meet every six weeks or
so, usually on a Wednesday
evening, at one of our members' houses.
At our meetings one of our number gives a talk on a historical subject
of particular interest to him/her for about forty minutes, then we have
a discussion about what we have heard.
We currently have fourteen members but new recruits are always welcome.
It is not compulsory to give talks so don’t be put
thinking that you will have to perform.
At each meeting we decide on a speaker, subject
and venue for the following meeting.
choice of topic is often not known until the meeting
actually takes place, as a group member will volunteer and then decide
what the subject matter will be.
Would anyone who would like to do a one off presentation to the
group on any historical event or person contact Pam Curley and a
suitable date could be agreed.
Historical Moral Dilemmas March
John Wesley and
Open Topics May
The Clans of the Western
Highlands and Islands of Scotland June
Richard III. July What Else Happened
in 1914. August
Report on January Meeting
Moral Dilemmas - prepared by Mike Humphris and discussed by
the whole group
This was a group discussion based on information provided by Mike
Humphris, who was unable to attend due
to ill health. Three examples were presented:
the killing of a German Commandant in Nantes in 1941 murder
or a legitimate act of war?
(2) Was the destruction of Dresden in February 1945 a legitimate attack
on a key railway and communications centre
or a crude act of revenge?
(3) Was the torture of Guy Fawkes sadistic retribution or a reasonable
and legitimate reaction?
These issues provoked a great deal of philosophical discussion, but as
is so often the case, it was almost impossible to come up with a
The talk on John
Wesley was very interesting, especially the information on the more
private side of his life.
It also covered the motivating force which led him to split from the
Anglican Church and the origins of Methodism.
Report on the
Each member of the group was asked to select any year of their
choosing, prior to 1938, and prepare a five minute talk on important or
interesting events of that year. The following years were chosen:-
1876, 1894, 1930, 1789, 1914, 1916, 1865, 1905, 1888 and 1934.
Some of the important events were Victoria becoming Empress, Instanbul
becoming Constantinople, first telephone line from England to
Australia, opening of the Manchester Ship Canal, William Booth founded
the Salvation Army, invention of Neooprene and the first US glider
Report on the
Derek Jones gave a very interesting power point presentation on The
Highlands and Islands of Western Scotland. The presentation
defined very clearly the area to which was being referred and started
as far back as the 7th century BC when the British Isles was overrun by
Celtic tribes. It covered the time of the occupation of Britain
by the Romans and the building of Hadrian's Wall to keep out the
marauding Scots and then how the Scottish families or clans, became
indigenous to particular areas of the western Highland and Islands.
Report on the
'For this meeting we watched a recent TV programme on Richard
III. Historically, he has always been portrayed as a very
unpleasant character and was believed to have been responsible for the
murder of the two princes in the tower. However, as more research
has been undertaken, many doubts have arisen as to whether he really
was as bad as the Shakespeare play would have us believe. This
programme put forth a number of other possibilities as to who may have
been responsible for the murder of the princes, given the politics of
the time, and it came up with some very believable alternatives: it
certainly led to a good discussion following the programme.'
Report on the
Due to the high level of coverage on the centenary of WW1 last year,
Terry thought it would be
interesting to look at other events of that year. The Suffragette
movement was very active in the early part of 1914, at which time it
became very militant: eight churches and the Home
Secretary's house damaged with explosives,
paintings slashed and protesters fighting with the police. Also,
prior to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, relations with Germany
appeared very cordial, trade was good and the German Ambassador had
been given an honorary degree at Oxford University. The much more
troubling situation for the British Government at the time was the independence
movement in Ireland.
However, at the outbreak of war the Suffragettes called a truce and of
course everyone's attention was focussed on the events in Europe.
Also, in 1914,
the Empress of Ireland sank in the St Lawrence with a loss of over
1,000 lives; Shackleton
set off to the Antarctic for the second time;
life expectancy for men was 49 and for women 53 and out of every 9 men
due for conscription to the army, only 3 were deemed fit. Had
Princip not assassinated Franz Ferdinand it is difficult to imagine how
very different everything would have been.