Convenors:   Rob Wilkinson
Derek Nash
  Phone: 01633 527314
01633 265625

Meetings:   Thursday, 1.30 - 3.00, weeks 1, 3, 4 & 5

We meet on the 1st, 3rd and 4th Thursday of each month and endeavour to have a wide range of talks to suit all tastes, below is a sample of recent talks:

Brian Davies gave us a talk "John Nixon and the Welsh Coal Trade". Born in Durham and educated in the North East, John Nixon left school at 14 and became an apprentice to the chief engineer of the Marquis of Bute. During that timem he undertook a survey of the mine at Dowlais, and following his apprenticeship, John became the mining engineer to an English company based in Nantes. Brian explained that John quickly realised the coal used by the French was poor and the quality of the Welsh coal was far superior, and how he managed to convince the French to use Welsh coal for the French Fleet and their industry.

Howard Mortimore gave his annual talk - this year "Richard Baker OBE". As usual, Howard gave us a fascinating insight to Richard Baker's life: we remember him mainly as a BBC newsreader/ broadcaster, however Richard had a multitude of talents including musician/actor/singer. He had cameo appearances in "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and "Morecambe and Wise"; he narrated children's cartoons and was a marvellous pianist. As usual Howard interspersed his talk with musical and radio snippets. Howard will be returning in July 2018 to talk about the life of Ethel Merman.

Roger James (a member of our History Group) gave a talk on "Rorke's Drift" - a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War to defend the mission station at Rorke's Drift. Roger used maps and film to illustrate the background to the issues/problems and the build up of forces in the area, enabling us to have a far better understanding of the situation. He gave us details of the battles and the inaccuracies in the film "Zulu". The Victoria Cross was awarded to 11 men including John Williams (Fielding) whose grave is in Llantarnam Church.

Dennis Tippins gave a photographic history of Pontypool - which brought back memories to many of us and clearly showed how important towns in the 1950 - 60s have declined.

Throughout the year we arrange day trips and short holidays. Our latest holiday was a visit to York and Castle Howard in July 2017. We had a free day in York and many of us visited the Yorvik Centre and the Railway Museum. The following day we visited Castle Howard and had a wonderful day in the house and grounds.


Earlier, in May, we made a "Germanic Odyssey" - a trip which also included Holland and Belgium. You can read about it here.

December 2017


Convenors:   Maureen Rocke   Phone: 01633 266449

Meetings:   Thursday 1.30 - 3.00 - week 2

Once a month we take a leisurely stroll down memory lane, covering a variety of topics, e.g.

  • Living through the war years
  • Rationing
  • Memories of a first Christmas
  • Life before supermarkets

Trips are arranged by Pat Fackrell

Read about our visit to BBC Llandaff Cardiff here

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