Dr Terry Stanford. Preparing for the Worst- World War 2. 24th Feb

Terry  earned his Ph.D. for his study of the history of the Metropolitan Police so he was  well prepared to give us a memorable talk, illustrated not by sldes but by bringing with him some amazing artefacts, the most surprising being an enrmous contraption which turned out to be a gas mask for a baby.

He told us how in the run up to the war there was in fact a great deal of preparation carried out, including the doubling of the size of the Met.  This was mainly done by the recall of the recently retired and the refusal of resignations.  This then provided the manpower needed to supervise the wholesale  evacuation of children to new and usually unknown homes around the country and to prepare for the coming of the dreaded blitz..

Then there was the imposition of a blackout, for it was recognised that night time bombers needed to see their targets.  A whole system of street wardens was set up to make sure the blackout rules were enforced and large numbers of police were kept on standby so that they could be rushed to bombed areas to give assistance along with ambulances and firefighters.  One perk for the police was that they were provided with their main meal when on duty which meant their rations went further and kept up morale.

Terry’s talk painted a vivid picture of an extreme and terrifying time when the UK was standing alone before the might of an aggressive and malevolent dictatorship bent on the invasion of England and prevented from doing so only by the men in the fighter aircraft overhead.

John Baxter

 

 

John Drew on the Dorset and Somerset Ambulance Service

Friday 27th January

After our AGM John Crew came to speak to us about the Dorset and Somerset  Air Ambulance Service. In a fascinating, well prepared and illustrated talk he explained how this amazing service works and what an outstanding example of team work and co-operation between various groups, public and private, paid and volunteer, it exemplifies.  Continue reading

NATHANIEL IRESON of WINCANTON – Architect, Master Builder & Potter

On the 23rd September 2016, in the Wincanton Memorial Hall; Peter Fitzgearld will give a talk on,

Nathaniel-IresonNATHANIEL IRESON of WINCANTON – Architect, Master Builder & Potter

Nathaniel Ireson has long deserved to be restored to his rightful place as one of the leading West Country architects of the early 18th century, and in Peter FitzGerald he has found an author worthy of his achievements.

Peter FitzGerald, who lives near Wincanton and has a particular interest in architecture, has undertaken extensive research which has uncovered the very large number of houses, churches and other buildings on which Ireson worked.

Peter FitzGerald’s patient research has unearthed evidence of at least forty other houses that Ireson designed, many of them in the Provincial Baroque style that was his hallmark. One of the book’s strengths is the detailed appendix listing the buildings on which Ireson worked. Ireson made his home in Wincanton, where he set up a delft pottery. He carved church monuments and played a crucial role in the rebuilding of Blandford Forum after the Great Fire of 1731. By the time of his death in 1769, he was a highly regarded architect, whose legacy lives on throughout the West Country.

Peter makes a strong case for the importance of this neglected architect-builder-entrepreneur, who became Wincanton’s biggest employer and principal citizen.

Nathaniel-Ireson-Jacket-front-for-website-230x355

 

It is sad that his name is no longer known outside the town, but Peter FitzGerald’s fascinating new book – Nathaniel Ireson of Wincanton, Architect, Master Builder and Potter – should redress that situation (and raise money to restore the imposing Ireson statue in Wincanton churchyard).

Wincanton Memorial Hall 23rd September 2016 7.30 PM

Cost; £5 Non Members, £2 Members