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2019 Spring Reunion & 31st Annual General Meeting – 10-12 May 2019, Lincoln

Fifty-three members and guests attended our reunion weekend. We stayed at The Lincoln Hotel, located in Lincoln's historic Cathedral Quarter, boasting stunning views of Lincoln Cathedral and its grounds and within easy walking distance of Lincoln’s key attractions and, ideally placed for guests wanting to explore the medieval city.

On Friday afternoon we enjoyed a guided tour of the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral where we witnessed the famous Lincoln Imp - the little devil perched high in the Angel Choir overlooking St Hugh's shrine. According to legend, he was turned to stone by the angels because he caused mayhem in the Cathedral.

On Saturday we took a leisurely coach tour with our Guide, through the Lincolnshire Wolds en route to Alford Manor House, built in 1611 and reputed to be the largest thatched manor house in England. The visit included guided tours of the Grade II house, the Gardens which were redesigned after archaeological research, and the Museum of Rural Life. We returned to Lincoln via Somersby where Alfred Lord Tennyson (poet laureate) lived from his birth in 1809 until he moved to London aged 28, which included a visited to 15 th Century St. Margaret’s Church, where his father was once rector. A drinks reception in the evening was followed by dinner with our Guide, Arthur Hazeldine, as Guest Speaker who entertained us with a talk entitled “The Great Yellow-Bellies”.

On each evening members and guests gathered to enjoy a drinks reception followed by dinner.

The British Chapter’s 31st Annual General Meeting took place on Sunday morning.

2018 Spring Reunion & 30 th Annual General Meeting – 11-13 May 2018, Cambridge

Fifty-eight members and guests attended the Spring Reunion in Cambridge staying at the Cambridge Belfrey Hotel, Cambourne on the outskirts of Cambridge.

On Friday afternoon we enjoyed a guided tour of the beautiful Cambridge University Botanic Garden founded in 1831 by Charles Darwin’s mentor, Professor John Stevens Henslow, and home to a collection of over 8000 plant species from across the world.

Saturday included coach to The National Stud, home of British horseracing, on the outskirts of Newmarket, for a memorable guided tour where we enjoyed meeting. This was followed by a visit to Wimpole Hall and Home Farm in the afternoon; a glorious National Trust property and former home of the daughter of Rudyard Kipling. In the evening we enjoyed and excellent and entertaining speech by the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.

The British Chapter’s 30 th Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday morning in the Peterhouse Room of the Cambridge Belfry Hotel.

2017 Spring Reunion and 29th Annual General Meeting 12-14th May 2017 Newcastle

Sixty members and guests attended the Spring Reunion and AGM in Newcastle, staying in the Gosforth Park Marriott Hotel, located in a northern suburb of the city, close to Newcastle racecourse.

On Friday afternoon a short coach trip took us to the city pier to board a river boat for a trip down the River Tyne. Initially the boat went upstream to pass under the spectacular Millenium foot bridge which was raised in our honour. Downstream the boat passed recent developments, including the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, housed in the converted Baltic flour mill with its resident kittiwakes.

Downstream again there were numerous almost derelict reminders of Newcastle’s industrial history, shipbuilding, heavy engineering and coal exports to London and abroad. Coal from mines in the north east of England was fundamental to the industrial success of Newcastle and its importance gave rise to the saying “taking coals to Newcastle” to denote a useless action. Further downriver a more modern industry provides the enormous foundations for offshore wind turbines before rural countryside replaces the industrial past.

Saturday morning meant an early start to board the coaches for a drive past fragments of Hadrian’s Wall to a cold and windy view point overlooking the Kielder Water and Forest Park. The forest, covering 60,000 ha, is the largest planted forest in Europe, and the Water is a huge reservoir built to supply water to the industrial conurbation of Newcastle. The forest is managed by the Forestry Commission and the General Manager of the north of England district of the Commission, and the Chief Planning Officer met us and provided a detailed overview of
of past and ongoing development and exploitation of the forest. Management objectives aim to balance conservation, social and economic values. Tourism is an important concern for management both within the forested area and on the reservoir.

A visit was then made to an area being logged and all were impressed by the vast machines that fell, strip and sort the logs according to market demand.

After a sandwich lunch at Kielder Castle we drove eastward through beautiful hill scenery, almost empty apart from a few cars and thousands of sheep, a remarkable landscape for our friends from the densely populated Netherlands.

Reaching Alnwick we visited the impressive castle, founded in the 11 th Century, but developed many times since then. It is the home of the Duke of Northumberland of the Percy family who live in part of the castle. The state rooms are magnificent and hold many treasures, paintings and tapestries collected over the centuries and an excellent guide provided information and historical insights.

 

At the Marriott on Friday and Saturday evenings there were pre-dinner informal receptions enabling members to meet. Dinner on Friday evening was a buffet and on Saturday evening a more formal dinner was served at table.

Andrew Lewis, Managing Director of the Tees-Valley Combined Authority spoke after dinner on Saturday. He explained the role of the Authority in trying to revitalize the economy and the social and physical infrastructure of the area which covers a number of local government authorities. Many of the possible initiatives need regional approaches but challenges inevitably include financing and building relationships between local authorities, the Combined Authority and central Government.

The Twenty-Ninth Annual General Meeting took place on the morning of Sunday15 May, followed by a buffet lunch after which the reunion ended.

Click Here for a pdf version of this report.
Spring Reunion, Winchester. 13 – 15 May 2016


King Alfred
This was a splendid reunion! Great company, activities, hotel, and weather! Amazingly, we barely saw a cloud the entire weekend. But most importantly, it was a chance to meet with former colleagues and long-time friends.

Despite the prophets of doom, on Friday 13 th May, some 70 plus members of the British Chapter of the 1818 Society and their friends met in Winchester, the ‘City of Kings’ and the Saxon capital of England.

Members travelled from around the UK, the Isle of Man, and also Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA. We stayed in the Hotel Mercure Wessex, centrally located in the grounds of Winchester’s historic Cathedral.
The first day, members enjoyed walking tours of the centre of town - including the Great Hall where King Arthur’s ‘legendary’ table hangs, the famous Winchester Cathedral grounds, the historic medieval city gates, Winchester City Mill, St Swithun’s (England’s smallest church) and Winchester College, which has been educating boys continuously since around 1382! Other members enjoyed Evensong in the Cathedral with its magnificent male choir. Listening to the choir, one can only reflect on the lives of the young choristers who are scholarship ‘boarders’ in the Pilgrims School on the Cathedral grounds and are required to sing in six services a week.

On Saturday, we ventured by bus and ferry across the Solent to the Isle of Wight where we visited Osborne House, the summer home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their nine children. Of Osborne House, Queen Victoria said "It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" and few would disagree.

Text Box: Winchester Cathedral
Described as a cottage, the house is in fact considerably larger than the White House. After being donated to the nation by her son, Edward, after her death, the House served as a convalescent home until the early 2000’s and has only recently been restored to its original state and opened to the public. On entering the front hall, one faces a canon – placed there at the Queen’s behest. Victorian humor perhaps?

Then we passed by the enormous collection of paintings and sculptures acquired by the royal couple in their personal capacity, then on to the Queen’s bedroom (and bathroom), the side by side desks of the Queen and Prince Albert and the magnificently

restored Durbar room with the amazingly beautiful carved wood panels by Bhai Ram Singh. Indian décor was all the rage at the time.

All enjoyed the recently opened Swiss Cottage, ‘built’ by Prince Albert as the children’s play house (read substantial, detached 3 BR house with multiple reception rooms and grounds).

Prince Albert wanted the children to know how to survive and so here they learned to cook and sew, entertain and even garden. Each child had its own vegetable patch and wheelbarrow and grew identical crops – under the ‘supervision of their gardener’ which they then sold to Prince Albert at market prices.

But for many, the highlight of Osborne House was the Queen’s private beach and especially, her bathing machine. Prince Albert believed sea water to be healthy and encouraged the Queen to bathe. Apparently on the first occasion, especially,
her bathing machine. Prince Albert believed sea water to be healthy and encouraged the Queen to bathe. Apparently on the first occasion, the Queen was delighted by the refreshing waters but felt suffocated when she put her head under water! Unlike most bathing machines of the era which were horse drawn, the Queen’s machine was drawn into the water by a series of winches. Having been used as a chicken shed until recently, this too has now been restored.
In the evening, following welcome cocktails, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner followed by Sir Sebastian Anstruther’s talk on the trials and tribulations of the recently established South Downs National Park, on which Winchester borders.
Sir Sebastian is a committed organic farmer with an estate nearby of some 3000 acres. It would have been interesting to spend more time discussing the issues of sustainability versus local development with the peer.

Sunday morning – your hard-working Board met early to review and plan the past and coming year. This was followed by a re-assuring presentation by John Gandolfo and his team from HQ on the WBG pension plan (Click here to see the powerpoint presentation)*. Following this, Nicki Marrian warmly welcomed Inder Sud, the new 1818 President who briefed members on developments at HQ and his thoughts and plans for the 1818 Society in the near future.

 

Spring Reunion, Dublin. 8 – 10 May 2015

Eighty eight members and guests attended the reunion held in Dublin, including members from Britain, Ireland, the USA, the Netherlands, Germany and Finland. The reunion was held in Bewleys Hotel, Ballsbridge, a short distance from the city centre. The hotel, original parts of which formed the buildings of a former girls’ school, provided excellent facilities, food and service throughout the weekend.

On Friday afternoon three groups travelled in to Dublin for a guided walk of parts of Georgian Dublin. The guides, provided by Architecture Tours Ireland, provided detailed information about the development of the Georgian squares, focusing on Merrion Square. Unfortunately, the heavens opened so the tours were somewhat abbreviated.

On Saturday, in better weather, the three groups visited Trinity College Dublin for guided tours of the campus, led by post-graduate students. Detailed descriptions of the College buildings were combined with entertaining comments about past and recent developments. The tours were thoroughly enjoyed by all members.

Trinity College Dublin

Lunch at Powerscourt

A coach journey then took us south to Enniskerry and the Powerscourt Estate. A soup and sandwich lunch was provided by the Powerscourt Golf Club, a spectacularly beautiful course, though even the most avid golfers were astonished by the eye-watering cost of green fees, let alone membership.


The Gardens

The Powerscourt gardens lie a short walk from the golf club and members spent a leisurely couple of hours there, reputed to be one of the world’s top ten gardens.

A drive through the beautiful Wicklow mountains took us to Glendalough, the site of medieval monastic ruins, with an intact round tower, an iconic feature of many parts of Ireland. The towers were places of safety for the monks as the entry to the tower is many feet above the ground and accessible only by a long ladder. Once inside the tower, the ladder was hauled up leaving the monks safe.
Glendalough

Drinks receptions followed by dinner were arranged on both Friday and Saturday night. The Saturday dinner was held in the Prior Hall, a magnificent dining hall that was once the school assembly hall. Following dinner, the speaker was Professor Patrick Honohan, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland who provided insights into past and future developments in the Irish economy.

Dinner at Bewleys Hotel

On Sunday morning the British Chapter AGM was held followed by lunch. The reunion ended at 3.00 pm.

Some members arriving early or staying on after the reunion took the opportunity to explore parts of Dublin including the Guinness brewery and Temple Bar, these days more bar(s) than temple. Some took the commuter train that runs along the coast to both the north and south of the city. Others travelled further afield to see a bit more of Ireland.
Reunion and Christmas Lunch, 6 December 2014
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Fifty two members and guests attended the British Chapter Christmas lunch at the Thistle Kingsley Hotel, Bloomsbury Way, London. The group included a number of members who had not previously participated in the event and they were warmly welcomed by Alan Roe as Chairman of the Chapter and by old friends.

The function started at 12.00 noon with a drinks reception followed by lunch with a choice of turkey with trimmings or salmon for the main course. Christmas pudding continued the seasonal theme, helped by crackers, party poppers and possibly the odd glass of wine.

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Spring Reunion, Norwich 16 – 18 May 2014.

Eighty five members and guests attended the 2014 reunion in Norwich, including visitors from Australia, Canada, France, The Netherlands, Germany and the USA. The reunion was held in the Maids Head Hotel, which provided four star accommodation in the city centre close to the Cathedral. The hotel is reputed to be the oldest in Britain, dating back to the 13 th Century; fortunately, there has been considerable modernisation since that time.

On Friday afternoon four separate groups were guided by Blue Badge Guides on a walking tour of the city. The tour took in many of the historic buildings, many dating back several hundred years. The Guides also provided insights into the history of Norwich visited and fought over by kings and noblemen. In medieval times, Norwich was second only to London with wealth generated from the wool trade.

On Saturday morning, most participants took the short coach trip to Wroxham where the party boarded the Belle of the Broads, a boat that provided plenty of space for all. Boating on the Broads is not a high speed adventure as all boats are restricted to less than 10 mph, but it did provide a peaceful way of seeing this large wetland area. The skipper of the Belle pointed out some of the most interesting features of the landscape and many birds, including a family of new born cygnets, countless ducks and ducklings and two families of the Great Crested Grebe that carry their chicks on their backs.

After lunch in Wroxham the group visited Blickling Estate, a magnificent National Trust property with the house dating from the 1600s. The gardens were in immaculate condition and the whole day was blessed with fine sunny weather.

There was a drinks reception followed by dinner in the hotel on both Friday and Saturday evenings, providing plenty of opportunity to meet with friends.

After dinner on Saturday, Dr. John Packman, the Chief Executive of the Broads Authority, outlined the strategies needed to combine conservation of this unique wetland with managing the area as one of Britain’s most popular tourist areas: all this in a framework of budgetary constraint.

On Sunday morning the 26 th AGM of the British Chapter was held, followed by lunch.

The reunion ended about 3.00 pm.

REUNION AND CHRISTMAS LUNCH – 7 DECEMBER 2013

Forty two members and guests attended the reunion and Christmas lunch on 7 December 2013. The event was held at the Kingsley Thistle in Bloomsbury Way, London, a recently refurbished hotel. This was a new venue which provided good facilities and a light and spacious dining area. Members and guests enjoyed a traditional Christmas lunch, a glass or so of wine and excellent service. A number of members chose to stay overnight in the hotel, taking advantage of a special bed and breakfast rate.
SPRING REUNION AND AGM. 10 -12 May 2013. PLYMOUTH  


Plymouth Hoe

Eighty two members and guests attended the 2013 reunion and AGM held in Plymouth from 10-12 May. Accommodation was in the Copthorne Hotel which provided excellent food and service.

The programme was developed with the help and local knowledge of John Russell and started on Friday afternoon with a boat tour of Plymouth Sound and the Dockyards along the estuary of the river Tamar.

 

Over 60 members and guests boarded the Plymouth Princess and Commander Andy Coles, the Executive Officer of HM Naval Base in Plymouth, joined the group and provided knowledgeable insights about the warships in dock and some of the difficulties of manoeuvring a large submarine in the narrow confines of the Tamar. The weather was typically grey and cold but rain held off until the return trip from under the new Tamar Bridge. After a drinks reception in the evening the hotel provided an excellent dinner after which Ian Martin, for many years a plant curator at the Eden Project, gave an introduction to the origins of the Project and its development.

    

On Saturday some 60 members and guests visited the Eden Project, about an hour’s journey to the west of Plymouth. The Eden Project is built in an old china clay quarry, where two huge biomes house wonderful collections of rainforest and Mediterranean plants, surrounded by stunning natural gardens and a modern education centre. Ian Martin welcomed the group and provided expert knowledge and a wealth of detail about the plant life as members found their way around the huge displays.

On return to the hotel, members and guests gathered for drinks and another excellent dinner. Commodore Graeme Little, Commanding Officer of HM Naval Base, and Mrs Little were guests and after dinner Commodore Little spoke of some of the strategic concerns and the challenges faced by Britain’s modern Royal Navy. His address was appreciated by all as it dealt with issues that are not familiar to many, if any, World Bank alumni.

The reunion ended on Sunday with the AGM followed by lunch.

REUNION AND CHRISTMAS LUNCH - 8 DECEMBER, 2012

Date: Saturday, 8 December, 2012

Time: 12:00 Noon

Place: T histle Euston Hotel, Cardington Street, London, NW1 2L

Fifty four members and guests attended the reunion and Christmas lunch at The Thistle Hotel, Euston. The occasion started at 12 noon with a drinks reception followed by lunch in the Brasserie. The main course was buffet style with starters and desserts served at table, followed by coffee and mince pies. Party hats and crackers abounded. The photos show some of those attending in relaxed mood.

     
     
 
SPRING REUNION AND AGM. LLANDUDNO. 11 - 13 May, 2012


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The annual Spring Reunion and AGM were held this year in Llandudno, North Wales, established by the Mostyn family as a Victorian seaside resort. Sixty nine members and guests attended, including visitors from the Netherlands, France, Germany and the USA. The reunion was held at the St. George’s Hotel, located on the esplanade and overlooking a wide beach; it was one of the first hotels to be built in the town and boasted of a new invention – a lift. Today, the recently renovated hotel has elegant function rooms and comfortable bedrooms and provided an excellent venue.
The programme of activities was developed with the help and local knowledge of John and Monica Peberdy, who live in Anglesey not far from Llandudno. On Friday afternoon, after check in, a group of about 40 took Britain’s only cable tramway to the summit of the Great Orme, a rocky promontory rising to about 500 feet (150 meters) above the town. Blessed with a fine afternoon there were clear 360 degree views from the top. There is a Bronze Age copper mine on the Great Orme and the more energetic stopped to explore the mine before walking to the summit. Members who did not take the tram had a guided walk around the town with a very knowledgeable guide, who not only pointed out buildings of interest but provided a good summary of the development of the town.
Members on the Great Orme Tramway
On Saturday the sun shone all day so the weather for a visit to Bodnant Gardens, a nearby National Trust garden, could not have been better. Rhododendrons and azaleas were a blaze of colour providing a stunning contrast to mature trees that opened vistas to the background of mountains.
Members at Bodnant Gardens

There was a brief stop for lunch in Betws y Coed, a town famous as a base for climbers preparing for the high peaks in the Himalayas. Most members took the opportunity to view a short film of a flight over Snowdonia as seen by a peregrine falcon. The coach then took us over the Llanberis Pass, a narrow route through the northern part of Snowdonia.

The next stop was at the National Slate Museum. Slate was an important industry in the 19 th century, with Welsh slate exported all over the world. The museum sets out some of this history but the highlight of the visit was a demonstration of slate splitting, done by hand in the traditional way. The demonstrator was not only remarkably skilful, but had an entertaining sense of humour.
The Llanberis pass with Snowdon in the background
On Saturday the sun shone all day so the weather for a visit to Bodnant Gardens, a nearby National Trust garden, could not have been better. Rhododendrons and azaleas were a blaze of colour providing a stunning contrast to mature trees that opened vistas to the background of mountains.
Receptions and dinners on both Friday and Saturday nights provided plenty of opportunity to catch up with news of old friends. On Saturday night Dr. Robert Jones provided a programme of magic, illusions and mind-reading that kept us all amazed. His expertise as a magician has been recognized by the British Magic Circle, all the more amazing because Dr. Jones’ day job is as a dentist.
Dinner at the St. George’s Hotel on Saturday night

The more formal business of the weekend was discussed at the AGM, held on Sunday morning. Mick Nightingale stood down as Chairman of the British Chapter and the meeting applauded his many years of service to the Society. For the next year his place is taken by Alan Roe. Two new Board members were elected: Evelyn Watson and George Faillace.