WADIHS

Watford & District Industrial History Society

LECTURE PROGRAMME FOR 2011 - 2012

15 September 2011

100 YEARS OF BRITISH TROLLEYBUSES 
Graham Bilbe, Chairman and Engineer of the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft (near Doncaster) explains the rise and fall of trolleybuses in the UK, from their first regular operations in West Yorkshire in 1911 to current day events in museums and overseas. Many still believe that trolleybuses are a near-ideal pollution-free mode of transport - will the future see them make a come-back on the streets of Britain ?

20 October 2011

THE RISE OF THE WOOLLEN INDUSTRY IN BRADFORD 
It has been recorded on many occasions that 98% of the world's worsted trade during the 19th century passed through Bradford. This talk by Eugene Nicholson will attempt to examine the many factors which turned Bradford from a small town into the capital of the worsted trade that in turn was ably supported by the neighbouring town of Keighley which provided much of the textile machinery. 

The Lecture will be preceded by the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING and will therefore start at the earlier time of 19:30.

17 November 2011

BRITISH RAIL - TEN YEARS OF NATIONALISATION 
Our film evening with Allan Willmott. A programme of high delight for the railway buffs among us, with no less than five films from the 1950s, covering Railway Civil Engineering, a day with the Operating Department, Steam Loco Maintenance, and the then 'new' DMUs. 

15 December 2011

AUTOMATA and our SOCIAL EVENING
Martin Humphry will talk about the history of automata. The most elaborate mechanical versions were made during the Age of Enlightenment. Royal patronage encouraged developments which were unexpectedly embraced by musicians, writers and the performing arts and whose efforts are still appreciated today. Surviving automata from the period are priceless and have become icons of many museums. 

The talk will be followed by our annual informal get-together when we let our hair down and indulge in a wild orgy of coffee and nibbles.

19 January 2012

JOHN WILKINSON - IRON MASTER 
John Wilkinson is well-known as one of the great ironmasters of the Industrial Revolution but his life is not well documented and some of what has been written about him has been based on legend rather fact. Barrie Trinder is well acquainted with his career through his research in Shropshire and in other contexts. This talk will examine some of the most significant aspects of the life of a man who was a commanding presence in four iron working regions, the patron of many innovations, an improver of landscapes, in London a powerful advocate of the iron trade with politicians, and a respected figure in continental Europe. 

16 February 2012

ROBERT STEPHENSON : THE RAILWAY MANIA YEARS 
Dr Michael Bailey continues his series on Stephenson's career, covering the years between 1843 and 1847 when the demand for new railways in Britain exploded into a mania. Engineers were at full stretch to prepare the schemes for Parliament and to build the new railways. As the leading engineer, Robert Stephenson's services were in high demand both as a civil engineer and as a partner in his locomotive building factory. The era gave rise to serious national disputes regarding railway gauge and atmospheric haulage in which Stephenson was deeply involved. 

15 March 2012

THE BRUNELS' TUNNEL : EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD 
Sir Marc Brunel, a French Royalist, ran from the priesthood and fled the Revolution to marry an English governess ! In doing so he established the most famous Engineering dynasty in history. The Thames Tunnel is his best known project, where son Isambard Kingdom Brunel began and nearly ended his career. Robert Hulste, Director of The Brunel Museum, will talk about the construction of the tunnel and its eccentric history as the world's first Underwater shopping arcade, banquet hall and fairground.