All evening meetings will be held in the Flitwick Library lecture room at 7.45 p.m. on the first Monday in the month from October to April, except for January. The annual subscription is £8.00 per person. Membership forms plus further details are available from the Secretary. Visitors are very welcome. A meeting fee of £2.00 for members, and £3.00 for visitors, is payable on the door.

Monday October 1st 2018

Flight Research at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE)

At Thurleigh, RAE (Bedford) conducted world-class aeronautical research into automatic landing in fog, naval operations from aircraft carriers, Concorde aerodynamics, vertical take-off and landing, helicopter performance and airport landing aids now accepted world-wide.

Barry Tomlinson

Monday November 5th 2018

Charles Dawson: Piltdown and his other hoaxes

This is the story of a man so desperate for academic recognition that he routinely faked his archaeological finds in order to supply the “crucial” artefact to the academic world. Piltdown Man in 1912 was his most famous hoax, but recent work has brought to light 38 other fake artefacts that he presented to learned societies and museums during his lifetime and there are probably more out there. The academic hierarchy protected and supported him even though not everyone at the time was convinced by Dawson’s finds. Many of Dawson’s hoaxes could only be accurately exposed using modern archaeological analysis techniques and the misinformation created by some of his hoaxes survived in school text books until the early 1970’s. Charles Dawson never lived to see his hoaxes exposed or the damage he did to the credibility of academia in his own and later decades – he really is a warning from history.

Andy McGrandle

Monday December 3th 2018

Failed to Return

In this ‘Air Mystery’ talk, Tony re-constructs the fatal last flights of 2 British wartime icons - aviatrix Amy Johnson (1941) whose RAF plane crashed into the Thames Estuary, miles away from its authorised flight plan, and film star Leslie Howard (1943), killed when the unarmed civilian airliner in which he was a passenger was shot down over the Bay of Biscay.

The bizarre circumstances of their deaths, which shocked the nation, have long been the subject of speculation and conjecture.

Tony now separates the facts from the fiction and addresses the persistent rumours that, for political and/or military reasons, the complete records have been deliberately withheld from public scrutiny

Tony Eaton

Saturday January 12th 2019

Digging the Trenches

If you missed this very good event then you can catch up by watching a similar presentation by Andy on YouTube.

Monday February 4th 2019

Many Mansions

Sir Albert Richardson was a well-known architect in the first half of the 20th century; the work of his company reflects this with projects of all shapes and sizes throughout the British Isles. During the recent cataloguing of the architectural drawings from the Ampthill office of Richardson & Houfe many treasures have been revealed; this talk discusses some of them.

Pamela Birch

Monday March 4th 2019

Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent - Hero or Blackadder?

Edmund inherited his lands, title and good name from his Marcher Lord grandfather, Reynold, 3rd Baron Grey of Ruthyn and his father, Sir John, KG, a Captain of 34 lancers and 96 archers at Agincourt.

He managed to survive and prosper – keeping both his head and his lands – through the perilous period of the Wars of the Roses. Admittedly he did change his allegiances more than once, including halfway through the Battle of Northampton. He achieved the grand position of Lord Treasurer of England, although not for long as he received an admonitory warrant, possibly for paying himself for the unpaid napery services provided for Edward’s coronation. Two of his sons married sisters of Queen Elizabeth and he was created Earl of Kent.

His second son George succeeded him and prospered, but his son Richard, although a favourite at Court, incurred large debts, mostly from gambling where he lost most of his family’s lands and money, plus those of his wives.

Chris Martin

Monday April 1st 2019

Short A.G.M. followed by Talk.

Bassett-Lowke: A Modelling Legend

The life of W J Bassett Lowke, the man behind 78 Derngate in Northampton, the company he founded, and how offshore production, mail order and upward mobility are nothing new. Model trains were not the only things that Bassett Lowke sold although there may be a few examples around on the night!

Allan Boldero