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The University of the Third Age

(Welwyn Hatfield)

General Meetings.

Doors open at 9:45, tea and coffee are served from 10:00 to 10:30, and are free as long as you bring your own cup. The meeting starts at 10.30 am with notices, followed by the talk.
Meetings labelled "Hat", will take place in Breaks Manor Youth Centre, Link Drive, Hatfield, AL10 8TP. If you're online, you can click here for a map.
Meetings labelled "WGC" take place in the Ludwick Family Centre, Hall Grove, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 4PH. If you're online, you can click here for a map. There's sometimes a problem with parking for cars at Ludwick - if you don't mind a walk you could try parking in Caponfield - click here for a map.

There have been complaints from residents about the parking on the road in front of Ludwick Family Centre. If you plan to park here, please could you ensure that you 'follow the trend' and park on the same side as those cars already parked. This ensures that delivery lorries and emergency vehicles can pass through. Many thanks.

If you want to display notices on the projector, or notice boards, at the meetings, contact Tony Tutton on 01707 328943, or E-mail him: "tonytutton@yahoo.co.uk".

Please note that, for health and safety reasons, we have to limit attendance at these meetings to 170

Please note that the Welwyn Hatfield U3A does not endorse any products or services provided by the speakers at our meetings.

For information on recordings of talks from past meetings, click here.

Planned meetings for Spring 2024

10th Jan WGCJason Middleton – “The History of Jewellery”
We will look at the role Jewellery has played from the earliest civilisations to the modern day, covering periods such as the Renaissance, Victorian Period, Art Deco, Art Nouveau to Jewellery on line toda
17th Jan HatPhilip Birtles – “The de Havilland Comet”
Following a career in the aerospace industry, Philip took early retirement when Hatfield Aerodrome finally closed at the end of 1993. He spent over forty years as a trustee of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, and he has written over thirty-five books. This talk is an illustrated history of the world's first jet airliner, covering the design, development, accidents and service including the Nimrod.
24th Jan WGCTBC (Co-op Inheritance Planning) – “Tax, Care and Toy Boys”
In a lighthearted, interactive way, this talk introduces the topics of inheritance tax, protecting your family’s nest egg, stopping “sideways disinheritance” and Lasting Power of Attorney, explaining what steps can be taken to plan for the future.
31st Jan HatMary and Graham Brace – “Wildlife of Brazil”
Having retired from careers as, respectively, senior school teacher and architect, Mary and Graham are now avid wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists who spend much of their time traveling to the more exotic places around the world photographing the local wildlife.
7th Feb WGCColin Oakes – “Shrove Tuesday – More than Just Pancakes”
Colin is an archaeologist who, as well as giving talks, takes groups on walking tours and coach tours in London and the South East.
14th Feb HatMike Howgate – "The Da Vinci Code and the true history of the Templars"
Dan Brown has created a renewed interest in The Knights Templar. We will examine his 'story' and use it to launch into the real history of these warrior monks of the Middle Ages. We will look in particular at their London, Hertfordshire and Essex connections.
28th Feb HatDr Peter Burley – “The Defence of St Albans from Viking Wars to the Cold War"
St Albans is usually thought of as a quiet Cathedral town with a long ecclesiastical history. In fact it faced attacks and was fortified against them, from the Viking Wars onwards. We look at those defences, from their height in the late middle ages through refurbishment in 17th century civil wars and what there is still to see of them today.
6th Mar WGCAndy Strange – “History of WWII Airfields”
An overview of strategic air war in WWII. Why East Anglia was selected for RAF and USAAF bomber and fighter bases, with original WWII photographs drawings and maps to describe the layout and common components of an airfield. Including some stories of unusual events and the airmen’s stories in their own words.
13th Mar HatAGM - followed by singalong
We need a quorum of at least 10% of our membership present, i.e. a minimum of 83 members in order to elect new committee members. The business part of the meeting will be followed by a singalong to both the Ukulele Group and a selection of songs chosen by Tony Tutton. As well as being an important meeting it should also be a lot of fun, so please make every effort to attend.
20th Mar WGCDr David Smith – “Oliver Cromwell: Hero or Villain?”
Oliver Cromwell remains one of the most controversial and complex figures in British history. He ruled over what was so far the only republic in British history, and he deeply divided his contemporaries over whether he was a hero or a villain. Historians' assessments of Cromwell are similarly polarised. This lecture will explore Cromwell’s life and career through a selection of his letters and speeches, and examine why opinion about him is still so divided.
27th Mar HatPaul Barwick – "Alexander Litvinenko - The Spy who solved his own murder”
In London in October 2006, ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko was killed by two Russian intelligence agents. We will look at his life and death and the reasons why a vengeful President wanted him silenced. We learn about the deadly radioactive poison Polonium 210 and touch on the global Police murder investigation, also the conclusions of the public enquiry, set up after his death. Will his family will ever find proper justice?

Planned meetings for Summer 2024

17 April WGCFran Sandham – “Solo Walk Across Africa”
Fran describes how he left the daily grind of London for an epic adventure, walking from the Skeleton Coast to the Indian Ocean, through Namibia, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.
24 April HatPauline Martindale – “Volunteering Adventures”
Pauline has visited us before, talking about her career as a prison officer. This time, we will hear about her volunteering adventures following the 2012 Olympics.
1 May WGCNikki Edwards – “Chalk, Clay & Climate Change Under Sherrardspark Wood"
Hertfordshire geology may not be spectacular, but it has much to tell us about the past and may even help us to anticipate the future. There is volcanic ash laid down in a clear warm sea, Hertfordshire Puddingstone with evidence of a major global warming event and the most complete record of the last Ice Age in Britain. The humble pebbles in your flower beds tell a story!
8 MayHatNeil Hanson – “In and Out at the Top”
This is a laugh-a-minute tour of the quirks and foibles, highs and lows of his time running Britain’s highest inn back in the 1970s and 1980s. A hugely engaging storyteller, Neil’s account of grappling with tight-fisted farmers, eccentric characters, bizarre local customs, naturist weekends, “lates and lock-ins”, police raids, rats in the attic, close encounters with magistrates and planners, and the shooting of a famous double-glazing commercial
15 May WGCJim Stebbings – "D'Oyly Carte A Very English Dynasty"
The initial role of Richard D'Oyly Carte in Gilbert & Sullivans comic Operas is only part of the story of this remarkable family. From the origins of the D'Oyly Carte name and four generations Jim tells of the Highs/Lows/Successes & Failures during the 19th & 20th Centuries.
22 May HatGraham Laurie – “The Royal Flying Doctor Service and the $20 note”
The first slide is of an Australian $20 - why? All will be revealed as the history of this famous organisation is explained.
29 May WGCRoger Mason – “Al Capone”
We probably all know the name of Al Capone and may even recall the odd fact about the notorious gangster, such as his eventual imprisonment for tax evasion. Roger will let us in on the full story.
5 Jun HatRoger Wotton – “The Ten Plagues of Egypt”
Each of the ten plagues, except the last, have natural explanations. In this talk, we will examine them in sequence and suggest that they had unusual meteorological conditions present at the time.
12 Jun WGCAdam Smith – “Olaudah Equiano and the Interesting Narrative”
Olaudah Equiano was born around 1745 in West Africa but was kidnapped into slavery as a boy and transported across the Atlantic. In 1766 he purchased his freedom and in 1789 he wrote The Interesting Narrative which was one of the key books used by anti-slavery campaigners.
19 Jun HatJill Campbell – “Lady Constance Lytton”
Learn about the life of suffragette, Lady Constance Lytton of Knebworth. Using photos, letters and family documents from the Knebworth House Archive, we discuss the part she played in the struggle for women’s suffrage and the life changing effect it had upon her.
26 Jun WGCDave Felton – “40 Farms – the Changing Landscapes of Cumbria”
In March 2021, British Life Photographer of the Year Amy Bateman and award-winning author David Felton embarked on a journey to record the stories of forty farms in Cumbria. In this talk - accompanied by Amy’s beautiful photographs - David will talk about the financial challenge of farming in post-Brexit Britain; the tightrope balance of producing quality food in nature-rich landscapes; and the highs and lows of working in an area internationally famed for its beauty.
3 Jul HatDavid Callaghan – “For Valour – the history of the Victoria Cross”
From its inception in 1856 to the present day the only firm to supply the VC is Hancocks of London. David Callaghan began his career with the firm as an apprentice, eventually becoming the senior Director. With this unique insight, David will trace the medal’s history and highlight some of the stories of the heroism for which it has been awarded.
10 Jul WGCSheila Grimmant – “The Anthony Nolan Charity”
Since 1974 this organisation has helped families affected by blood cancer and other blood disorders. Sheila has worked with them for over 12 years. She will outline for us what the organisation does and explain her role as a courier.

For an overview of the outings planned by the various study groups, click here..

For an overview of when the study groups meet, click here.

For provisional meetings dates for 2024, click here (PDF).

For those helping set up the hall for the Wednesday general meetings...

Preparing tea & coffee: please click here (PDF).

Setting up the computer & projector: please click here (PDF).

Web-site created by Roger Swaine.