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2019 Programme & News

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25th Feb - Pete Smith

Newstead Abbey

This talk concerns the history and development of Newstead Abbey from the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538 to its acquisition by Nottingham City Council in 1931 using the many images of Newstead Abbey which have since been brought together by Nottingham Castle Museums & Galleries. It will outline the house's ownership by the Byron family and its subsequent restoration and remodelling by Colonel Wildman and its final occupation by the Webb family.  


25th Mar - James Wright

English Mediaeval Castles & Great Houses

In direct contrast with most talks on castles (which tend to focus on high status patrons and their architecture), this talk offers a little-regarded alternative viewpoint of life in English mediaeval castles: that of the ordinary folk. Using archaeological evidence gleaned from historic building survey, contemporary literature, artistic representations, graffiti and architectural history this talk presents the story of the masons, carpenters, cooks, clerks, servants, stable-hands and lower status visitors to great castles. Instead of studying towers, gatehouses and great halls here we delve into the kitchens, stables, staircases, cellars and garderobes to uncover evidence of the non-elite response to elite buildings.


29th April - Professor John Beckett

Jesse Boot and the History of Highfields

This talk follows the life and career of Jesse Boot and his connections with, and gift of, Highfields Park which provided the foundation of Nottingham University.


21st May - Visit to the Lace, Costume and Textile Collection at Newstead Abbey

Nottingham Museums and Galleries houses the Lace, Costume and Textile Collection at Newstead Abbey – it is not a separate museum as such. This is a Behind the Scenes tour of the collection which will visit several rooms not normally open to the public to see and talk about a selection of items from the collection. Tours last about an hour.


30th June - Visit to Newark Air Museum

A guided tour round the Air Museum and the Exhibition Hall with its displays of artefacts and ephemera relating to the social history of aviation in the area. There will also be an opportunity to go on board the Avro Shackleton.


14th July - Guided tour of University Park

Guided heritage tour around the exterior of some of University Park’s Historic Houses Discover more of the rich history of the properties and their inhabitants. Be prepared for a “Character Encounter” from Nottingham’s past which we hope will enlighten you on how their life has impacted on the people of Nottingham and beyond. Find out how Jesse Boot wanted to improve the lives of people in Nottingham.


23rd Sep - Mark Dawson

 Food and Drink in Tudor and Stuart Nottinghamshire’

A look at what food and drink was being consumed by the ordinary folk of Nottinghamshire in the 16th and 17th centuries.  How it was cooked; how it was eaten; and how it changed over time.


28th Oct - Steve Foottit

Accountancy and Navigation in medieval times

Why do we have the pound? Why do we have the 19th c Houses of Parliament?  And where do some of our well-known phrases come from?


25th Nov - Ann Featherstone

The Victorian Pantomime

A (very) Brief History of Pantomime - From the slapstick of commedia dell'arte through the sumptuous stage-designs of the Victorian period to the TV soap stars of the present day, this illustrated history will journey through 500 years of pantomime, its stories, its characters and its popular appeal

All talks take place at Lowdham WI Hall and start at 7.30 and are followed by tea or coffee afterwards. New members and guests always welcome.

25th Nov - Ann Featherstone

The Victorian Pantomime

A (very) Brief History of Pantomime - From the slapstick of commedia dell'arte through the sumptuous stage-designs of the Victorian period to the TV soap stars of the present day, this illustrated history will journey through 500 years of pantomime, its stories, its characters and its popular appeal








Reports from some of our previous meetings
Download printable PDF files here


14th July - Guided tour of University Park


3 Reports

25th Mar - James Wright - English Mediaeval Castles & Great Houses
29th April - Professor John Beckett - Jesse Boot and the History of Highfields
21st May - Visit to the Lace, Costume and Textile Collection at Newstead Abbey


26th November 2018
Ken Moulds- The Duke of Wellington


24th September 2018
Michael Harrison - The Wrecks of Scapa Flow


23rd April  2018
James Wright – The Newly Built Personality of Ralph Lord Cromwell