Society's Programme

Society’s Programme

  • Wednesday 18 March 2020 - Out of Town Museum Project

    Speaker: Sally Brewis, Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick 

    The Out of Town (OOT) Museum is a National Lottery Heritage funded project which celebrates the rural heritage of Coquetdale. Part of the Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery in Alnwick, OOT focus is on routes, journeys and travelling and will be collecting and recording memories and stories told in the local Northumbrian voice, along with photographs, music audio, documents and other artefacts.

    OOT celebrates the rural heritage of Coquetdale – we are creating a permanent record of a former way of life before the memories are gone forever. We are talking to people who have stories to tell about their journeys and experiences living in this beautiful but remote part of Northumberland and sharing them on our website. The project will culminate in a touring exhibition in June 2022 and the oral histories will be archived within the Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery collection and Northumberland Archives. Local voices and dialect will contribute the collection at The Word.

    The project is managed by Sally Brewis working with Harry Henderson, Oral History specialist. Everyone else involved in OOT are volunteers donating their time and experience.

  • Wednesday 15 April 2020 - Restoring Felton Park’s Georgian Greenhouse

    Speaker: Tim Maxwell  - Greenhouse owner and restorer

    Tim will explain how this beautiful structure was restored at his Felton Park home. Tim Maxwell read classics at Oxford University, graduating in 1976, and then politics at Harvard. His career was mainly in investment banking with first S G Warburg and then UBS. He worked in Tokyo and New York as well as London.

    On retirement in 2010 his wife and he moved to Felton Park in Northumberland and set about restoring the Grade II* Greenhouse. The restoration featured in both a Channel 4 series on restorations and in Country Life and has obliged him to become very familiar with an unusual corner of the horticultural and indeed technological history of England.

  • Wednesday 20 May 2020 - 'Percival Stockdale: A Northumbrian Clergyman, Poet, Campaigner, and Contrarian.'

    Speaker: Brycchan Carey 

    Percival Stockdale (1736–1811) is no longer widely remembered, but in the late eighteenth century his was a familiar name, not only in Northumberland but across the nation. Born in Cornhill-on-Tweed and educated at Alnwick and Berwick Grammar Schools and the University of Aberdeen, he tried out careers in the army, navy, and as a writer in literary London before returning to Northumberland as vicar of Lesbury and Longhoughton. He remained a voluminous writer of poetry and pamphlets and was especially known for denouncing the slave trade and cruelty to animals—but he was also an irascible character who felt the world had passed him by, prone to picking literary fights with anyone he thought had slighted him. This talk will explore Stockdale’s life and work to tell the story of this colourful but often overlooked Northumbrian.

    Brycchan Carey is Professor of English at Northumbria University and Vice-President of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. He has wide-ranging research interests, and has published many books and articles on the cultural history of slavery and abolition, natural history, and religious culture in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He lives in Alnwick.

  •   Wednesday 17 June 2020 - TBC


  • Wednesday 21st October 2020 - ‘Inconspicuous good’: Pauline Dower (née Trevelyan) and the first decade of Northumberland National Park

    Speaker: Professor Matthew Kelly

    Pauline Dower was the only woman on the National Parks Commission, the body tasked with designating a new system of National Parks in England and Wales in the 1950s. This lecture will examine Dower’s upbringing as a member of the Trevelyan family, the significance of her marriage to John Dower, author of the report that laid the groundwork for the National Parks legislation, and how she fulfilled her public role with respect to the early history of Northumberland National Park. How did Dower and the park authorities manage competing modern pressures and expectations, including the right of the public to access private land, the forestry sector’s voracious demand for further land, and the state’s need to site new infrastructure?

    Professor Matthew Kelly works on the history of modern Britain and Ireland, with a particular interest in National Park politics and history. He grew up in Devon, was educated at Oxford, and worked at the University of Southampton before coming to Northumbria University in 2016. His latest book is Quartz and Feldspar. Dartmoor: A British Landscape in Modern Times (2015). He is currently working on a study of five women conservationists for Yale.

       Wallington Hall


Meetings start at 7.30pm, at the Whittingham Memorial Hall [NE66 4UP], and are followed by tea/coffee and biscuits which gives an opportunity to meet the speaker and discuss topics of interest.
Non-members are welcome at all meetings. There is a small entrance charge of £3, payable at the door.

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