BCNT Lectures Programme 2017

February 14th 2017  - "The Man Who Re-built Wessex"
Dr Francis Burroughes will give an illustrated talk about the architect, Benjamin Ferrey (1810 - 1880) who has been almost forgotten. Yet in his time he was staggeringly successful, building and restoring over 200 churches, houses, and public buildings in the West Country and beyond. Many buildings in Dorchester are by him, and Wells Cathedral owes much of its present appearance to the work he did there, as does Christchurch Priory and Romsey Abbey. He was also responsible for laying out the original street plans of the new sea-side resort of Bournemouth. Francis is shortly to publish a monograph about this remarkable man, whose buildings are often unacknowledged and under-rated.

March 14th 2017 - " The Pyronaut And The Queen's Jubilee Pageant"
Clive Brain will tell us about the fire fighting ship Pyronaut which worked in Bristol's city docks. She was designed to go under every bridge in the harbour without the need to open them and could reach places which were difficult for land based fire engines.  She fought fires in both peace time and during the bombing raids of the second world war. 
Clive was formerly coxswain of the fire boat Pyronaut and is now a volunteer at the M Shed in Bristol taking visitors around the harbour on Pyronaut which was one of the 1000 ships in the flotilla at the Queens Pageant on the 3 June , 2012. 

April 11th 2017 - "Antarctica"
Professor Michael Danson of Bath University will talk about Antarctica. He is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Bath. His talk will be a photographic presentation of two scientific visits he made to Antarctica. It will give a glimpse into life there - the survival course undertaken by all scientists on arrival, the wildlife seen, visiting the huts of Scott and Shackleton, camping beneath Mt Erebus, and a night in the Transantarctic Mountains, and it will put modern life there in the context of the historic explorers.

May 9th 2017 -  AGM
AGM followed by an update on local NT properties by Tom Boden, who is the General Manager of Dyrham Park, Prior Park Landscape Garden, the Bath Skyline and the Bath Assembly Rooms.

June 13th 2017 - "The Loss of the Titanic and a Wiltshire Family - some mysteries and myths"
Over one hundred years since she sank on her maiden voyage, RMS TITANIC continues to intrigue and fascinate us. Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Carr Royal Navy will give an illustrated talk combining the technical aspects with the social history of a family that actually took passage in the ship.

July 11th 2017 - "The Vanishing Tradesmen of Bath"
Stuart Burroughs, Director of the Bath at Work Museum, will tell us about the changing nature of shopping in Bath to the 20th century and those particular circumstances in Bath which led to its development as a retail destination as long ago as the 18th century. The Tradesmen (and women!) who supplied the resident population of the city and the visitors often operated in completely different ways and the evolution of fixed prices, boutiques and 'ready money' systems (paying for the purchase when taken rather than paying on a monthly account) form an important thread in the lecture.

August 8th 2017 - "Post Haste".
Ann King makes a return visit to talk about the development of the British postal system including the sending and delivering of letters over the centuries, post boxes, the changing locations of post offices etc., - with particular focus on Bath and the south-west where many innovations started in the 18th and 19th centuries.

September 12th 2017 - "Healing The Wounded In Bath During World War One"
Dr Andrew Swift will talk about the use of Bath and its hospitals to treat the wounded during the first World War. In April 1916, the Bath War Hospital opened on the site now occupied by the Royal United Hospital. It was designed to accommodate 500 patients, but by the end of the war had over 1,300 beds, well over half of them in tents or marquees. In just over three years, the hospital received over 22,000 wounded soldiers, over 86% of whom returned to some form of military service. Over 3,000 more soldiers were treated in the Mineral Water Hospital, while other buildings, such as Kingswood School, Newton Park and Bathampton House, were pressed into service as temporary hospitals, and new spa facilities were opened to cope with demand. In this talk, Andrew Swift looks at the role Bath played in the care and treatment of wounded soldiers during World War One.

October 10th 2017- "Bath's Theatre Royal".
Jason Lemoir has worked at the Theatre Royal Bath for 26 years and his talk gives a fascinating insight into the history of the theatre in Bath, as well as some stories that you won't find in the official guide books!

November 14th 2017 - "Towards The Bicentenary: BRLSI 1824 ........"
Growing out of the Agricultural and Philosophical Societies of the 18th century, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) was founded in 1824 and, after a quiescent 20th century, came back to life in 1993 and has provided a venue for education, discussion and exchange ever since. This illustrated talk by Dr Steve Wharton will discuss the history, development and characters of BRLSI, and look at its current activities and future aspirations.