Friends Meetings & Programme

The Friends hold ten meetings a year when the guest speaker normally covers a local history subject. The meetings are on the third Thursday evening of most months in the Archaeology Gallery at the Museum in Market Place, Basingstoke. The doors are opened between 7.10 and 7.30 with the meeting commencing at 7.35.

There is a short break after the talk when tea and coffee are available for a nominal amount and there is the opportunity to take part in our raffle for attractive prizes.

Nearby car parking costs £2.00 for the evening after 7pm.

Admission is FREE for Members. A limited number of Non-members are always welcome, except for the members only meeting in October, providing they have pre-booked by phoning the Museum on 01256 465902 (daytime) at least twenty four hours in advance. A small admission charge of £3.00 per person is payable at the door. This £3.00 can be used towards a full membership fee of just £12.00 for the year if you join the Friends on the night. This ensures that you will have a seat at all future meetings without the need to pre-book.

Our Next Meeting is:

Nov19 poster R0

FRIENDS OF THE WILLIS MUSEUM TALKS PROGRAMME 2020

December 2019 - no meeting

 

January 16th - Bill Fergie

Timber Framed Buildings of the Worthy Villages

Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust former chairman and Friend, Bill Fergie has been studying twenty-four historic timber framed houses in the Worthy villages, near Winchester. He will talk about the remarkable buildings he has discovered.

February 20th - Paul Chamberlain

Napoleon’s Lost Soldiers and Seaman – French Prisoners of War in Hampshire

Hampshire saw many thousands of prisoners sent here by the Duke of Wellington in Spain,garrisons from captured French coIonies and from the continuous navaI war. Paul tells about how and where these men were held in the area, who administered them, what their lives in captivity were like, and how and when they were reIeased.

March 19th - Nick Brazil

Castles in the Air - Bizarre Victorian Inventions

An entertaining and informative look at the bizarre world of Victorian inventions from the canine powered sewing machine to an aerial city suspended by balloons.

April 16th - Alan Turton

Arson in His Majesty’s Dockyards – the story of ‘John the Painter’

Alan will tell the story of  ‘John the Painter’. This man went under many aliases and was a renowned criminal with personal grudges, specialising in setting fire to docklands, including Portsmouth. One of the first home-grown terrorists, he ended up apprehended by the Bow Street Runners in Odiham.

May 21st - Nick Saunders

The Victoria Cross Awards to the Hampshire Regiment in WW1

Nick will talk about the three Victoria Crosses awarded to the Hampshires in the First World War and the astonishing acts of bravery involved..

June 18th - David Powers

The History of the Watercress Line

David will talk about the history of the picturesque railway from its opening in 1865 through to its closure and near extinction in 1973, and re-opening in stages as a heritage railway from 1977. He will explain how a rural station has become a preserved railway engineering hub and the connection to watercress.

July 16th - Derek Spruce

Dogmersfield Park

Derek Spruce, local historian and President of the Odiham Society will give a talk about the history of Dogmersfield Park. It was here that Prince Arthur with his bother Henry first met Catherine of Aragon. It was a major country house in the eighteenth century, the seat of the St John Mildmay family and had a landscape park of 1,000 acres. Since its sale in 1920 it has been a school, computer centre and is now a the only Four Seasons hotel outside of a large city.

August - no meeting

 

September 17th - Malcolm Isted

A Place Apart - Park Prewett Hospital

Park Prewett Hospital was a psychiatric hospital which operated from 1917 until 1997. Malcolm will talk about its history and the experiences of those who lived, worked and were treated there.

October 15th - AGM and Guest Speaker

 

November 19th - Diana White

The Suffragettes including local Suffragette Dame Ethyl Smyth

We welcome back Diana White to talk about the suffragette movement and its local connections. She will compare the non-militant and the militant approach that was followed by ladies in their ambition to gain ”Votes For Women”. Dame Ethel Smyth, who lived in Camberley, then Woking was a friend of Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst. When visiting Ethel, they practised stone throwing on Woking Heath.

December - no meeting

 

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