Past Visits

This page shows a list of past visits:

Visits for 2022/23 will be announced nearer to the time.



In February, 2021, Jeff Lucas gave an excellent talk via zoom on Bristol bridges. Such was the resulting interest, we subsequently booked a walking tour of the bridges on October 1st 2021.  For all 19 participants, it proved to be a comprehensive account of Bristol history and not just about the bridges.  Many of us were unfamiliar with the more recently built bridges or the greatly improved waterside development.  The tour brought to life the earlier talk and Jeff’s book has now been purchased for members to borrow.  Our warmest thanks to Jeff for a fascinating tour.


The itinerary for this visit had to be changed, due to continuing Covid restrictions.  We had hoped to visit the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere, near Newbury but due to the limited capacity of the Chapel, plus Covid restrictions, the visit was necessarily cancelled by the National Trust.  We therefore paid a morning visit to the village of Kingsclere, Hampshire, not far from our second stop at The Vyne.  The village of Kingsclere has a Church with Norman origins, i.e. St. Mary’s Church was built between 1130-1140 but was extensively remodelled in the Victorian period.  Its most unusual feature is a metal weather vane, supposedly representing a bed bug! The story is that King John was apparently bitten by a bed bug during an unexpected overnight stay in Kingsclere!   Our ongoing visit to the Vyne, built in the 16th Century and remodelled in the 17th Century, was our pleasant main visit of the day.  Members were able to relax in the grounds with their own picnic lunches.  As this visit had been deferred from 2020 and was very uncertain before our 2021 visit, we were pleased that it finally took place and members had an enjoyable day out.


A self drive/car share visit to Saltford Brass Mill, for a guided tour lasting 1 hour 30 minutes.  The tour will be led by volunteers based at the Saltford Brass Mill. This tour follows on from the talk by Tony Coverdale, given in February 2019, concerning “The early Avon copper industry.”  Booking forms available from June, 2019.

2015 April 17th    Devizes

Half day visit to Wiltshire Museum, Devizes, which now contains new pre-historic Wiltshire Galleries, featuring gold from the time of Stonehenge.

July 3rd: Herefordshire

All day coach trip to Herefordshire, which included a guided tour of  St. Mary & St. David Church, Kilpeck and lunch plus guided tour of Kentchurch Court, Pontrilas.  The Romanesque Church at Kilpeck dates from 1140 and shows distinctive stone carvings showing Celtic, Scandinavian & pagan images. It is listed as 4 * in “England’s thousand best Churches” by Sir Simon Jenkins.  Kentchurch Court is a Grade 1 listed privately owned property, with a 5,000 acre estate. It has been in the owner of the Scudamore family for almost 1,000 years. The house originally contained a Saxon tower, with additions from the 14thCentury onwards.

September 22nd  ,Berkeley

Half day visit to Dr.Jenner’s House & garden, Berkeley, plus optional preceding tour around Berkeley Castle.  The Keep at Berkeley Castle was completed by Robe Fitzharding in the late 12thCentury and has been in the ownership of the Berkeley family since that date.  Dr. Jenner was the pioneer of smallpox vaccination and his house, known as the Chantry, was his home from 1785 until his death in 1823.

2016 April 12th: Radstock

Half day visit to Radstock Museum, Somerset.  The Museum has an extensive collection of exhibits concerning the coal mining industry in the former Somerset coal field.  The industry reached a peak in the early 1900’s, with Radstock at its centre. The influence of the Methodist Church and the Co-operative Movement is also highlighted.

July 1st: Warwickshire

All day coach trip to Warwickshire, which included a guided visit to St. Peter’s Church, Wootton Wawen, plus the National Trust property at Coughton Court, Alcester. St. Peter’s Church is known as the Saxon Church but it contains every kind of architectural style onwards, from Norman to Perpendicular.  Coughton Court is a listed Tudor & Jacobean building, with origins dating from 1409.  It is still lived in by the Throckmorton family who have lived at Coughton Court for 600 years.  The lovely gardens contain 200 varieties of roses.

2017 February 7th: Bath Tunnels

Half day private guided tour of the Tunnels at the Roman Baths, Bath.  (The visit had been deferred from  October, 2016, due the death of our former Chairman, Roger Youdan.) We had a fascinating tour of the vault type tunnels, with a below street level view of  Beau Street, where a hoard of Roman silver coins were discovered.  All the different layers of soil, accumulated through the centuries, are still on view.

June 30th: Oxfordshire

All day coach trip to Oxfordshire, which included a visit to Banbury Museum and a private tour of Broughton Castle, Near Banbury.  Banbury developed from the Saxon period and we had an illustrated lecture on its history from the Director of the Banbury Museum. Later, we explored Broughton Castle, which dates from the 14thCentury. It is still lived in by the Fiennes family and Celia Fiennes, the 17thCentury travel writer is an ancestor.  We were fortunate to meet the present owner, Lord Saye and Sele, strolling in the beautiful gardens.

October 10th:

Half day visit to the Museum of Bath at Work, Bath.  The building was first constructed as a real tennis court in 1777 but as a museum of the working life of Bath, it now houses a large collection of historic photographs, film & sound recordings. At its centre piece is the reconstructed engineering & soft drinks factory owned by the Victorian business man, J.B. Bowler.

2018 April 13th: Leigh Delamare

Half day guided visit to St. Margaret of Antioch Church, Leigh Delamare, plus an interpretative visit to the Victorian School at near by Sevington.  The Church was reconstructed in1846, on the orders of the land owner, Joseph Neeld. The school at Sevington was built by Joseph Neeld in 1849 to educate the children of the workers employed on his Grittleton estate.  St. Margaret’s Church is now seldom used and the school at Sevington is open by appointment to groups, where the history of the school  is interpreted as a live lesson by a costumed volunteer.

2018 July 6th: Worcestershire

All day coach trip to Worcestershire, which included a guided visit to the Church of the Sacred Heart at Droitwich Spa, an illustrated talk on the history of the town at the Heritage Centre and a visit to Hanbury Hall.  The Church of the Sacred Heart is now listed as Grade II, due to its outstanding mosaics on the ceiling and walls.  The church was opened in 1921 and the mosaics, designed by G.J. Pippet, were begun in 1922 and completed in 1932.  For many of our group, this was the highlight of our day.  The illustrated talk about Droitwich Spa emphasised the importance of the salt industry to the town. The National Trust William and Mary house at Hanbury Hall was in the ownership of the Vernon family for 300 years and is set in 400 acres of parkland and gardens, including  a restored 18thC parterre.

October 5th: Bristol Aerospace

Half day guided visit to Aerospace Bristol at Filton. The Aerospace Bristol Museum is run by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust and contains over 8,000 artefacts relating to the local aviation industry.  A separate building contains the last Concorde to fly, Alpha Foxtrot, which was capable of flying to the U.S.A. in under 3 hours.

2019 April 9th: Purton

Guided walking tour around Purton “Ships grave yard,” Purton, near Berkeley, Gloucestershire.    Paul Barnett, Maritime Historian, kindly provided a guided tour of the remains of vessels deliberately beached on a bank between the River Severn and the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.  Between 1909 and 1961, a total of 81 vessels were left in this way and we heard about the history of most of those still visible or accessible. Signs were in place but a guided tour enhanced the experience.