Our event programme for 2019-20

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/April.  The listing below covers October 2019 to March 2020, and is also available in pdf form.

The majority of our talks take place in the Small Hall at East Croydon United Reformed Church (ECURC), Addiscombe Grove, Croydon CR0 5LP starting at 19:45 – 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 some parking available on site although limited due to building work.

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.


Monday 7th – TALK – “The Isle of Wight: its wildlife and countryside”. Malcolm Jennings will talk about the often rare and beautiful flora and fauna of the Isle of Wight, its spectacular marine landscape, and also some of the historic sites on the Island.

Wednesday 16th – ENTOMOLOGY SECTION MEETING. Beginners Room, ECURC.

Sunday 27th – ECOLOGY WALK – “Autumn Fruits and Fungi in Littleheath Woods”. Meet at 10:00 at the bottom of the steps at the end of Queenhill Road TQ349627. Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings.

Monday 28th – TALK – “The Nostradamus of South Norwood”, by Stephen Oxford. The predictions of Nostradamus are open to interpretation and much criticism, whilst those of a past South Norwood resident are far clearer and more accurate.


Wednesday 13th – TALK – “All About Badgers”. This talk by Ian Tilbury will cover the natural history of badgers, field signs to look for, their protection and persecution, badgers and people, planning issues, rescue and rehabilitation, with particular reference to the work that East Surrey Badger Protection Society does in releasing orphaned cubs back into the wild.

Wednesday 20th – ENTOMOLOGY SECTION MEETING. Beginners Room, ECURC.

Monday 25th – TALK – “Vesta Tilley and Her World”, by Keith Fawkes and Richard Norman. Vesta Tilley was one of the highest paid performers of the Music Hall era and making her reputation as a male impersonator. Her recorded songs and film clips will be used to illustrate her career.

Saturday 30th – FOCUS – “Trees and Woods”. There will be talks by Aljos Farjon on Ancient Oaks in the English landscape and Sam Bentley-Toon on the Great North Wood Project. As usual tea will be provided, and there will be a chance to pay subscriptions for 2020. At the David Sweet Hall ECURC starting at 14.30.


Sunday 1st – ECOLOGY AND HISTORY WALK – “The Great North Wood”. Following the Focus meeting on 30 November, a walk through some fragments of the Great North Wood, from Crystal Palace to the Horniman Museum, where there is a café. Meet at 10:00 at the junction of Farquhar Road and Crystal Palace Parade. Led by Jane McLauchlin and Celia Bailey.

Monday 2nd – TALK – “The Biology of Christmas”. A seasonal illustrated talk by Jane McLauchlin.

Wednesday 18th – ENTOMOLOGY SECTION MEETING. Beginners Room, ECURC.

Sunday 29th – WALK – “The last walk of the year – around Central Croydon”. To consider (mostly) buildings older than us! Meet at Croydon Town Hall Clocktower entrance at 14:00. Led by Paul Sowan.


Wednesday 8th – TALK – “The Croydon Ponds Project”. A talk by Adam Asquith. In this Heritage Lottery Funded project The Conservation Volunteers have been working with local volunteers to research the ecology and history of Croydon’s ponds.

Wednesday 15th – ENTOMOLOGY SECTION MEETING. PLEASE NOTE NEW VENUE: The Church Lounge, East Croydon United Reformed Church.

Monday 27th – TALK – “What’s in a Name” by Ian Payne. Based on my personal researches, we discover the origin of ‘Ian Garryk’. Then we look at my father, the perfect English gentleman, but documents in the loft prove otherwise. Why was the name changed to Payne? DNA reveals a second cousin which leads to Szreńsk in the Russian Pale of Settlement thence to Polish and Russian birth and marriage certificates with translation pitfalls and a surprising outcome.


Monday 3rd – TALK – “Building Stone Castles in NW Wales: Medieval Construction and Regional Geology”. A talk by Dr Ruth Siddall. The construction of Edward I’s castles at Caernarfon, Harlech, Conwy and Beaumaris primarily used the varied local stone of Anglesey and the north-west Welsh mainland. This talk will illustrate how these castles were built in the late 13th and early 14th Centuries using often unexpected building materials.

Wednesday 19th – ENTOMOLOGY SECTION MEETING. The Church Lounge, ECURC.

Sunday 23rd – ECOLOGY WALK – “Winter Trees in Threehalfpenny Wood”. Meet at 10:00 at the junction of Woodland Way and Copse Avenue, TQ378649. Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings.

Monday 24th – TALK – “The History of Croydon’s Sewage Treatment 1852 – 1969”. This talk by Robin Ashford considers the pioneering work to deal with the pollution arising from an increasing population density and industrial activities in the Croydon area. It looks at the need for and evolution of drainage systems and the development of sewage treatment from simple discharge to land through to modern forms of sewage treatment.


Monday 2nd – TALK – “My Pound Shop Pot Garden”, by Penny Frith.


POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE – Saturday 21st – VISIT – “Valence House”, a manor house and local museum in Dagenham. Meet at 14:00 at Becontree Underground Station. We shall then be taking the 62 bus to Dagenham, alighting at Becontree Avenue. Entry is free. Led by Brian Lancaster.

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE – Monday 23rd – TALK – “Edmund Byron, Squire of Coulsdon 1863-1921: Domestic and estate management”, by Nigel Elliott. What do we know about Coulsdon Court’s domestic staff? How was the Byron estate managed? This talk addresses these questions and features three notable employees.

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