16th January “ Reading Houses” by Janet Spavold
Janet Spavold has studied buildings for most of her life, and this talk illustrates the range of domestic architecture from the late middle ages to modern times. It considers how and why changes came about, and how to identify buildings from different periods. The illustrations are drawn on local examples and examples from other parts of the country.

Janet Spavold‘s working life has been spent in higher education, first teaching Medieval Literature, then running a Local History degree course. For 20 years she ran a WEA/Nottingham University evening class research group in local history and the group published three books. Her own research covers a wide range of historical material, in recent years centred on Ticknall, South Derbyshire.

20th March “Ancient Artefacts & Their Uses by Richard Knox
Join our resident archaeologist, Richard Knox, for a journey through more than 50,000 years of early Britain told through an array of archaeological artefacts. Find out how these objects were made and used and by whom. Richard will bring along many wonderful finds from Leicestershire and the Melton area, as well as images of the more rare or delicate items from our past. There will be the chance to handle some real objects as well as good quality replicas.

Richard Knox, a resident of Rotherby, is the manager at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and an archaeologist. In his spare time Richard re-enacts various periods of history, including the 13th and 15th centuries.

15th May “Metal Detecting in the Upper Wreake” by Phil Harding
Phil Harding has been metal detecting in Leicestershire for almost 30 years, working the fields alone and supporting formal archaeological investigations. He has recorded 2,700 objects on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database, with the greatest possible detail captured for everything. In this talk examples will be given of spatial and temporal analysis to demonstrate the insights that thorough recording of finds can bring. These include evidence for shifting settlement patterns, changing activity over time, and some special objects with their own story to tell.

Phil’s background is in Biology and he retired from the Environment Agency 2 years ago after 40 years as a professional scientist. However, over the years metal detecting has drawn him into a deep fascination and involvement with Archaeology.

17th July “Medieval Carvings of Leicestershire & Rutland” by Bob Trubshaw
Leicestershire’s churches contain a wealth of ignored medieval sculpture in both stone and wood depicting a wide variety of subjects including grotesque beasties, so-called ‘Green Men’ and even rather rude contortionists. In 2009 Leicestershire County Council instigated a project to photograph and record all the medieval carvings inside and outside the churches of Leicestershire and Rutland. So far about six thousand carvings have been recorded, offering significant insights into this neglected aspect of life in the centuries before the Battle of Bosworth. Work is underway to make these images available via the internet.

At our July meeting Bob Trubshaw, will talk to us about the project and share with us some examples of the superb medieval art this project has recorded.

Bob has been researching and writing about local medieval carvings for about thirty years. He is the author of numerous books and articles about local history, folklore and archaeology.

18th September “Down the Garden Path – tales of the privy” by David Bell

There was a time when in almost every household a visit to the privy involved a walk “Down the Garden Path”.

David Bell takes us back to those days with a mixture of history, humour and nostalgia. From historical figures like the Elizabethan inventor Sir John Harrington & the legendary Thomas Crapper, to the unfortunate young lady whose mother painted the seat of the family privy a delicate shade of green on the eve of her wedding day, David will take us “Down the Garden Path” to the bottom of the garden.

David was born and grew up in Melton Mowbray. He was a Primary School teacher for 30 years, including seven as head of a village school. Since he left teaching David has been a full-time writer first of children’s books, then thrillers (under a pseudonym) and, finally, books about local history.

20th November “The History of Leicester’s Hospitals” by Karl Mayes and Jon Currington

Since it’s opening in 1771, Leicester’s Infirmary has grown from a small institution (known locally as “the House”) with a handful of staff to one of the largest hospital Trusts in England. University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust now employs over 15,000 staff and treats over a million patients a year. The history of the Leicester Infirmary is essentially a story of evolution, growth and adaptation. This talk will cover key points in the development of the hospital and introduce you to some of the individuals who have stamped their mark on the institution. The Trust has also recently established a dedicated committee to oversee and promote interest in its art, historical artefacts and archive material. We look forward to sharing with you some of the recent work and aspirations of this committee.

Karl Mayes is Patient & Public Involvement Manager and Jon Currington is Head of Partnerships and Business Development.

Karl and Jon sit on the Arts and Heritage Committee for University Hospitals of Leicester and are keen to bring the rich history and arts legacy of our hospitals to a wider audience.

11th December Members evening