Smethwick Local History Society

April to December 2017

PLEASE REFER TO THE PROGRAMME FOR TIMES OF MEETINGS AS THESE MAY VARY.
WINTER: DOORS OPEN 2.00PM, SOCIETY BUSINESS 2.30 FOLLOWED BY OUR MAIN SPEAKER AT AROUND 2.50PM
SUMMER EVENINGS: DOORS OPEN 7.00PM, SOCIETY BUSINESS 7.30, GUEST SPEAKER 7.50PM.

2017

12 April - 7.00 for 7.30pm
"The Festival of Britain" - Janice Andrews will describe the background to this 1951 event, the post-war politics and history leading up to it and its effects on Britain since. She describes her presentation as a 'patchwork quilt' of fascinating facts.

10 May - 7.00 for 7.30pm
"The National Memorial Arboretum - perhaps a surprising fact is that only 60% of the memorials are military, the other 40% being civilian. Jim Brown will tell us about the 'happenstance' origins of the Arboretum and the stories behind some of the monuments, such as that being constructed to commeorate Pegasus Bridge.

14 June - Meet at Baptist Church at 10.15am for 10.30 departure
Visit to the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire
Following our introductory talk last month, we have arranged a coach trip to this important national venue near Burton-on-Trent at a cost of £10 per head. The 150-acre site is an evolving, maturing woodland landscape featuring 30,000 trees which are a living, growing tribute to those who have served and continue to serve our country, together with a vast collection of memorials. There is a ‘road train’ which moves at approximately 3mph and has a voice-over describing every garden it goes past. We have also been offered the services of our own personal guide, Mike Colton. Mobility scooters at £5 per day or wheelchairs at no extra cost are also available. Refreshments are available in the fully licensed Pavilion Lunch Room where a daily roast, dish of the day, homemade soup and desserts are served, or in the Café Bar which offers jacket potatoes and sandwiches. There is also a gift shop and toilets.

19 July - 2.15 at Lightwoods House
Visit to Lightwoods House, Tearoom and Shakespeare Garden
Julia Morris, the Project Manager, will be our guide to this recently-completed renovation project. She will show us round the house and Shakespeare Garden, where we hope our roses will be blooming, and also make a short walk to the new pool which is already home to a family of ducks. Afterwards we can sample the delights of the Edwardian tearoom!

9 August - 2.15pm
Smethwick Canal Pumphouse and James Watt's Steam Engine Foundations at Bridge Street
This is a chance to visit these buildings which are not normally open to the public. John Hopkins of The Friends of Galton Valley and staff from Wednesbury Museum Services will open the Pump House for us to look round, followed by a short guided walk along the canal towpath to see the foundations of James Watt’s original steam engine. A payment of £4 per head for the The Friends of Galton Valley and Wednesbury Museum Services is payable on the day for the special opening of the buildings.
Please note that, unfortunately, there are no toilet facilities at either venue, the nearest being at Smethwick Library.

13 September - 7pm for 7.30
"A Forme of Cury" - No, nothing to do with curry! Jane Phillips will present a programme of what cookery was like in the time of Richard II. His favourite dish, apparently, was a type of custard pie which Jane will bring for us to sample. (A collection will be taken for SLHS’s nominated local charities).

11 October 2 for 2.30
"A Saxon Murder Mystery" - King Kenelm was believed to have been murdered and was later made a saint. Kenelm was a member of the royal family of Mercia living during the 9th century near a village known as “Kennelstowe” at Clent where the 12th century church of St Kenelm’s now stands. Mike Hall attempts to unravel the mystery of King Kenelm’s demise by considering the possible suspects, and exploring the facts and fiction behind the local legend.

8 Novembe - 2 for 2.30pm
Annual General Meeting followed by "Lest We Forget"
The poppies and the war memorials, the Cenotaph, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, and the two-minute silence, are all familiar as the emblems of remembrance. Mary Bodfish looks at how they came into being to remind us all of the loss and sacrifice of the First World War; both nationally and here in Smethwick – an appropriate topic for our November meeting.

13 December 2 for 2.30pm
Christmas Social followed by "From Comic Cuts to Viz - One Hundred Years of Comic Papers"
Ray Aspden will add merriment to the festive season by tracing the history of “comics” from their origins in the Victorian era as Comic Cuts and Penny Dreadfuls to what we all remember as The Beano and The Dandy. From his presentation, you will probably recognise such childhood literary heroes as Desperate Dan, Dennis the Menace, Gnasher and Lord Snooty. We hope you will all join us for our usual mince pie and glass of mulled wine afterwards.

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