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

Thursday, 1 March 2012


A couple of weeks ago I made a comment in my favourite watering hole about our super climate here in Hampshire, enjoying beautiful sunshine whilst other less fortunate counties suffered appalling conditions.

Warming to my theme I explained to my bemused listeners that it was all down to the New Forest, the Isle of Wight, and the Downs, not that I think  they have anything to do with it, creating updrafts and sending all the nasty stuff north of Watford.

Then a rustic voice said  "It be because of Fawley Refinery, it's 'er sending up all that warm air that does it"

That shut us up.   We had never given that a thought.

Then somebody said they if we took the ferry to the Isle of Wight we would see steam rising  from off the sea, from where hot water was pumped out from Fawley, but he had been in the pub a couple of hours so we were not sure about that one.

But given the prevailing wind being from the south west, which I think is bottom left, then it could just add up.

Whilst there has been a refinery on the site since about 1925, the present extensive works at Fawley date from the early 1950's, at which time stories abounded around here as to how agricultural workers could abandon their £3 a week job (and extra cheese ration at harvest time) and go stamp out welders sparks for £15 a week at Fawley.  I still don't know if that was an urban myth as my application for a job a 'Stamper out of Welders Sparks' was never answered.

Although I never made it as a Stamper I do know that even in the 1940's we enjoyed a mild climate in Hampshire, in spite of the thick snow of that vicious winter of 1947/48, whilst others to the north of us fared much worse.  Not long after that I departed to distant parts - all the way to London, which was really foreign service in those days, with a slow train from Wickham, and change at Alton,   although I did come back for a while in the 1950's.

After much wandering around this world I returned to my beloved Hampshire in 2004 and have observed since then that in spite of some rough weather in less favoured counties to the north of us,  we still do pretty well.

How much of our favoured status is due to Fawley Refinery?    Are they part of  our weather protecting screen ?  I don't have a clue about that,  so I have written  to them asking if they could point us in the direction of somebody who can ome along and talk to us about it, and the history of Fawley Refinery - where they get the crude stuff from and what they do with it.

On a visit to Kwinana Refinery in Western Australia in 1959,  not long  before it opened for business, I was introduced to a thing called a 'Catalytic Cracker'.  A massive tower through which  the good oil percolated, sorting itself out on the way down, or something like that......possibly even into paraffin  for all I know - the stuff which filled our lamps in the Hampshire I once knew.

 'Catalytic Cracker'.   I just love the way those words roll off the tongue  and would be delighted to know Fawley has some of that.  I do hope they find somebody to come and talk to us.

John G

Saturday, 25 February 2012


Having shelled out for an annual subscription to 'Hampshire, the County Magazine' I received my first copy of it today.

This was a particularly nostalgic moment for me, as during my years in Zimbabwe I did at times manage to buy a  copy of the magazine from a second hand book stall in Hillside, Bulawayo, to whom the copies were donated by a local person in aid of the NSPCA who ran the bookstall.   I never did find out who that person was, and I would so much have liked to thank them for my link with 'England, home and beauty'.

Now I have my very own, paid up front, brand new copy of a beautifully produced glossy magazine which does our county proud, but I did not buy it for its good looks.   I have bought it for the ideas it gives  for future presentations and perhaps contacting people to come and talk to us. There is a wealth of good material within the pages of that magazine, so watch this space.

On the subject of future talks I am happy to tell you that David Judson, BA, historian of Southampton Football Club will be talking to us at out June meeting.  This promises to be a very popular occasion and one I think we might make an 'event' of.

John G

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


The 13 February talk on the history and work of SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Families Association) was well received in spite of the problems your scribe had in getting the DVD equipment to work as he wanted it to......never mind, as from the March meeting we will be using our own DLP projector operated from a lap top computer.  One click of the mouse and that's it, next picture on the screen.  Job done.

We have been able to purchase the DLP projector out of a grant very kindly made to us by Southampton City Council, which means that with the equipment owned by the Chairman and the Secretary, and their making it available as required, we can go anywhere and are no longer dependent on the facilities of the TV Room at Manston Court.

It has all come together at the right time, for as we continue to expand our numbers we simply cannot fit into the TV Room any longer, and as from the meeting on Thursday 8 March we will meet in the large lounge on the ground floor of Manston Court.  To get the use of this room we have had to change our meetings from the second Monday in every month to the second Thursday.  Sadly a few of our members will not be able to make it on a Thursday, but others welcome the change.  We win some, we lose some.

For the February talk we were fortunate to have with us Bruce Hartnell, Secretary of Southampton Division of SSAFA, and a mine of information on the work of the Association.  Thank you Bruce.

SSAFA gained two new recruits from the meeting:  Tony, who had already expressed his interest of training as a Case Worker with SSAFA, and Ryan who will be joining me on the SSAFA 'Public Awareness' side of things.  Both are a very welcome addition to the staff of SSAFA.

The talk on SSAFA was in fact a trial run, in which our members were the guinea pigs for the first presentation of a talk to be given at various locations in the future, the first of which will be in 2 - 3 months time to 50 -60 welfare and social workers who could well have people in their care who would benefit from the assistance of SSAFA.

The team for giving the presentations will be:

Bruce Hartnell.  Secretary of SSAFA Southampton Division
Rev. Robert Sanday, our Chairman.
Dr. John Gurney, our Secretary and Lordshill Representative for SSAFA
Ryan Cooper, who will work his magic at setting up display features.

Thank you guinea pigs, you made a lovely audience.

Going back to the January talk on my experience as a Volunteer Worker on community based projects in Zimbabwe:   Following my posting a spiel about it on this blog I was surprised and delighted to receive an email from Dought, who lives in Dingani Village, Dete, Matabeleland.  Right where the school I talked about is situated.

During the talk I screened a picture of the Bush Pump situated one kilometer away from the school, and from which water is carried by hand to the school, or to be more precise, in containers balanced on the heads of the ladies....it has always been a source of amazement to me how they manage  such balance..

Dought tells me piped water has now been made available to the school, but not on a regular basis and they desperately  need a 5 000 litre storage tank at the school.  It will cost about £500 for a suitable tank to be purchased in Bulawayo and transported to the school where Dought will do all that is necessary to fit it into place, which will be just another of the many jobs he does for the community, as does the Painted Dog Society, for which Dought is a very fine ambassador.

We are endeavouring to assist Dingani School over that water storage tank, but it being outside our remit to accept donations for it, then the search is on to find the right people in this country to help.

A 'Painted Dog' is an African Wild Dog which some twenty years or so ago neared extinction in Zimbabwe and has been brought back by the great work done by the Painted Dog Society, based on Hwange National Park.

A Painted Dog (African Wild Dog) Which is not really a dog at all.
Long, long ago, back in the dawn of time this was a dark haired 'dog'
who got splodged with white paint and just for the fun of it he stuck his tail in the paint pot.
(Well, that's my version of it, which you are not expected to believe)
I took this photo around 1992 when sightings of them were still rare, and there was this fellow sitting by the road side.  I drove very slowly past so as not to disturb him

Perhaps it is our name which leads some people to think our business is purely local history, confined to Lords Hill and Lords Wood.  This is not so, as it is our aim that whilst retaining a strong Hampshire flavour , our talks will encompass a very wide field loosely related to history in all its forms, and to take such talks to sheltered housing units in our area as we work with Southampton City Council in their programme for the alleviation of the social isolation of the elderly, and to assist in community based projects wherever and whenever we can, which will include projects with which our members are, or have been associated, and in which we would like to encourage them to again take an interest.

Perhaps we should change our name to 'The Lordshill Society'

Next meeting will be in the lounge on the ground floor of Manston Court, Lordshill, on 8 March, and will be given by Ryan cooper.  The subject will be The Mulberry Harbours of WW2 in which Southampton played a leading part - perhaps THE leading part, I don't know, but I will find out on Thursday 8 March.

John G.

Monday, 30 January 2012

The stories of our members

The talk on Zimbabwe has had a knock-on effect as we now find we have somebody in our midst - whose identity will be revealed in due course - who had a great, great, great grand father (I hope I got the number of 'greats' right) who was a surgeon in Wellington's army.   I do hope we will be allowed to cover this story as  I  would love to put that together on a DVD or memory stick, and promise I will resist the temptation to show pictures of the interior of a surgeon's tent after a battle.

Another good story is that among our members we have one whose family were responsible for the administration and upkeep of Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton, for many years, and they lived on site.  From what I have heard this promises to be a fascinating story I know our members will want to hear, so I will have a word with the boss (The Rev. Robert) and see where we can slot that one in.

The programme now looks like this:

February:              The history and work of SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association)
This is being presented as there are people in our area who qualify for assistance from SSAFA, but are probably not aware of it.     We hope our presentation will help spread  the word.

March:                  The Mulberry Harbour's of WW2, in the construction of which it was Southampton who played the leading role.      This talk was originally scheduled for January but had to be  postponed due to the indisposition of the speaker.

April:                   The Story of Ordnance Survey.   The brilliant organisation whose head quarters are right here in Southampton.   I was amazed and greatly impressed to learn from a  TV  programme that a few years ago an exercise was carried out using the very latest equipment to check on the accuracy of measurements carried out - what was it,  a couple of hundred years ago -  using compass bearings, measuring chains, and good old  fashioned arithmetic as they built up a pattern of measured triangles covering the whole  of the UK, from which the Ordnance Survey maps were constructed.    And what did the  highly scientific instruments of the 21st century show? If you don't already know I think you can guess, and  our speaker will be telling us more about that, although it should be noted he was not one of those who tramped the land with a measuring chain all those years ago.

May:                    The first Annual General Meeting, for which notices will be sent out to all registere  members by the end of February,     The meeting will be preceded by a slide show of  what we have done during the past year.

  Members of the public are welcome at this meeting, but only registered members will be   allowed to vote.
   A note about 'Registered Members':  
   Upon completion, an 'Application for Membership' form  it is submitted by the Secretary  (That's me) to the committee for their approval.  Needless to say it would be a very rare thing for the committee to reject an  application, such is the high calibre of our members.       No membership fee is charged by our Society  simply an invitation at our meetings  to make a small donation towards running costs

 Perhaps the story of that great, great grand dad who served in Wellington's army.
 Perhaps some anecdotes and a good story about Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton
 Then again, we have another member who has a good story to tell about hiding and moving to safety Jewish people during WW2.
 At the AGM in May we will be asking people if they are getting the sort of programme they wanted when they completed a questionnaire on the subject  in March 2011, the answers to whcih have been our guide to date.     We  have a lot of new members since then,  so time to get an update on what is wanted.

Oh, and by the way - we have two 'field trips' planned, one in June to the western part of the New Forest, and one in September to Portsmouth Dockyard.   We hire a coach for these outings and a highly essential element of them is to ensure an interesting pub is handy, one that serves a good lunch.




Tuesday, 24 January 2012

'Experience and history teach' (G.W.Hegel 1770-1831)

I am told that following my talk about voluntary work in the rural areas of Zimbabwe somebody - who attended one of our meetings for the first time - asked. "What has that got to do with local history?"

The answer is "Absolutely nothing".   And whilst local history is a major consideration with us we are not confined to it.  To quote from the Society's constitution:

'The aims and objects of the Society shall be to encourage the study and practice of history and allied subjects, which shall include matters of historical interest, both indigenous and international...........'

We operate over a very broad field in accordance with the information obtained when, at our first meeting in March 2011 we asked members to complete a form which asked 'What do you want us to talk about'.  The input covered a wide range, from military history, tracing of ancestors, to the history of Southampton Football Club.  We do recognise there is a strong interest in local history, and have some talks lined up which will take care of that.   We are also keen to develop our members interest in Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton, of which more in due course.

Another of our aims is to record the experiences and stories of our members, so when at short notice  we were stumped for a speaker at our January meeting I agreed to start this off, by throwing something together and talking about my experiences as a volunteer worker in Zimbabwe which included, but not exclusively, working with Scouts and Guides who came out from the UK to work on clinics and schools in rural areas - way out in the bush. a long, long way from the towns and cities.

I talked about how I was the 'Man on the ground' when the Scouts and Guides of Cleveland, U.K. built and equipped two double class room blocks at Dingani School, Dete, Matabeleland North, and among other things showed a picture of the bush pump, about 1 km from the school, which was its only source of water.

Although I am not too sure how many of our members here in UK read this blog,  I do know it is read in South Africa and in Australia. (I must remember to thank my daughters), and as a result of my posting about Dingani School on this blog I received an email from a gentleman whose home is right in Dingani Village, and who works on a major project in Hwange National Park in addition to doing much to help the local community.  A fantastic contact and I must ask his permission to use his name on this blog.

What I have learned from our Dingani contact is that the school now has piped water on an irregular basis and needs £500 to install a 5 000 litre water tank so as not to be reliant on that bush pump about three quarters of a mile from the school.

Just by discussion with others  we already have five people willing to donate to the cause before  even advertising  it, but  not having anything to do with history it is outside the remit of this Society to handle the donations, nor are we a registered charity, so we cannot handle the donations through our own bank account.   We are in contact with outside sources and will 'make a plan'

This will serve to illustrate how we are keen to assist our members in developing and furthering their personal interests in whatever subject it happens to be.   This is in line with our seeking to help alleviate the social isolation of elderly people in our area.   We want to hear about their experiences and interests, and get them involved again.

Not everybody is willing, or even able to stand in front of a meeting and hold forth on their pet subject.  The way we will handle this is to talk to them in advance, get the story down on a digital voice recorder, then write it up into a 'script'  (Our chairman, the Rev. Robert is very good at reading from scripts, improving on them as he ad-libs), put some pictures on a DVD, and 'interview' the member at a meeting.  We are an informal Society and very relaxed and friendly in our approach to things.

I do know of one of at least two of our members who have some interesting stories to tell about the old days in Hampshire, which I hope will appease those who ask 'What has it got to do with local history'

By the way, I took a line out of context as a header for this bit of blog'   What Georg Hegel said was:
"What experience and history teach is this - that people and governments never have learned anything from history.....".  
  I rest my case.

John G

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

News of Dingani School

It was great today to receive an email from Zimbabwe with the latest news on Dingani School, sent to me by a gentleman  who had read of us on this blog and had recently visited the school.

Dingani  School is still setting a high standard in education  and now has 300 pupils and 8 teachers, with the Cleveland class rooms being put to good use.

 Piped water has now been taken to the school, a great improvement on the 'Bush Pump' I photographed at the school a few years ago, where water was pumped by hand from underground into whatever containers were available,  but  I assume that pump is still in use on the days when piped water does not get through as it is not delivered on a daily basis, and the big drive now is for the school to try to raise enough money to have a storage tank installed.  I have asked for some more information on that.

Hwange District will always have a special place in my heart and it is great to get an update on Dingani School.  Thanks Dought.

The Bush Pump at Dingani School.
The metal pipe forming a bar was pumped up and down - one can just see a hand on it at the end of the pipe, and water brought up from below.

John G.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Supported by Southampton City Council

I am delighted to tell you we have received a grant of money from the Southampton City Council Community Chest, which will enable us to buy the equipment we need to be able to take our presentations to other sheltered housing units in the area.

It also means we are much more flexible in our choice of meeting place, no longer being reliant upon the well equipped TV Room at Manston Court, which our membership has now grown too big for.  We have no wish to leave Manston Court, particularly after the way we are so well looked after by the staff there;  and are working on that one.

We are now allowed to display the Southampton City Council Logo, and the narration 'Supported by Southampton City Council'.    It is something we are proud of.

John G

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Full House

 Monday 9 January  saw such a good turn-out of people for our meeting the room was packed to capacity. I would like to think they flocked there to hear me talk, but as I was a last minute substitute as a speaker, then I have to admit they were there to hear my good friend Ryan Cooper talk about the Mulberry Harbours in WW2, a presentation now scheduled for the March meeting.

In spite of what must have been a big disappointment at Ryan not being there,  we did get three new members sign up, so at least I did nor scare everybody away, for which I am most grateful, and a big welcome to Lynda, Vivienne, and Joan.  (Edited to add:  Welcome also to Mavis - completed form now received by post)

Fact is we have outgrown the capacity of the TV Room at Manston Court, and at a committee meeting later this month we will have to urgently consider our options.

With the grant of money now being made available to us  by the Southampton City Council Community Chest we will, among other things, be able to purchase our own DVD projector and will not be reliant on the equipment in the TV Room at Manston Court.   This means we will be more mobile and able to take our talks to other sheltered housing units in Lordshill, which is one of the objectives of the Society - helping to alleviate the social isolation of elderly people.  It also means we can look for bigger premises for our monthly meetings.

It would be great to be able to stay at Manston Court, and perhaps we will be able to 'make a plan', but the day best suited to us is a Monday, on which day the main lounge at Manston Court is used for other activities.  Robert is looking into that one and I am weighing up Kinloss Court as an alternative.

Kinloss Court has a number of advantages, and now we will be better equipped it is a strong contender as an alternative venue.  We will see what we can come up with and will bounce it off our members to get their opinions.

The February meeting will be on the history and work of SSAFA (Solduers, Sailors, Airmen, and Families Association) at which we look forward to the presence of Bruce Hartnell, Secretary of SSAFA Southampton Division.

Bye for now

John G.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dingani School, Dete, Matabeleland

In the blurb about the revised programme  for 9 January I showed a picture of Dingani School, Dete.  If you would like a pre-view of the children at that school - with the completed and painted Cleveland classrooms  in the picture -  log on to Dingani School, Dete, for a You Tube production.

Sorry to have had to move the talk on the Mulberry Harbours to March, but that was due to circumstances entirely beyond our control, and, well never mind - we still have that one to look forward to, delivered by a speaker who really knows his subject.


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Programme for 9 January

We now have it sorted.

Some pictures screened and a short discussion on whether or not Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing were the first to climb to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, or did Mallory get there first in 1924.

Then will be a talk, given by me, on my years as a volunteer worker - the 'Man on the Ground' for projects in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, which to a great extent involved working with groups of Scouts and Guides who came out from England for three weeks at a time and worked on community based projects way out in the bush, mainly on building and equipping school class rooms, and on clinics.

 Dingani School, Dete, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe
The two classroom blocks  nearest camera were built and equipped by the Scouts and Guides of Cleveland, U.K.
  Photo copyright John Gurney 2001

We are in the process of receiving a grant from the Southampton City Council Community Chest with which we will, among other things, be able to buy our own portable DVD projector and a digital voice recorder.  This equipment will enable us to seriously get out into sheltered housing complexes in Lordshill, taking talks to  residents and recording their stories.    I will start it off with a spiel about Matabeleland.

I was given the answer as to how to finish  the programme when I was in the Lordshill Library and spotted a book on the history of Heinz Baked Beans*, which brought back a memory of a few months in 1960 when I was in London, on leave from Australia (I never did get back there - I went to Africa instead).  I had taken a temporary job with a company who operated barges on the River Thames, and with those barges they moved hundreds of tons of raw beans on a daily basis, I continue to be amazed at the sheer volume of all those beans.  So it was with some interest I picked up that book and soon became absorbed in the fascinating history of the Heinz company.

On getting home I telephoned the publishers of the book, Octopus Publishing Group, explaining who we are, and please may we have permission to use material from the book.   An exchange of email followed and we were readily given permission to use copyright material, for which we are very grateful.

I have prepared a talk on the history of the Heinz Company and if there is time we will run it on 9 January, if not it will keep for another time......oh, and by the way, there are some excellent recipes in that book for using Heinz Baked Beans, and the book is available at a very reasonable price from Amazon.  I lost no time in buying a copy, which will cheer up my breakfast beans on toast no end.


*'Heinz Baked Beans.  Recipes, History, Trivia and More'
Copyright: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2006

Change of Programme

A quick note to tell you the talk on the Mulberry Harbours has been rescheduled to the March meeting.  I am in the process of putting together a new programme for Monday 9 January from material I keep handy for just such a late change.

Happy new year.