This events programme is now complete – please visit our summer 2017 programme here.
All winter events (unless otherwise stated) take place at the Old Town Hall in The Shambles, Stroud at 7.30 pm.
Please note another change of date for the AGM, which is now on the 30th March. Members may be aware that Stroud District Council are considering the future of the Stroud Subscription Rooms and to this end have arranged a public meeting inviting people to join in discussion about their future ownership, purpose and use. This meeting is to be held on 9th March 2017 which of course clashes with the proposed date for our AGM. It is anticipated that many of our members will wish to attend this meeting and the Committee have therefore decided to delay our AGM until 30th March.
Thursday 24th November 2016
Sir George Gilbert Scott
Jim Thompson. architectural historian and bookseller will give an illustrated commentary on the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott whose celebrated works include the Midland Hotel at St Pancras Station, the Albert Memorial and the Foreign Office.
“The most prolific architect of his day, and possibly of all time, and also the most unsung” writes Simon Jenkins.
Scott’s most celebrated works are the Midland Hotel at St Pancras Station, the Albert Memorial and the Foreign Office but he was also responsible for the restoration of 18 medieval cathedrals and hundreds of churches. His restoration work was not always appreciated by those fierce guardians of conservation SPAB, but today opinions have shifted somewhat.
Admission: £2 members, £3 non members.
A Christmas Concert at Selsley Church
7.15 pm. An Evening of 18th Century West Gallery Music with Wine and Refreshments
West Gallery is the term used to describe the lively music and songs heard in English churches from the late 17th century until about 1860.
Vital Spark will also perform some of the traditional Christmas carols when every village had its own versions which were handed down through the generations.
Admission: Members £12.50, Non-members £15.50
Booking essential – there is a booking form here.
7.30pm St Laurence Church, Stroud
A Betjemanesque introduction by Adrian Barlow, distinguished scholar. writer. and lecturer on Victorian architecture and Victorian stained glass and more!
John Betjeman changed the way we view Victorian buildings. His enthusiasm and erudition were crucial in turning the tide running powerfully against the art and design of the period. His tireless campaigning saved a number of important Victorian buildings that were slated for demolition. The dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of St Pancras Station is the supreme monument to his efforts.
Once grimy, despised and threatened with demolition, St Pancras Station and the Midland Grand Hotel—the epitome of everything that was considered ghastly about Victorian architecture—have instead been painstakingly restored, cleaned and transformed to form a magnificent terminus for Eurostar trains from the continent.
Without Betjeman’s passionate advocacy, George Gilbert Scott’s high Victorian gothic Midland Grand Hotel and William Barlow’s masterful trainshed would have gone the way of Philip Hardwick’s Euston Arch—demolished in 1961 despite widespread protests.
In recognition of his pivotal role in saving St Pancras, a statue of Betjeman stands on the concourse, holding onto his hat and gazing in wonder at Barlow’s great arched roof—the largest single-span roof in the world at the time of its completion.
From the 1890s onwards, there was a public and critical revulsion against Victorian architecture, considered gloomy, ugly and absurd. Critics wrote of ‘the nineteenth century architectural tragedy’, ridiculed ‘the uncompromising ugliness’ of the era’s buildings and attacked the ‘sadistic hatred of beauty’ of its architects. The commonly-held view was expressed by P.G.Wodehouse in his 1933 novel, Summer Moonshine: ‘Whatever may be said in favour of the Victorians, it is pretty generally admitted that few of them were to be trusted within reach of a trowel and a pile of bricks’.
As a result, scores of fine buildings were flattened. It took a visionary to change the public and critical perception of this architecture and Betjeman was just such a visionary. He was a founding member of the Victorian Society in 1957 and a vigorous campaigner. As well as St Pancras Station, thanks to his and the society’s tireless efforts, buildings as various as the Foreign Office, Albert Dock in Liverpool and The Black Friar—London’s spectacular art-nouveau pub—are still with us.
Sadly, despite Betjeman’s passionate advocacy, many fine Victorian buildings still succumbed to the wrecking ball—including the great glass rotunda of J. B. Bunning’s London Coal Exchange (sacrificed for road widening) and Broad Street Station.
Adrian Barlow will tell us about the buildings Betjeman admired, the buildings he loved but lost and the buildings that, thanks largely to him, survive to this day. Adrian is a distinguished scholar, writer and lecturer on (amongst much else) Victorian architecture and stained glass.
Admission: £5 members £5.00. £7 non members (price to include a glass of wine)
The Gillyflower and the Tree House
A talk by Tomas Millar.
Tomas Millar is an architect, of the Millar + Howard Workshop, who has been working in the Stroud valleys for over ten years. The workshop is an award winning practice known for crafting buildings that fit into the landscape.
The Gillyflower, described as ‘an enchanting space’ was a challenging project, to build a party venue with the latest sound and light systems next to the listed Elmore Court.
Equally challenging was the Dursley Treehouse as seen on BBC’s Grand Designs. Planning permission was difficult to get in this conservation area and was full of restrictions. No trees or roots were to be disturbed.
Tomas Millar will talk us through these two exciting projects.
Admission £2 members. Non-members £3
AGM and Maggie’s Prism
Note final change of date! Members may be aware that Stroud District Council are considering the future of the Stroud Subscription Rooms and to this end have arranged a public meeting inviting people to join in discussion about their future ownership, purpose and use. This meeting is to be held on 9th March 2017 which of course clashes with the proposed date for our AGM. It is anticipated that many of our members will wish to attend this meeting and the Committee have therefore decided to delay our AGM until 30th March.