Gallery Extras 2008

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By scrolling this page up you may view reports and pictures of these events

September - Theatre Group III to Sonning

August - Travel Group outing to Cressing

August - Theatre Group III visit to The National Theatre

August  - Astronomy Group Sun study

July - East Anglian Studies Group ~ Rotherhithe

June - Charity Picnic

May - East Anglian Studies Group ~ Church crawl

May - Theatre Group III weekend to Norwich



SEPTEMBER 2008 ~ It was on one of those beautiful calm September days when the sun shone warmly that 16 members of Theatre Group III set out in a minibus bound for Sonning in Berkshire. Their purpose was to have lunch at Sonning Mill followed by a play in the theatre also at the Mill. (the electricity for both enterprises is generated by a huge water wheel). Following lunch (pictures above), the group was entertained with a modern-day farce, "Birthday Suite," by Robert Hardon. (Report and photos: Brian Leith)



AUGUST 2008 ~ The Travel Group had an outing to Great Leighs and Cressing Temple, which was something of a swan-song for Christine Lipscombe as she is now giving up leading the group after nearly 16 years. Just under 20 members drove in cars to St. Mary the Virgin Church at Great Leighs where they were met by ladies who provided them with coffee and Christine had brought some cakes  too. The group were then given an interesting talk by a very enthusiastic lady who gave lots of details of this, one of only a few round-towered churches in Essex. It dates from Saxon times, though the nearby Saxon settlement had long ago disappeared. Apparently they built the very substantial tower in stages over a number of years, using materials they found in the nearby fields such as flint and stones and rubble. It would originally have had a thatched roof. The main body of the church would have been made of wood which had been replaced with a strong brick and flint structure. When the Normans arrived they altered things a little and inserted a rather fine arched Norman doorway into the tower. Much of the church was rebuilt in the 14th century and has constantly been updated ever since. The church lies a considerable distance from Great Leighs and the group were told that this was because after the Saxons left people began to build houses adjacent to the nearby Roman road which was a main trading route through Essex to the north and thus the village of Great Leighs developed there and is now expanding at a terrific rate. At some point the early community must have decided they needed a church and instead of building a new one refurbished the derelict (apart from the tower), church near the old Saxon settlement ~ an early attempt at recycling no doubt! Christine had organised a substantial buffet lunch at the Dog and Partridge public house in Great Leighs which was enjoyed by all. In the afternoon the group moved on to Cressing Temple where they were given audio hand sets and plans of the site so they could examine where each fancied and of course have tea. The whole site is now owned by Essex County Council and has been tastefully developed and is used for many functions. The original old barley and wheat barns are magnificent and the restored walled kitchen garden is an absolute joy. In this very poor summer they were blessed with a glorious sunny day and very many thanks are due to Christine for organising such an entertaining and enjoyable day. (Report and photos: Rosemary Morris)


Above left: Cressing Temple Garden


Above centre: Amazing beams in the barn


Below: St. Mary the Virgin Church at Great Leighs



Above: An early threshing machine


Below centre: The round tower of St. Mary the Virgin Church at Great Leighs


Below: View of the barn




AUGUST 2008 ~ Members of TG3 enjoyed a day out taking in a brilliant play "Never so Good," with Jeremy Irons playing the central character, at the Lyttleton Theatre. The play focuses on the life Harold MacMillan and using pyrotechnics portrayed his life from his school days through the First World War to his day in Government. All members agreed that it one of the finest plays they had seen in a long time and that all of the cast portrayed their characters wonderfully. (Report and photos: Brian Leith)



AUGUST 2008 ~ A comparatively new group for Brentwood U3A, Astronomy, convened by Dr Geoffrey Towler, is proving  popular with members who have joined, and Dr Towler has been providing a huge amount of fascinating information and data regarding the solar system. Each month he compiles charts of possible sightings of satellites, planets, etc, for publication in the Newsletter.

In the picture below Dr Towler is seen at a meeting of the group delivering a talk using models of the sun and surrounding moons and planets to show their equivalent sizes and their relationship with one another. At the meeting he explained that it was quite surprising how small all the planets are in relation to the sun. The group learned that the sun was 700 times the mass of all the planets together and looked at sunspots and the 11-year activity cycle. Members examined the photosphere, chromosphere, and the corona and also looked at solar flares, prominences, coronal holes, and coronal mass ejections.  He explained that the sun’s core temperature is 15 million degrees, and the core pressure is 340 billion atmospheres. “There are particles called solar neutrinos that escape from the core in a few seconds and 70 billion of them pass through every square centimetre of our bodies every second,” he said. “The sun is consuming 685 million tons of hydrogen every second, but we don’t need to concern ourselves unduly as it will continue shining as normal for about another 5 billion years.” Combining with another U3A branch, members of the group attended a talk about Sir Bernard Lovell and the Jodrell Bank radio telescope which was delivered by a man who worked with Sir Bernard and who entertained the group with a number of personal anecdotes.



JULY 2008 ~ I didn’t know Rotherhithe had such a lot of history attached until the group visit led by Fay. Meeting at Canada Water we first went to look at the wooden Deal Porters Statues, the men who unloaded wood from Canada. Whaling Boats arrived at this Dock too. A short walk away was the Surrey Docks Commercial Building built in 1892 and very impressive. Next to the Rotherhithe Tunnel stands the Norwegian Church. Some of its congregation miss their homeland so the church has a lounge section with books and magazines, and a coffee bar and shop where Norwegian goods can be purchased. The stained glass windows are very good. Carrying on through Cherry Garden to Cathay Street, you come upon the ruins of a moated manor house, which belonged to King Edward III, which used to have vineyards attached to it. Nearly opposite stands the Angel Public House haunt of Samuel Pepys and Captain Cook. Not very far away we visited the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Two Bishops Chairs are made from the wood of the Fighting Temeraire. Captain Jones of the Mayflower also lived in the area. The Mayflower sailed in 1620. The Pilgrims were very surprised on landing to be spoken to in English by Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag peoples, and he helped them to settle. The reason he knew English was due to Squanto, a slave of the Spanish, who was rescued and brought to England, where he learnt the language and customs. He later returned to the Islands and taught Chief Massasoit. The Mayflower returned to Rotherhithe where it was broken up, St Mary’s was built by the same architect John James who built St Georges Hanover Square The organ a great treasure of the church was built by John Byfield the younger in 1764. Opposite stands a church school and a little watch house used in wartime. Lunch time arrived we went to the Mayflower pub. It is licensed to sell US and British postal stamps having been a post office for the River. Oak-beamed, settles built to form U-Shape snugs. A varied menu .Painted gold pearls of wisdom line the walls. It started to rain so we went to the Brunel museum and engine house which pumped out water from Brunel’s foot tunnel under the Thames where banquets and fairs used to be held in the Tunnel to raise money. Techniques used by Marc Brunel, father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel are still used today. Isambard was on the project, but got injured in a flood and had to withdraw because he was so ill. A walk along Lavender Pond brought us back to Canada Water and the end of our journey. (Photos and Report: Jackie Towler)


Above: Deal Porters Statue

Centre: Surrey Docks Commercial Building

Right: Norwegian Church

Below left: Fighting Remeraire Chairs

Below centre: St Mary's School

Below right: Lunch in the Mayflower Pub


brentwood theatre and cpre PICNIC fund raiser

JUNE 2008 - Around 20 Brentwood U3A members enjoyed a beautiful summer's day at Pump Farm, Warley, where a charity event was held to raise funds for Brentwood Theatre and The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Essex. Pump Farm has a private vineyard and makes sparkling wine mainly for their own use. The charity event, to which members were invited to bring their own picnic, was interspersed with a variety of entertainers including "Strictly Pink," a group of young girls playing string instruments, a duo playing French cafe music and a trio of young men who entertained with jazz standards. Visitors were invited to walk around the grounds and visit the pond, which the owners had been working on to create a natural environment for dragonflies, etc. The pond was full of rudd. (Report and photos: Brian Leith)


East Anglian Group Church Crawl

MAY 2008 - We had a very enjoyable day out to three Essex churches, led by Dorothy Delaney. Our first visit was to St. Mary’s with St Laurence Church at Great Waltham. There are several big tombs in the churchyard, and inside the church, a tomb of a local family. Next was St. Martins, Little Waltham, where a Mrs EvelynWyatt gave us a very good tour around the inside and outside of the church. St. Martins is a Norman Church with Elizabethan brick and Brandon stone napping. A barn in the grounds for social events is based on the designs of Cressing Barns. The church has a 14th century door with a sanctuary knocker, which means criminals could dodge conviction if they were admitted. Just inside the door was a late 13th century sycamore chest for storage, and if opened all the officials of the church had to be there. The Bird family commissioned a Mother and Child glass panel made by Jennifer Conway, and in 1951 a Mary, Jesus and John stained glass window was made with a Little Waltham village scene behind the characters. After a tasty lunch at The Windmill Motor Inn at Chatham Green, we all went to St. Mary’s with St. Leonard at Broomfield, one of six Round Tower Churches in Essex. We learnt that St Leonard was the saint for prisoners and is always depicted in chains. The Rosemary Rutherford stained glass windows depicts the Army with a tank, the Navy with a ship and the Air Force with a plane. Outside is a Pudding Stone - a bump in the wall, which was a Pilgrimage marker. We sat in the churchyard, and Irene who is artistic noticed the varied colours in the tree groupings. (Report: Jackie Towler, Photos: Geoff Towler)



MAY 2008 - It would be nice to say that the sun shone on the members as they arrived at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, but not only was it dull it was also quite chilly. Nevertheless spirits were high and the weekend kicked off with an interesting tour of the city on a hop-on-hop-off tour bus. Back to the hotel and a pleasant pre-theatre dinner. This was followed by a short walk to the Maddermarket Theatre where the group enjoyed an unusual musical presentation of The Canterbury Tales. The theatre was opened in 1921 when it became the home of the Norwich Players - a flourishing group of actors. Built in 1794 the building was was originally a Roman Catholic chapel, the premises were subsequently used as a grocery warehouse, the Salvation Army Young People's Hall and as a general store. When the players moved in the building was converted from a state of near-dereliction into an Elizabethan style playhouse. Today it is a unique tribute to the dedication of all the people that have been involved in its history and those that are now dedicated to its continued success. The next morning the group had a tour of the city in a pleasure boat with a commentary by the captain and coffee by one of the deckhands! The afternoon was spent variously shopping, a visit to the castle and generally enjoying the interesting city of Norwich. Dinner was arranged in a restaurant which again was a short walk from the hotel and the group enjoyed exceptionally fine food in a room that had been set aside just for them. Following breakfast the next morning in the hotel, members departed and all agreed that the weekend was an unqualified success. (Report and photos: Brian Leith)

The hop-on-hop-off bus was a good way to see the city (Photo: Brian Leith)


(Photo: Brian Leith) Waiting for dinner at the hotel. . . . .

.  .  .  before going to the theatre (Photo: Brian Leith)

Planning the day (Photo: Brian Leith)

A dreary outlook  .  .  .  from the Cathedral(Photo: Brian Leith)

On the boat (Photo: Brian Leith)

A dreary prospect (Photo: Owen Randall)

  (Photo: Owen Randall) - But the restaurant did us proud  .  .  . 

 .  .  .  and provided us with a fine dinner (Photo: Owen Randall)

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Page last updated : Tuesday, 23 June 2020