Regular Meetings

We usually hold 10 meetings a year, including our Annual General Meeting which is always held in February.  These meetings take place on the evening of the third Thursday of the month in February, March, April, May, June, July, September, October, November and December.

With the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions we have decided to return to face-to-face meetings in the Church Hall, with the first of these being our April meeting.  This and subsequent meetings will take place in St. Peter’s Church Hall, Free Street on the customary third Thursday of the month at the usual time of 7.30 and we very much hope you will feel able to join us.


The meetings are open to all members and usually take the form of a talk that lasts around 40-45 minutes. The talks themselves cover a range of subjects that are likely both to interest and inform our members (see current programme below).

We are also happy to welcome guests to our meetings, particularly anyone who may be interested in joining the Society. The subscription is just £7.00 a year for single members and £12.00 for joint membership. If you would like to join the Society please contact either our Treasurer Keith Fry at or our Secretary Eileen Rainey at - we will be delighted to welcome you!

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20 January 2022 Lawrence: Before and After Arabia

Another talk by Colin van Geffen. The legend of Lawrence of Arabia is well documented in books and film, but what of his life before and after the Desert War of WWI? Described as one of the most influential Englishmen of the 20th Century – but he wasn’t English! There are many myths, but the truth is far more fascinating. A man of many lives...

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17 February The Society’s 37th Annual General Meeting and a Talk

The Annual General Meeting will probably be held without its traditional cheese and wine but it will be followed with a talk by Tony Kippenberger on “Taper Burn Marks”. These are the rather mysterious flame-shaped marks burnt into wooden beams and mantelpieces – often found in timber frame buildings and pubs (like the Crown!). What are they and how and why were they made?

George_Romney_-_Lady_Hamilton_as_Circe George Romney, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

17 March The Rise and Fall of Emma Hamilton

A welcome return for speaker Bob France. He will recount the dramatic story of one of the most remarkable women in English history. From rural poverty, Emma became the most painted woman in Europe, a fashion icon and pioneer of interpretive performance art. She was a dazzling hostess, the confidante of a powerful queen, a heroine of the Napoleonic wars and the lover (some say nemesis) of Britain’s greatest naval hero – Lord Nelson.


21 April Harlots, Dung and Glory: Part 4 (postponed from 2021)

Andrew Negus, who has given us excellent talks on the history of Portsmouth in recent years, will now give us the fourth part of his series, covering 1930 to the present day.

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19 May Henry VIII and the Treaty of Waltham 1522

A talk by Tony Kippenberger about the ten day meeting between Henry VIII and Emperor Charles V at Bishop’s Waltham Palace that saw the signing of the Treaty of Waltham 500 years ago.

Chichester Harbour (

16 June The History of Chichester Harbour

Professor Colin Duncan-Jones will give a talk about the history of Chichester harbour, which he has explored from his dinghy over the years. Used by the invading army of Rome, Chichester’s harbour has a long history.

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21 July The Napoleonic Conspirators of Odiham

Paul Chamberlain returns with a new talk about Edouard Simon, a French General paroled at Odiham, who conspired with others to successfully smuggle French PoWs back across the Channel to France – until being betrayed. He then escaped, was recaptured and eventually locked away in Scotland.

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15 September Tudor and Jacobean Houses

Penny Copeland, Collections Manager at Bishop’s Waltham Museum, will look at examples in Bishop's Waltham and further afield to illustrate a revolutionary shift in house building from the medieval-style open halls to houses that had ceilings and new-fangled fire places in most rooms.

20 October Subject to be determined

17 November Subject to be determined

15 December The Society’s Christmas Party

Our own Christmas Party, for members and guests only – which we hope can be held in the Church Hall again for the first time since 2019. Detail to follow.