“On Saturday 20th May, 17 members of the FU3A J1 Discovering Wessex group went on the last visit of this academic year to Tyneham. The weather was brilliant with clear blue skies giving wonderful views over the surrounding countryside and down to the sea, from the viewpoint above the village. Kaye Weeks and Pam Strong were our topic leaders for the day, following their really interesting presentation the previous week. This lost village and the surrounding areas were commandeered by the army back in 1943 to be used as a military firing rang. The residents were given very short notice to leave before the area was taken over and have never been allowed back. So it has remained as a time capsule with visitors able to explore, at certain times, the ruined buildings, school and church, reading all about it from the mass of information boards all around the village. Our members enjoyed learning about life there in pre-WW2 days – a time very different from the faster pace of life today. After the visit most members dispersed to take lunch at some nearby hostelries.
I was sitting in the ladies at SeaCity Museum (Southampton). On the back of the cubicle door was a small poster. It read something along the lines of: ” Why not visit the Tudor House Museum?” and showed a picture of an attractive black and white Tudor house.
Why not indeed, I thought to myself. So I did what any U3A group leader would do when they discover a potential place to visit and took a photo of the poster on my mobile ‘phone before I left.
Once home, I researched the museum and it looked like a great place to offer to our Tea at the Museum members. It was mid-March 2020. Little did any of us know that it would be a full two and a half years before my lavatorial discovery could be shared with the group…
On January 19th this year, members of the Tea at the Museum group gathered at Tudor House Museum in Southampton’s old town, close to the remains of the city walls and the harbour. The following two hours flew past as we explored the house, built in 1491 by wealthy merchants, the reconstructed Tudor knot garden and the remains of King John’s Palace, built in the 12th century. Together, they make up the oldest surviving buildings in Southampton and the site of its first museum, opened in 1912.
Extensively, but sympathetically, restored between 2002-2011, the museum is a wonderful example of late mediaeval and Georgian building, its occupants and their occupations. Upstairs displays include paintings of the harbour before land was reclaimed for the modern docks, maritime exhibits, a fascinating video about the restoration of the building and much, much more. Of particular note was some late sixteenth and early seventeenth century graffiti of ships, reckoned to be the finest examples of their time. We would have loved to stay longer but the museum closes at 3pm.
Group members whom we spoke to afterwards all agreed that Tudor House Museum was well worth a visit and how much they had enjoyed it. What’s more, the excellent staff on duty that day have given us some ideas that we can follow up, with potential for a return visit. Watch this space.
I’m glad I needed to ‘spend a penny’ that day at SeaCity!
Joint Group Leader, Tea at the Museum group
It was a lovely event as always with a few new faces which is nice to see.
The winner of the main game was Val Harris with the wooden spoon winner Derek Holden. Our skittle picker upper was Debbie Dixon, who did a marvellous job.
The winner of the killer game was much contested between Lyn Pengelly, Alan Bluck, and Judith Miles but eventually Alan Bluck managed to get the last skittle down.
The final team game was won by Carole Ward, Sandra Dixon, and Debbie Dixon our skittle picker upper who stepped in to make a team up
Great fun was had by all and hopefully the next event will be in the Easter holidays so keep an eye open.
Our Annual General Meeting took place on Friday 16th December 2022 and as usual was well attended. Chairman, Bob Reeve opened the proceedings and shared a review of the year including, finances and events. Once again, we have had a very successful year and numbers have returned to pre-Covid levels. We currently have 556 members and offer around 90 groups.
During the meeting Bob thanks retiring members Jean Stone and Jenny Bass for the support over the last eight years and presented them with a gift.
A cheque for £3230 was also presented to our Charity of the Year – Lewis Manning Hospice Care. The monies raised came from sponsorship of Mike Andrews who walked 1650 miles over the year raising £1650 as well as form the gardening group plant sale, the pantomime, and general donations.
The meeting ended with Tea and Cake.