Meeting - 15th December 2016.

The final talk of the year was "Home Front Christmas" with Ron Gallivan, from the Mercian Military History Sociey, Redditch.

He gave an illustrated talk, reminiscing about how we celebrated Christmas during WW2.

Tea and coffee were served by members of the committee after the talk. There were also mince pies and chocolate biscuits.


Meeting - 17th November 2016.

Our November talk was given by George Hook, who is the last person producing Mother of Pearl buttons in this country.

The Hook family have been working with Mother of Pearl since 1824. The shells arrived from Australia as ballast in an otherwise empty ship. Initially, buttons were made, but they soon expanded into handles for cutlery and spoons. The arrival of plastic buttons resulted in most producers of Mother of Pearl closing down.

He brought along many Oyster shells, which he passed around the audience for us to examine. He also had many items of jewellery for sale.













Meeting - 20th October 2016.

 Our October talk was given by Terry Green from the Hedgehog Trust.

Hedgehog like creatures have existed for about 15 million years. Our British species is also found all over Europe. They eat mainly insects, but also eat slugs,  snails and worms. Their spines are actually modified hairs about one inch long, and an adult has 5000 - 7000 of them. They live alone, except during the breeding season. They do not pair bond. The female raises the hoglets for just 5-6 weeks, then they wander off on their own. They are nocturnal, and will travel 1-2 miles each
night in search of food.


Meeting -  15th September 2016.

For our September talk we welcomed George Gascoyne, who talked about The History of the Lickey Hills.

He gave an illustrated talk on the history, travellers and people associated with the Lickey Hills.

He also told us about conservation work being carried out by the Country Park Wardens.


Meeting - Thursday June 16th.

Our speaker was Alan Shrimpton, who is a fourth generation member of a family associated with Cadburys or Bournville. Now retired, he was Director of Bournville Village Trust for 22 years and has made a study of Bournville, beginning with Richard and George Cadbury, through the establishment of a factory, then into a community, and on to more recent times.

He gave us a very entertaining talk about the Cadbury family, and their years of hard work developing Cadbury's chocolate.

Continuing the chocolate theme, we offered hot chocolate (Cadbury's of course!) in addition to tea or coffee after the talk, and most people chose to have hot chocolate. There was also a piece of Cadbury's chocolate in addition to the usual biscuits.

Meeting- Thursday May 23rd.

Our speaker was Dr Gillian White, who spoke about "The Hugely Huggable History of the Teddy Bear".

The first teddy bears were developed independently in Germany and the USA. President Theodore Roosevelt, known as Teddy, was on a hunting trip in Mississippi, but there was nothing to shoot, so an old bear was tied up for him to find. Roosevelt refused to shoot the captive bear, and a cartoon was published in November 1902, showing this event. This inspired a Russian imigrant, Morris Michtom, to produce a toy bear called Teddy's Bear.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Margarete Steiff had been producing stuffed toys. Her nephew Richard produced a design of a bear made with mohair plush. This was displayed at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903, and was a failure, except that on the last day, an American ordered 3000 of them.

The rest, as they say, is history. The teddy bear has been popular ever since, although popularity dipped in the 1970s. Gillian talked about bears during both World Wars, and brought the story up to date with Paddington bear and the 2014 movie.

Gillian is a very good speaker, and gave us an enjoyable evening.


Meeting - Thursday 21st April.

Our April speaker was Andrew Lound, who gave us a dramatic presentation of the Titanic.

Dressed as a member of the crew, he described how the ship was designed for comfort rather than speed. The First Class accomodation was superior to that found on other ships. Second Class was as good as First Class, and Third Class (not Steerage) as good as Second Class, on other ships. The hope was to attract skilled workers going to work in the USA to travel with them. The cost on a one-way trip in First Class was £995, equivalent to £175,000 today!

Safety regulations had not kept pace with engineering developments, and Titanic actually carried more lifeboats than the legal requirement.

Captain Smith knew that there were reports of icebergs, and sailed a southerly route to avoid them. When icebergs were reported further south, he in turn took a more southerly route, but then increased speed in order to arrive in New York at the scheduled time.

The talk was illustrated with pictures, and even a short movie, of Titanic, and sound effects. At the end of the evening, a number of attendees said that this was the best presentation that the NWANT has staged. It truely was "A Night to Remember"!

Andrew Lound has been giving lectures and presentations for 40 years, mainly about Astronomy and Space, and also about the Titanic, and is recognised as one of the world's leading authorities. He has appeared on TV and radio many times,and has written a number of books. Visit his website at - for more information. 


Meeting - Thursday 18th February.

Our February talk was titled "Running Hot and Cold" by Doug Richards. He started with a picture of hot and cold water taps, and said it would be a talk about plumbing!!

Doug told how, when in his thirties, he got out of breath running upstairs  to see his small son, he decided that he should try and get fit. So he ran a one mile circuit from home, and took 5 days to recover! However, he persevered and started to enter for 10 K runs, then marathons.

His running soon took him all over the world, with extremes of conditions. He told of running in a safari park in South Africa, and having to escape from a herd of elephants, to running along parts of the Great Wall of China. In tsunami-ravaged Sri Lanka he was joined by children along the way, and in Greenland and Siberia had to contend with temperatures as low as -40 centigrade.

His most momentous run was the 140 mile, 5 day Marathon des Sables in the Sahara, which is described as the most arduous run in the world. He included a picture of his blistered feet at the end of the first day, but told how good the medical staff were to get everyone ready for the next stage.

His future plans include running in Brazil, Australia and the Antarctic.

His book "Running Hot and Cold", which was first published online, will soon be out in paperback.







Meeting - Thursday 21st January 2016.

For our first meeting of 2016 we had a very entertaining talk by Andrew Crawford from the Avoncroft Museum. His talk, entitled "Demolition and Rescue" told how it all started in 1967, by just 8 people, to rescue a medieval town house from Bromsgrove. It has since grown to a collection of over 30 buildings. He brought along a few old tools used in restoration work, and demonstrated the use of a couple of these.