WADIHS

Watford & District Industrial History Society

LECTURE PROGRAMME FOR 2014 - 2015

 

 SEPTEMBER 18

“UNDERHAND, UNFAIR AND DAMNED UN-ENGLISH: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROYAL NAVY’S SUBMARINES 1900 TO 1918”


Despite indications of its potential in the late 19th century, the submersible was widely regarded as suspect technology.  For this and a variety of other reasons, the official adoption of submarines by the Royal Navy in 1900 was a source of bitter dispute.  This talk by ANDREW CHOONG will examine the process by which British submarines developed in twenty years from quirky creations of civilian inventors to a formidable force of 170 vessels by 1918.

 OCTOBER 16

 “THE HISTORY OF HYDRAULIC POWER”

This talk by JEREMY BATCH covers the history of Hydraulic Power, particularly at the Regents Canal Dock at Limehouse and at the Railway Dock at Poplar.  It includes the story of the John Bowes, the first steam collier to enter the Railway Dock in 1852.  Also featured is the 1869 Hydraulic Accumulator Tower at Limehouse, designed by Sir William Armstrong and still open to the public.  Other surviving items of equipment (hydraulic jiggers, cranes, capstans, lock gates, bridges, etc.) are also illustrated and explained.  This talk was first given at Tower Hamlets Cemetery, where Edward Wood, the master of the John Bowes, is buried.

The Lecture will be PRECEDED by the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING and will therefore start at the earlier time of 7-30 PM.

 NOVEMBER 20

“TRANSPORT IN THE 1950s”

Our film evening with ALAN WILLMOTT.  A programme of films dealing with various forms of Transport in the 1950s.  As with all our film programmes hosted by Alan, this will be without doubt a fascinating evening.

 DECEMBER 18

“VICTORIAN CLIFF LIFTS” and our SOCIAL EVENING.

DAVID COOPER will take us through the Victorian and Edwardian inclined Cliff Railways installed and still running in the UK.  The first one was built in 1875 in Scarborough with subsequent installations all around the country, many being associated with the seaside.  Twenty seven still survive, ranging from water balance systems to modern variable frequency electric drives, including an oddity that was installed in 1991.  David has been the Project Director on the rebuilding of many of the installations and is Chairman of the British Standards Committee that oversees them.  He will also touch on the latest cableway in the country which was built for the 2012 Olympic Games and for which he was Chief Technical Advisor for the Government.

The talk will be followed by our annual informal get-together where the coffee flows like water and we feed ourselves on a multifarious cornucopia of nibbles.

 JANUARY 15

“THE HISTORY OF LEAVESDEN AERODROME”

Leavesden Aerodrome was created from farmland and recreation fields to provide aircraft production capacity during World War 2.  Two factories were set up which built Halifaxes and Mosquitoes.  This talk by DEREK SAYELL describes the history of the site over the forty years as an airfield to its closure and rebirth as a film studio.

 FEBRUARY 19

 “THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF EARLY STEAM LOCOMOTIVES”

Close examination of artefacts in museums of transport, science and industry can reveal much about their history.  The talk describes the several projects which MICHAEL BAILEY has been involved in regarding early steam locomotives.  Several examples in museums in Europe and North America as well as in Britain have been closely examined and much has been learnt about them.  Illustrated descriptions will be given of each project and the history of locomotives, including their rebuildings during their working lives.

 MARCH 19

“THE GRAND CHINA CANAL”

The Grand China Canal is the longest and oldest man-made waterway in world history.  In 2006 LIAM D’ARCY-BROWN became the first Westerner since the late 18th century to follow its length from Hangzhou to Beijing, uncovering its story and peering into its forgotten corners along the way.  This fully illustrated talk covers the history, geography, administration and culture of an engineering achievement that dwarfs the much more famous Great Wall.  Liam D’Arcy-Brown studied Mandarin and Ancient Chinese at Oxford and is the author of a number of books on China.

MEETINGS ARE HELD IN ST. THOMAS’ CHURCH, LANGLEY ROAD, WATFORD, AT 8 PM.  VISITORS ARE WELCOME: A MINIMUM DONATION OF £3 PER VISITOR IS SUGGESTED.