WADIHS

Watford & District Industrial History Society

LECTURE PROGRAMME FOR 2004-2005

 

16 September 2004

"CHARLES BABBAGE AND THE FIRST COMPUTERS" 
This talk by DORON SWADE, formerly Assistant Director & Head of Collections at the Science Museum, London, tells the heroic and sorry tale of Charles Babbage's failed attempts in the nineteenth century to build vast mechanical calculating engines, the forerunners of the computer. The talk also covers a modern sequel - the successful construction of a five tonne machine built to Babbage's original designs, a project led by Swade and that took sixteen years to complete

21 October 2004

"STRING, WOOD, BRASS AND GLASS - NAVIGATING THE OCEANS" 
Finding your way around the oceans was a major problem since the first boat ventured out of sight of land. In this talkROBERT WARREN, Assistant Curator of Navigation at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, looks at innovations in navigating instruments up to the 20th century, at how they were made, who made them and how they aided navigation and exploration. 

The Lecture will be followed by the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

18 November 2004

"THE ROYAL MAIL ON FILM" 
For our film evening this year ALAN WILLMOTT will be showing a number of films from the Post Office Film Library on the history of the GPO, plus one from BTF entitled "Thirty Million Letters" (1963).

16 December 2004

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

20 January 2005

"THE MAIN DRAINAGE OF LONDON" 
The overload of the London Sewerage system in the first half of the 19th century culminated in the great stink. This talk byBEN NITHSDALE, formerly Thames Water's senior project manager, describes Sir Joseph Bazalgette's solution to the problem which led to the largest single civil engineering project carried out in the UK in the 19th century. The amazing progress towards the clean Thames of today is charted and the problems which confront Thames Water in the 21st century are outlined.

17 February 2005

"DENNIS OF GUILDFORD, A CENTURY OF VEHICLE MANUFACTURE" 
Dennis of Guildford are famous for fire engines and buses, but they have also made cycles, cars, commercial vehicles, refuse trucks and lawnmowers, as well as tanks during WW2. GORDON KNOWLES will tell the story of the business from the brothers' first bicycle through to Transbus International in the 21st century.

17 March 2005

"THE HISTORY OF THE CORNISH CHINA CLAY INDUSTRY" 
This industry began in the late 18th century when fine white Cornish clay was used in the manufacture of porcelain.CHARLES THURLOW, a china clay historian, will tell how the industry expanded to prepare clay for a variety of uses and how the processing changed over time to become a large scale, high technology supplier of 'tailored' white powders.