In August Chairman, Adrian Lasrado, welcomed back Mike Blake making 32 members present plus our two speakers. Eric Jenkinson, following his stroke, has been transferred to Mayday and is making steady recovery but still has problems with his left arm. Also absent due to illness was Alan Green and Roger Davis. Our thoughts are with Phil Munson whose wife Marion is now a patient at St Barnabus Hospice. Membership is at 46 but active members are in the 30s. It is necessary to redouble our recruitment efforts. The charity collection raised £34.15 and the raffle £30.
Please advise news of members to almoner, email@example.com, tel: 01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.
Outings and Events
Old Coulsdon Fair: Saturday 10th September (rescheduled). Help needed. The Living Rainforest near Newbury: 15th September: Sanderstead Probus Ladies Lunch: Thursday 13th October – with entertainment as usual. Orpheus Centre Bletchingley (young disabled artists): Tuesday13th December:Pre-West End Full Dress Rehearsal, Godstone. Tickets at £17 each – proceeds will be donated to the charity.
Contact: Please phone Jim on 01737 555974 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Annual Quiz: Thursday 17th Nov. at Old Coulsdon Centre for the Retired £4 per head on the evening. Tea/coffee, soft drinks, biscuits provided – please bring own alcoholic drinks. Prizes to be won! Contact: Dennis Evans.
Dr. Bob Cruthers: Doctor at Sea
November 3rd: Ian Currie: The day it rained crabs and frogs December1st: ChristmaswithReverendMalcolmNewman
Ross Baker & Lynn Whitfield: Bats (mammal) Editorial – Ian Payne
What did you do this summer? In the absence of any contributions this month, here’s what I did. How about your summer for the next edition?
The three founders of the National Trust were Octavia Hill, social reformer, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley and Sir Robert Hunter of the Post Office. They recognised the need to preserve England’s heritage from its industrial past, its coastline and its country houses. The National Trust (NT) was registered as a not for profit company on 12th January 1895. They bought their first property, Alfreston Clergy House (a farm
house) for £10 in 1896. Their second was a large hotel near Tintagel in 1897 – they wanted to protect the coast and raised £500 by public donation.
Membership was very small (10’s) and there was little money. Acquisitions continued with a 11⁄2 acre farm in Cambridgeshire and the Lake District (Beatrix Potter’s house), Hindhead Common in Surrey and the first Country House, Barrington Court, Summerset in 1907. The National Trust Act 1937 allowed Country Houses and Gardens to be donated to the NT in lieu of death duties.
Peter told us about the Natural Heritage Memorial Fund and the first Welsh property, Penrhyn Castle, in 1951. Tours to the coast became popular in the 1950s and the Trust was concerned about new coastal development. A survey of 3000 miles of coast decided 1⁄3 was worth preserving and 1⁄3 beyond redemption. Enterprise Neptune was established to raise £2M to buy coastal properties as they come up. An early property was Seven Sisters – 1m is being lost each year. Other purchases by Project Neptune include Rye, Golden Cap, Dorset with 5000 acres of land and Mountains of Mourne, NI in 1967. Others: Castlerigg Stone Circle, Farne Islands, castles, villages, lighthouses and mills.
NT properties are surveyed frequently and often need restoration. Specialist skills are recruited and teams of young people are ‘apprenticed’ so that the skills are retained. Skills needed include ceramics, textiles, lighting levels, fabrics, tapestries (Knowle being restored), dry stone walls, salt marshes, sea defences (some being lost due to lack of resources).
Income is £370M p.a. from membership and donations – Ivor Moat restoration cost £10M. Paid staff amount to 4000 with another 4000 seasonal staff and 75,000 volunteers whose value amounts to £25 to £30M p.a. Recent initiatives include more help for the disabled and more interesting things for children to do. Membership was steady at about 100 from 1895 to 1945, rose to half a million by 1975. The NT is today the largest voluntary conservation organisation in Europe recruiting more than one member every minute during the summer months.
Pauline deemed I was well enough (following my DVT diagnosis) for her to go on her planned baby-sitting trip to Washington. The Kuwait posting being over, the family was back in the States and our daughter-in-law was on a residential course – hence the need for help in looking after three very young children. Back in Coulsdon, I had to learn how to cook – after one week I was able to multi-task by boiling frozen vegetables at the same time as microwaving the main dish and also preparing a bowl of ‘Smash’. The family are now on their next posting in Abu Dhabi.
The gas man cometh! (with apologies to Flanders and Swann)
We were desperately attacking the growth threatening to overwhelm our garden when we had a knock on the door – the gas mains in the street are being replaced. One of the first exploratory digs was immediately on one side of our drive and the soundings from here established the exit points for each house supply – ours was immediately on the other side of our drive and we had to learn how to steer backwards with precision. First the new plastic mains pipe was threaded through the old metal pipe (without disturbing the gas supply) then each house in turn had a thin plastic pipe threaded through the old 1″ pipe to the meter in the house. We and our neighbour were the unlucky ones – due to the down-slope of the drive, a syphon had been fitted to prevent water intake and thus the inner tube came to a dead halt just outside the house. They got as far as they could, then dug up the drive to get round the side of the house to bring the supply into the garage where they fitted a new meter. Everything went well until the gas ‘expert’ arrived to connect up to the existing gas pipe supplying our boiler, also in the garage (and blocking off the pipe where our old meter had been under the stairs). 15 years in the trade and he was still a bodger. To get past the water pipes, he took a least-curve trajectory producing an artistic protuberance into the room. On complaint, he walked out and his supervisor had to come and do the job properly. All finished well and the drive was professionally reinstated.
A trip to Birmingham
Actually the NEC – to visit the quilt show. An early departure avoided the traffic and I had a wonderful time in the café with my crossword and sudoku while Pauline did the show. On the way back, our National Trust book took us to Upton House near Banbury. M Samuel Bank had been stationed here during the war – this had particular significance for me as I had worked for their successor Hill Samuel for 27 years. The old banking hall was as they left it with old comptometers and typewriters which one was allowed to try out as also an old piano and lots of old paperwork. The bank was needed to continue its investment operations in the Far East throughout the war (in secret, of course). The relocated bank staff lived in the house and the living rooms and bedrooms were as they had been in 1945. These were not ‘war’ rooms but normal homely bedrooms with mod coms, wardrobes and hobbies of the time. Each exhibit prompted our comment ‘I remember that’.
The house was the family home of Colonel Walter Horace Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted MC. He was a former Chairman of Shell (hence his wealth) and a prominent art collector. During the war, his collection was stored with that of the National Gallery at various locations in Wales. After the war they were returned to Upton House, and several rooms of old masters bought during various trips to Europe can be viewed. We can truly recommend a visit here.
Old Coulsdon Cupcakes Women’s Institute – Chairman’s Charity
Last month, we were pleased to welcome Debbie Baxter, President and founder member of Cupcakes WI, to tell us about the work of Cupcakes and how our donations to this year’s Chairman’s Charity will be used. The Women’s Institute was first founded in Canada and then in the UK during WW1. It celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and now has over 220,000 members organised in 6,600 groups including groups in prisons and mental hospitals. The aim of the WI is to educate women – speakers are invited to meetings and away-days planned.
The WI runs a training college, Denman, in Oxfordshire to train women in cookery, craft and lifestyle. Fundraising initiatives have raised £75,000 to date, but the courses, many residential, are expensive and the college runs at a loss. It is in this valuable work to train women in the basics of modern living that our contributions are needed.
Debbie next turned to the questions most people ask about the WI. What is the ‘jam’ connection? This was a war initiative to prevent hunger. WI produced jams and preserves and bottled vegetables etc.
Why does the WI sing ‘Jerusalem’? Parry’s Jerusalem was an early Suffragettes’ anthem. Following suit, the WI adopted it at their 1922 AGM. Will the WI be doing a calendar? – Not of that type.
Old Coulsdon Cupcakes was formed in 2014 following advertising on social media and at the Old Coulsdon Fair. Unlike the existing daytime group it meets in the evenings. Its very first meeting attracted 50 members. Since its founding, Cupcakes has assisted Father Christmas in his street collections, donated to Grange Park and other local appeals and maintained the flowerbed at Bradmore Green Pond.
Debbie had not been used to talking, but the WI had given her confidence. Debbie was congratulated on her very excellent presentation.