World War 2 broke out. The Museum was established there in 1959.
We heard of Sir Geoffrey De Havilland’s interest in insects and how that led to the naming of early De Havilland aircraft (EG Tiger moth and the Mosquito).
We heard about the restoration of three WW2 Mosquitos- these wooden aircraft were the fastest RAF planes of their time and could be configured as light (and fast) bombers, as fighters or for photo reconnaissance. They entered service in 1941 and nearly 8,000 were built in various places around the world.
We heard about plans to restore a Sea Vixen and a Sea Venom and greatly to expand the museum during the coming year.
The group photograph was taken in front of the fuselage of a Comet 1 airliner a potential world leader for Britain but sadly flawed by lack of knowledge of metal fatigue
The visit finished with a quick look at some De Havilland civil aircraft from the 1960s and 70s.
The event this month consisted of a talk by Pablo Haworth on Bailey Bridges that was attended by nearly 30 people. The Bailey bridge is a type of portable, pre-fabricated, truss bridge. It was developed by the British during World War II for military use and saw extensive use by British, Canadian and US military engineering units.
A Bailey bridge has the advantages of requiring no special tools or heavy equipment to assemble. The wood and steel bridge elements were small and light enough to be carried in trucks and lifted into place by hand, without requiring the use of a crane. The bridges were strong enough to carry tanks. Bailey bridges continue to be used extensively in civil engineering construction projects and to provide temporary crossings for foot and vehicle traffic.
Pablo showed photographs of local Bridges including a pedestrian bridge across the A316 by Twickenham Stadium.
The talk included a brief film showing the construction of a Bridge and clearly showed how the sections are manhandled into place.
After the talk there was a brief presentation about the plans for 2018, highlighting the possible talks and visits.
The event this month consisted of a talk by Alasdair Macmillan attended by over 20 people. The talk was about how the invention of the jet engine had affected society. Alasdair had done a huge amount of research to put together the talk, although his background had been at Bristol Aero Engines. He covered the history, technology, environment and future and was extremely well received.
After the talk there was a brief presentation about the plans for 2018, highlighting the possible talks and visits. Details of these will be published as the events are firmed up.
16 of us went to The London Postal Museum and Mail-Rail which had opened earlier this year. We started at the Museum with a guided tour that showed us the highlights of the exhibits, including the history of Royal Mail. We then had time to walk round the Museum to review the exhibits in more detail before moving across the road to Mail-Rail.
Mail-Rail is an underground line which was built 90 years ago - to transport post 22 miles across London.
It is dug 70 feet below ground and joins the mail sorting offices in Paddington and Whitechapel.
The line opened in 1927 and was the first driverless electric railway in the world. It closed 75 years later.
At peak times, the post trains would run every five minutes - ferrying up to 4 million parcels and letters across town every day. When the service closed the tunnels remained open and maintenance had continued to be performed. As part of the creation of a Museum in London, new trains have been constructed to take a driver and passengers. This has now been made into a 20 minute experience where you are taken through some of the tunnels with a commentary. At certain points of the journey the train stops in a ‘station’ and stories are projected onto the walls.
This was a fascinating experience; albeit a bit cramped in the trains!
Photographs are on the T&IAG section of Photo Gallery on Horsley U3A website.
A select 2 of us went to the Old Oak Common Railway Depot Open Day! This was the last opportunity to visit the site which was a significant railway shed on the Great Western Railway. Obviously all the buildings that I used to visit regularly on my bicycle, including a roundhouse, have long since gone and part of the original site is now the Hitachi maintenance facility for Crossrail.However as part of this significant occasion they had brought together the history of GWR from steam through various diesels, the High Speed Trains that run today and the next generation.
The weather was superb and we had a thoroughly good time.
Photographs are on the T&IAG section of Photo Gallery on Horsley U3A website.
This month’s outing was to Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar which is a restoration facility dedicated to putting Spitfires back in the air. To date it has restored six Spitfires to flying condition, with several more projects waiting their turn. As well as up to 13 Spitfires on site they have a 1940 Hawker Hurricane and Battle of Britain veteran Messerschmitt 109 (which is worth £millions!) on view. 15 of us were given a guided tour by Rod Newman, who is one of our members and a volunteer there. It was an extremely interesting tour illustrated by Rod’s personal experiences in flying. 3 of our members chose to pay the extra to sit in a Spitfire, which was a great photo opportunity.
We also had an opportunity to watch while a Spitfire took off with somebody who had paid (£2550!) for a 20 minute flight.
After the tour some people also took the opportunity to go to the nearby Chapel which has a memorial to the people killed in the Battle of Britain and other conflicts. We then adjourned to a local pub, The Old Jail, for an excellent lunch.
Photographs are on the T&IAG section of Photo Gallery on Horsley U3A website.
This month’s outing saw 42 of us travelling to Mapledurham House and Mill near Reading. We started with a coach to the Crown Plaza Hotel at Caversham Bridge for coffee and this was taken outside by the River Thames. We then boarded our boat for a very entertaining guided 45 minute trip up the Thames to Mapledurham. We disembarked and went into Mapledurham House for a Ploughman’s Lunch. After lunch we were given a guided tour of the Elizabethan House and Mill. The Mill was particularly interesting as it has, as well as the Watermill for grinding corn, an Archimedes Screw. The Miller’s talk was particularly entertaining with the history of the Mill that originally had two wheels and the reasons for the Screw, which unfortunately, due to low water levels was not operating. This massive screw provides power for the estate and also a feed-in tariff that provides an income to maintain the Mill.
We then adjourned to the tea room and, due to the fine weather, either sat outside to enjoy the views or visited the Church, which was not part of the estate. However the Anglican Church does contain an aisle reserved for the Estate family who are still Roman Catholic.
Photographs, courtesy of members, are on the T&IAG section of Photo Gallery on Horsley U3A website.
This month's’ outing was to the Jill Windmill in Sussex and 14 of us were treated to an excellent guided tour by two volunteers.
We started off with coffee at the South Downs Heritage Centre which contained a small but very interesting museum of gardening tools.
We then proceeded to the Mill which is a 19th century corn windmill located at Clayton, West Sussex and is a traditional working corn windmill in the South Downs National Park. The vast majority of the restoration work and the ongoing maintenance of the Windmill has been carried out by unpaid Society Volunteers, who have met at the Mill on virtually every Saturday since January 1979.
It has been restored to working order and now produces stoneground wholegrain flour on an occasional basis. The vast majority of the flour [which is sold to visitors] is ground from local wheat, grown in Sussex.
It was a very windy day and on the top floor you could feel the Windmill moving!
After the Mill we had an excellent lunch at the Jack & Jill Inn in Clayton. After lunch some people took the opportunity to view the house in the shape of a castle that is over the entrance to Clayton Tunnel on the London to Brighton line and was featured on Great Railway Journeys. In addition some people went to Clayton Church to see the 12 Century wall murals.
Photographs are on the T&IG section of Photo Gallery on U3A website.
October 2016 to March 2017
October - CANCELLED
This was to be a visit to the Great Western Railway Museum, STEAM, in Swindon as it is the 175th Anniversary. This was to include a guided tour by a member of the local historical society of the whole site which contains the original buildings now used as a Designer Outlet as well as STEAM.
A number of people had to withdraw and it was decided that it was not reasonable for the volunteer guide to host the number of people.
Since then I visited this Museum on my way back from Bristol in March.
John Leader gave a fascinating talk on 'Engineering Product Development' which identified a product developed and sold by his family’s company to improve the process for looms.He had examples of the various stages of the product development and explained to the layman how it worked with the aid of diagrams.
A draft programme for 2017 was presented and this is now on the web-site with dates where appropriate.
This was followed by 34 members and partners enjoying a Christmas Lunch in the King Billy.
Peter Bennett-Davies gave a talk on his trip through the Panama Canal. This included a video of his actual journey and a video of a very large ship crashing into the side of the lock and nearly crushing one of the tractors used to stabilise the ships on their way through.
Peter also gave a presentation on the history of the building of the canal and all the issues relating to landslides, bankruptcies and delays. The most amazing fact was the number of deaths nearly all from disease rather than accidents.
17 of us went to Tangmere Military Aviation Museum near Chichester on a perfect spring day. After coffee in the NAAFI, of course, we split into 2 groups for a guided walk through the major exhibits. As usual the knowledge and personal experiences, often from relatives, of the guide really enhanced the tour. There were many examples of important aircraft and exhibits relating to some of the aviators, e.g. Douglas Bader and Guy Gibson which brought history to life.
Photographs are on the T&IAG section of U3A website
May to September 2016
We visited Surrey University which had been organised by Alasdair Macmillian.
We had a tour of the Ion Beam Centre and one of the machines will be used for cancer treatment, the new Optical Telescope, which will be open to the public in certain evenings. We also had a tour of the wind tunnels used testing turbulence and hence structure of wings etc. and had links with BA and McLaren. Also the tunnels are used extensively to model wind flows around buildings – and where the air is heavily polluted they attempt to model how that pollution is dispersed by the wind.
The final visit was to the 5GCI facility which is the world-leading research centre working on 5th Generation communications – housed in a magnificent new building.
In June, 16 of us went to Newhaven Fort, which had recently been featured in Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys programme on BBC. There had been a site here for our defence since Napoleonic times, containing guns of various numbers and size. However a major upgrade was carried out in 1864, under Lord Palmerston’s direction, for fortification against the French, with the design that can be seen today. The fort was used during the two World Wars, but taken over by Lewes Council in 1962 when the Army left.
The Fort has been updated and the accommodation blocks and casemates now contain many exhibitions of various aspects of warfare, including an air raid shelter experience. Despite the appalling weather, it was a very interesting visit.
8 members of T&IAG joined Fetcham IHG in a visit to Amberley Chalk Pit.
25 members of T&IAG were joined by 11 members from Fetcham IHG on a visit to the London Water & Steam Museum in Kew. The heart of the museum is its collection of magnificent steam pumping engines. These comprise the Cornish engines, which are in their original engine houses, and the rotative engines, which have been collected by the museum trust from pumping stations across the country. We started with a guided tour of the Water part of the Museum that covers the history of water, including the solving of cholera and the types of pipes and sewers. As we had over 30 people they had agreed to steam the second largest engine, the 90 inch Engine. This is the largest working beam engine in the world. It was built in 1846 by Sandys, Carne & Vivian of Copperhouse Foundry, Hayle, Cornwall and was the first engine built in Cornwall specially for waterworks duty. It was a magnificent sight and sound when it started and we were all amazed by the sheer size and power.