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The following reports of meetings in the 2012-13 season are available:

26 Sep 2012: "Distilling the Frenzy: Writing the History of One's Own Times" by Professor The Lord Peter Hennessy FBA

More than 70 members of the Hungerford Historical Association enjoyed a talk by the eminent British contemporary historian and Cross Bench member of the House of Lords, Lord Peter Hennessy.

In a wide ranging talk he discussed the Common Market; British Nuclear Weapons and the future of the House of Lord,s for which he has great affection and defended with great skill. He said that he had been very fortunate in finding in life work that was for him also play.

The next meeting of the Hungerford Historical Association will be on Wednesday, 24th October at 7.30pm, when Stephanie Williams will talk on "Running the Show- Some Extraordinary Stories of the Men who Governed the British Empire in the days of Victoria"

Shelagh Parry

24 Oct 2012: "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" by Stephanie Williams .

Over 60 members of the HHA listened to a humerous and interesting talk on British Colonial Governors by Stephanie Williams.

One of the Governors was Hugh Clifford, who was a Governor in Malaya and became the model for Noel Coward's Englishman who "came out in the mid-day sun"!

Despite the humour, the speaker emphasised how these Governors served the people of various colonies without fear or favour, and ensured that the Colonies they represented were fairly treated by the British Government.

Shelagh Parry

28 Nov 2012: "Avebury - the Story so Far" by Dr Nicola Snashall.

On Wednesday, 28 November over 80 members of the Hungerford Historical Association were entertained by Dr Nicola Snashall, the National Trust archaeologist responsible for Stonehenge and Avebury, to a "magical mystery tour from 8000BC to the present day". In her talk Dr Snashall emphasised that new techniques like carbon dating have led to renewed interest about Avebury and a re-evaluation of aspects of its history. This was especially so over the way in which burial chambers were used and also the significance of the henge and sarsen stones. She encouraged her audience to re-visit the site.

The next meeting of the Hungerford Historical Association will be on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 at 7.30pm, when Dr Alan Borg, an ex-Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, will talk on "The Knights Hospitaller from Jerusalem to Clerkenwell"

Shelagh Parry

23 Jan 2013: "The Knights Hospitaller from Jerusalem to Clerkenwell" by Dr Alan Borg, CBE, FSA.

Despite the freezing weather, over 50 members of the Hungerford Historical Association were treated to a wonderful talk on the Knights Hospitaller (also known as the Knights of St John) by Dr Alan Borg, CBE. Dr Borg was previously Director of the Imperial War Museum, and later of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Dr Borg outlined how the Knights started by providing a hospital for pilgrims to Jerusalem in the 11th century, and how they had to move to Cyprus, then Rhodes before settling in Malta. In Victorian times the order was re-established in England, when the St John's Ambulance was started. He covered 1000 years of its fascinating history in one hour - ending by encouraging us to visit the order's London Museum in Clerkenwell.

The next meeting of the Hungerford Historical Association will be on Wednesday, 27th February at 7.30pm when Froxfield resident Dr Chris Carlon will speak on "The Really Ancient History of Hungerford - reading and interpreting rock archives".

Hugh Pihlens

27 Feb 2013: "The Really Ancient History of Hungerford - Reading and Interpreting Rock  Archives" - Dr Chris Carlon, BSc, PhD, FSEG, FGS.

At the Hungerford Historical Association meeting on 27 February over 90 members listened to a most interesting and informative talk by Dr. Chris Carlon, an eminent local geologist on "The Really Ancient History of Hungerford - reading and interpreting rock archives". He mentioned that the current estimate of the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years old, but if the earth was only 12 months old then human beings would have first appeared at 11.54pm on 31 December, which caused the audience to gasp.

Around Hungerford the rocks indicate a widely diverse environment from ancient continental deserts to shallow water tropical oceans, estuaries and mud-flats. In the recent past glacial and inter-glacial periods have changed the landscape with huge areas like Coombe Hill being laid down under tropical seas. All very different to the Hungerford of today. It was a well illustrated talk and samples of various rock formations and fossils were on display.

The next meeting will be held on the 27 March when Air Marshal Macfadyn, the Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle, will give a talk on the Royal Palace of Windsor.

Shelagh Parry

Chris Carlon kindly provided a summary of his talk - available here in pdf format.

27 March 2013: "Windsor Castle" - Air Marshall Ian Macfadyen, CB, OBE

Nearly 100 members of the Hungerford Historical Association were entertained to a very interesting presentation on Windsor Castle on the 27th March, by the current Governor and Constable of the Castle, Air Marshal Macfadyen.

He explained his role of Constable representing the Queen when she is not at Windsor, but also explained in great detail how the whole of the Castle community came together after the great fire in 1992 destroyed large areas of the Castle. The restoration and rebuilding took just over 5 years at a cost of £37 million and by a combined effort the Castle is now fully back to its place as one of the great iconic buildings that illustrates our nation's heritage and history.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 24th April at 7.30pm in Hungerford Corn Exchange when Dr. Hugh Pihlens will give a talk on "Sir Christopher Wren – his life and times".

Shelagh Parry

24 April 2013: "Sir Christopher Wren - his Life and Times" - Dr Hugh Pihlens

In the BBC TV series "100 Greatest Britons", there was a notable absentee - Sir Christopher Wren. Hugh Pihlens gave a presnetation of Wren's life from his childhood at Windsor Castle, through his education at Oxford, his early professional career as one of the country's top astronomers to his more well-know work as an architect.

His legacy includes important buildings in Cambridge and Oxford, the rebuilding of 51 of London's churches lost in the Great Fire of 1666, as well as his crowning glory of St Paul's Cathedral. There are also the important other works such as The Monument, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, Chelsea and Greenwich Hospitals, and the extensions to the grand palaces at Kensington and Hampton Court.

The talk was illustrated with copious illustrations of these fine buildings.

Hugh Pihlens

22 May 2013: "The Defence of Marlborough 1940-44" - Mr Roger Day

The Hungerford Historical Association were recently treated to an excellent talk by Roger Day, a prominent local historian, on the Local Defence Volunteers, known affectionately as "Look, Duck and Vanish", or the Home Guard. His talk focused on the defence of Marlborough by the Home Guard and even though programmes like Dad's Army show the humorous side of these citizen soldiers, his talk emphasized the real role that they played in the order of battle (ORBAT) for the defence of Great Britain against a possible German invasion during World War II.

The next meeting will be the AGM on Wednesday 26 June at 7.30pm in Hungerford Corn Exchange when Dr. Hugh Pihlens will give a talk on Hungerford Historical Association's computerized Virtual Museum.

Shelagh Parry