WADIHS

Watford & District Industrial History Society

LECTURE PROGRAMME FOR 2007 - 2008

20 September 2007

FLAGS, FEATHERS AND FURTHER COMMUNICATION METHODS 
Man has always found the need to communicate with others at a distance, but communication doesn't always involve speech. In the early days, to communicate over large distances using visual methods or animals involved the use of multiple relays. Victor Ludlow tells how technological advances in more modern times have allowed operation of systems at ever increasing distance, but relaying may still be needed in certain circumstances. Coding has frequently been used with messages for reasons either of secrecy or operational convenience.

18 October 2007

THE SHEFFIELD STEEL INDUSTRY 
In 1737 Sheffield was a small country town of about 6,000 souls, tucked into the valleys of the foothills of the Dark Peak. By this time it already had a reputation for quality edge tools and cutlery, making good use of the fast flowing rivers and streams to power grinding machinery. Over the next 150 years it was transformed into the world centre of steel production, cutlery and edge tool manufacture - a key part of Britain's role as the "workshop of the world", and its population had increased to 100,000. This talk by George Crutcher will cover the geology and topography, innovators, inventors and the technological advances which combined to bring about these changes. 

The Lecture will be followed by the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

15 November 2007

WALES - MOUNTAINS, COAL MINING AND SLATE QUARRYING 
For tonight Allan Willmott has put together a collection of films showing the history of coal mining, now long gone, in south Wales, and slate quarrying in north Wales, where there are some of the world's largest slate quarries.

20 December 2007

SOCIAL EVENING
An informal evening when we partake of food and drink and members show slides and photos taken during the year, or interesting items of historical interest. 

17 January 2008

THE THAMES SAILING BARGE 
The Thames Sprit Sail Sailing Barge with its brown sails is an evocative reminder of London's past when over 2000 of these vessels carried 75 - 80% of the city's needs to and fro around the south east. From these large fleets that were a regular sight in the 1900s, numbers have steadily declined to the thirty or so that are still sailing today; the last survivors. This illustrated talk by Toby Earle, with models, describes the history of the barge up to today. 

21 February 2008

THOMAS TELFORD, ENGINEER AND VISIONARY 
Telford, more than anyone else, took the English canal to its fullest development. Not only were his canals deeper, wider, straighter and longer than anything previously attempted but he developed new methods and materials and created bridges, aqueducts and tunnels of awe-inspiring magnificence to extend the roads and canals which he designed. This talk by Runnals Davis, illustrated with impressive photographs, is an affectionate study of Telford's personality and innovative ideas.

20 March 2008

THE TRACTION ENGINE 
In the first half of the 19th century stationary steam engines came into use to do some of the jobs on farms. In the second half of the century they became self-propelling and displaced the horse for jobs such as ploughing. One firm making traction engines was Taskers of Basingstoke and in this talk Gary Wragg of the Hampshire County Council Museum Service and the 'Milestones' Museum in Basingstoke will describe the history of the traction engine, with particular reference to Taskers and other Hampshire firms who built traction engines.