Tuesday, 15 May 2012


I am happy to tell you the Rev. Robert Sanday will be taking over this blog as from today, so it is now over to the Rev. Robert.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


In November 2010 the local vicar, Robert Sanday, asked for my help in starting a historical society.  We talked about it and I said I would give the scheme my support and take on the job of Secretary, but only until the date of the first annual general meeting, scheduled for May 2012.

The Society is now well established.   I have arranged a programme of talks up to and including December of this year and my job is done,  so at the first AGM, held on 10 May, I stood down as Secretary and as a member of the committee.

I will be keeping in touch with the Society and the Rev. Rovert Sanday - who was unanimously re-elected as Chairman - has my full support, but the Society is grown up now and can go its own way, which appears to be a path taking it along purely local history and not the broad horizons once visualised and which I personally favoured, but if that is what the people want then that is what they will be getting.

I will not be going far away as I am currently involved in sounding out the feasibility of a Southampton branch of the Military Historical Society,(of which I am a member),  have been asked by a couple of local ex Scouts (I also am an ex Scout)  if there is any possibility of a local 'Gilwell Reunion' later this year - it has found favour with a few ex Guides and I rather like the idea.

 I am  the local representative for SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Families Association), so I will still be around.   You don't get rid of me that easy.

I do not know where we go to with this blog as I do not see anybody else coming forward to keep it up.  For the time being I will leave it open and perhaps add to it from time to time as news of the Lords Hill and Lords Wood Historical Society comes my way.

Then again, if Southampton City Council go ahead with some ideas they are kicking around and do start a social group at Manston Court, then I just might hi-jack this blog and point it in that direction if I get involved there.  Just have to wait and see how it goes.

It has given me great satisfaction to have played a major part in getting the LHS to where it is now, but it is time for others to take over and go forward from here.  I wish them well.

John Gurney
13 May 2012

Sunday, 29 April 2012


For reasons I know not why, I am unable to access the part of the blog programme which allows one to edit a posting, so I will deal with it as an 'Amendment'
In the programme for the rest of this year I scheduled myself to talk about 'Southampton - the Gateway to the World' in October.   Scrub that out please and under October read: "To be advised"
This is because I want to keep in reserve a programme I can throw on at short notice in the event of any last minute foul up, which ties in very nicely with the possibility of managing to persuade an interesting speaker to visit us in October.....more about that in due course.

Another thing I would have liked to correct was a typing error right at the end of the December spiel, but there it is I have been caught out by not being able to edit what I have typed, something I usually have to do several times.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


10 May           First Annual General Meeting

14 June           'Southampton Football Club'.   A talk by Dave Juson, BA (Hist). Official historian of The Saints.

12 July            'A Hampshire Policeman'.   By Jim Brown who started as a constable at Shirley Police Station, Southampton,  and patrolled his beat by bicycle when Lordshill was still an agricultural area.  This promises to be a highly entertaining account by one whose book about it has been published, and signed copies will be on sale at the meeting.

9 August          A production by the son of one of our members, whose family was involved in helping Jewish people  escape from Germany during WW2.

13  September   'The Canals and Waterways of Hampshire'.    A talk to be given by Robert Sanday.

11 October       The Port of Southampton, by John Gurney

8 November       On the closest date we could get to Halloween.  'Hampshire Ghosts' by Robert Sanday,  with many thanks to Richard Felix for pernmission to use his DVD 'Hampshire Ghosts' during this presentation

13  December     'Under the Queen's Colours'.     The prize winning author Penny Legg will talk about her latest book, 'Under the Queen's Colours'.......the stories of men and women who have served in the armed forces since the coronation of the Queen.    Signed copies of Penny's book will be on sale.

John G. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012


A totally absorbing talk on the history and work of Ordnance Survey by Mr, Geoff May, not only an outstanding authority on his subject but also a brilliant speaker who is going to be a hard act to follow.

I have always been a great admirer of the efficiency of the Ordnance Survey organisation, but never did I even begin to understand just how efficient and ahead of their time they are.

Just a small example: Fifty years or so ago I realised the squares on the maps I used so often were smaller than the 1" to the mile scale of the map.  I just accepted it without knowing why.  Never did I realise the squares of the National Grid are in kilometers - Ordnance survey having been years ahead of everybody else in predicting the future lay with metric measurements.

The sheer genius and brilliance of the Ordnance Survey organisation leaves one filled with awe, and is a subject well worth further study.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The History and Story of Ordnance Survey

This logo is reproduced here by kind permission of Ordnance Survey, Southampton

We in Southampton are justly proud of the fact Ordnance Survey have their headquarters based in our city and I personally take great pleasure at the sight of their offices whenever I pass them,  as I am reminded of so many happy days in my far off teen-age years, when I hiked for miles and miles around the country, always with a 1" to the mile Ordnance Survey map as my guide.

From the map, by looking at the contour lines,  I could see that in another two miles along the B road I was travelling on I would see the tower of a church on the horizon, with the promise of a spectacular view from there.   Whatever the situation, it was all there in greater detail; than any photograph could ever show.

I sought the answer to how such great detail could be drawn so accurately, and I learned how - about two hundred years ago - the whole of the country was divided up into triangles, using compass bearings, measuring chains, walking the ground, and old fashioned arithmetic, and from this triangulation maps were made.  It is a truly fascinating story of  a brilliant achievement.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I watched on TV a documentary film about how those two hundred year old calculations were checked a short while ago.   This time they used the very latest, 21st century, state of the art equipment.

The result of this new, very hi-tech survey, after covering the entire country, came out to within inches of those two hundred year old calculations.  A magnificent tribute to the high standards maintained from the very start by Ordnance survey, and carried on today into the digital age.

The subject matter of our meeting for Thursday 12 April is perhaps best described in the following words

Founded amidst the threat of Napoleonic invasion in the 18th century, Ordnance Survey is now a key part of the modern day digital information economy.    Geoff May, who retired from Ordnance Survey in March 2008 and was latterly their Parliamentary Engagement Manager, charts the progress of the organisation over the last 220 years.

From the comments I am already hearing from members, this promises to be a highly popular meeting, and one we are very much looking forward to.

John G.

Friday, 9 March 2012


The meeting on Thursday 8 March was a resounding success, bringing with it the feeling that after all the hard work that has gone into it over the past year, this Society is now firmly established and can only go from strength to strength.

First  there was the speaker, a local man,  Ryan Cooper, an ex regular soldier of the Royal Engineers who gave a brilliantly planned and delivered talk on the Mulberry Harbours of WW2, from the planning stage, through to construction and how they fared once deployed, with some interesting anecdotes involving  Gosport and other local sites  relevant to the story.

A man who really knows his subject and clearly no stranger to public speaking.  Thank you Ryan, we look forward to a return visit from you and a talk on 'Hobart's Funnies' - the armoured vehicles such as flail tanks which played a prominent part in the D-Day landings.

On top of this success there is our new meeting place on the ground floor of Manston Court.  Absolutely perfect in every way, and of course the terrific support from the ever helpful staff of Manston Court, to whom we say a great big 'Thank you'

With a super programme lined up, how can we go wrong.

OK guys, we have 'Arrived'  Let's celebrate.

John G