2018-2019  LECTURES

The Lectures take place between 1st October and end of March, at Bethesda Church Hall, Gt. Norwood Street, CHELTENHAM, GL50 2AP at 2.30pm. on the FIRST Thursday of each month, and at Woodmancote School at 7.30pm on the THIRD Thursday of the month

The admission price for all meetings payable, on the door, £3 Members & £4 visitors. 

The Thursday afternoon meetings to remain at Bethesda Methodist Church Hall until further notice.

The Thursday evening meetings will be at Woodmancote School.

How to get to Woodmancote School

Woodmancote School is located in Station Road, Woodmancote, GL52 9HN.

Suggested directions from Cheltenham are either to:

Take the A435 Evesham Road, do not follow the by-pass round Bishop‘s Cleeve. Instead go into the village and right after passing the fish and chip shop onto Station Road. The school is on your right, after the railway bridge. If you reach the mini roundabout, you have gone too far.


Take the B4632 Prestbury Road towards Winchcombe. Ignore the turning to Southam and take the next turning on the left, about 200yards further on, signposted Woodmancote‘. This is New Road. Follow the road round past the old chestnut tree on your right into Station Road. The school is down the road, on your left, just past the mini roundabout. If you reach the railway bridge you have gone too far!

The entrance to the school car park is closer to the mini roundabout, the exit is closer to the railway bridge.


The programme of lectures for 2018-19 is as follows:


4th October              Bethesda            Newark Park                                            Stephanie van Stokkom

18th October            Woodmancote    Tasmania                                                  Frank Austin

1st November          Bethesda           The Gunpowder Plot                                  Vic Avis

15th November        Woodmancote    Regency Cheltenham                               Stephen Blake

6th December          Bethesda           Corfe Castle, Dorset                                  Pam White


3rd January             Bethesda           James Wyatt, Architect                                Helen Roberts

17th January           Woodmancote    Looking at Pictures                                     Simon Trapnell

7th February           Bethesda            BBC Naturewatch at Sherborne Estate      Simon Nicholas

21st February         Woodmancote    The Siege of Gloucester, 1643                    Ted Wilson or Paul Drinkwater

7th March               Bethesda            National Star College                                   Sally Gillespie


Report on the lecture on 4 October, 2018, Newark Park.

Stefanie van Stokkom, Operations Manager of Newark Park and Horton Court, was our first speaker  of the 2018- 2019 Lectures Season. 

Her talk, like Caesar‘s Gaul, was divided into three parts: the history of the 750 acre estate,  restoration and conservation work there and future plans. Starting with Nicholas Poyntz, who built the  Renaissance style hunting lodge in 1550, she then described the developments carried out by in the eighteenth century by the Reverend Lewis Clutterbuck. Next it was fast forward to the twentieth century when Newark Park was left to the National Trust in memory of the last Clutterbuck heir, James Power-Clutterbuck who died in the Great War.

Many members will remember Robert Parsons who took on the tenancy in 1970 and his partner, Michael Claydon. Together they did much to repair and restore the property, Michael staying as caretaker- manager until 2012, after Bob‘s death in 2000. 

Since then major repairs and conservation work have been necessary - not least after the March 2017 flood. Luckily Stefanie has a flat in the house and was alerted early on to the disaster in the Tudor wing. She described in detail the events of that morning and the following  days, illustrating her remarks with striking images of  the damage caused by the melting snow and burst pipes. 

Work continues in this area as it is decided how best to restore it but the  aim is to have the whole house open next year, showing how the property has changed during its 450 year history and how it continues to grow to become truly  somewhere forever, for everyone‘.

And such was Stefanie‘s enthusiasm for her work at Newark Park that many members determined to go  see  for themselves.

Jan Turner.

PS For good measure Stefanie also spoke briefly about Horton Court!


Report on the lecture on Tasmania, Thursday, 18 October

On Thursday 18 October at  Woodmancote School, Frank Austin‘s talk on TASMANIA.

Our first talk in our new premises, cleverly found for us by Jan Turner.  31 people attended, and we were a bit squashed.  However, I enjoyed Frank‘s talk all over again, having heard him at Probus.  He is a very skilled photographer, and I particularly liked the wildlife shots of beautiful birds.  His description of taking a shortcut through the bush sounded quite hair-raising.  He had to walk in front of the four-by-four to make sure they weren‘t heading for a ditch.  His relative is a miner, so drove him many miles into the zinc mine, where they also find small quantities of gold.  Seems a very civilised way to mine compared to the olden days‘.

Julph Miers



                                              The Lectures Sub-Committee at work.

When your list of lectures comes through in your newsletter every year please give a thought to the hard-working members of the Centre’s lectures sub-committee. This seven-member subcommittee ably
chaired by Jan Turner, organise, arrange and run the lecture series for the benefit of members on a
completely voluntary basis.
They are fortified only with copious cups of tea or coffee and a substantial supply of quality biscuits provided free of charge by the host.
The meeting this September reviewed progress and details of the organisation for the coming season’s lectures and tried to anticipate possible problems. It seeks to ensure that speakers arrive, are properly introduced, looked after and paid. Critically the sub-committee tries to ensure that the audiovisual equipment arrives in a working order, the pay desk is manned and that the key for the premises is collected and returned. Additionally, some of the committee members have the responsibility of the storage and carriage of the equipment to the two venues.
The meeting in November concentrates on the choice of speakers. That is followed by sometimes tortuous attempts to contact them and sort out availability. This follows a strict procedure written by the subcommittee Minute Secretary and endorsed by the sub-committee members. Subsequent meetings monitor progress and identify issues arising during the season.
During the long summer break, they are busy ensuring that lecturers will turn up, have all the equipment required and that the publicity is provided for the newsletter, website and the 'What’s On' section of Radio Gloucestershire

Recently innovations by the sub-committee are a request for voluntary contributions for the refreshments on the Thursday evening lectures; investigation of the hearing loop and audio equipment systems in both venues and the introduction of a free guest pass for members to invite non-members to one of the evening series of talks.  All this is intended to give good quality lectures at a reasonable charge of £3. 

 The photo below was taken at the September meeting shows Peter Walker, Jan Turner, (chairman), June Stroud, Julph Miers and Ann Nye. Bill Cronin was hiding behind the camera and Duncan Reid had sent his apologies.     


Welcome to the website of Cheltenham & Gloucestershire National Trust Centre which is independent of the National Trust.
Last updated 23.10.2018
Community Web Kit provided free by BT
Cookies and Privacy | Charity Number: 205846