Note: Meetings from October to April start at 8.00pm, preceded by coffee at 7.30pm, in The Friends Meeting House, 39 High Street, Warwick, CV34 4AX
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Future Events

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Dr Lucy Underwood, University of Warwick: 'The Catholic experience and apects of childhood.'

Recent Events

Saturday 1 December 2018

Pre- Christmas Social  1st December-- Visit to British Motor Museum, Gaydon

 In the Museum's impressive building, members enjoyed looking at vehicles from the earliest days of motoring up to some of the latest ‘concept’ vehicles, as well as the displays on related social history.

‘Women and the motor car’ was the title of a talk from Stephen Laing, the Museum’s Curator, drawn largely from its archives.  Women have played varying roles in the industry since the earliest days (the ‘Motor Mills’ starting in Coventry in 1896). Among the Edwardian pioneers, mostly wealthy enthusiasts, was Dorothy Levitt. She was a colourful figure and the first female driver to win a race (in 1903).  Her 1909 handbook for women drivers suggested various glove box items, including a long-handled mirror for rearward vision and a pistol for self-defence!

In both World Wars women were employed in huge numbers in car factories, as they switched to armaments and military equipment. However the male workers often resented them, concerned about future jobs.  In the 1920s, the arrival of smaller, cheaper cars enlarged horizons for middle-class families, and much marketing effort was aimed at women. The 1960s saw the Mini associated with both male and female celebrities, while in the next decade society was changed through the female machinists’ strike at Ford Dagenham and the subsequent Equal Pay Act.  

After the talk members enjoyed a sumptuous tea. 

Tuesday 20 November 2018

 ‘Why Birmingham? Why not Coventry, Lichfield or Worcester? Jacqui Geater offered revealing insights into Tudor society through her research on wills and inventories of property (available as a Dugdale volume). She had studied the records of sixteenth-century Birmingham, then a prosperous market town on the fringe of the Warwickshire Arden. Its citizens combined mixed farming with a variety of trades, many of which were reflected in the inventories. She suggested that their freedom from craft, manorial and ecclesiastical constraints fostered an entrepreneurial culture; this enabled the town to thrive and later to surpass the region’s established cities. 

Tuesday 16 October 2018

 'Dr John Conolly (1794-1866), physician, reformer and enigma: his years in Warwickshire.'   Dr John Wilmot (Vice-Chairman of WLHS) gave the first autumn talk, exploring the life and work of Dr John Conolly (1794-1866). He was a physician, reformer and one-time resident of Stratford and Warwick. He is best known for introducing more humane care of the mentally ill, but the lecture  concentrated on his earlier period in Warwickshire. He co-founded the Stratford Dispensary, became mayor of Stratford, and was active in field ranging from mecahnics' institutes to the Shakespeare Club. (Read fuller report here).

Saturday 22 September 2018

Visit to Yardley ancient parish,  Birmingham -- St Edburgha’s Church and Blakesley Hall Museum. We  explored St Edburgha’s Church; a hidden gem in the Yardley Village Conservation Area in eastern Birmingham.  There we heard about the patron, St Edburgha, grand-daughter of King Alfred, and saw building features including Katherine of Aragon’s door and a mysterious ‘lost’ underground crypt. 

Nearby we had a fascinating tour of  Blakesley Hall, now part of Birmingham Museums. Richard Smalbroke, a leading Birmingham merchant, built this timber-framed house in 1590.  The furnishings, based on a 17th century inventory, reflect the lifestyle of a wealthy Tudor and Stuart family.

Saturday 7 July 2018

Saturday 7 July -- Guy’s Cliffe House and Guy’s Cliffe walled garden, Warwick. We explored the largely ruined house on this striking site and associated buildings, including the 14th-century Chapel. Wealth from 18th-century Caribbean sugar plantations enabled the Greatheed family to create a substantial mansion. Across the Coventry Road, we found the estate's original kitchen garden, since  2014 being restored by  the volunteers of the Guys Cliffe Walled Garden Trust. They discussed with our group the planting in the restored garden and showed historic items unearthed on the site.  

Saturday 16 June 2018

Filllongley, North Warwickshire: we saw Fillongley's Castle ruins, the church of St Mary's and All Saints, smaller historic buildings, and features of artistic interest. Our tour was led by Susan Moore, local resident, artist and historian. In the village, we saw local history relected in the changing uses of older buildings, then explored the Church and saw the Methodist Preachers' retirement homes. A longer detour took in Fillongley Castle, before calling in at Susan's home and studio, the Old Granary. We finished with a fine tea at the Social (old Working Men's) Club near the church.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Chamberlaine Almshouses, Old Meeting House and Heritage Centre (Victorian Parsonage).             We explored the Parish Church and the Nicholas Chamberlaine Almshouses, noting the nineteenth-century changes financed from the profitable local coalfield. Finally, the Old Meeting Church was a reminder of the strength of dissent in North Warwickshire in the late seventeenth-century, following restoration of the monarchy. John Burton was an excellent guide, providing a  corrective to Pevsner's view of Bedworth as ‘a depressing small town’.

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Dr. Polly Ha (History Department, UEA)  ‘Was Trolling an Elizabethan Invention?: Ecclesiastical vitriol and the role of Thomas Cartwright, Master of the Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick.’    Polly Ha told us about Thomas Cartwright, the Puritan Minister and Master of Lord Leycester’s Hospital. He was active in a war of words with contemporaries around the year 1600, and the lecture explored the evolution of invective in his writings. 

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Dr Elizabeth Goldring: 'Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth I, and Kenilworth' 

This lecture, following our AGM, explored Dudley's building changes at the castle, his entertainments  for the Queen there, and the wider cultural and historical context.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Dr Richard Churchley: 'Old pubs and lost hostelries of Warwickshire: their history, names and stories'. Richard offered us a rapid visual and historical tour of Warwickshire pubs, both informative and entertaining.

Summer Outings 2017

16 September 2017:  Wixford and Salford Priors – the two parish churches with their features. 

15 July 2017 Nuneaton -- St Nicholas' Church and the nearby Grammar School.

17 June 2017 King's Norton -- a fine group of early modern buildings clustered near the Parish Church. 

13 May 2017 Bidford-on-Avon  --  exploration of its mediaeval and later development.

Programme card (lectures and brief details of visits in 2019)

N.B. Changes in society visit in September 2019:. We have changed the date from 21 to 7 September to avoid clashes (Heritage Open Days 13-22 September). The Coventry Charterhouse is closing for restoration, so instead we will visit two museums in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter (full details to follow). 

Christmas Invitation 2018 

Meeting report: 'Getting Online for Research and Publicity'.

List of local history websites.

The winter lectures are free to WLHS members and members of affiliated Local History Societies; we charge £3.00 for non-members - refundable on the night when joining the Society!

For a list of other societies' lectures and events, see the calendar on Our Warwickshire








The British Motor Museum at Gaydon

John Bland introducing Stephen Laing's talk.


Chapel and outbuildings at Guys Cliffe

(7 July visit)

Volunteers at work in Guys Cliffe Walled garden (7 July) 




    Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fillongley (Photo Wikipedia)