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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
Thu22 Feb7.30 pm for 7.50 pmThe Fastenings Industry Recording availableAnthony Poulton-Smith
Thu21 Mar7.30 pm for 7.50 pm “Boots and Shoes in History Janet Pennington
Wed3 Apr7.30 pm for 7.50 pmCharity Records Richard Holt
Wed1 May7.30 pm for 7.50 pmResearching & Writing "The Mourning Brooch" family sagaJean Renwick
Tue4 Jun7.30 pm for 7.50 pm"Besoms, Battledores, Bedsteads and Bum Rolls: the role of women in the seventeenth century" Janet Few

Forthcoming Meetings

February 22 2024

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

April 3

Richard Holt - Charity Records
Richard Holt is a professional genealogist after having a successful Primary education career. He believes that learning is a life-long endeavour and tutors with Pharos Tutors.
Although researching paupers can be more challenging than those who were more wealthy, there are numerous sources that can help including charity records
This talk covers identifying local charities using the survey carried out by the Charity Commission in the 1830's. Using the Charity Commission records at The National Archives, it focusses on a case study from Bledlow, Buckinghamshire - a “celebrated family of chimney sweepers, rat catchers and poachers for generations” (but sources are applicable to other locations)
Also incorporated are lots of other sources such as newspapers, parish chest material, enclosure records, private journals, etc

May 1

Jean Renwick - Researching & Writing "The Mourning Brooch" family saga
Novelist Jean Renwick’s illustrated talk reveals years of painstaking research behind her family saga, The Mourning Brooch, based upon the lives of real people who lived in the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. After inheriting a mourning brooch, Jean was intrigued to know who was Elizabeth Addy, commemorated in the brooch, and what happened to the two little girls she left behind. Acclaimed by family historians for its authenticity, the novels reveal how the sisters’ lives took them in very different directions.
Using newspaper archives, Jean discovered scandals which have added drama to the story. You will hear how Jean’s research in Yorkshire and the USA revealed much about the personalities of the characters, reflected in how she shaped the novels. The Mourning Brooch Book One, An Ending. A Beginning covers 1839-1876 and Book Two, Moving On reaches 1913.
If you wish to read the books ahead of the talk, they are available as a paperback or for Kindle on Amazon.
Do you have a piece of mourning jewellery? Bring it to the meeting and, before the talk, share what you know of its history

June 4

Janet Few - "Besoms, Battledores, Bedsteads and Bum Rolls: the role of women in the seventeenth century"
A History Interpreter, Writer, Speaker and Researcher, Dr Janet Few is an experienced and qualified family, social and community historian She is interested in the women in history -often missing in many records
This talk describes the cooking, cleaning, the making and laundering of clothes, maintaining the garden and the many other tasks of the Stuart housewife.

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Copyright © 2024 West Surrey Family History Society   Last modified: 13 November 2023
Copyright © 2024 West Surrey Family History Society