Evening Talks

Our programme

AGM 2019

2020 Talks Programme

Venue – St Joan’s Centre, Tilford Road, GU9 8DJ.

Time – Refreshments 7.30 for 8.00pm start

In response to the Coronavirus situation, the committee has decided to cancel all events for April, May and June.

September 28th, Monday

Charles ‘O” Brien – ‘Revising Pevsner: a new look at Surrey’ – The first full-scale revision and updating of the guide is now underway and its author, Charles O’Brien, joint series editor and author for the Pevsner Architectural Guides, will speak not only about the foundation and history of the series but also about Ian Nairn and the original Surrey volume.

He will also explain some of the challenges of fieldwork and the pressures that are brought to bear on selectivity for the gazetteer by the extent of research on buildings of all periods that has emerged since Pevsner and Nairn’s time. He will also speak in detail about Nairn’s descriptions of Farnham and its neighbourhood and some of the discoveries which have come to light in the course of the revision project.

October 19th, Monday

Chris Shepheard – “Farnham a contrast in Photos”- Based on a walking tour this presentation shows how the town has changed since the advent of photography through a mixture of 1980s colour slides and copies of old black and white photographs. The life of the town is shown from the earliest times with photographs of recent archaeological excavations, and the effects of world and national events such as wars and coronations right down to local carnivals. Amongst all this can be seen the everchanging townscape of buildings of which Farnham is justly proud.

Chris Shepheard was a Herald photographer for 29 years from 1971, also taking on the editing of Peeps into the Past during the 1990s. The latter is a role which he continues today after having recently retired as Director of the Rural Life Centre at Tilford. Many of the photographs which appear in this presentation have appeared in the Peeps column over the years and the archive continues to grow with contributions coming in from the public on an almost daily basis. He was born and has always lived in Farnham and is keenly interested learning more about and preserving the town’s heritage at the same time making that known to a wider audience.Chris is also a trustee of Farnham Castle, the vice-chairman of Farnham Visitors Forum and a joint organiser of the town’s popular annual walking festival.

November 13th, Friday

Robin Stannard – Historic Building Surveyor – Adams Architecture – Hugh Thackeray Turner – Westbrook – The talk not only considers Turner’s architecture work, but also his involvement with conservation through his role a Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (founded by William Morris). For example, in the West Surrey Area, Turner bought Witley Common then gave it to National Trust and he was heavily involved with the purchase of the Devils Punch Bowl, which was then also given to the National Trust. Turner’s architectural design was heavily influenced by his restoration work.

December 11th, Friday

Farnham Rep – Christmas Evening – Brenda Longman returns with her festive fun to make a Cracking Evening with seasonal verse both amusing and poignant, but always entertaining interspersed with the odd musical item. The Readings will be taken from the following authors Alex Hamiliton, P.G.Wodehouse, Pam Ayers, Gervase Phinn, Micheal Frayn, Charles Dickens. Cast Open to change owing to professional contracts.

By Social Secretary

Michelle Quinlan

 

The Story of a Butler’s Christmas

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Bob France has volunteered as a Tour Guide at both Uppark and Petworth Houses. His work has taken in Costume Interpreter activities in various roles, including butler from Georgian and Victorian eras.

Butler's Christmas 2

Bob explored the Christmas tradition through the eyes of John Dine, Petworth’s ancient butler, looking at how dramatically Christmas changed from his Georgian youth to late Victorian times. We discovered how our Christmas traditions developed. Why did Father Christmas change from green to red? Did the Georgians have Christmas trees, presents and turkeys? What were Mumpers and Hodlers? Why was Boxing Day so important?  Plenty of insight and amusement – a  joyful way to herald the festive season!

Monday 9 December, 20:00

Arts and Crafts Gardens

Arts and Craft gardens talk

 

Cherrill Sands is a garden historian with a great passion for the Arts and Crafts movement.

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With the aim of combining beauty and practicality, the movement saw gardens as places to be explored and enjoyed.

Cherrill’s talk will highlight three talented and creative gardeners from the movement.

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William Morris, with his first garden at the Red House.

William Robinson, whose books and magazines urged people to break away from the geometric seasonal bedding which was fashionable in the 19th century.

Gertrude Jekyll, who won great acclaim as a garden designer, working alone or with the architect Edwin Lutyens.

Please join us for a fascinating historical talk at

St Joan’s Centre, 19 Tilford Road, Farnham GU9 8DJ

Friday 15 November, 20:00

Refreshments from 19:30

Tickets on Entry:

Members £4 Non-Members £6 Students £2

To pre-book please email: 1socsec.fsoc@gmail.com

 

Evening talk : The Rise and Fall of English Switzerland

May 2019 talk poster


Hindhead was once known as a barren and dangerous place, a haunt of highwaymen.

Dr Marion Dell described how, from about 1875, that reputation changed. It became a bohemian retreat known as “The English Switzerland” which attracted writers, scientists, artists and other eminent Victorians. Some notable people who came to live here, included Alfred Lord Tennyson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Flora Thompson, George Bernard Shaw and Grant Allan. But it soon became a victim of its own success, and by the end of the century, its increasing popularity began to cause its downfall.

Monday 1st April at St Joan’s Centre, Farnham

Evening Talk: Simon de Montfort

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Talk by Dr Sophie Therese Ambler

Simon de Montfort, England’s First Revolution and the Death of Chivalry, 1258-1265

Monday 1st April refreshments 7.30 for 8.00pm start

At St Joan’s Centre, Farnham GU9 8DJ. Tickets on entry £4 members, £6 non members.

Farnham and its surrounds were at the heart of the first English revolution: it was an attack on the church of Shere, and the dragging of captives to Farnham Castle, that provoked Montfort and his allies to take action in 1258.  Seizing power from the king, Simon de Montfort ruled England at the head of a revolutionary government, until he and his followers were cut down in the greatest noble slaughter since 1066.

Dr Sophie Thérèse Ambler is Lecturer in Later Medieval History at Lancaster University and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her new book, The Song of Simon de Montfort: England’s First Revolutionary and the Death of Chivalry, will be published by Picador on 30 May 2019.

Reservations email - 1socsec.fsoc@gmail.com

The Story of Global Warming

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On Friday 20 September Professor Ian Candy treated us to “The story of Global Warming from a scientist’s perspective”.

Climate change is a hot topic, with the Extinction Rebellion protests, the government’s 2050 Zero Emission law, Greta Thunberg’s school strikes and David Attenborough’s Blue Planet.

Ian has worked all over the world studying the causes and impact of climate change. In particular, he has focused on the periods of global warming in the past and the role of climate change in human evolution, dispersal and occupation. Ian will be outlining why climates vary and how the magniude of change we are experiencing is a truly unique crisis that will radically change our future.

Locally, Surrey has just launched the Surrey Climate Comission.

Click here for The Royal society’s overview of Climate Change causes.

Click here for The Royal Society’s 2014 flm in Climate Change.

 

Evening Talk: Harold Falkner, more than an Arts and Crafts Architect

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FALKNER AND BORELLI – MEN WHO CHANGED FARNHAM

In 1911 The Farnham Society was founded by the Bishop of Winchester (Lord of Farnham Castle), Charles Borelli and Harold Falkner – two men who had grown up in Farnham and put Farnham at the centre of their lives. During the first half of the twentieth century they dominated the town scene.

Charles Ernest Borelli came from a family of Italian clockmakers who had first come to England in 1820 and settled in Farnham. He was born in 1873 at number 48 Castle Street.

Harold Falknerwas born in 1875, to a family which had been farming at Dippenhall from the 1750’s. When he was aged eight his mother moved back to Farnham to live at 24 West Street where he spent the rest of his life – another 80 years.

Both went to Farnham Grammar School as boys, then on to the Farnham Art School run by W H Allen who inspired his pupils with an interest in art and architecture but especially the Arts and Crafts movement.

After their early education Borelli joined the family business of clocks, and Falkner trained to be an architect.

In their twenties Borelli and Falkner were close friends – both participating members of Farnham Football Club and Farnham Hockey Club, and joint secretaries of the new swimming baths in 1897. Neither married.

Charles Borelli was elected to Farnham Urban District Council in 1906, becoming chairman in 1910, and remained an elected member until his death in 1950.

Harold Falkner might have gone on, like Edwin Lutyens (six years older than him but also a local man) to become a London architect, but Harold never wanted to leave Farnham.

Borelli’s particular passion was for trees – in the centre of town none were allowed to be cut down without his say-so. He was involved in the 1909 conversion of Gostrey Meadow, formerly a Victorian rubbish dump, into a fine open space with fine trees. In architecture he favoured shopfronts in the Georgian style but relied on Falkner for professional advice. Falkner’s advice was crucial, but it would not have got far without the financial and political muscle of Borelli, who could charm property owners into following his ideas.

In the centre of town Borelli purchased several properties – an old pub, the old Town Hall, and several shops in West Street – and got Falkner to re-build, which he did with skill and respect for their Tudor and Stuart elements.

Falkner was also involved in the development of the suburbs of Farnham, especially the Great Austins area, south of the railway station. Initially he concentrated on houses in the Arts and Crafts style, later changing to mansions in Queen Anne style. He also built some remarkable houses in Dippenhall.

When he died in 1963 he left his house to The Farnham Society, which it sold to Surrey County Council. A collection of his drawings found in the house is now in Farnham Museum.

Thanks to Borelli and Falkner the town is not just a neo-Georgian gem but has the added spice of medieval, Tudor, and Arts and Crafts buildings.

A Cracking Christmas Evening

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On Monday 3 December, Brenda Longman, Ray Murphy with Farnham Rep presented an evening of Christmas inspired entertainment.

The performance included exerpts from the following books

“The Age of Bewilderment” by David Sherrington,

“An Almost Perfect Christmas” by Nina Stibbe,

“Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier,

“Toast” by Nigel Slater,

“Recollections” by Gervase Phinn,

‘Le Bumper Book de Franglais’ by Miles Kington.

“Truce in the Trenches” by W.R.M. Percy and

“In Jamaica” Noel Cowerd

They read the following Poems

“Christmas Day” by John Betjeman,

“Ivan Who Shopped Online” Chris Addison,

Four poems by U.A.Fanthorpe’s book of “Christmas Poems”,

“Old Sam’s Christmas Pudding” by Marriott Edgar,

“Parson’s Lea” by Charles Causley,

“Christmas Thank Yous” by Mick Gowar,

“Night Before Christmas” by Harvey Erlich

“Christmas Roses and Mistletoe” by Reginald Arkle

And sang the following Songs

“A Christmas Carol” by Tom Lehrer

“Have yourself a Merry little Christmas” by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane

Talking Brains

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The Farnham Society Memorial Lecture “Talking Brains”

Sophie ScottNeuroscientist Professor Sophie Scott is among the world’s foremost experts on speech and the brain.

Duncan Wisbey

Working with local actor/impressionist Duncan Wisbey of Radio 4’s Dead Ringers she explained how our brain negotiates the complex task of talking. Sophie’s research has helped therapists find new techniques to help stroke patients recover their speech.

 

Murder by the Book

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Wednesday 26th September  2018

Farnham-born Professor Claire Harman talked about her forthcoming book, ‘Murder by the Book: a sensational chapter in Victorian crime’.

Claire Harman

It’s the true story of a murder, a best-selling novel and a literary controversy that involved Dickens and Thackeray.  Author of a best-selling biography of Jane Austen, ‘Jane’s Fame’, Claire is well known on both sides of the Atlantic, winning many prestigious awards as biographer and poet.

Murder by the book lecture

 

 

Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe

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4 April 2018, Dr Diana Devlin

Diana was chairman of the committee that planned and accomplished the building of Shakespeare’s Globe with Sam Wannamaker and Prof Andrew Gurr. You may have heard her talking about it recently on Radio 4’s ‘The Reunion’. She is a highly accomplished Shakespeare scholar and presented fascinating and lively seminars at the Globe for many years.

St Joan’s Centre