March 2016

Editorial – Ian Payne

Another Probus year has passed. I find the results of our questionnaire somewhat refreshing – see Club News. We don’t want change which means we like what we have, we enjoy our meetings, our lunches and our companionships. And at the moment our total number of 45 is sustainable. But we are getting older, hence recruitment is a must – speak to your friends; put our leaflets in libraries and clubs. If we don’t recruit then we will have to find an alternative even if it is unpopular.

Club News

Andrew Banfield was down from the Amazon and back in the chair and was delighted to welcome our new member Norman Williams and our returning member Eric Jenkinson. Unfortunately several members were unwell and unable to attend the February meeting – Ken Bennett, Norman Pollard, Mike Dolan and Roger Davis. 35 members were present, the Chairman’s Charity collection raised £39.45 and the raffle £30. Andrew is hoping we’ll have raised £1000 for his charity by today’s AGM.
Dennis Evans reported that we had received a thank you card from Dee Marsden (ex Purley Sports Club) and a message from Harry Cundell who wished to be remembered. Questionnaire – moving our club forward: 25 forms were returned and all agreed that we must push recruitment. However, other suggestions were not so popular: admit ladies – 5 for, 20 against; amalgamate – 10 for, 16 against. Dennis will talk to Purley Probus and report back. It was agreed to run a recruitment campaign for three months and if unsuccessful the Committee would have to consider options even if they were not popular.
Please advise news of members to almoner,, tel:
01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.
Outings and Events

Mrs Henderson Presents matinée at the Noel Coward Theatre with optional lunch: Wednesday 16th March 2016. The coach has been cancelled due to small numbers so travel is under your own steam.
Sussex Coastal Trip with refreshments and lunch: Tuesday 19th April.
Downton Abbey Country Tour including River Cruise – no food is provided but there are lots of pubs: Tuesday 17th May.
Contact: Please phone Jim on 01737 555974 or email

Annual General Meeting, 3rd March 2016

1.​Minutes of the previous AGM (5th MARCH 2015): Matters arising.
2.​Treasurers report and accounts + Auditor. (ROGER DAVIS)
3.​Chairman’s report. (ANDREW BANFIELD)
4.​Reports by other Officer’s (Chair invites each in turn for any contribution)
​​4.1. Secretary.
​​4.2. Membership Secretary.
​​4.3. Speaker’s Secretary.
​​4.4. Editor Newsletter.
​​4.5. Almoner.
​​4.6. Web-Master + Trips / Events.
​​4.7. Luncheons Secretary (At present not on committee).
5.​Election of Officer’s & Committee.
​CHAIRMAN.​Adrian Lasrado
​TREASURER.​Mike Southwell
​SECRETARY.​Dennis Evans
​ALMONER.​Hugh Roberts
​WEB-MASTER.​Jim Mulvey
​IPC.​Andrew Banfield
​VICE-CHAIRMAN.​Nomination vacant
at present not
on Committee
​MEMBER.​Alan Green
​LUNCHEON SECRETARY.​Andrew Kellard (​)
​AUDITOR.​Eugene Lightbody
6.​Installation of our new CHAIRMAN for 2016 / 2017.
7.​Forward look by our new Chairman, and he announces his Charity for the year
8.​Any other business
10.​Absent Friends Toast
11.​Close of Annual General Meeting

Gerrard Thompson – Pewter

The January Newsletter carried Gerry’s article on the History of English Pewter. This gave the background to Gerry’s talk last month which extended the history but also told us about his own pewter collection. As a student he fell in love with a teapot in Petticoat Lane. It was only four shillings which suited his pocket and got him hooked for the next 45 years.

Pewter reached its peak in the 17th century – it was much cheaper than silver but more expensive than the ceramics, glass and brass of the 18th. Pewter is an alloy of tin (85% to 95%), copper, antimony and bismuth. Tin alone is too soft and antimony replaced the original lead which made the pewter harder still. Pewter can be pressed, beaten, cast or turned on a lathe but it corrodes easily showing an unsightly oxide. Pewter articles – buttons, belts, swords, spoons, flagons etc. – often carry a Pewterer’s Mark awarded after a seven year apprenticeship.

Gerry repeated a little of the history from his previous article but then took us through his own collection showing us how to date the objects many of which were on display. Over time, handles, legs and spouts changed shape. Spouts started straight, then swan-necked, then gradually, by the 1850s, became very ornate. Pewterers often copied Georgian silver pieces and sometimes silver-plated the Pewter. Such pieces have EPBM (Electro Plated Britannia Metal) on their base.

The Worshipful Company of Pewterers was formed in 1484 – the same year as the Order of the Garter. There is still a Pewterers Guild of London and modern pewter is still sought after – for example, the millennium collection. For his son’s baptism, Gerry was able to hold the chalice of Henry VIII, but unfortunately, we learnt that Gerry is looking to sell his collection. After 45 years, it’s time to take up another hobby. Thank you Gerry for a fascinating presentation.

Who do you think you are: by Vincent Fosdike

It is of course possible that you have not watched this well-known collection of programmes although it is even now being repeated on one of the “trickle down free view” repeat channels. Just in case you have not had the privilege, the programs trace the ancestry of well-known public figures, e.g. Jeremy Clarkson, Mathew Pinsent, Jeremy Paxman, and Esther Rantzen. Researchers reveal the usually hard lives and early deaths of their forebears. The workhouse and the law courts emerge frequently together with the demon drink and forced immigration, contextualised with visits to relevant places and archives.

Apart from the social history I always wonder what we learn from the reaction of the guests to the sufferings of their long gone loved ones. They frequently become tearful at the revelations of those troubled lives as though they had known them. Indeed often the guests one might have thought would have been merely reflective show some real distress. Just a few seem to avoid signs of severe melancholy and I can never predict who will respond with emotion to the fate of family members whose existence they were previously unaware of.

I recently replicated their experience whilst viewing the war grave of a family member whose existence was unknown until shortly before the trip to France. Latter investigations at the national archives seem to show he was just another private soldier like so many lost on the Somme. Died of wounds, no treatment records, or circumstances are recorded although such things can sometimes be found. In its way this makes it all the more poignant. Further research showed another member who survived and was famous in civilian life. I have read some of his books and all his army records which unlike the other one do still exist, I have seen his handwriting and learnt of his wounds, (officers did do a little better sometimes in leaving a record).

My question, having pursued the “Long long trail a winding” is why did I not cry like a celebrity. Has it got to do with not being on camera or are we different breeds, more stoical and accepting of our lot in life than those who daily have to face the media rather than an anonymous daily grind which, if the world situation was right, was likely to give us just a neat factual white stone with a service number, a date and a regimental insignia at an early age.

At the “Going Down of the sun”, which public face would you show on TV?

Perhaps the bard was right (as usual), “all the worlds a stage…..”.


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Produced and edited by Ian Payne (01737 554449, Edition No. 227


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