NEW MEMBERS ALWAYS WELCOME -  please contact Caroline or Alison via the group email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We are a group of enthusiastic WF&D U3A members aiming to do something a bit different from the one off talk on a subject to us all researching and sharing what we have found out and discussing it possibly over a series of meetings. The emphasis is on interesting and varied but all enjoying sharing what we know or have found out to make a bigger picture. Sometimes we may car share, use public transport or existing coach days out to access some of the places we are interested in as part of our history quest.

We are not trying to be experts but to learn together!

We meet at the Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley, DY12 1EU and there is parking


Pre booking for all sessions for

the foreseeable future!

Members are asked to keep everyone as safe as possible at all our meetings by keeping socially distanced, and only attending if double inoculated, no Covid 19 symptoms and wearing masks indoors at all times. This is all a booking requirement. We will provide antibacterial hand gel. 

General History 2021 / 2022 Programme

Due to Covid-19 we have met on Zoom for 13 months a big thank you to Tim Yates without whose guidance and help the Zoom element would have defeated us. From September 2021 we suspended zoom meetings hoping for small face to face meetings for the remainder of 2021 but could not as the hall was not available to us.  

At 07 October 2021 we have confirmed that we can have the hall but need to change our meeting day from the second Monday to second Thursday from January 2022

Community Housing Have Confirmed:

2pm to 4pm on the second Thursday of each month. 

Thursday 13th Jan 2022

Thursday 10th Feb 2022

(Monday 14 February 2022* – at St Ambrose Parish Hall see below)

Thursday 10th March 2022

Thursday 14th April 2022

Thursday 12th May 2022

Thursday   9th June 2022

No meeting in July or August 2022

Thursday 8th September 

Thursday 13th October

Thursday 10th November

Thursday 8th December

Then second Thursday in the afternoon ongoing in 2023 starting 12th January 2023

13 January 2022 at 2pm at our first face to face meeting back at Shaw Hedge Road Community Hall Wribbenhall socially distanced, double inoculated and masks get together and planning meeting to start our new topic in February The Story of India based on the BBC series with Michael Wood. Followed by a talk from 3pm on Henry Chellingworth 1817 - 1865 of Attwood Park by Mike Loftus. We are delighted that Mike Loftus has confirmed that he can talk to us on our new meeting date. Mike has a great interest in local historical places and people and the fascinating history of this Victorian man of Attwood Park Trimpley Lane, Shatterford, Bewdley will be no exception. £1.25 per member as no refreshments.

Thursday 10th Feb 2022 at 2pm - The Story of India based on the BBC series with Michael Wood - £1.25 per member as no refreshments.

Paul Harding’s 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 Monday 14 February 2022 at 2.15pm* £3 per person. PRE BOOKING ONLY with Caroline and only 14 places left at 11 Nov 2021 as social distancing.

14 March 2022 at 2pm we plan to start our new topic The Story of India based on the BBC series with Michael Wood

 Summer 2022

Our Group Guided trip to Monet's Garden, The Loire Valley and Fontainebleau departing on 14 July 2022 for 7 days / 6 nights in 3 and 4 accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and three dinners, including one at a traditional, local restaurant. We are travelling by Eurostar so no flights £849 pp in double or shared rooms - all the singles have gone. ITS A SELL OUT!

Riviera Travel Offer Experience with so much more included: Covid Cancellation protection included as standard. Visit the most beautiful valley in France. Visit impressionist artist Claude Monet’s home and garden – see the ‘Water Lily’ pond and ‘Japanese Bridge’. Explore the finest of France’s stunning châteaux; Chinon, Chenonceau, Villandry and Fontainebleau. Visit Chartres and its stunning gothic cathedral displaying Europe’s finest stained glass.

Visit medieval Tours, Royal Amboise and Leonardo da Vinci’s house. Visit to Saumur and the Ackerman wine cellars. Guided tour of Fontevraud Abbey, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site.

Separately to Riviera Travel we have booked a Whittle's a coach at extra shared cost to take us to and from Eurostar and members travelling have booked this at our own risk as we cannot take out insurance for missing the Eurostar so have arranged to go down early…. 

Contact Caroline on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Autumn 2022

Classical Spain 16th to 22 September 2022 Flying from Birmingham - all singles gone. Shared twins and shared double rooms may still be available at £949 each including flights - Seville – Córdoba and Granada - deposit now and balance payable July 2022 - see Ralph Bramleys Summer Newsletter for more details. 

Contact Caroline on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Monday 10 May 2021  Outstanding Womenwe 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 doing 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” 




Monday 14 December 2020 - When Kidderminster Was Lengths Ahead a detailed account of the swimming baths in Kidderminster filled with interesting facts by Mike Loftus

Monday 9 November 2020 - Tim Carter’s fascinating talk and discussion about Anthrax and the effects on the Edwardian Kidderminster Carpet Workers the results of which are still citied in law cases today! He named workers and their families who had been mortally affected by Anthrax and why Brinton’s responded so differently to Broom’s when their workers died. Members asked questions and shared information on a range of related experiences from the ‘weavers yarns & songs’ to Trevor Robert’s knowledge of local farming practices and volunteering at the Kidderminster Carpet Museum. We talked of the higher marital separation rate in Kidderminster as women were earning their own money so could say sling you hook, so to speak. 

Monday 12 October 2020 – Group member Ann Murrells presented an overview history of Chateau Chenonceau filled with detail and interest sparking a wide ranging discussion.

Saturday 3 October 2020 – Several members attended The Mortimer Society virtual conference. Philip Hume advised on some local information for our members – Tickenhill - Though at the time of Domesday the King held the manor of Wribbenhall (Worcs), and the two manors of Ribbesford, the Mortimers seem to have some possession of them quite soon afterwards.  In 1100, Ralph Mortimer confirmed a grant of land in Wribbenhall by one of his tenants to Worcester Cathedral Priory, and in 1203 Roger Mortimer (d.1214) is recorded as paying 20s. rent to the Priory for the manor of Wribbenhall and the fishery appurtenant to it. The 20s. rent was still being paid in 1304, as part of the manor of Bewdley, and there was a ferry across the Severn recorded in 1335.

The Mortimers were certainly in possession of the two manors of Ribbesford by 1176, when their steward, Simon de Ribbesford was holding one manor.  It was part of the dower lands of Margaret, the wife of Edmund Mortimer (d.1304).  The de Ribbesford family continued to hold the manor of Ribbesford as feudal tenants of the Mortimers right up to the death of the last Earl of March in 1425. 

The other manor in Ribbesford became known as Bewdley towards the end of the 13th century, and was also part of the dower of Margaret, the wife of Edmund Mortimer (d.1304).  Margaret did not die until 1334, by which time both her son and grandson were dead.  It was part of the dower land of the grandson’s wife, Elizabeth (d.1356), and of her son’s wife, Philippa (d.1382).  The Inquisition post mortem of Philippa’s son, Roger (d.1398) sees the manor named as “Tykenhull” with the town of “Bealieu”, which suggests the late 14th century as the time of the name-change, or perhaps the establishment of a manor house there.

Monday 10 August 2020 – No Meeting 

Monday 13 July 2020 – Group members presented an overview history of Medieval Tours with a range of inputs particularly from Angela Curtis who presented the Basilica of St Martin of Tours and Julia Scott who did an overview of Tours and its history.  

Monday 6 June 2020 – Members of the group did detailed presentations on The Royal Fortress of Chinon and some of the more notable residents. The history of the castle building: Vincent O’Callaghan Henry II: Ann Murrells Eleanor of Aquitaine: Alison Barsby Joan of Arc: Caroline O’Callaghan followed by discussions and questions

Monday 11 May 2020 - Group reorganization discussion on zoom as to how to meet in pandemic lockdown due to Covid 19 restrictions

Monday 13 April 2020 - Easter & no meeting scheduled 

Monday 9 March 2020 - Chartres Cathedral a brief history and how to read the windows presentation by Caroline O’Callaghan followed by questions and discussion.

Monday 10 February 2020 - The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud a monastery in the village of Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, near Chinon, in the former French duchy of Anjou. Founded in 1101

Angela Curtis did a presentation on the importance of the Abbey and a 'family tree' from William I through to Edward I as to why the family are historically so important and that is why the Abbey is supported by information from Vincent O’Callaghan

Ann Murrells talked on the life of the 4 houses of the Abbey and under the important Abbess’s

Kay Pagett talked on the role of the abbey as a high security prison (1804 under Napoleon Bonaparte) and in WW2 many members of the Resistance were incarcerated there before being deported. Ten were shot on site.

Monday 13 January 2020 – We watched a Time Team Special on The Staffordshire Anglo Saxon Hoard and discussed the December visit and the film. 


09 December 2019 - Anglo Saxons part 2 we enjoyed a festive field visit to The Staffordshire Hoard exhibition in Birmingham. Members travelled by train to see the largest hoard of Anglo Saxon gold ever found. 

11 November 2019 - Anglo Saxons part 1


Around 20 members met at Bishops Wood Environmental Centre in the overflow Car Park. Alison Barsby arranged a first rate start to our new topic The Anglo Saxons.  John R Rhymer who is the former head of the Bishops Wood Centre led everyone up to The Centre to sign in then down to the Saxon Hall (and remains of the previous one that burnt down).  Helen Ferguson a former Schools Team Leader will be able to demonstrate how the Saxons lit their fires using a flint and steel.

Members were asked to donate £5 each to the Friends of Bishops Wood for the "bursary fund" that they use to enable children from less well-off areas to attend programmes for school classes at Bishops Wood. 

Bishops Wood is home to a reconstructed Saxon hall, thatched Saxon workshop, and a newly constructed forge-shelter and willow long-ship! A previous reconstruction based on an original excavation at West Stow was destroyed by fire in 2008 and gave the opportunity for a great deal of important archaeological research into the evidence left following such a fire.

Monday 14 October 2019 NO MEETING

As the AGM at The town Hall with the Showcase was moved to this day.

Tuesday 3 September 2019 - The American Museum Day Trip with the Travel Group 

Saturday 3 August 2019 - Battle of Evesham part 5 A field tripto the annual commemoration of the Battle of Evesham - sharing cars. We arrived in time for the memorial service and wreath laying followed by refreshments with Jenny Wood and helper from the Simon de Montfort Society. After this Clive Bostle from the Simon de Montfort Society had arranged a talk in St Lawrence’s church to see the window to Simon de Montfort with Anthony Rich (Battlewell Trust) and then a tour of the battlefield with a speaker from the. Members joined him to go up by public bus from the church to the battlefield.  Those who did not wish to do this remained at the Medieval Fayre & Battle Re-enactment Camp in the riverside park or return there afterwards.

Monday 8 July 2019 - Battle of Evesham part 4  a big thank you to Alison Barsby for arranging a fascinating field trip to Kenilworth Castle seat of Simon de Montfort 6th Earl of Leicester. We learnt a lot achieved all but one of our study goals and had an enjoyable day!

Monday 17 June 2019 - Battle of Evesham part 3 - Alison Barsby arranged a fascinating field trip to The Almonry Museum and Heritage Centre in Evesham. The14th Century building was once home to the Almoner of the Benedictine Abbey that was founded in the 8th Century. Entrance is £3 for 65’s and £4.50 up to 64 years old. It houses an eclectic collection that spans the prehistoric to the 20th Century. Displayed over 12 rooms and a garden, the emphasis is on how Evesham has developed and grown during this time. There are exhibitions about the Abbey, the battle of Evesham in 1265, horticulture in the area, Anglo-Saxon burial treasure, 18th Century clothing and the impact of war upon this little market town.

Monday 13 May 2019THE BATTLE OF EVESHAM 1265 - PART 2 - WITH PAUL HARDING  from 2pm to 4pm at Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley DY12 1EU - 39 members enjoyed Paul Harding's fascinating talk about the Battle of Evesham and seeing and handling the weapons, mail, helmets and experiencing part of the battle. A lovely sunny afternoon and an interesting talk - Thank you. 

Monday 8 April 2019 - EDWARD 1 of ENGLAND & SIMON de MONTFORT 6th Earl of  Leicester & 'THE BATTLE OF EVESHAM 1265' - PART 1

2pm to 4pm at Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley DY12 1EU

Members research sharing Maximum 5 to 10 minutes each to allow time for questions & discussion

INTRODUCTION to our topic - Caroline O'Callaghan

Introducing KING HENRY III of ENGLAND   - Kay Pagett

An introduction to HOW THE KINGS COUNCIL FUNCTIONE  D   before Simon de Montfort’s proposals making the foundations of the modern Parliament - Lyn Grogan

Introducing ELEANOR OF ENGLAND daughter of King John and Isabella of Angouleme, and sister of King Henry III & wife of Simon de Montfort - Ann Murrell

Introducing SIMON DE MONTFORT 6th Earl of Leicester - Vincent O'Callaghan

Introducing PRINCE EDWARD then EDWARD 1 - Alison Barsby

Refreshments, discussion on our presentations followed by thoughts on our plans for the next few months meetings & speaker.

Monday 11 March 2019 - THE WORCESTER SUFFRAGETTES an illustrated talk from author LUCIENNE BOYCE

Our speaker Lucienne Boyce originates from Wolverhampton. In 2007 she gained an M.A. in English Literature with distinction from the Open University. Since then she has been writing & publishing historical fiction including her Dan Foster mysteries where Dan, a Bow Street Runner, is determined to get his man or woman! In 2016 she was joint winner of the prestigious historical novel society indie award for new historical fiction an award judged by authors & historians. Lucienne Boyce has also written a number of factual books on the Bristol suffragettes and given talks and walks on Weston-Super-Mare and the Suffragettes, the Cheltenham Suffragettes, Swindon, Wiltshire and the Suffragettes and our topic the Worcester Suffragettes. Lucienne Boyce is also a campaigner & is currently writing the biography of Millicent Price the suffrage campaign for a forthcoming book. She also keeps up a fascinating website and online blog. We had an interesting & knowledgeable talk and a lively discussion.

We would especially like to thank the Civic Societies, W.I.’s, WFHRG and Soroptimist’s for joining us as well as members of other WFD U3A groups. 69 places / tickets sold thank you.

Monday 11 February 2019 - SUFFRAGE, SUFFRAGETTES & ANTI SUFFRAGE - part 3

2pm to 4pm at Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley DY12 1EU   

Thank you to Ann Murrell and the Bewdley W.I. we will also had their recent exhibition information on show as well at this meeting.

Lyn Grogan shared the "BBC Radio 4 episode 2 '1913: The Year Before" a 14 minute programme on Michael Portillo and others take on  The Women’s Rebellion and her thoughts on this fascinating account.

Group members study information shared maximum 10 minutes each, questions and discussion: Thank you to all the members for sharing their work and thoughts. It was really interesting.

Millicent Garrett Fawcett - Kay Padgett 

Womens Vote in USA & other countries - Alison Barsby 

Men against Women having the vote - Dennis James 

Monday 14 January 2019 - SUFFRAGE, SUFFRAGETTES & ANTI SUFFRAGE - part 2

2pm to 4pm at Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley DY12 1EU - A relaxing start to the New Year watching the 2015 film Suffragette with a discussion over refreshments about the film and areas of study for the February meeting.

Suffragette (2015) The film tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality, their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart breaking and inspirational.

‘Suffragette’ was funded by the British Film Institute. The Historical drama, set in London follows the early members of the Women's Social and Political Union and the story of their radicalisation from peaceful protesters to law breakers. The film documents WSPU's secret meetings to discuss tactics when protests and parliamentary evidence fail to win women the vote. After further mistreatment by employers, police and political lies the suffragettes decide to increase their activism with civil disobedience causing damage to Oxford Street windows, post boxes, churches and politicians homes. Police surveillance and arrests lead to the suffragette's imprisonment and hunger strikes.




Monday 8th January 2018 at Tesco Kidderminster, we had excellent presentations from Bob Brown & Dennis James on The Russian Civil War and a lively discussion - thank you.
Monday 12th February 2018 at St George's Hall, Bewdley - Ann Murrell gave a fascinating insight into Grigori Rasputin. We then watched the final part of the fascinating Channel 5 TV documentary film "The Russian Revolution in Colour" starting from 11 November 1918 through the third revolution. We then had a group discussion on Ann’s research and the film with all the groups researchers present. Followed by an update on room hire and trips next meeting and preferred meeting places after May 2018.
Sunday 18th March 2018 Alison Barsby secured sufficient seats on the Whittle Bus & Coach Day Trip to Greenwich in London where the WRNS anniversary expo is which U3A members have contributed to. Alison for details. There was no March meeting due to the visit
No April meeting due to the trip being postponed
Monday 14th May 2018 2pm – 4pm at Cookley Village Hall,  Lea Lane, Cookley, DY10 3RH - Showing part of 1861 of Ken Burns The Civil War ‘The Causes’ - A big thank you to Anne Kraemer for leading the May meeting and starting us off so well with the American Civil War & Slavery, really interesting & enjoyable.
Some suggested reading. There are so many history books but these are more related ones about the subject:

White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America by Don Jordan and Michael J. Walsh £2.32 on Amazon Kindle at 15 May

Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave by Zora Neale Hurston

The Invention of Wings Paperback by Sue Monk Kidd

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beacher Stowe on Amazon Kindle £1.41 the unabridged version at 15 May

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Penguin history) by James M. Mc Pherson Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History published 1990

Check out:
Monday 11th June 2018 - 2pm to 4pm at our new group home Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley  DY12 1EU we watched the second part of The Ken Burns film The Civil War covering Traitors and Patriots 12th April to July 1861 including the first battle at Fort Sumter. Group volunteers did excellent presentations on:
Where did the slaves come from? Vincent O'Callaghan

Underground, helping slaves move to the North. Sue Clarke


The historical influence of the UK re the introduction of slavery into America Dennis James


Uncle Tom’s Cabin, its influence on the war / public opinion Lin Roberts

Sunday 1st July  2018 A big thank you to  Alison Barsby for arranged a fascinating visit and guided walk around Rosedene a simple red brick Victorian cottage built for Chartist members as part of the innovative Chartist Land Plan Chartist Land Planwith a talk for the group from the National Trust volunteers. Very enjoyable, interesting and sunny!

Friday 27th July 2018 a prebooked visit to Blakesley Hall. Shared cars.  A few places left on the 12:30 visit. Book directly with Birmingham Museums on 0121 348 8263 at £7 per person if you do not have tickets. A very good performance and visit.  

Sunday 12th August 2018 leaving Kidderminster at 8am a day trip group members only using cars 12 group members have signed up to visit the American Museum nr Bath car sharing we have five voluntary drivers Anne K, Dennis & Caroline, Glenise & Alison to get us all there so 18 of our group members could go. The proposal is that as it will take 2 hours drive each way approx 180 miles round trip so where 4 are in a car the passengers pay the drivers £10.25 each direct as a voluntary contribution to the costs. Meeting at the car park at Brintons Park Kidderminster ready to leave by 8am please. We have booked 5 parking spaces at the museum. I will not be collecting any money as we can pay entry on arrival £11 pp for seniors.
Monday 10th September 2018 - 2pm to 4pm at Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley  DY12 1EU
We listened to a fascinating audio clip from Jim Thompson on Slavery and how the slaves used music to communicate
Members contributed their own research and thoughts on: 'The importance of music to the slaves & indentured' Caroline O'Callaghan  'President Abraham Lincoln' Alison Barsby
'General Robert E Lee (for the South)' Ann Murrells
'General U Grant (for the North)' Denis James
And there was a lively discussion.
Monday 8th October 2018 - 2pm to 4pm at Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley DY12 1EU - our third part of The Ken Burns film The Civil War covering 1865 "The Better Angels of Our Nature" up to 
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement gaining note for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings.
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."
Monday 12th November 2018 - 2pm to 4pm at Wribbenhall Community Centre, Shaw Hedge Road, Bewdley DY12 1EU
The catastrophic chain of events that led from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th June 1914, to the declaration of war between Britain and Germany on 4th August 1914.
Dennis Plant gave a group of 30 a timely talk on the origins of the First World War and there was a fascinating question & answer and discussion session. Thank you to Dennis and everyone who took part.

Friday 7 December 2018 - we went by train to New Street Station and saw the astonishing Face of Suffrage collage of 3,700 womens pictures making a 200 sq meter depiction of the first Suffragette to be force fed. Then onto the Birmingham Hippodrome to see the display of Women Suffrage and Suffragette historic photos. Finally from the coffee shop to The National Trust Back to  Backs for our own guided tour of the houses, yard and shops. Thank you to all who came. 



Monday 13th February Meeting


Elaine Yates introduced Caroline O'Callaghan as the General History Group Convener. Alison Barsby will be the group Deputy and Treasurer of the group.


To set the scene we showed just under 20 minutes of ‘Awakening’ part one of the DVD 1916: The Irish Rebellion (BBC/RTE) Narrated by Liam Neeson. This was a landmark documentary series examining the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin and the subsequent events that led to the establishment of an independent Irish State and indirectly to the breakup of the British Empire.


Vincent O’Callaghan gave an interesting further talk following on to the first part of the Awakening first part of the DVD about the people involved and the attempts at Home Rule.


We then saw the first two minutes of part two ‘Insurrection’ of the DVD as a taster for what we might choose to explore ourselves for next time.  


Discussion and questions followed by members identifying which relevant area they would like to follow up on to feed back to the March meeting to share and pool our knowledge.


Monday 13th March Meeting


We watched the 2nd part of the DVD 1916: The Irish Rebellion (BBC/RTE) Narrated by Liam Neeson on the Easter Rising itself – “Insurrection”.


Group members gave varied and interesting talks to show their research with the rest of the group. Members expressed surprise at many of their findings being quite different from what they expected and we started to explore these.


From our enthusiastic volunteers they contributed:


The role of St. Enda's School (Scoil Éanna), the secondary school for boys set up in 1908 in Ranelagh, Dublin by Irish nationalist Patrick Pearse – Elaine Yates with photos projected by Tim Yates


Part of The Proclamation was read out to the group to further set the scene - Anne Williams


The British point of view, was such a level of force understandable or justified? – Julia Scott


The relevance of WW1 to the 1916 Easter Rising – Sue Whiteman


Discussion as to where the group might meet after April 2017 and whether we wished to go on future trips and talks related to our topics of study and the financial costs of this.



Monday 24th April Meeting

We had a further discussion as to where we wish to go from here regarding content, subject, speakers relevant to subjects, funding and members will feed back on other less expensive halls they have agreed to investigate. We agreed the next three meetings will be about the Tudors running up to the August day visit to Sudeley Castle & Winchcombe.

Anne Williams agreed to do some initial finding out about The Salt Road to let us know the possibilities for study and visits in the Autumn.

Following the discussion Caroline O'Callaghan will look at the possibility other meeting places discussed.

Then we had a final shorter instalment if the 3rd part of the 1916: The Irish Rebellion (BBC/RTE) Narrated by Liam Neeson.

After coffee / tea members gave a short talk about what they have found out about their chosen area with a chance to ask questions and discuss.

The role of James Connolly (from one of his descendants in the group) – Lin Roberts

The role of the Irish Women’s Movement ‘Cumman na mBan’ – Caroline O’Callaghan

The relevance of the strike and the lockout of Irish trade union members - Vincent O’Callaghan

The writings, poems and plays of the Irish Rebellion including Easter, 1916’ and 'Sixteen Dead Men' by William Butler Yeats and his relationship with Maud Gonne MacBride -  Anne Williams

THE TUDORS - part 1

Monday 8th May Meeting

We watched the 2015 BBC documentary Shakespeare’s Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman brought to life by historian and broadcaster Michael Wood.  Mary Arden, her family and their lives on the farm through turbulent Tudor times is a fascinating contrast to the Royals and Knights stories of the time.


We then discussed the film and talked about what group members are interested to research about the Tudor period to share with each other at our July meeting. See below.

Anne Williams gave feedback on what was possible for the proposed Droitwich Roman Salt Road visit for September.

Caroline gave feedback about the possible alternative meeting halls from October 2017. Elaine & Tim suggested Tesco and this was favoured as a possibility so Caroline will follow up.

THE TUDORS - part 2

Monday 12th June 2017


We discovered the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother. Experienced the sights, sounds and smells of a working Tudor farm at Mary Arden’s Farm. We meet the Tudors who run the farm wearing period costume just as Shakespeare’s mother would have done, watch craft and falconry demonstrations and explore the farmyard, playground and historic buildings.

Built by Mary’s father, Robert Arden around 1514, Mary Arden’s House has been significantly altered over time. We were able to peek inside the chimney and the walls, discover how the house was built and imagine what life must have been like for Mary when she lived here with her seven sisters.

Neighbouring Palmer’s Farmhouse retained much of its original 16th Century structure. Adam Palmer would have employed several day labourers to undertake the daily work on the land and the care of the livestock, and female servants to help his wife with domestic and farmyard tasks. By 1584 Palmer had improved his house, demolishing the old hall and parlour and building a new hall, cross-passage and kitchen, to create the building we saw. We had an opportunity to watch the Tudor Farm lunch prepared.

THE TUDORS - part 3

Monday 10th July meeting 

We watched an episode of The Tudor Monastery Farm– BBC 2 DVD - Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold turned the clock back over 500 years to run a farm at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex exactly as it would have been in 1500, during the reign of the first Tudor King, Henry VII.

Group members discussed the DVD over refreshments and the enjoyable and interesting June visit to Mary Arden’s Farm lead by Alison Barsby.

Members fascinating feedback to the group on what they have found out about:

Music in the Tudor era with slides and pictures of Tudor instruments and a musical accompaniment - Anne Williams

Hygiene in Tudor times for the rich and poor especially in relation to hair care – Sue Clarke

Rush floors, mattresses & bedsteads with the development of chimneys in the Tudor & Elizabethan eras – Caroline O’Callaghan

Housekeeping - Information & discussion about the new venue for the autumn, last minute information on the Sudeley Castle visit August from Caroline O'Callaghan and The Droitwich Roman Salt Road visit in September booked by Anne Williams.

Saturday 12th August: Building the Cathedral Exhibition we visited the exhibition of how the Cathedral was constructed from the Middle Ages onwards. Looking at the various types of mediaeval craftsmen and stonemasons who appear in the Cathedral library's historic documents followed by the tour around the Cathedral's more significant Stained Glass Windows including  the inspiring West Window depicting Creation, currently being conserved, and the window commemorating Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Charles Hastings.  
Monday 14th August: Cathedral Garden Tour.  We went on a tour around the Cathedral's gardens with the gardener. This was a real treat and for me (Caroline) the best of the tours I did.
Saturday 19th August: Worcester Cathedral Behind the Scenes Upper Reaches Tour. Seeing the Cathedral from a different perspective. Guided tour given by the Cathedral Archaeologist or a specialist trained upper reaches guide through some of the Cathedral roof spaces.
Wednesday 23rd August: Worcester Cathedral Library Tour. Guided tours of the Cathedral library offering a chance to see the Worcester Anitphoner and other mediaeval manuscripts, other historic documents and rare books form the Cathedral archives.
Wednesday 23rd August: Worcester Cathedral Fossils in the Stones A tour around the stonework used to construct the Cathedral discovering more about the fossils hidden within.

THE TUDORS - part 4

Monday 21st August 2017

Sudeley Castle and Winchcombe. 20 members went on the visit.

The castle was once home to Queen Katherine Parr, the last and surviving wife of King Henry VIII. Henry himself, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth I and Richard III have all played a part in Sudeley’s story. King Charles I found refuge here during the Civil War, when his nephew Prince Rupert established headquarters at the Castle. Following its ‘slighting’ on Cromwell’s orders at the end of the Civil War, Sudeley lay neglected and derelict for nearly 200 years.

King George III was amongst those sightseers who came to admire its romantic ruins. Then in 1837 Sudeley was rescued by the wealthy Worcester glove-makers, brothers John and William Dent, who began an ambitious restoration program which was continued by their nephew, John Coucher Dent, when he inherited the castle in 1855. His wife, Emma Brocklehurst, threw herself enthusiastically into Sudeley’s restoration, at the same time forging strong links with the nearby town of Winchcombe. It is the results of Emma’s dedication that are so evident in the gardens and exhibitions at Sudeley today.


Monday 11th September visit  

We met at the museum and spent an hour at the museum looking at the two exhibitions. We were then met by the Mayor of Droitwich who is also the Chairman of the Local Historic Society and he guided us on a historic walking tour until about of Droitwich showing parts that even those of us who know Droitwich had never seen. Many thanks to Anne Williams for arranging this!

The History Group Trip to Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings

Friday 6th October 2017

Several of us joined the trip to Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings which is an open air museum of rescued buildings which have been relocated to its site in Stoke Heath, a district of Bromsgrove. Chris a volunteer told us about the museum and other volunteers were in several of the major buildings to tell us about their history. Thank you to Margaret for inviting us.


Monday 9th October was our first meeting at the Kidderminster Tesco Community Room. We took the opportunity to review our first 9 months and to plan our next 9 months of meetings and topics. We also discussed the information for the AGM stand for next Monday's meeting. To be added to our list of to do's - Group visit using shared cars to Ludlow Castle Summer 2018 & Look at the Dents of Worcster adding to what we have learnt about Emma Dent.


Monday 13th November meeting at 1.50pm at Kidderminster Tesco meeting at the customer services desk 

Film (first part) of The Russian Revolution in colour followed by group members who have volunteered to research & share (maximum 10 minutes each please) Anne Kraemer the Causes of the Russian Revolution, Anne Williams the Russian Royal Family and their role incl connections with UK Royal Family, Vincent O’Callaghan the Bolshevik & Mensheviks and then a group discussion about the film and contributions.

Wednesday 13th December 6.30pm start at Harvington Hall -

Elizabethan dancing, tour, mulled wine and mince pies event - Please note change of Venue, Day and time for this Christmas Treat! SOLD OUT