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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: "tonytutton1@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 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.

Planned meetings for Autumn 2024

11 Sep WGCMike Ruff – “Songs and Stories from the Music Hall”
Many of the famous songs of the Music Hall have a story behind them. Whether it is how they came to be written, who the singers were or what we can learn about society at the time from the words. We will explore the history of this form of entertainment and how it spread across the world, interspersed with live performances of some of the songs and a chance for us to join in. Not a definitive history – much more fun than that.
18 Sep HatMike Barbakoff – “Codebreaking Against the Land of the Rising Sun”
Mike is a volunteer guide at Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing. He spoke to us last summer about the World War II History of Bletchley Park and now returns to explore how codebreakers worked against the Japanese.
25 Sep WGCPhilip McKinder – “The Copped Hall Story – A Most Understated History”
The saving of Copped Hall has been described as a miracle. In reality, it was achieved by a great deal of hard work against overwhelming odds.
9 Oct WGCAndy Gibbs – “The Poor Child's Friend:Joseph Lancaster's Educational Revolution”
Discover how a poor boy from the slums of Southwark advanced the cause of universal elementary education throughout the world.
16 Oct HatJames Higgs – “Adventures of an Estate Agent”
We will hear about James' initial introduction to the property world as an innocent trainee-negotiator in 1966 - to his eventual retirement as a Sales Director 49 years later, including his appearance on TV in the mid-1980's in a live outside-broadcast, representing the profession, and some of his encounters with home-seeking celebrities and quirky personalities from around the North London area.
23 OctWGCMike Beech – “History of the Postal Service”
A look at how postal services developed from Henry VIII's secret communication channel to the national service we know today. We learn how the service overcame, or fell foul of, the daily threats from criminals. We hear of major expansion during the Victorian years, with telecommunications added in 1870, and how the 20th century brought the challenge of the 'digital revolution'.
30 Oct HatTim Perkins – “Search and Rescue”
Tim is the Midshires Search & Rescue Organisation's Team Membership Officer. As a qualified operational search technician he has taken part in many searches for missing persons across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
6 Nov WGCTony Eaton – “The Rudolf Hess Coverup”
Tony has a special interest in unravelling some of the hitherto unresolved air mysteries of WWII. Back in Nov 2022 he enthralled us with new details about the disappearance of famous bandleader Glenn Miller; now he will share his insights into the flight to Britain of Hitler's Deputy, Rudolf Hess.
13 Nov HatRichard Thomas – "From Flanders Field to the Tower"
The story behind the origin in the Remembrance Poppy and the founding and history of the Poppy Factory at Richmond. We will also hear about the creation of “Blood Swept Fields and Seas of Red” at the Tower of London in 2014, the commemoration of the centenary of the start of The Great War.
20 Nov WGCSara Grey – “History of Pantomime”
Here at WH U3A, our pantomime history is very short! But Sara will take us back to the roots of this popular art form – “Oh yes she will!”
27 Nov HatGill Hodgekinson – “Women in the Police Force”
Gill has informed and entertained us before, most recently telling us about her time as part of the security operations at the Palace of Westminster. This time, she focusses on the role of women in the police force.

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 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.