February 2024 meeting

Our February guest speaker was Gerry Morris, on the History of Printing from Jarrolds Print Museum. Gerry showed us some 1450 hand written manuscripts and then the invention of letterpress printing and it's effect on the world. He brought along some 'tools' of the trade and printed samples. Gerry explained how the museum, which is currently based in Blickling Hall, is helping to preserve letterpress printing and associated crafts and how it's being carried forward via students and artists. Letterpress has a rich and fascinating history and Gerry helped us to appreciate the skills used over the years and how everyting has progressed to the present day. If you're interested in actually seeing more, then you can visit the museum from April onwards on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, all free of charge, at Blickling Hall.

January 2024 meeting

The AGM was a memorable occassion for The Probus Club of Norwich when they appointed their first Female President - Liza Moore.  With a background in Advertising/Marketing/Events and business, Liza is delighted to take on this new role.

Many congratulations Liza!

December 2023 meeting

Jude Sayer a practitioner of Paganism gave a very entertain account of the origins of Paganism and the myths surrounging the craft. She explain how witches became wrongly persecuted to the extent they were executed. Bizarrely the last person, Helen Duncan, to be tried for witchcraft was in 1944 and it was not until the 1951 that the Witchcrat Act of 1735 was repealed with the enactment of the Fraudulent Mediums Act.

We were taken through the Wheel of the Year which expained the highlights, lowlights of the year and how they equate to other religions. At one time Jude was a Chaplin at the Noforlk and Norwich Uninversity Hospital. Paganism is recognised by the Office of National Statistics.

November 2023 meeting

Dr David Huges Studied for a chemistry degree at Edinburgh when he saw an advertisement for a post as a geologist for an Antartic Research Station. They took him on as a meteorological observer and after he had completed the course he took a 3-Year 'gap' in Antarctica and travelled through the Americas.

His talk started off in England, via Ascension, The Falkland Islands, South Georgia and finally the Antarctic where he spent two years. A fascinating tale of becoming responsible for the husky dogs, driving the sled, eating seal meat, penguin and penguin eggs. All beautifully illustrated with pictures of the harsh conditions in sub-zero conditions, the living accommodation and the work routine. A thoroughly entertaining presentation.

October 2023 meeting

Andrew Tullett who moved from Scotland as a teenager was inspired by his father who had noticed that Norfolk has village signs. Andrew gave and introduction to the signs which were first erected at Wolferton and Flichem at the behest of Prince Albert later King George IV.

Andrew has recorded the signs of the 513 villages in Norfolk, some of which have more than one sign. He gave an explanation of the meaning of the signs through a history extending from the Jurassic period to the 1900s. From humble beginnings in Norfolk the village signs have become popular in East Anglia but they are seldom seen further afield.

September 2023 meeting

Medical Detection Dogs - Norma Howell gave an excellent talk on the work that these dogs do. Dr Claire Guest is the Co Founder and CEO of this Charity which is totally funded by donations only. Their Bio Detection Dogs are trained to detect even the tiniest smells associated with diseases like cancer, Parkinson's, COVID and diabetes and bacterial infections. The dogs have a 98% success rate. They are trained to pick up smells associated to individuals. It can take from 18 months to 2 years to train the dogs.

Dogs have been trained to detect Malaria and as a result there are even some countries free of the disease.

They have been used in detecting Covid just by smelling a mask that has been on someone's face for 3 hours. The trial was the most robust in the world and saved millions from the expensive, alternative testing that was offered. A video was shown of a person who had Type 1 diabeties and had problems through the night particuarlarly when her blood sugar levels dropped. Her dog was able to alert her to wake her up!

They are now developing an electronic 'nose' that can have the same detection levels of the dogs and hope that in about 2 years time, this will be ready to be put into Doctors surgeries to even detect early signs of cancer. Incredible stories and dogs.

Ausust 2023 meeting

At very short notice Pat Alker agreed to give a presentation on The Zulu Wars - Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift, why the war started and its outcome.

Pat has spent a lot of time travelling in Africa and some years ago set up Project Dukem to support a school in Ethiopia.

In 2015 whilst visiting South Africa Pat paid a visit to the site of Rorkes Drift, which prompted her interest in the Zulu Wars.

She gave a very detailed and fascinating talk about the build up to the Wars. The incredible defence of Rorkes Drift was most illuminating and explained in detail, with personal accounts, the bravery of the both the defending and attacking forces.

We look forward to hearing more of Pat's travels when she returns to speak to us in 2024.

July 2023 meeting

Local writer Phillida Scrivens MA, a graduate from the University of East Anglia, gave a very interesting account of the The Thorpe Railway Disaster of 1874.

Phillida related the misunderstanding between the Stationmaster, Night Inspector and a young Telegraph Clerk, which lead to the terible crash on the night of 10th September 1874. She described the scene of carnage when twenty eight people lost their lives, revealing the personal stories behind the names.

Surgeons were sumoned from the city, as the dead, dying and injured were taken to a near-by inn, The Three Tuns (now The Rushcutters Arms) and a boat yard. Every class of Victorian society were travelling that night, including ex-soldiers, landowners, clergymen, doctors, and a beautful heiress.

June 2023 meeting

Dr Anne Edwards Anne gave an insight into the history of the foundation of the Centre by the philanthropist John Innes who founded the Institue at Merton Park, Surrey in the 1860s.

Anne's work has included research into ash dieback, starch in potatoes and stress in peas. She went onto explain some to the work involved in modifying plants to grow in difficult conditions such as tomatoes in UK outside without using polly tunnels. Her current work involves grass peas which are very drought resitance and are grown in countries such as Ethiopia.

I don't think anyone in the audience realised the amount of work that goes into food research. She also mentioned that there are over 3000 types of pea some of which will be developed to replace soya and reduce the reliance on importied food.

May 2023 meeting

Colonel Peter Robinson Enthralled us with is account of the The D-Day Landings. Peter started off by introducing himself and gave us an insight into his army career which included his time with the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT) where he was involved in the maritime side.

Peter went on to describe how he got interested in the D-Day landings and proceed to give us a very detailed account of the various actions and beaches used, this was supported with detailed operation maps of the assault.

April 2023 meeting

Helen Murray A Norwich historian and author gave a very engaging talk entitiled Newhaven Court: Love, Tragedy, Heroism and Intrigue.

Newhaven Court is a non-fiction work about the summer property of the colourful Locker-Lampson family. It is an entertaining and illuminating history of the grand house, built in 1884 by the charismatic American baronet Sir Curtis Lampson, but also the story of those many characters who dwelled within. The elegant Victorian mansion stood under the wide-open Norfolk skies for almost eighty years before its dramatic destruction by fire in 1963.Newhaven Court was a home where poets rubbed shoulders with politicians and aristocracy with artists and authors.

March 2023 meeting

John Flowerdew gave a fascinating but frightening account of how our rivers are being polluted.

The Wensum and its associated aquifers, has the additional pressure of being our main source of water and Anglian Water and others are abstracting over 46 million litres of water every day from their rivers and the aquifers that feed them. Even without the water needs of the additional 50000 houses planned for the Greater Norwich Development Area, other housing and commercial developments planned in Norfolk and calling on our river to give up its water to service them it probably will become dangerously abstracted and unsustainable by 2035 if we do nothing. The Wensum could dry up or become dangerously low and slow and even more heavily polluted.

February 2023 meeting

Our speaker was James Ramm, Head of Head of Sales and Operations for Woodforde’s Brewery.

Founded in 1981, Woodforde’s is home to a wide range of beers and ales including two Supreme Champion Beers of Britain, and the FIFTYTWO NORTH collection of craft beers. Our story starts in the 1960’s during the new-wave revolution of home brewers creating authentic flavours and crafting their own beers.

He told our group that he’d worked for Greene King Brewery for many years previously and felt he needed an exciting new challenge. He brought many fresh, new ideas to the company, which like many in that industry in the last few years, had faced constant challenges. Now with many changes and updates he has made, the company are going from strength to strength.