March to October 2022

9 March
2 for 2.30 p.m

“The Great Exhibition of 1851”
Sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition, it took place in Hyde Park, London. Alan Hill tells us about the people involved in this great enterprise, not least Prince Albert, and the companies involved in its construction, such as glass by Chance of Smethwick and ironwork by Fox.

Alan Hill

13 April
7 for 7.30

Ruskin- A Presentation with a Difference!” – Local lady Ruth Durrant will tell us ab out the lives of ordinary women who helped produce the world-famous Ruskin pottery. Dressed in work clothes of 1924, she speaks as one of the workers during her lunch break. The formula for Ruskin’s glazes was famously destroyed when he died, but we may even get a chance to try our hand at replicating them with glazes which Ruth brings along.

Ruth Durrant

11 May
7 for 7.30 pm

“Queen Elizabeth I – her Life, Loves and Death” – appearing in costume, Lynda Sharpe will portray the ageing Queen reminiscing about her long reign as the last of the Tudor monarchs, and becoming the glittering symbol of the nation’s destiny, as England became a major European power in politics, commerce and the arts.


8 June
2 pm to 4 pm
Meet at

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee CelebrationQueen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Celebration (Members and their guests only)
We have arranged with our friends Lightwoods House to use the Shakespeare Garden for a special Jubilee event to be celebrated with strawberries & cream, Prosecco or a soft drink.  Tea and coffee will also be provided.  For this event we are proposing to charge £5 per head and will be making a donation to the Lightwoods House volunteers.  If our typical English summer weather should prove less than perfect, we can take shelter in the marquee.  Please book your place by returning your booking slip or by ringing 0121 429 6551.


6th July
2 p.m.
Meet in
cafe at

Visit to Holly Lodge Schools and Smethwick Acquatics Centre – one of our newer members, Rebecca Richardson-Power, has kindly offered to show us round Holly Lodge Schools from 3.45 p.m. during the week of their 100th anniversary.  Beforehand, we will meet in the café at the new Aquatics Centre, Londonderry Lane, B67 4EP from 2 p.m.  This should be open to the public prior to the Commonwealth Games later in July and there will be an opportunity to look round this new facility before travelling on to Holly Lodge.


10 Aug
7.15 for 7.30
Meet at
park gates
in West
Park Road

A Stroll round Smethwick – This year we are going to explore the newly-restored West Smethwick Park and the memorials it contains and view the outcome of our initiative to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: the planting of seven oak trees!  Among the people we shall be encountering as we go are a young RAF wartime pilot, a Victorian engineer and philanthropist, a chief of Smethwick Fire Brigade and a famous Australian novelist.


14 September
7 for 7.30 pm


The House where the Weather Was Made A virtual tour of Highbury, Joseph Chamberlain’s house in Moseley David & Pam Humphries will tell us about Chamberlain’s influence upon late Victorian Birmingham, which included becoming the Mayor of Birmingham and later its M.P. He also set up a new municipal gas company, spearheaded slum clearance, created the Birmingham Corporation Water Department and helped to found the University of Birmingham.  (This meeting is our annual fund-raising event to support the charity voted for by you, our members).

& Pam

12 October
2 for 2.30 pm

“Clean & Decent – A History of Personal Hygiene” – The basic bathroom facilities we all take so much for granted today were certainly not always the case. Nigel Metcalfe explains the history of cleanliness (or lack of it!) from the Ancient Greeks to the introduction of the flushing toilet and the importance of a clean, safe water supply and sewage disposal.


9 Nov

2.00 for
2.30 p.m

A.G.M. followed by:
“Remember, Remember:   The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was the first large-scale attempt by religious fanatics to visit terror on the populace and topple the establishment. It ended in a shoot-out only a few miles from here, and this talk looks at the Midland men behind it and how their failure became an event we still celebrate today. 


7 Dec

2.00 for

“Merrie England’s folklore calendar: through the year in custom and song” Dr Richard Churchley, a musician and historical researcher, makes welcome a return visit to entertain us with his interesting range of instruments.  This will be followed by our usual mince pie and glass of mulled wine to bring in the Christmas season.