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Speakers 2023

We are grateful to our speakers, who give their time to inform and entertain us.

January 2023: Richard Lunn on the Dramway

Richard Lunn is pictured with our Treasurer, Andrew Alsopp.  The room was packed with local people keen to know more about our horse-drawn railway, which was in use from 1830 to 1835 and is still in use as a footpath.  More information and links about the Dramway are on our Dramway page.

"The dramway footpath follows the route of an old horse drawn railway from Coalpit Heath to the river Avon.

This talk covers the history of the dramway footpath and takes us on a virtual journey along it as it is today.


But that is only half the story:


The original dramway, which was one of the last horse drawn railways in the country, also carried coal from Coalpit Heath to the floating harbour in Bristol along the route that was later to become the Midland Railway line that ran from Bristol Temple Meads through Mangotsfield to Gloucester and later to Bath, ultimately forming part of the Bristol to Bath Railway Footpath.

The history of this line, including Mangotsfield station and Dr Beeching’s influence, is another fascinating tale."

February 2023: Carole Darling on Jackie Moggridge

The Daring "Spitfire Girl" who flew many dangerous missions during WW2...

March 2023: Liz Davenport on Woodchester Mansion: An Unfinished Masterpiece

Liz fascinated us with information about Woodchester Mansion - the vision that created it, what it tells us about how Victorian gothic buildings were made, and why it was never finished.  And did you know it was used as a location in the Crown?

Now owned by Stroud Council (the rest of the valley is National Trust), it's managed by the Woodchester Mansion Trust (a charity) who run open days - see link.

And if you'd like to know more about the mansion, Liz's book is available to download here.

September 2023: Clive Burlton on the Matthew

Matthew leaving Bristol - May 1997.jpg

1997 was the year we celebrated 500 years since Cabot's journey to the New World aboard the Matthew. The replica Matthew was built in Bristol, but how was it built, and who funded it? What was it like to sail in Matthew across to Canada, and whose idea was it, anyway? Clive Burlton answered all these and more. If you missed it, there are a few copies of his book still on sale at Bristol Books.

Bristol Books to buy Clive's book on the Matthew:

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