U3A Banner

Local History 2 Photos 2014

'Dickens and Christmas' a Performance by Professor Tony Pointon and Mrs Sue Healey

18th December 2014

Our Christmas entertainment was a delight, with many of Dickens' characters being brought to life with the spirit of Christmas. Food and drink played a very important part in many of his stories as it did in our afternoon, so many thanks to everyone for bringing such a lovely selection of festive fayre for us all to share and for making it an enjoyable afternoon. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

Talk by Hilly Sloan "The Darker Side of Chichester" - 20th November 2014

Hilly gave us a wonderfully atmospheric talk on the 'goings on' in darkest Chichester in the 18th century. Stories of smuggling; brawls in 'Tap Rooms' leading to murder; walking through the 'twitterns' , never safe, even during daylight hours! It was at one time described as the "dirtiest town" in the area, hard to believe today, but it was the first in the county to have street lighting which made the streets safer. We all enjoyed the afternoon and hope that Hilly will come back again to give us another talk.

St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral October 16th 2014

We were guided around the Cathedral by Richard Trist who gave us the history of the building and happily answered our many questions. The Cathedral was built in 1882 to accommodate the increasing congregation of Roman Catholics in the Portsmouth area. It is described as '19th French Gothic because it has a curved apse and shallow transepts'. We were privileged to visit the 'strong room' to see where many ancient artefacts are stored. Wandering around the Cathedral we were able to enjoy the beautiful stained glass windows and the lovely carvings around the walls depicting the story of the crucifixion.

Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton. September 18th 2014

We all met in the lovely grounds for an enjoyable shared picnic before meeting up with our guide, Alan Wood who gave us a wonderful tour around the various houses explaining the age of the buildings, their use and where they originated. As there was so much to see, it was generally agreed another visit in the near future would be a good idea.

Butser Ancient Farm, August 21st 2014

We very much enjoyed our guided tour around the experimental archaeological site. Transported back to the Iron Age through to Roman Times, we saw a new 'long house' being constructed, a boat being made from a tree trunk, we stood inside the Round House with it's central fireplace and wandered around the Roman Villa.

We ended the afternoon with a visit to St. Michael and All Angels Church, Chalton. A delightful little church built in the 11th century.

Charles Dickens Trail - 17th July 2014

We chose the hottest day of the year for this guided tour but our guide, Peter Galvin, managed to find enough shade along the way to stop us melting completely! We started the tour in the Historic Dockyard seeing the building where Charles Dickens' father worked for many years. As we meandered along the alleyways and streets of Portsea we were treated to many an anecdote about the dockyard workers and the area by our guide. We passed the Benevolent Society School for Boys built in 1784, now the Groundlings Theatre, on Kent Street on the way to St. Georges Church, the shipwrights church built in 1753. We continued on to Landport Gate, the last remaining city gate in St Georges Road before enjoying a refreshing cuppa in the cool atmosphere of the café in the City Museum.

Titchfield Abbey - 19th June 2014

We were privileged to be shown by Ken Groves, our guide, around his house built in 1447 as the Grammar School for Titchfield Abbey and to stand in his garden leading down to the River Meon and the old mill race. Ken then showed us around the ruins of Titchfield Abbey explaining that, following the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537 by Henry VIII, the building was modified into a grand Tudor mansion called Place House owned by succesive Earls of Southampton. He described the history and grandeur of the house pointing out the original monastery tiles, the lavish accommodation for family and servants and a newly discovered priest hole! It was a beautiful hot summer's day finishing perfectly with tea and cakes.

Mary Rose Museum - 15th May 2014

It was great to visit the newly built resting place of the Mary Rose and to see the updated exhibition. The tour was quite an experience: visual displays; thousands of artefacts to look at; being able to handle items, some of which were 700 years old. With our excellent guide, Mike Wyles, steering us around the museum, we really got the feel of the times and conditions of all who were linked to the Mary Rose. Naturally, a twenty-first century 'cuppa' was a very welcome end to the day.

Fort Widley WW1 Remembrance Centre - 17th April 2014

For our first trip of the year we went to visit the WW1 Remembrance Centre at Fort Widley. It was a small exhibition but packed full of photographs, maps and local memorabilia. The excellent guides who took us through the reconstructed 'trenches' and talked to us about the day to day traumas that the troops had to endure. There was too much to take in during our time there and some of us will be paying a second visit.

20th March 2014

Linda Newell, a local author from Emsworth, took the intriguing title of "Smuggling in Chichester and Langstone Harbours" and gave us an interesting account of dark misdeeds in the muddy creeks of Emsworth and around Hayling Island pursued by unlucky customs men. We are hoping she will return to give us another of her fascinating talks.

20th February 2014

'Hampshire songs from the Workhouse' was the title of the illustrated talk by Bob Askew, with songs from local workhouses sung by Bob and Annie Winter. Bob talked about Hampshire's wonderful legacy of traditional folk songs, and of the song collectors of 100 years ago. We were given an insight into the many workhouses in our area including those at Catherington and Westbourne - sadly the buildings now long gone. We all enjoyed a good sing-song, joining in the choruses.

23rd January 2014

Local Historian Anne Wellsted gave us an illustrated and entertaining talk on the 'Social History of Portsdown Hill and the Southern Slopes of Portsmouth' - my how the area has changed! We saw some wonderful photographs of days-gone-by, the race goers at Farlington Race Course, views from Portsdown Hill and many more. The talk was well attended and enjoyed by us all.