Our main meeting is held at 2.30 pm in Faringdon Corn Exchange on the second Thursday of the month. Meetings begin with a warm welcome from our Chairman, Peter Hoole and any notices from the groups. The talk, from a visiting speaker then follows. After the talk there are free refreshments and a chance to talk to Group Leaders and socialise.

If you would like to give a talk to our members or you have heard of a good speaker, do please contact me. I am always on the look out for new topics and interesting speakers.

We look forward to seeing you in the Corn Exchange.

Shela Rowan

Thursday 8th June 2023

Our talk this month is by Marie-Louise Kerr and the title is Oxford’s Penicillin. We all link Sir Alexander Fleming with penicillin but think again!  The drug we use today was developed by a group of scientists based in Oxford. In this talk learn about the wartime struggles to make this life-saving antibiotic.

When Alexander Fleming was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1945, he shared it with Howard Florey and Ernst Chain. Why? Because while Fleming first observed and named penicillin, it was Florey and Chain and a group of scientists working in Oxford who developed it into a viable drug. In this talk Curator Without Museum will tell the story of the life-saving work carried out in the Dunn School, the trials and tribulations the scientists faced and the experiences of the first patients to be treated with penicillin. This is bound to be an interesting talk.

Thursday 13th July 2023

We have all wondered from time to time which is the correct bin to put an item of waste into. Our speaker today is Jessica Beare who works for the Vale of the White Horse District Council and is the Recycling Education Officer. She spoke over two years ago on Zoom to our u3a but this time will be here in person. She will attempt to clarify exactly what happens to our waste after it is collected from the doorstep and also to answer our queries about what can or not be recycled. So do come with any questions for her.

Thursday 10th August 2023

No Meeting – Summer Lunch

Thursday 14th September 2023

This month we are delighted to have a well-known local person as our speaker, Sjoerd Vogt who will give a talk  linking Tolkien to the Folly Tower.  Apparently, our Folly Tower was the likely inspiration for Saruman’s nightmarish Tower and Hobbiton Hill was maybe modelled on Folly Hill. Over the years, many admirers of the Middle-earth sagas have guessed at what might be the inspiration for this and other striking features of the landscapes created by JRR Tolkein. This talk will certainly appeal to all Tolkein fans and also to the many of us that regularly walk up on the Folly.

Thursday 12th October 2023

The Great Stink is the title that Doctor Tom Crook has assigned to this talk. He is going to attempt to explain how we got from the cesspools of the medieval period to the sewerage systems of today. The answer owes a lot to the engineering ingenuity and ambition of the Victorians. We have come to take these systems for granted, but we shouldn’t – the Victorians struggled long and hard, amidst numerous failed experiments before they eventually settled on the infrastructure we rely on today. Doctor Crook is a senior lecturer in modern British History at Oxford Brookes University.

Thursday 9th November 2023

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a Justice of the Peace? Tony Hersch JP is our speaker this month and he is going to give a talk entitled, A Day in the Life of a Magistrate. He will talk about the history of this role followed by giving several examples of real cases that he has faced in court. Each case is presented as it was in a court of law and he encourages discussion regarding the most appropriate sentence and then gives the actual sentence.

Thursday 14th December 2023

The title of the talk this month is, Sex, Scandal, and Salacious Gossip of the Royal Court 1660-1830 by Sarah Slater who is a guide at Hampton Court Palace. Her talk will tell us about all the naughty bits of history that you probably would not have learnt at school! She has a particular interest in the human stories of those who have lived and worked within the palace. This talk promises to be great fun but certainly for an adult audience!