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Whitwick & District U3A

Registered Charity No. 1181238

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021

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Whitwick & District U3A - History Group


The History Group meets during the afternoon of the last Monday of the month. History topics are varied and suggestions from members are always welcome. Summer meetings are usually outdoor visits and winter sessions are talks at Thringstone Methodist Church Hall.

During the coronavirus pandemic it has not been possible to meet, with the exception of the October and November tours of Griffydam and Coleorton graveyards. There is little prospect of physical meetings before the end of April 2021. In the meantime we are sharing short history films every Monday and have been fortunate to have had fabulous suggestions from several members.

Digital History Every Monday

The suggestions for viewing during 2020 can be found on this page.

Monday 25th January

The media's focus on climate change and biodiversity sometimes seems to suggest that people only started planting trees and looking after forests and nature about 30 years ago. So here's a potted history of trees and forests ancient and modern:

A Brief History of Sherwood Forest

Celebrating 100 years of forestry 1919-2019

Here's How the National Park Service Got Started

Egypt: The Amazing Forest in the Desert

Why is Africa building a Great Green Wall? BBC News

Monday 18th January

The speedy development of coronavirus vaccines is a terrific achievement and scientists of all genders and nationalities are rightly getting a huge amount of credit. The role of the mathematicians in this is relatively unnoticed, yet they are the ones who do the statistical analysis that assesses the efficiency and safety of the vaccines. So here are some films that celebrate not just mathematicians, but lady mathematicians, ladies who have helped shape the world.

Hazel Hill - 13-year-old mathematician who helped win WWII (UK) - BBC News - 10th July 2020 Not only is the story of a 13 year old girl whose work helped in the design of the spitfire's guns amazing, it harks back to a different era when people quietly got on with their jobs without posting it on Instagram.
Fuller version of the story

10 Historic Female Mathematicians You Should Know Anyone who has experienced the frustrations of technology, such as getting a printer to work, will agree with this Radia Perlman quote - The world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology. The stuff I design, if I'm successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and will be self-managing.

Dorothy Johnson Vaughan Biography I find it so incredibly hard to understand why talent and ability are underused because people are female, black, poor etc. The world has lost so much. But it is inspiring to see instances where people have overcome these various prejudices and been a success.

Monday 11th January

Last week's events in Washington have prompted a selection of revolting films this week, predominantly peaceful revolutions within our lifetimes.

Solidarity and the fall of communism in Poland The name Solidarity is in many ways synonymous with Poland, a country that has itself struggled to survive with three partitions in the 18th century as Austria, Germany and Russia gobbled it up.

The Peaceful Revolution | People & Politics When Kennedy gave his dramatic speech in Berlin, few would have expected the East German regime to crumble the way it did.

Velvet Revolution 1989 Perhaps the ultimate peaceful revolution was in Czechoslovakia

The Revolutions Of 1989 Considering the violence of the communist oppression, the generally peaceful ethos of the revolutions was amazing, Romania being the notable exception.

Monday 4th January

To start the glorious year of 2021, the history of snow.

Watch Snowdrift at Bleath Gill online - Snowploughs are readied to rescue a snowbound train - in one of the most popular of all British Transport Films. The film offering this time features an incident which occurred in February 1955 when a freight train travelling between Kirkby Stephen and Barnard Castle became snowbound in the Westmorland Hills near Stanmore Summit.

Winter of 1947 - A bit before my time, but some of our members may remember this.

January's A Frost (1963) As usual we had decamped to my maternal grandparents in Porthcawl for Christmas. I had to miss a week of school because we were unable to return to Cardiff, such a shame!

Wales Online Snow 1982 January 1982 has the most vivid snowtime memories for me. I was unable to get to work in Talbot Green for a week and a colleague had to drive to my house in his land rover to collect the keys to the cheque signing machine so that Taff Ely Borough Council could pay the weekly wages.
On the Friday evening I went on a three hour stroll delivering letters cancelling a Scout Group Christmas Party, only to return home and see a big dent in my car (a delivery lorry to the corner shop across the road had hit it). The next morning a couple of neighbours rang my doorbell and asked if I had seen the side, not the car, the house! I lived at the end of a Victorian terrace and went around the corner with my neighbours to see the cast iron gutters had collapsed under the weight of the melting snow, demolishing a small narrow conservatory and garden wall. I then went out of the kitchen door into the paved garden and heard the sound of running water - the pipes had burst in the outside toilet. Yes it took months to resolve all the insurance and other issues but all were easily survivable.
I've always loved snow, but like it to be gone within 2-3 days. It really makes the garden magic and working with the Swannington Heritage Trust volunteers last week in the snow covered Gorse Field near Hough Mill was fabulous. You will all have your own snow memories, best enjoyed in front of the fire with a glass to toast the health of all our members.


Roger (Bis) Bisgrove at history at whitwicku3a dot org dot uk

Please note that as an anti-spam measure e-mail addresses on this page are NOT links, but should be manually copied


More pictures are available in the Gallery

October 2019 - Gas in Leicestershire.

Some slides from the talk

Composite view with end of terrece house, young boy in yard, and two young boys being flowerpot men in the ends of large pipes
Title slide, showing the house where Paul first lived with his family

Gas showroom on Belvoir Road
Coalville Gas office

Retort house with tall chimney, a few houses and open fields
View from the Whitwick gas holder to Green Lane


Page content updated 25-1-21
September 2019 - Breedon Hill Fort.

Information board showing  location  and view of site realted to quarry
Breedon Iron Age Hill Fort information board

Peter Liddle explaining the site to members
Breedon Iron Age Hill Fort

Panoramic view of surrounding countryside
Panoramic view from the Hill Fort

Field with sheep grazing and Breedon church behind
Field of sheep with archaeological discoveries

Composite picture of stained glass window and various carvings
Breedon church with Saxon wall carvings

Interior of church with views of a memorial, the organ and members
Interior of Breedon Church