One of the most interesting exhibits was the extensive remains of a dugout canoe recovered from mud in Poole Harbour and dating back to approximately 300BC. It had been carved from a single oak log approx. 10 m long, and is the largest found in the South of England. As may be expected in a sea port museum, there were rare artefacts from a number of wrecks found in the harbour and along the coast. These combined with evidence of the Roman occupation; including a very rare cast glass head made this a museum well worth visiting.
Submitted by Rosemary Crumplin: Click on the pictures to enlarge them
AHA Group broke with the normal practice of only having one visit per month and eleven members ventured out for the second time on Thursday 28th February. Once again, we returned to Greenham Common, but this time to visit the National Needlework Archives.
The NNA is a registered charity and relies on volunteers. We were greeted by a cheerful group of ladies and coffee/tea plus cake was quickly prepared for us all. We then began a general tour of the archives admiring some of the handicrafts made by the volunteers to sell to raise funds for their restoration work. Our highlight of the visit was to view ‘The Country Wife’ textile mural, which was designed by Constance Howard and made by her and her students of Goldsmiths College. Much of the craft-work features were made by the Women’s Institutes.
The museum display was small but informative. First learning the history of the site, and back in the day of William of Orange the battle of Newbury took place there. Coming forward to more recent times, the Army was based there from 1939 building the airfield in preparation of the USAF to arrive in 1944 alongside the RAF. During our life time, Greenham Common became a household name, which we came to know, due to the American Air Force being based there along with the Nuclear War Heads. This evoked an all female political demonstration known as “The Role of Protest in Society” against nuclear weapons being based there. These ladies camped out and caused quite a stir for years.
They have a thriving café. We learnt that the actual common is a heaven for wildlife and is now recognised for its nature walks. As we had some spare time, part of our group took a short walk and said that they would be revisiting.
After spending millions and years of dedicated work in restoring the house to its former glory and in addition acquiring as much of the original furniture as was possible, it was bequeathed to the NT. The well-proportioned building exterior is in the Palladian style; most of us particularly enjoyed the classical style interior. Many of the elegant plaster reliefs integrated into the room’s décor were stunning, particularly when combined with some quite breath-taking ceilings. However, for the ladies in the group the icing on the cake was to see the rooms so beautifully decorated for Christmas as it would have been in former times
Click on any picture to zoom
or members who still had some energy left then made their way to the church of St John the Baptist, the parish church of Cirencester (where we were offered and enjoyed the mince pies;
first of the season). It is one of the largest parish churches in England and has been a place of worship for over a thousand years. The oldest part of the church is The Chancel, which was started around 1115. The church is renowned for its perpendicular porch and fan vaults; it also has several merchant tombs.
On returning to our cars, we made a short detour via the oldest part of the town, appreciating its architecture and narrow streets.
Prepared by: Bob Taylor & Rosemary Crumplin
They have a purpose built building housing a fine display of mosaic flooring, showing living and bathing areas. The discoveries depend on funding and we were lucky enough to see a newly unearthed mosaic, which was going to be recovered with soil within 30 minutes of our arrival. The ultimate aim would be to create another purpose built building to enable them to have a permanent display. An archaeologist explained to us that it is firmly believed that the villa has unique features and a mystery remains regarding its location as it is set between two major Roman roads.
This museum offered good refreshments, where afternoon tea was enjoyed before returning home in the glorious sunshine.
Please note that our planned trip for August 24th will be a tour of Stratfield Saye.
Anton U3A Group News
Reports and records of Groups' activities.