Thursday 8 December 2022 at The Museum of Carpet, Green Street, Kidderminster

Following on Tim Carter and Mike Loftus’s fascinating talks during lockdown we have a wonderful opportunity to hear the full talk by local historian Dave Laverty.

This will be at The Museum of Carpet in Green Street, Kidderminster, DY10 1AZ not at our usual venue and will be in the morning. It is next to Morrisons Supermarket.

Arriving 10:20am to promptly start 10 minutes later on. Dave Laverty will deliver the first part of the talk focusing upon The Story of Carpet Making in the town of Kidderminster.

Then there would be a break of 15 minutes for tea and coffee and we will be providing mince pies and shortbread, followed by the second part of the talk ‘On the Weaving’: Life in the Carpet Factories of Kidderminster. 'On the Weaving' is an affectionate look at life in the carpet factories of the town dealing with themes such as: Young Workers; All in the Family; Dangers; Power Loom Weavers; Relationships; Work and Play and Pride, based upon the words of the carpet people themselves and also sound clips and images from the archives of the Museum of Carpet. It will finish about noon.  

Thursday 10 November 2022 at 2pm at Wribbenhall Community Centre

Following the discussion held on 13 October (see notes below) We will spend the first half hour firming up on our small committee and roles etc then:

Vincent O'Callaghan gave an interesting and detailed talk on Elections in Worcestershire up to 1945 including some of Kidderminster’s more unusual MP’s and their elections. Followed by a lively discussion. 

Thursday 13 October 2022 at Wribbenhall Community Centre

The group: In light of Caroline's forthcoming surgery and rehab in early 2023 we dicussed how the group would proceed and a small committee with defined roles was agreed. We also discussed our lack of WiFi at the venue and restarting refreshments with members making their own outside the kitchen to avoid a bottleneck. Alison Barsby gave the group a financial update. 

Caroline O'Callaghan gave a talk on After the Black Death became a ‘Golden Age’ for some Medieval Women. Featuring some of the amazing women who stepped up in the century and a half between 1350 and 1500 and took over their own destiny. Followed by questions and discussion about how warfre and epidemics enabled women to shine. 

Classical Spain 16 to 22 September 2022 Flying from Birmingham  we visited historic Seville, Córdoba and Granada photos shared on the October newsletter 

Thursday 8 September 2022 Vsit to Powis Castle and Clive of India day visit. 

Thursday 9 June 2022 at 2pm - Episode 3 The Story of India based on the BBC series with Michael Wood the Silk Road followed by a discussion. 

Our Group Guided trip to Monet's Garden, The Loire Valley and Fontainebleau departing on 14 July 2022 for 7 days / 6 nights, plus breakfast and three dinners, including one at a traditional, local restaurant. We travelled by Eurostar so no flights 

Thursday 12 May 2022 - Alison Barsby did a presentation on the caste system and Vincent O’Callaghan on Hinduism followed by a discussion and then Angela Curtis did an introduction to The Silk Road - The Story of India based on the BBC series with Michael Wood. 

The last half an hour was for those members going to France in July 2022

Thursday 10th March 2022  - our second meeting back at Shaw Hedge Road Community Hall at Wribbenhall 

We saw the first 35 minutes of the second episode of The Story of India based on the BBC series with Michael Wood.

From 3pm Mike Loftus gave us a very interesting talk on Henry Chellingworth a Public Life. Mike told us that “the decade of the 1850s was an extraordinary period for Kidderminster. The introduction of steam power to the town’s principal of trade carpet weaving was, through those ten years, to have a quite devastating effect. Handloom weavers lost employment in huge numbers and the companies that employed them, or used their product, shrank. Alongside this high unemployment there were protracted bad industrial relations and in the face of the associated economic distress many individuals and families saw emigration from the town – and even the country – as their only solution. The atmosphere of bitter discontent that pervaded the town contributed to a shameful breakdown in public order on the occasion of the 1857 parliamentary election and a sense of something close to despair descended when the town’s major carpet manufacturer fell into bankruptcy in 1858.Yet through this period – which saw the population fall by some 5000 people or 25% - there were glimmers of hope and positive development. The railway arrived in 1852; a new meeting place / concert venue and Corn Exchange was constructed in 1855; a free library was created, and in recognition of the importance of public health, a municipal public baths and wash house were built and opened in 1855, having been first mooted in 1851 and making the town one of the first in England to create such a facility. This last innovation was the initiative of Henry Chellingworth a significant figure in the town who was participated in many of the other changes in the town in this period. He was also being implicated in some of the most notorious – in particular the election riots. This essay is a brief public life of Chellingworth and a review of the events he was involved in within that challenging decade.”

Monday 14 February 2022 Paul Harding’s long awaited presentation on Anglo Saxon Life unfortunately Paul cannot change his day to a Thursday so we are meeting at St Ambrose RC Church Parish Hall for a one off additional meeting on  £3 per person. 


Thursday 10 February 2022  we had a catch up and started our new topic our studies The Story of India based on the BBC series with Michael Wood with an introduction read by Angela Curtis

January 2022 - No meeting 

General History 2021

Monday 10 May 2021 - Outstanding Women - We celebrated two of the six outstanding women that in 2021 English Heritage will be raising plaques to and one outstanding Irish woman with group members giving a short presentation on them followed by discussion. 

Ann Murrells talked on Ellen Craft (1826-1891): Ellen and her husband William escaped slavery in the southern US state of Georgia and was a fervent campaigner for its abolition.

Angela Curtis talked on Caroline Norton (1808-1877): Caroline’s abusive marriage and separation was one of the most highly publicised cases in 19th century Britain. Her determination to fight for custody of her children and the rights to her own property had far-reaching ramifications.

Linda Robertstold us about her aunt Mary Dorothea Heron (1896-1960):Marywas born in Dublin, grew up in County Down, worked in Belfast, but was one of the few who was eligible to practice in both the new states. She was the first woman solicitor in Ireland, after passing her final law examinations in 1923.  She has recently been recognised by the Irish Law Society in their celebration of the first 100 women solicitors in Ireland. Linda Roberts our group member is her niece and as Mary was the first, they published her article.

This finishes our 13 months on Zoom where to now? Discussion

On 12 April 2021 we had a revisit from our own Mike Loftus lead the Kidderminster Civic Society successful bid to get National recognition for ‘Great Wall of Kidderminster’ Historic England announced on in December that the structure, more formally the ‘Retaining Wall with Sculptural Relief by William Mitchell’, is to be placed on the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest as a grade 2 structure.

On 8 February and 8 March 2021 Tim Carter joined us from Malvern U3A giving a fascinating two-part talk on "Sea Diseases, Sailor Towns and the State”