May 2016


Editorial – Ian Payne

Daphne and Lily, our pet chickens, rest in peace. Last week we had one of those mini power cuts. It seems to happen all too frequently – there’s a flash, the lights all go out and then on perhaps less than a second later. Some of our clocks reset to midnight, computers turn off and unfortunately our remotely switched electric fence for the chickens resets and needs manually switching on. This time we were out for the day and the foxes cut through the wire. This was our only loss in eight years other than by natural causes.

Club News

Adrian Lasrado took his first meeting as Chairman in April. He welcomed members (37 present), two guests Roy Soloman and Nigel Paget and our speaker Gwyneth Fookes of the Bourne Society. £41.40 was collected for the Chairman’s charity and the raffle raised £36. Both our guests were raffle winners.

A letter and certificate has been received from BLESMA thanking us for our generous donation of £1000. A new membership list was issued, however, Mike Dolan has since resigned. Several members have volunteered to be our speaker in 2017. A Bonnie Bogle book is now available (see Martin Bergs). Coulsdon Probus will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018 – any ideas? The Vice Chairman position is still vacant.

We have to report the sad death of Ken Bennett who has been suffering from cancer over the past few months. The funeral will be on 19th May.

Roger Davis is back home recuperating having had a new heart valve fitted.
Please advise news of members to almoner,, tel:
01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.

Outings and Events

Downton Abbey Country Tour including River Cruise – no food is provided but there are lots of pubs: Tuesday 17th May.

Old Coulsdon Fair: Saturday 2nd July. Help on the Probus stall welcome.

Ladies Lunch: Thursday 13th October – with entertainment as usual.

Show Boat theatre trip: Thursday 20th October.

Contact: Please phone Jim on 01737 555974 or email

Annual Quiz: Thursday 17th November (evening). Contact Dennis Evans.



Today:            Christine Jarvis: London Shopping

June 2nd:      Bob Ogley:

July 7th:        Mick Taylor: Mills on the River Wandle

August 4th:   Peter Jones: Milestones of the National Trust


Sussex Coastal Trip Tuesday 19th April

Tuesday 19th April saw Coulsdon Probus with a few friends from Purley Probus head off into wild Sussex to visit previously unseen curios. First stop, the beautiful Bamber village for morning refreshments. Named after Bamber Gascoigne, this modern village wasn’t on our maps. Fortunately, our driver took us instead to the ancient and quaint village of Bramber on the river Adur dating back to the 11th century. This is where we picked up our guide for the day.

The morning visit was to the Chapel of Lancing College. Off the beaten track this private school boasts a chapel of cathedral proportions. Started in 1868, it has been 100 years in construction with the main entrance    porch yet to be completed. The chapel, built in the English Gothic style of the 14th century, has a stained glass window commissioned in memory of Trevor Huddleston and consecrated by Desmond Tutu in 2007. There are three organs, one with more than 3000 pipes.

Back to Bramber for lunch and an opportunity to walk its ancient high street.

In the afternoon we visited the 1970 English Martyrs Church in Goring. This Catholic church has a 2/3 scale reproduction Sistine Chapel ceiling by Gary Bevans painted from 1987 to 1992. Afterwards, free time in Worthing for coffee and walking the pier. Thank you to Jim for organising such an enjoyable and different outing.


Historical Industries – Gwyneth Fookes

Aren’t we lucky to have the prodigious Bourne Society researching our local history in south Croydon and north-east Surrey? Many of our members are also Bourne Society members including particularly our late member Ian Scales. Gwyneth has been a leading member of that society for many years and in April, she came to tell us about local industries before the railways of the nineteenth century.


Well known to Coulsdoners is Farthing Downs where the ridges (no they’re not modern road humps) are the remains of Celtic field boundaries built by farmers in 550 BC. These are not to be confused with the WWII trenches across the downs to stop enemy aircraft landing. There are also old Celtic field boundaries in Spring Bottom Lane in Chaldon.

Gwyneth had many slides to illustrate all the sites and activities she talked about, however, we can but list the items here to give some idea of the breadth of the topics covered.

Iron age fort, White Hill (by the Harrow) – needs excavation to reveal detail.

Roman road to Brighton – huge banks at Rose & Crown, Riddlesdown and at Tillingdown, Caterham and sunken lanes (due to use) in Bletchingley.
Norman deer park – two in Bletchingley – also Caterham School – presents from William the Conqueror. Hunting was popular and necessary for hundreds of years – we were shown pictures of local meets. Witness pub names: Surrey Hounds, Caterham and Hare and Hounds, Chelsham.

Churches over 1000 years old at Chaldon, Caterham, Coulsdon, Merstham, Sanderstead. Proves that communities lived here then. Local stone mines.
Mills: Outwood (there were two) where the owners argued about who was taking whose wind. There were 70 mills within half an hour’s drive from here. Coulsdon had two – also at Shirley, Keston, Godstone and Beddington. Mills were needed for power generation and always needed repairs – more industry. Mills are often mentioned in the Domesday Book.

Sheep; Farmers – ‘A farmer’s year 1823’ lists tasks by month. We were shown Jessica Hall’s contemporary paintings of local countryside, horses and ploughs.

Woods – only ancient local woods between Cannons Drive and Old Lodge Lane; Coppicing; Timber for houses – thatch all locally sourced. Producing wood was critical. Charcoal burning. Jobs: Bailiff, Warrener and Poachers.
Ponds – drinking water, fish. Godstone Horse Pond – expands the wood to keep the metal tyre tight. Quarries; Brickmaking; Blacksmith; Wheelwright. Then came the railways. Cane Hill Hospital; Schools; Dairymen; Banks; Tradesmen. Post Office and Stations with large staff. Gas lighters; Fire engines (find your horses first). Horses worked stoically for many centuries, then in the 1920s came cars and garages and horses were on their way out.

Jim Mulvey thanked Gwyneth – “A stalwart of the Bourne Society”.


Our Trip to the Amazon [Part Two]: Andrew Banfield

In Part One, we reached the Amazon and thence to the city of Manaus.

Whist here we had booked a trip to see the real jungle. We set off with great expectations. We went down river in a smaller ship and then transferred to a small skiff style craft with an outboard motor. We went up a small tributary and ended up at a small village of river dwellers. The people here appeared to be of Indian descent, and very poor. We had been told to wear suitable clothing and boots etc. Although we trekked into the jungle we only saw some howler monkeys and birds. I expect given the noise of our party it was not surprising. On our return to ship it was clear that not everybody felt that we had what we expected and we were given a refund.

After two days we returned down the Amazon to join the South Atlantic. On the night of the 26th as we were going to bed we saw an enormous fire on the horizon. It was so large that it filled the sky with flames leaping hundreds of feet in the sky. Very sad and worrying, we spent Christmas Day on the ship with all the usual Christmas celebrations. Very enjoyable and happy.

After four days on the river we reached Belem, a city we had not heard of before. Here we had booked a second river trip up the River Guamá a tributary of the Amazon, We again went off on a smaller ship into the jungle. This trip was far more spectacular. We felt that we had seen the real jungle. We then sailed back up the South Atlantic towards the Caribbean Sea; on the way we observed the “Crossing the Line” ceremony. We both kept quiet about our status as first timers and did not get gunged, if there is such a word. [Ed: Initiation rite]

On re-entering the Caribbean we visited the islands of Trinidad, St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Virgin Gorda and Antigua. We had been to some of these islands before, but not Guadeloupe. It was interesting to see how different an island with French history was compared to those islands formally British. We were due to visit Martinique, the other main French Island. However, the ship developed engine problems and so we sailed straight to Barbados. From here we returned to London Gatwick by air.

It was a fascinating trip. We particularly enjoyed Brazil. It is clearly an up and coming country and set to gain much influence in the world in future. We are sure anybody going to the Rio Olympics will feel the same.



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