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Past
Events and Talks

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The Kiss, a Windsor story by Hugo Vickers 

A ZOOM talk

7pm, Wednesday 1st September 2021

Hugo Vickers is a writer and broadcaster, who has written biographies of many twentieth century figures, including the Queen Mother, Gladys – Duchess of Marlborough, Cecil Beaton, Vivien Leigh, a study of Greta Garbo, Alice – Princess Andrew of Greece, and his book, The Private World of The Duke and Duchess of Windsor was illustrated with pictures from their own collection. Mr Vickers’ book, The Kiss: The Story of an Obsession won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction.

The Abbeyfield Society Supported Housing, 
and Sir Nicholas George Winton MBE 

A talk by Janet Fevrier, Chairman of The Abbeyfield Society

ZOOM meeting at 7pm Wednesday April 7th 2021

Janet will talk on the Abbeyfield organisation and how Sir Nicholas Winton (after whom the Abbeyfield in Dedworth Road, Windsor is named) became involved.

Janet is General Manager and CEO, currently General Manager of The Abbeyfield Society an overarching position covering all the homes of the society.

Her career has varied, working both within the private and public sector. She held the position of Supervisor and Service manager at Scandinavian airlines systems. 

Sir Nicholas George Winton MBE was a British banker and humanitarian who established an organisation to rescue children at risk from Nazi Germany. Born to German-Jewish parents who had emigrated to Britain at the beginning of the 20th century, Winton supervised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II. Winton found homes for the children and arranged for their safe passage to Britain. This operation was later known as the Czech Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”).

His work went unnoticed by the world for nearly 50 years, until 1988 when he was invited to the BBC television programme That’s Life!, where he was reunited with several of the children he had saved. The British press celebrated him and dubbed him the “British Schindler“. In 2003, Winton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for “services to humanity, in saving Jewish children from Nazi Germany occupied Czechoslovakia”. On 28 October 2014, he was awarded the highest honour of the Czech Republic, the Order of the White Lion (1st class), by Czech President Miloš Zeman. He died in his sleep, in 2015, at the age of 106.

James Holland

Wednesday 10th March – 7.00pm –  Zoom Meeting

James is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian, writer, and broadcaster. The author of a number of best-selling histories including Battle of Britain, Dam Busters, Burma ’44 and Normandy ‘44. He has presented – and written – many television programmes and series for the BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic, History and Discovery Channels. 

Sicily '43

THE FIRST ASSAULT ON FORTRESS EUROPE

This is the story of the biggest seaborne landing in history that was one of WWII’s most crucial campaigns. Based on his own battlefield studies in Sicily and on much new research over the past thirty years, Sicily ‘43 offers a vital new perspective and will fill a major gap in the narrative history of the Second World War.
Codenamed Operation HUSKY, the Allied assault on Sicily on the 10th July 1943 remains the largest amphibious invasion ever mounted in world history, landing more men in a single day than at any other time. That day, over 160,000 British, American and Canadian troops were dropped from the sky or came ashore, more than on D-Day just under a year later. It was also preceded by an air campaign that marked a new direction and dominance of the skies by Allies.
The subsequent thirty-eight-day Battle for Sicily was one of the most dramatic of the entire Second World War, involving daring raids by special forces, deals with the Mafia, attacks across mosquito-infested plains and perilous assaults up almost sheer faces of rock and scree.
It was a brutal campaign – the violence was extreme, the heat unbearable, the stench of rotting corpses intense and all-pervasive, the problems of malaria, dysentery and other diseases a constant plague. And all while trying to fight a way across an island of limited infrastructure and unforgiving landscape, and against a German foe who would not give up.
It also signalled the beginning of the end of the War in the West. From here on, Italy ceased to participate in the war, the noose began to close around the neck of Nazi Germany, and the coalition between the United States and Britain came of age. Most crucially, it would be a critical learning exercise before Operation OVERLORD, the Allied invasion of Normandy, in June 1944.

Here is the link to order a signed copy of the book from the Chilterns Bookshop website.
https://chilternbookshops.co.uk/product/sicily-43-james-holland/

Thursday 3rd March 2021 – 8.00pm – Zoom Meeting

The Berlin Wall and the East German border  – a talk by Alan Clare

Alan left the Royal Air Force as a Wing Commander specializing in Air Traffic Control. His experience covers expertise in air traffic management, operations (both air traffic control and air defence), policy, safety management and system procurement. 
Alan became a Rotarian in 2006 and has been President of the Ascot Club twice and an Assistant District Governor for 5 years and is currently working on a project supporting the Ministry of defence and joined Adelard in September 2010. 
The talk on 3rd March is about the Berlin Wall and the East German border with West Germany. 
To understand why the Russians, and their East German surrogates, built a fence and minefield from the Baltic to Czech to divide Germany and then a wall around part of a city you have to look back to 1945 and the end of the Second World War. 

Hatred played a large part in those events and Alan Clare’s talk will illustrate how it all came about and then almost disappeared overnight”

Hackney Carriages in Windsor – Past & Present   by  Rebecca Seear

ZOOM Meeting –  3pm –  Thursday 4th February 2021

The concept of a ‘Hackney Carriage’ (what we now call a cab or taxi) dates back to the first licences issued by Oliver Cromwell in 1654.

ZOOM Meeting –  3pm –  Thursday 7th January 2021

Three Men in a Boat from Kingston to Oxford – a talk by Richard Poad 

Richard Poad’s interest in history and architecture began when he was at school. He studied Modern Languages at university, where he also learned to fly – which led to a 33 year career with British Airways. He keeps a narrowboat on the Thames at Cookham, and has navigated many of the canals and rivers of England over the last 35 years. He has been Chairman of Maidenhead Heritage Centre since its inception and was responsible for the Air Transport Auxiliary exhibition which opened in 2011. He is delighted that the centre has become an essential part of Maidenhead’s cultural life and gives over 30 talks every year.

Grandma Flew Spitfires

a forgotten story of courage, skill and sacrifice.  Our most popular talk – gets 5* ratings every time!

ZOOM Meeting – 3pm -Thursday, 3rd December

Richard Poad


Richard Poad’s interest in history and architecture began when he was at school. He studied Modern Languages at university, where he also learned to fly – which led to a 33 year career with British Airways. He keeps a narrowboat on the Thames at Cookham, and has navigated many of the canals and rivers of England over the last 35 years. He has been Chairman of Maidenhead Heritage Centre since its inception and was responsible for the Air Transport Auxiliary exhibition which opened in 2011. He is delighted that the centre has become an essential part of Maidenhead’s cultural life and gives over 30 talks every year.

Britain’s Lost Baroque Palace – Charles II’s Windsor Castle
Barbara Askew

ZOOM Meeting, 3pm – Thursday 5th November 2020

Barbara grew up in Eton with Windsor Castle as part of her daily view. She graduated with an honours degree in History and taught History for 15 years before qualifying as a Blue Badge Guide. Barbara is a lecturer for the Arts Society, an examiner and course director on Blue Badge Guide training courses and an acknowledged expert on Windsor Castle, for which she has been the Blue Badge Guides’ Site Liaison Representative since 1990.
Barbara was the only Tourist Guide to be invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and can offer special wedding-themed tours of Windsor Castle and St. George’s Chapel as well as historical and royalty-themed tours of Windsor Castle and Town.
Barbara is also the coordinator of tours of Eton College.

The Savill and Valley Gardens
John Anderson, Keeper of the Gardens, The Crown Estate

ZOOM Meeting– 3pm Thursday 1st October 2020

Many thanks to John for giving such an interesting talk with all the wonderful pictures to illustrate it. Many of the members attending will know the gardens well and they will have had their eyes opened learning of the history and background work that makes these gardens so iconic.

To learn that a National Collection of not only one, but several different, species of plants from various parts of the world and hearing of the planning for the future and upkeep to care for these plants and trees was especially interesting.

Heathrow & what makes it work so smoothly

Alan Clare – RAF Air Traffic Controller

ZOOM Meeting – 8pm – Wednesday 2nd September 2020

Alan left the Royal Air Force as a Wing Commander specializing in Air Traffic Control. His experience covers expertise in air traffic management, operations (both air traffic control and air defence), policy, safety management and system procurement. He now has 17 years’ experience in safety management particularly in safety critical areas. He has been an Independent Safety Auditor for 7 years for a variety of projects (aircraft, air traffic management, C2 systems and radars).  He is a graduate of the RAF and NATO staff colleges, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Alan became a Rotarian in 2006 and has been President of the Ascot Club twice and an Assistant District Governor for 5 years and is currently working on a project supporting the Ministry of defence and joined Adelard in September 2010. 

Wednesday 4th March 2020 at 8pm Upton

Malcolm Lock on “Daniel Gooch – Locomotive and Telegraph Engineer”.

Sir Daniel Gooch, 1st Baronet was an English railway locomotive and transatlantic cable engineer and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1865 to 1885. He was the first Superintendent of Locomotive Engines on the Great Western Railway from 1837 to 1864 and its chairman from 1865 to 1889

Thursday 6th February 2020 at 3pm Gardeners ‘Hall

Canon John White on “The Grotesques of St George’s Chapel”.

The College of St George has been working in partnership with the City and Guilds of London Art School in establishing an imaginative carving programme which is producing exciting new grotesque sculptures for St George’s Chapel. 

The replacement sculptures aim to reproduce the scale and detail of the original mediaeval conception whilst allowing students the opportunity to be inventive in designing new carvings. The new grotesques replace heavily eroded Victorian grotesques which themselves replaced medieval carvings of unknown design.

Thursday 9th January 2020 at 3pm Gardeners’ Hall.     

Richard Poad on “The Dunkirk Little Ships – 80th anniversary”. 

The Little Ships of Dunkirk were about 850 private boat that sailed from Ramsgate in England to Dunkirk in northern France between 26 May and 4 June 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo, helping to rescue more than 336,000 British, French, and other Allied soldiers who were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk during the Second World War.

Thursday 5th December 2019 at 3pm Gardeners’ Hall.

David Jenkins on “The history of the Order of St John, the Order in England and its connections with the Royal Family and members of the Order of the Garter”.

The symbol of the Order, a white eight-pointed cross on a black background, is an international symbol of first aid. It is known as the logo of St John Ambulance, emblazoned on the sides of ambulances and on the uniforms of its highly trained volunteers. However, the eight-pointed cross was also worn on the robes of those first Brother Knights in the hospital in Jerusalem, and it has remained unaltered through the centuries, as an enduring emblem of humanitarian care, and of a charity that dates back almost 1000 years.

Thursday 7th November 2019 at 3pm Gardeners’ Hall.    

Fergus Bain on “Fire Insurance Signs and their relevance to social history”. 

Fire insurance marks are metal plaques marked with the emblem of the insurance company which were affixed to the front of insured buildings as a guide to the insurance company’s fire brigade. These identification marks were used in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in the days before municipal fire service were formed. The UK marks are called ‘Fire insurance plaques’.

 

Tuesday 27th August 2019

Commemoration of the 200th anniversary

of the birth of the Prince Consort in 1819

Holy Trinity Church, Windsor

Talk about Prince Albert
Music Composed by him
Talk about his association with Holy Trinity
Reception
 

The Military Knights of Windsor claim to be the oldest military establishment in the Army List. Formed by King Edward III shortly after the Battle of Creçy, the foundation consisted of Knights who, having taken their private armies to France to fight for the King, had been taken prisoner by the French who demanded heavy ransoms in return for their release. This often meant selling up their complete estates in order to raise sufficient money.

ROYAL ALBERT INSTITUTE MUSIC EVENT Wednesday 5th June 2019

Our popular Royal Albert Institute Annual  Music Event will be held in the Flitcroft  Room at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park.

This year the concert will feature the exciting young quartet Improviso and more details can be found below.

 

Fatima LahhamElin WhiteFlorence PetitJohan Löfving

Improviso is a dynamic young quartet who met at the Royal College of Music in London and have been exploring historically informed improvisation and 17-18th century chamber music together since March 2017. Since then some highlights have included performances at St James’s Piccadilly, the Wigmore Hall (as one of the Hall’s Chamber Tots ensembles), the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh, the Brighton Early Music Festival, and in a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme.

 

In 2018 they enjoyed two residencies, at Snape Maltings and at the Cultural Centre in Ambronay, France as well as performing in Pavia, Italy, as part of Ghislierimusica’s Barocco Fuori festival, in the Utrecht Early Music Festival as semi-finalists in the International van Wassenaer Competition 2018, and in the Festival d’Ambronay, France. In December 2018 they embarked on a mini tour of their new Christmas programme, taking it to the York Christmas Early Music Festival, and to venues in Oxford, Cambridge, and London. Improviso were selected as a beneficiary of the emerging project 2017-2018 (Emerging European Ensembles), were Brighton Early Music Festival Young Artists 2017-2018, are currently Live Music Now artists, and were selected for the Stroud Green Festival’s Young Ensemble Scheme.

In 2019 Improviso looks forward to a busy performing schedule in the UK and abroad, including concerts at St Martin’s in the Fields, St James’ Church Piccadilly, the London Festival of Baroque Music at St John’s Smith Square, the Buxton Festival, and the Brighton Early Music Festival.

Wednesday 3rd April 2019 at 8pm

Upton House School, 115 St. Leonard’s Road, Windsor SL4 3DF

Talk: The Fight for Cookham Commons 1790-1852. Keith Parry (Maidenhead Heritage Centre).

After thirty year’s research experience in the agrochemical industry, Keith ‘retired’ to develop his interest in history gaining a Diploma and then a M.Sc. in English Local History at Oxford University. He is a voluntary researcher for the Maidenhead Heritage Centre giving public lectures to various societies on the Centre’s behalf. He also answers queries to The Heritage Centre from the public.
He engages in academic study, giving lectures at Oxford University and to historical societies. His first history research publication appeared as part of The Historical Atlas of Oxfordshire.  He is now working on the history and maintenance of a number of early wooden bridges over the river Thames.

Wednesday 6th March 2019 at 8pm

Upton House School, 115 St. Leonard’s Road, Windsor SL4 3DF

Talk: The Windsor Estate Paul Sedgewick (Deputy Ranger)

Paul Sedgwick was appointed deputy ranger at Windsor Great Park in August 2014. 

Thursday 7th February 2019  at 3pm

Gardeners’ Hall, St Leonards Road, Windsor SL4 3DR

Talk: Bletchley Park. Margaret Lenton  (chair of The Windsor & Eton Society)

Margaret Lenton, Chair of the Windsor & Eton Society has been studying Bletchley Park and Room 40. , 

Thursday 10th January 2019 at 3pm

Gardeners’ Hall, St Leonards Road, Windsor SL4 3DR

Talk: The Prince Philip Trust Fund for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. Chris Aitken. (Secretary & Trustee of the Fund)

Thursday 6th December 2018  at 3pm

Gardeners’ Hall, St Leonards Road, Windsor SL4 3DR

Talk: A chest with three locks: St George’s Chapel Archives since 1352 Kate McQuillian. (Archivist & Chapter Librarian)

I am responsible for the management of the Archives and Chapter Library of St George’s Chapel, an extensive and historic collection of books, manuscripts and archival material belonging to the Dean and Canons of Windsor dating from the 12th century to the present day. 

Thursday 1st November 2018  at 3pm

Gardeners’ Hall, St Leonards Road, Windsor SL4 3DR

Talk: Profiles of the First World War: silhouettes of Captain H.L.Oakley  Jerry Rendell (Local Resident)

H Lawrence Oakley is the subject of a book written by his great nephew, retired civil servant Jerry Rendell OBE, 75, who lives in York Road, Windsor.

Thursday 4th October 2018  at 3pm

Gardeners’ Hall, St Leonards Road, Windsor SL4 3DR.

Talk: Windsor Memorials  Leslie Grout (Local Historian)

Leslie Grout is a volunteer & Friend of the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum as well as an active local historian. He was the winner of ‘Mastermind’ in 1981 and went onto win ‘International Mastermind’ a year later. His specialist subject was St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle