Winter 2019-20

Saturday 5 October 2019
Richelieu – the Cardinal & his City | Brian FreelandCardinal-Richelieu-small

Richelieu discovered the power of cultural propaganda, and sought control of the country’s literary and artistic activities and institutions.  Working closely with the royal architect Lemercier, the Cardinal planned buildings of enormous extravagance, including the church at the Sorbonne, where he was proviseur, and the magnificent Chateau and ‘walled town’ on the family estate at Richelieu.  The Palais-Cardinal in Paris (later the Palais Royale) included a theatre, and he collected paintings and sculptures by many of the outstanding artists of the time. He also founded the Académie Française.

Saturday 2 November 2019
Hospital Blues: Nursing in Sherborne during the First World War | Luke MoulandVAD-nurses-small

During the First World War, an estimated 60,000 volunteers served with the British Red Cross Society in auxiliary hospitals across the United Kingdom, providing much-needed support in caring for sick and wounded servicemen returning from the Front.  Using the market town of Sherborne as a case study, this talk explores the pivotal role played by the VADs during the war and highlights how this remarkable contribution was largely sustained through the efforts of female voluntary labour.

Saturday 7 December 2019
Christmas Entertainment | Abbey Quartet

Hywel Jenkins – violin
Debbie Jenkins – violin
Liz Clark – viola
Stuart Clark – cello

The Abbey Quartet was formed nearly forty years ago and has performed round mid-Somerset on many different occasions at weddings, flower festivals and fundraising concerts, and in its own right giving complete programmes, the latter notably at the Somerton Festival in 2017 having performed in the inaugural Festival (with slightly different personnel) many years before. Repertoire stretches from the classics through salon arrangements to film and pop.

Saturday 4 January 2020
Who really was George Bernard Shaw?  Music critic, politician, playwright, lover of Dorset, broadcaster or all these and more? | Susan VincentGBShaw-small

This talk will give a brief summary of his unusual upbringing before showing how his political experience before marriage prepared the way for many of the plays which followed once he was married. In addition his love of music was with him till the end of his life and his favourite composers will be briefly touched on.  Susan’s interest was sparked initially by reading a biography of his wife Charlotte.

Saturday 1 February 2020
The Kennet & Avon Canal – history, dereliction & restoration | Giles HarveyKACanal-small

The Kennet and Avon Canal is over 200 years old and links Bristol with Reading and, via the Thames, London.  This illustrated talk will explore the history of its building and its subsequent decline and restoration. The canal features a number of historic features including the Grade 2* Claverton pumping station and the Grade 1 Crofton pumping station. These and other notable engineering features and structures will be explored.

Saturday 14 March 2020
AGM followed by…


The Gardens at Montacute House
Tom Bear | Operations Manager | Chris Gaskin | Head Gardener, Montacute House

Chris and Tom will share their exciting plans for Montacute House gardens in the years ahead.