Busy Summer and date of September meeting

First of all the date for the September meeting is Monday 8 September 2014.  As usual it will be held in the School Library at Trinity Catholic School in Leamington Spa.  New members are always welcome and the meeting starts at 7.00pm.

Women in World War 1 exhibition

We held our annual Summer Lunch in lieu of an August meeting on 12 August at the Bowling Green in Southam and were very happy with the 2 for £10 menu which made sorting out the bill much easier than usual.  I had brought the calculator in the absence of arithmetical whizz David but it was not needed despite the fact that most of us fell victim to the pudding menu.  This was no reflection on the size of the main course portions – we were just being greedy as we soon found out when we saw the size of the puddings.

We had chosen Southam to visit the Women in World War 1 exhibition which was open in August and is part of the Cardall Collection.  It shows the nurses and patients of the WW1 VAD hospital in Southam and has been painstakingly researched.  We all found it most interesting and I scrutinised the nurse and VAD uniforms hard as I am about to embark on making two to wear at our stand at the Local History Fair in Leamington on 18 October.

What struck me most was how local history and family history research is entwined despite the rather arbitrary way in which the two types of researchers are viewed as totally separate.  Local history is after all the history of a place and its people and those people are in turn someone’s family and ancestors.  The research skills are the same and the records used are often common to both.  No longer do family history researchers merely trace a family tree and the questions we ask now are not “how far back can I get?” but “what did my ancestors do and how did they live?” and the TV programme “Who Do You Think You Are” must take a lot of the credit for this.

What also struck me was how much work family and local history researchers are doing, this centenary year of the start of the Great War, to mount exhibitions like this.  However we need to ensure that this hard work is not wasted and that it is preserved somewhere – perhaps online in a blog post such as the last one from Mary or in some permanent display or archive.

Francis Stenton talk at the Leamington History Group

IMG_0284On 28 July I gave my talk on Francis Stenton to the Leamington History Group.   Francis (for whom I have a very soft spot) was the all too human Master of Ceremonies at the Upper Assembly Rooms in Leamington from 1821 to 1830.  As promised I dressed up in the ball gown which I made for the Regency Ball which marked the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Pump Rooms.

I am looking as haughty as possible here for Chris who is taking the photo.  The above the elbow gloves are a little tight (resembling a blood pressure cuff) and soon had to be taken off before they cut off the circulation to my fingers.  The flowers are already coming out of my hair which is refusing to stay up as usual.  In the absence of hair spray how did they manage to keep their hair in place?

Regency Ball

Here are a few photos of the Regency Ball.  I did not take too many as Sandra and I decided to have a go at the dances – having sat out for the first one to see how easy they were.  Of course the first one was the easy one and they got progressively harder.

IMG_0269This is a view of the tables before the dancing started.  I think this was before the first course of beef stew –  the pudding would be served in the interval.

Unfortunately beef stew was not a good choice for my dress.  I could have sworn that that I had kept it clean but no I had dribbled gravy down it and off it had to go to the cleaners.  How they managed with white dresses I don’t know.  Unless the laundrymaids had some secret for getting out gravy that has been lost over time?IMG_0251

These are of the gathering in the anteroom.  As you can see it is quite light outside although it grew steadily darker as you will see from the pictures of the dancing.







Another one of the anteroom before we were let in.





The first dance