Our event programme for 2017

We arrange two full programmes of events, covering about six months each and running from April to October/November, and then again through to March.  The listing below covers April to October 2017, and is also available in pdf form.

The vast majority of our talks take place in the Small Hall at East Croydon United Reformed Church, Addiscombe Grove, Croydon CR0 5LP – where this is not the case, the event listing will confirm the alternative venue, so do check. East Croydon United Reformed Church is convenient for East Croydon station, Tramlink and many buses, and there is parking available on site.

If you are not a member, you are still very welcome to attend. There is no entrance fee for our talks, but we do invite non-members to consider a small donation of £2


Saturday 1st – WALK – “Coulsdon Common to Kenley”

About 2 miles over the commons and Kenley Airfield. Meet at the Fox PH on Coulsdon Common (bus 466) at 14.30. The walk ends at Kenley Station, led by Paul Sowan.

Monday 3rd – TALK – “Sopwith Aircraft and the Great War”

This talk by David Hassard, Joint Project Leader of the Kingston Aviation Centenary Project, focuses, with many historic photographs, on the aviation industry in Kingston upon Thames from 1912 to 1918.

Wednesday 19th – ENTOMOLOGY – Members’ evening (Beginners’ Room)


Followed after refreshments, by the Presidential Address given by John Hickman, “Pictures of Croydon on a Few Bob a Week”. David Sweet Hall ECURC, 19:45.

Sunday 23rd – BOTANY WALK – “Springtime at Kings Wood”

A walk for Wood Anemones and other early Spring flowers. Meet in Kingswood Lane, near the wood, at 14:00, access via Limpsfield Road. CR6 9AB. Leaders Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Monday 24th – TALK – “Tom Byron: emigrant to Canada and pioneer cattle rancher”

A talk by Nigel Elliott. Tom, the eldest son of Edmund Byron, chose to emigrate rather than inherit the Coulsdon estate.


Monday 1st – BOTANY WALK – “Bank Holiday Bluebells”.

A walk through the Bluebells in Devilsden Wood including Cowslips and other Spring flowers in Happy Valley. Meet
at 14:00 in the car park on Farthing Downs, Ditches Lane, Coulsdon, CR5 1DA (TQ301571). Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Wednesday 10th – TALK – “Davis Theatre Memories”.

This talk by Carole Roberts about the Davis Theatre, which stood in the High Street Croydon from 1928 to 1959, will include photographs, the main events up to the 1940s and a closer look at the attractions of the 1950s.

Wednesday 17th – ENTOMOLOGY – Members’ evening (Beginners’ Room).

Sunday 21st – WALK – “Rolling Stones – Part 1”.

A walk around Blackheath, SE London, led by Paul Sowan, to consider the Blackheath Pebbles and other things. These pebbles will be more familiar to most members as seen on Croham Hurst. Meet at Blackheath Station at 14:00. Note this is a geological walk, not a pop music event!

22nd Monday – TALK – “A Miscellany of Croydon Conflagrations – Lessons from some Great 
Croydon Fires”.

A talk by John Hickman.


Wednesday 14th – TALK – “Roman Wall Plaster from London”.

Ian Betts, Senior Specialist in Buildings Materials, will look at the most important decorated Roman wall plaster found in London over the last 35 years. The talk will examine the varied decorative schemes recovered from excavations in London and discuss the latest findings from new research.

Sunday 18th – BOTANY WALK – “Orchids and other Wild Flowers of Kenley Common”.

A walk through the fields surrounding Kenley Airfield, an historic WW2 fighter base looking for Orchids and other rare plants. Meet at 14:00 at the highest point in Hilltop Road, Kenley, near steps to Kenley Common. CR3 0DE (TQ336586). Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Wednesday 21st – ENTOMOLOGY – Members’ evening (Beginners’ Room).

Saturday 24th to Sunday 30th – “Croydon Heritage Festival”.

Members will be giving talks in various venues around the town. See the Croydon Heritage Festival website for details of these and the many other events of the week.

INCLUDES: Sunday 25th – MUSEUM OPEN DAY – Regulars at the Museum will be there from 13:30 to 16:30 to show you round and answer questions. There will be a handling collection available, and a series of short talks on the fascinating artefacts from the Museum, including some of the many items it has dating from the Stone Age. For directions to the Museum please call our Curator, Chris Taylor, on 020 8668 9570. NO parking is available on the school site, but there are good transport links by bus and train (Woodmansterne station) or parking in nearby roads. Come along; enjoy the collections with tea and cakes.

Monday 26th – TALK – “Insectinside: Life in the Bushes of a Small Peckham Park”.

Penny Frith started a photographic insect study of ‘an insignificant park in London’ with the mission to photograph everything that moved. Six years on, over 500 different species have been photographed. This is the story of life in the bushes.


Sunday 2nd – WALK – “Rolling Stones – Part 2”.

The second part of our geological walk, led by Paul Sowan. We will walk around Hayes and Keston Commons to consider the Blackheath Pebbles and other things. Meet at Hayes Station at 14:00.

Monday 17th – TALK – “The Loseley Chapel in St Nicolas, Guildford: its Links with a Wider Literary and Cultural World”.

By Dr. Catherine Ferguson.

Wednesday 19th – ENTOMOLOGY – Members’ evening (Beginners’ Room)

Thursday 20th – WALK – “West Croydon Church Townscape”.

Led by Brian Lancaster. Meet at West Croydon Station at 19:00.

Sunday 30th – BOTANY WALK – “Dollypers Hill Nature Reserve”.

A walk in high Summer for wildflowers and butterflies (weather permitting), possibly including Silver-washed Fritillaries. Meet at 14:00 by the junction of Caterham Drive and Austin Close, Coulsdon, CR5 1JN (TQ316583). Led by Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.


Sunday 6th – WALK – “Oxted Railway Tunnel”.

A surface walk led by Paul Sowan through Marden Park and Great Church Wood, along the line of the Oxted Tunnel, to consider how the surveyors fixed the shaft positions and why the 2266 yard tunnel is curved. Mostly woodland footpaths, but some serious scrambling to reach shaft three. Meet at Woldingham Station at 14:00 for a three mile walk ending at Woldingham or Oxted according to taste.

Saturday 12th – WALK – “The History of Water in Richmond”.

Led by Paul Rainey. Meet at Richmond station at 14:00.

Wednesday 16th – ENTOMOLOGY – Members’ evening (Beginners’ Room).

Saturday 19th – VISIT – “Kirkaldy Testing Museum”.

A chance to see the different listed testing machines in their original setting. Cost £5.00. Meet outside the Testing Museum, 99 Southwark Street, SE1 0JF at 11:00 am. Numbers are limited, so please book with Celia Bailey on 020 8686 5610.

Monday 28th – BOTANY WALK – “Bank Holiday Botany”.

A walk around Happy Valley to check up on wild flowers such as Woolly-headed Thistle, a rare plant in Surrey. Meet 14:00 at the public car park (not the pub car park) behind the Fox PH, Fox Lane, Coulsdon, CR3 5QS (TQ 317568). Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.


Monday 4th – TALK – “Henry Maudslay and his circle”.

By David Waller, author and journalist.

Wednesday 20th – ENTOMOLOGY – Members’ evening (Beginners’ Room).

Monday 25th – TALK – “Consumed by Fire: the Destruction of Croydon Parish Church in 1867 and its Rebuild”.

A talk by Brian Lancaster, with additional illustrations, assisted by John Hickman.


Monday 9th – TALK – “Looking for Life on Mars”.

When life began on Earth 3.8 billion years ago, Mars was habitable, with surface water and a thick atmosphere. Now it is cold, dry and harsh, but it is still our closest hope for life beyond Earth. For this talk we welcome back Professor Andrew Coates from the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

Monday 16th – TALK – “The Wandle and the Prehistory of South-West London”.

By archaeologist Jon Cotton.

Wednesday 18th – ENTOMOLOGY – Members’ evening (Beginners’ Room).

Monday 30th – TALK – “From Mountbatten to Patten: Proconsuls and the Ending of Empire 1947-1997”.

A talk by Tony Stockwell, Emeritus Professor of Modern History, examining the role and reputations of proconsuls at empire’s end.

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