Monthly Archives: November 2013

Secretary’s Report

A prompt start to the meeting was made by Chairman Roger Bancroft with two apologies having been given. A welcome was extended to new member Ken Lupton who was attending his first meeting.

John Taylor confirmed the details for the Christmas lunch in two weeks time with a 12. for 12.30 start at Ascot House.He also advised the Forum that Reg Jackson had suffered a couple of falls and was in hospital. John will be missing next week as he celebrates his 70th birthday in Germany at the Frankfurt markets..he was wished well!!

Today’s speaker was Mr David Winpenny whose topic was “Up to a Point–Pyramids in Yorkshire and Beyond” There are more pyramids in Yorkshire than any other county in the United Kingdom and he started his talk with a local pyramid at Sharow Church where Piazzi Smyth (Astronomer Royal Scotland)is buried . The earliest pyramids were basically heaps of stone based on getting nearer to God by building mounds but pyramid building has extended all over the world. Castle Howard has four pyramids in its grounds designed with possible Masonic influences a theme that run through a number of these structures. Henry Jenkyns 1501–1670 purportedly the oldest man in Britain has a pyramid monument in Bolton on Swale. Other pyramids discussed included sad memorials such as at Silkstone where many children died in the Husker pit disaster, Silverton Memorial from World War One (a munitions factory where many died)  to War Memorials commemorating the deeds of Nelson and the Battle of Waterloo.  Nowadays many modern buildings have pyramid designs built into them particularly leisure centres, swimming pools and closer to home the Sea Life Centre in Scarborough and even more local the Inspire on Hornbeam Park Harrogate.  A high number of eccentric characters were associated with the commissioning and building of pyramids in this country including Jack Fuller M.P. , Chambre Brabazon Ponsonby Barker and John Knill accompanied by the occasional  saucy tale! The oldest known pyramid in this country is the Compton Pike Compton Wynyates  in Warwickshire from 1588 but this is barely an infant compared to Egyptian and other pyramids around the world.

The Vote of Thanks for an illuminating and instructive talk was given by Mr Keith Wadd and 37 members were in attendance.

NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY

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Secretary’s Report

Chairman Roger Bancroft started the meeting by welcoming members and one guest Mr  Graham Burcher the son of member Mr Ken Burcher. Apologies were received from five members. A final reminder was given for the Christmas lunch on 10th December with payments and menu choices due to Mr John Taylor today.

Today’s speaker Mr Tony Brown entertained members with his subject “Blown away by Patagonia, an area shared between Argentina and Chile in South America. The talk consisted of recollections from Mr Brown’s visit there accompanied by a highly impressive slide show. The scenery appeared breathtaking including shots of Andes mountains, Torres Del Paine and the Mount Fitz Roy range. Equally impressive was the Perito Morino Glacier both in its size and overall impact.There was slides and discussion about the penguin population and other local birds including condors and parakeets with pictures of local flora also shown. Whilst the landscape was impressive the scale of the trip in distance covered and its arduous nature was also obvious and a tribute to the age of the participants who had to endure some extreme and changeable weather conditions including very strong winds as evidenced by the title of the talk. Part of the trip included other strenuous activities including horse riding, kayaking and mountainous hiking all clearly illustrated during the morning’s talk.

The Vote of Thanks was given by His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson and 30 members plus 1 guest were in attendance.

NEIL RAMSHAW  SECRETARY

Secretary’s Report

A prompt start was made to the meeting with three apologies being offered. Chairman Roger Bancroft reminded members regarding the December Christmas Lunch with next week being the final date for orders and payment to John Taylor.

Today was a returning speaker Professor Martin Curzon whose topic was “Honey, Sugar and Spice…and all Things Nice”. This proved to be an extremely entertaining and informative talk covering the history of honey and its early use as a sweetener, drink, lubricant, wound dressing and preservative amongst other things dating back to Medieval Britain with records from the Domesday Book showing the proliferation of hives kept around the country for its production. Consumption of honey per person was high, prices generally low and it was sold in bulk by the gallon, firkin or barrel. This continued until the advent of the Industrial Revolution as sugar became more readily available for general use and honey’s decline continued until recent years when a resurgence has been seen because of perceived health  benefits. Professor Curzon as expected discussed the impact of sugar and honey on tooth decay and its importance as a foodstuff and also in food production. He commented on various academic studies that had been carried out over the years and gave his own refreshing and droll views on the value of the products discussed. The talk had obviously engaged the audience given the range of questions and points raised at the end.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Mr Michael Cochrane and there were 33 members in attendance.

NEIL RAMSHAW  SECRETARY

Secretary’s Report

Chairman Roger Bancroft started the meeting with two apologies being given. He then introduced Rachel from ” Wall to Wall” , a T.V. company, who gave a brief overview of a new B.B.C. series which would involve bringing people back together who had shared good/bad experiences in the past and give them an opportunity to meet up and thank or make apologies respectively. Details were left for any member (family or friends) to make contact if interested in taking part.

A final reminder for the Harrogate World War One enquiry day on Wednesday November 6th at the Library 10–12 noon and a further reminder for Christmas lunch menus and payments to John Taylor with over 40 having been returned so far.

A Forum member and regular speaker His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson took centre stage with his subject being mysteriously ” More of the Same” . This proved to be an entertaining and intriguing hour looking at initially “Hull, Hell and Halifax” and the rather gory subject of public execution—hanging in Hull and beheading on the  Halifax Gibbet using a precursor to the French Guillotine!!

His Honour then talked through in detail three past murder cases—two unsolved and one resolved. The first case was from 1957 and recalled an Emily Pye who was found dead in her home/shop in Gibbet street Halifax. Despite extensive investigation there was no outcome forthcoming in this case. The other two cases were from the murder capital of North Yorkshire namely Fewston!! The first in 1938 related to Mrs Margaret Peel again found dead in her home/shop—suspicion fell on her husband Jesse Peel who was arrested and tried at Leeds but given the flimsy and barely circumstantial evidence was rightly found “Not Guilty”. The second case in 1953 involved Edward Watson a car dealer who was subsequently found to have been shot by a fellow car dealer Robert William Moore due to differences over a   business deal that went wrong and Mr Moore was found guilty at trial and paid the ultimate price.

The morning concluded with the recounting of two hoaxes– one involving art fakes in 1937 by HanVan Meegeren (Vermeer and other Old Masters) in Holland with the forgeries coming to light after the Second World War in 1945 and finally from 1983 the notorious Hitler diaries which were again proved false but not before damaging some stellar expert reputations including Hugh Trevor Roper and the Sunday Times who had serialized some of them.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Peter Staples and 38 members were in attendance.

NEIL RAMSHAW   SECRETARY