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Co-ordinator: Jane Thomas


There is no set day in the month for meetings. We fit around the terrestrial centres.

These meetings are for Members only; if you wish to join the Society, please go to the Membership page above.
You will need to book for the Zoom meetings. To access the Zoom page in the Members Area, click here.
From the above page, you may also be able to watch a recording of the meeting (see below for an indication of whether a recording is available).

'Doors' open 30 mins before the talk starts on the hour.
There will be a short introduction and explanation of how the meeting will work.
Anyone arriving after the talk has commenced may be denied entry.


Date Time Title Speaker
Wed6 Dec7.30 pm for 7.50 pm "Murder, Sex and Mayhem" Now bookingJohn Vigar


Date Time Title Speaker
Tue16 Jan7.30 pm for 7.50 pm“The place in society of people with learning difficulties since the late C17thSimon Jarrett
Thu22 Feb7.30 pm for 7.50 pmThe Fastenings IndustryAnthony Poulton-Smith
Thu21 Mar7.30 pm for 7.50 pm “Boots and Shoes in History Janet Pennington

Forthcoming Meetings

December 6 2023

John Vigar - "Murder, Sex and Mayhem"
John is an ecclesiologist– he loves the study of church architecture and associated topics. During his visits he has studied stained glass windows – saints’ fates, misericords – contemporary social lives and monuments and memorials – causes of death throughout the ages. John will link these to their relevance to particular periods of history.

January 16 2024

Simon Jarrett - “The place in society of people with learning difficulties since the late C17th
Simon Jarrett is a Visiting Fellow at the Open University and the author of ‘Those they called idiots: the idea of the disabled mind form 1700 to the present day’ (2020). His latest book,
This talk outlines the little-known history of those we call people with learning disabilities today, and who have been known by a variety of names in the past, ranging from ‘idiots’ through ‘mental defectives’ to ‘the mentally handicapped’
The talk examines three stages in this history and why these changes happened: the pre-asylum era (up to around the 1830s), the era of incarceration, (1830-1980s), and finally the era of community care (1980s onwards) when people returned to the communities.

February 22

Anthony Poulton-Smith - The Fastenings Industry
After 20 years in light engineering, Anthony Poulton-Smith turned to writing. He has had 1,700 articles, 87 books published, with another 238 books ghostwritten for others.
The talk looks at what is possibly a unique engineering industry. Unlike other fields, fastenings manufacturers actually helped one another, each finding their own niche. The first part of the talk focuses on the etymologies of the words – this gives an insight into how the items came into use, why they were referred to as such (we can hardly say they were officially named), and a glimpse at the people and companies who influenced the industry

March 21

Janet Pennington - “Boots and Shoes in History
Janet Pennington is an independent historian with a PhD in early-modern Sussex inn and Tavern history.
The talk was inspired by the wonderful shoe exhibition the Victoria and Albert Museum in London June 2015 to January 2016. Have you ever looked at the shoes that Henry VII was wearing for his Holbein portrait? And ladies did you wear stilettos in the sixties? Would you gentlemen have stuffed the toes of your ridiculously pointed leather shoes, with moss in the 14th century? This talk will reveal all, especially your coloured stockings and naughty ankles

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Copyright © 2023 West Surrey Family History Society   Last modified: 13 November 2023
Copyright © 2023 West Surrey Family History Society