BCNT Lectures  Programme  2013


February 12th -  “Bath Stone Quarries and Quarrying”  Bath Stone is to be found in almost every building in Bath, but unless you know where to look there is very little evidence of the vast underground workings that not so long ago was one of this areas largest employers.  Derek Hawkins will give us an insight into the methods used to extract the stone and a photographic tour around some of the more interesting underground workings.

March 12th -  “Cleveland Pools”   Linda Watts, one of the Trustees of the Pools which are located on the River Avon at Bathwick will speak about their history since they were originally opened in 1815.  She will also tell us about the restoration project which is currently underway with local and national support. See their website Cleveland Pools

April 9th  - "Stourhead Landscape Garden”  Emily Utgren, gardener and arborist at Stourhead since 2005 will speak to us about this beautiful 18th century garden which is now owned by the National Trust. See their website Stourhead Garden

May 14th - AGM  followed by Caroline Thompson who will give an illustrated talk on "The search for immortality ~ the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi".  The legendary founder of the Qin Dynasty in the early Third century BC, Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi is most famous for his army of terracotta warriors, for beginning the Great Wall and for commissioning the Lingqu Canal, one of the greatest feats of engineering in China. But what else do we know about this man driven by his obsession to achieve immortality, and did he ultimately achieve it?

June 11th - "The Avon Valley Copper and Brass Industry - 1700 to 1740" by Tony Coverdale (Saltford Brass Mill Project) The first four decades of the eighteenth century saw the evolution of a major copper, zinc and brass industry in the Avon valley, starting from early experiments with the use of coal to smelt copper, and culminating in an integrated complex of manufacturing processes supplying an international trading market. The story starts with the experimental coal-fired smelting of Cornish copper ores on the banks of the Avon using Bristol coal, and culminates with a sophisticated multi-site complex of mills variously: smelting copper; alloying copper and calamine to produce high quality brass; manufacturing brass hollow-ware by water- powered battery hammers; using water-powered rolling, slitting and drawing apparatus to manufacture brass wire; and applying water-powered rolls to produce sheet copper and brass. Finally the output from those mills was distributed through a sophisticated trading system able to deliver the products of the industry to the British
market and export those products to developing markets in Africa and North America.

Three important people in this story were John Caster, Abraham Darby and Nehemiah Champion. John Coster pioneered the smelting of copper and established the copper industry in the Avon valley. Abraham Darby, before turning his attention to iron, was the driving force behind the early brass industry, attracting workers from the Low Countries to operate the brass furnaces and battery hammers located on the rivers Frome, Chew and Avon. Nehemiah Champion advanced the brass making and manufacturing process, taking out important patents relating to the alloying and annealing of brass.

Visit Saltford Brass Mill Project for more information on the Project.

July 9th - "The Quakers in Industry" by Dr. Michael Atkinson
An illustrated examination of the influential role of the Quakers in the industrial history of Britain, looking not only at the industries which they pioneered and, for a while, dominated but also at their attitude to their employees and their working and living conditions. Particular attention will be paid to South West England.

August 13th - "One Man's Passion - George Vernon and the building of Sudbury Hall" by Cherry Ann Knott
For five years Cherry Ann was curator and property manager at Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire – considered the most richly decorated Charles II house to have survived in England.  Its interior includes carvings by Grinling Gibbons and Edward Pearce, murals by Louis Laguerre, and superb decorative plasterwork.  While there she became fascinated by the enigma of the Hall’s apparently Jacobean external design, which has long puzzled architectural historians.  Using previously unexplored archive sources, she has since carried out extensive research on the history of the Vernon family and the building of the Hall in the second half of the 17th century, and has discovered some fascinating answers.  See Sudbury Hall website.

September 10th - "Caring for the Coast the next 100 years" by Tony Flux, Coast and Marine Adviser (SW) for the National Trust. He will talk about the management principles to which the Trust adheres which affect the coast and marine environment and provide information regarding sea level rise and climate change impacts over the next 100 years. He will also talk a little about some of the latest coastal monitoring techniques used to assess cliff erosion etc and then give some case study examples where the Trust has been proactive in displaying 'best practice' where costal zone management is concerned.

October 8th - "The Avon Gorge Area" by Dan Evans.  Formation of the Gorge, geology, iron age camps, flora and fauna, Observatory Tower, human geography, some local history, Clifton Bridge and Nightingale stations, the Suspension Bridge and the Rocks Railway.

November 12th - "Rethinking Stonehenge and Avebury - making sense of recent discoveries" by Dr. Nicola Snashall. The Stonehenge and Avebury landscapes have been a source of fascination and inspiration for
generations of antiquaries, writers and artists. In this talk Dr. Nicola Snashall (National Trust Archaeologist for Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site) explores how archaeological research is transforming our knowledge of these iconic sites and what this reveals about the lives and beliefs of the people who built and used them.

Nicola has excavated  Prehistoric, Roman and Medieval sites across Britain and Europe.  Her research interests include prehistoric landscapes, settlement and the archaeology of ritual and religion.  She is hopelessly fascinated by prehistoric stones, large and small, and their potential for unlocking the secrets of our past. Nicola is co-director of "Between the Monuments" a research project investigating landscapes of residence between the 4th and 2nd millennia BC in the Avebury region.

December 10th - This will be a lunch at the Globe, Newton St Loe followed by a talk by Mike Hope on "The Filming of Lark Rise to Candleford". This event will be for members and their guests only and must be booked in advance. Details and booking form were be in the August Newsletter. An additional fee to cover lunch will apply.