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18th June – The People’s Post

This trip is an opportunity to learn the very British story of sending a letter, from the time of the Romans to the GPO. We’ll visit the Postal Museum and take a ride on the Mail Rail.

We travel by coach to meet our guide at the Museum of London where we’ll have morning refreshments. The tour begins on foot (no more than 400 yards) when we learn the colourful history of the postal service in London.

We complete the morning tour by coach before we have some free time for lunch in Exmouth Market with its thriving food market, traditional pubs and cafés.

In the afternoon we visit the Postal Museum which contains five centuries of world-class curiosities. We’ll enjoy a 20-minute ride on Mail Rail, the subterranean railway that once whizzed four million letters a day beneath the streets of London. (Please note that in an emergency you’d have to be able to walk 100 yards without a stick and it may not be suitable for claustrophobia sufferers.)

There’ll be time for refreshments before we head home at 4.45pm.

Please note that there is a certain amount of walking as described above and this trip may not be suitable for anyone with mobility problems.

Cost: £44.50 per person including coach, morning refreshments, tour fees and tips

Please arrive 10 minutes before departure time to allow for checking in.

Please reply promptly and send the completed application form and your cheque for £44.50 made payable to Kingston U3A (GAS) plus a stamped addressed envelope (if you do not give an email address) to: Moira Shearer, 35c St Andrews Square, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4EG – Tel: 020 8390 6356.

If you give your email address, all information will be sent by email. This will include any changes to timings so please check your mailbox regularly.

Boarding time/points:

  • ·  9am High Street, Kingston, opposite the Rose Theatre
  • ·  9.15am Ewell Road, Surbiton, ‘Telephone Exchange’ bus stop

12th July – London Mithraeum, Bloomberg Space

Join us on a visit to the London Mithraeum. Next door to Bank Station

this cultural space returns the Roman Temple of Mithras to its original location in the heart of the City of London. The Mithraeum is situated in Bloomberg’s European headquarters, and houses the reconstructed temple, a selection of the Roman artefacts found during the recent excavations and contemporary art commissions undertaken in response to this archaeological site.

We’ll meet at Waterloo station and take the Waterloo and City Line to Bank, where, on our way out, we’ll see the 24 John Hutton glass panels showing Roman citizens. These were originally installed in the old Bucklersbury House, the office block that previously stood on the Bloomberg site. This area was badly damaged during the Blitz and the Temple of Mithras was discovered in the 1950s when excavations were made for the foundations of Bucklersbury House. The City Corporation said it must be preserved, so it was lifted out in pieces and stored in a builder’s yard in Burlington Road, New Malden, then returned (with a few pieces missing) to a site alongside Queen Victoria Street.

When plans were made to demolish Bucklersbury House and build the Bloomberg Space, the planning approval was conditional on the Temple being returned to its original site, with the developer paying for an extensive archaeological dig. Planning permission also required the original line of Roman Watling Street to be reopened. This is now Bloomberg Alley where there are cafés, and the Bloomberg Arcade, where we can buy coffee before our visit, which starts at 11.30am.

It will take about 45 minutes to visit the Temple with its subdued lighting effects, mist and sound. There are lifts between all levels for those who don’t want to use the stairs.

Date: Friday, 12 July
Meeting time/place: 10.15am at

Waterloo Station, opposite Platform 1

Cost: £1 per person admin charge collected on the day

17 May Reading: Biscuits, the Bayeux Tapestry and a River Cruise

Join us on a walking tour to explore the Thames-side town of Reading. The ruins of Reading Abbey reopened in 2018. It is near Reading Gaol and the museum, where Britain’s Bayeux Tapestry is displayed and the history of the Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory is told.

 

The tapestry is a full-sized copy of the original and was made by skilled Victorian women embroiderers in 1885. The gallery explores the background and impact of the Norman Conquest by William I. His youngest son, Henry I, founded Reading Abbey in 1121 when he announced he wanted a new abbey

built there. No expense was spared in its construction and monks lived, worked and worshipped there for more than 400 years. The Abbey Quarter covers the former precinct of this royal monastery.

We meet our guide at Henley station en route to Reading, where we’re scheduled to arrive at 10.30am, in time for coffee before exploring the Abbey Quarter. On our tour we’ll discover an enormous lion in a beautiful Victorian park, and the Oscar Wilde Chestnut Walk alongside the walls of Reading Gaol. Our tour ends at Reading Museum where we’ll have time to admire the Bayeux Tapestry before buying lunch locally.

After lunch we board a boat for a two and a quarter hour cruise from Reading through pretty Sonning to Henley. There’s a bar on the boat selling tea and coffee, soft drinks or something stronger if you prefer.

We head home from Henley at 5.30pm.

Date: Friday, 17 May
Departure time/Boarding point:

  • ·  8.30am High Street, Kingston, opposite the Rose Theatre
  • ·  8.45am Ewell Road, Surbiton, bus stop: Telephone Exchange

    Please arrive 10 minutes earlier than departure time to allow for checking in.

    Cost: £44.50 per person including coach, guide, river cruise and tips

    If you would like to join this outing, please complete the enclosed application form (one for each household or individual) and send it, together with your cheque for £44.50 per person and a stamped, addressed envelope or your email address to:

    C aire Bletcher, 17 Lower Green Road, Esher, KT10 8HE. Tel: 020 8398 7107

    If you give your email address, all information will be sent by email, including any changes to timings, so please check your inbox regularly.

12th -16th September – Historic Houses and History of Devon (Our Summer Holiday)

Thursday 12th to Monday 16th of September.

Day 1: We board an executive coach at our designated pick-up points. En route to Exeter we visit the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy, home of the Bankes family for over 300 years.

After the family lost their Corfe Castle stronghold to the Parliamentarians in the Civil War, they moved here and gradually created an astonishing Italian palace in the heart of rural Dorset. The property is home to an internationally acclaimed art collection (including paintings by Rubens, Velazquez and Titian), exquisite carvings and lavish interiors.

We continue to our hotel on the outskirts of Exeter

Day 2: In the morning we have some free time in Exeter and in the afternoon visit the National Trust’s Coleton Fishacre, an Arts and Crafts style

house with an elegant Art Deco- influenced interior, situated in a spectacular coastal setting. We then travel to Kingswear for a scenic, one- way steam train excursion to Paignton (included in the price).

Day 3: Our guided tour in the morning (included in the price) takes in sights such as Exeter Cathedral, one of England’s finest examples of decorated Gothic architecture. We visit Powderham Castle in the afternoon.

property. Offering an atmosphere of wildness and timelessness, this true ‘secret’ garden of peace and tranquillity offers wonderful views of the Dart estuary and once featured on the BBC’s ‘Hidden Gardens’. (There is a 10-15 minutes uphill walk from the quayside to the gardens, or there is a shuttle service between the ferry and the house.) The house was the private holiday home of the famous and well- loved author Agatha Christie and contains many of the family’s collections including archaeological items, Tunbridge ware, silver, botanical china, and books. We then return to Dartmouth by boat.

Day 5: We visit the National Trust’s Killerton property, a fine 18th century house containing a fascinating collection of 18th and 20th century costumes.

Taking carefully selected comfort stops en route, we return to our original pick- up points.

Dates: Thursday,12 to Monday,16 September 2019

Set alongside the estuary of the Exe and dating back to 1391, it is home to the 18th Earl of Devon and one of the oldest family houses in England.

Day 4: In the morning we spend some time at leisure in Dartmouth and then take a boat transfer (included in the price) to the National Trust’s Greenway

Hotel: Gipsy Hill Hotel, Exeter (three- star)

Cost: £499, which includes:

  • ·  executive coach
  • ·  hotel: four nights’ half-boardaccommodation, sharing a twin/double room (single room supplement £99)
  • ·  all excursions
  • ·  some entrance fees
  • ·  services of a professional tour managerIf you would like to join this holiday, please complete the enclosed application form and send it together with a stamped addressed envelope (not too small, please) to:

    Gisela Zürcher-Feiss, 37 The Byeways, Surbiton, KT5 8HT
    Tel: 020 8399 4990

Fri 15th Feb Banqueting Hall

Come into the Banqueting House for a special tour of this amazing space and experience the royal drama and splendour of this often over-looked palace which sits at the heart of Whitehall.

Inigo Jones’s masterpiece of classical architecture was commissioned by James 1 as the venue for masques, receptions and entertainments and was completed in 1622. Inigo Jones decided to create a building which looked like a piece of ancient Rome transposed to Whitehall and it marks the beginning of a revolution in British architecture.

Inside you will see the magnificent ceiling painting by Sir Peter Paul Rubens which is the only one surviving

in-situ. Often cited as being from a golden age of painting, the ceiling

would have been one of the last sights of King Charles 1 before his execution outside on the pavement of Whitehall.

Our guide, Siobhan Clarke, is based at Hampton Court Palace and is an HRP Guide Lecturer and, coincidentally, the speaker at our December Monthly Meeting. Her tour will give us a fantastic opportunity to learn about architecture, art, constitutional history and the human-interest story of an ill- fated king. It will take the form of a sit- down lecture with Q&A, then a circuit of the hall to look at the paintings in detail.

After meeting at Waterloo we will take the Jubilee Line to Westminster then walk to the Red Lion in Parliament Street where we will have tea or coffee and biscuits. This historic pub is decorated to resemble a Victorian gin palace and there is a steep flight of stairs to the Dining Room. We will then continue to Banqueting House where our guide will meet us at 11.15am. The tour will last approximately 90 minutes.

Date: Friday 15 February 2019

Cost: £14.30 per person including coffee and biscuits, entrance, tour fee and tip.

(Historic Royal Palaces members £9.90. You must have your valid membership card with you.)

Meeting Point/Departure Time:

Waterloo Station opposite Platform 1 at 10.05am

If you would like to join this outing please complete the enclosed application form (one for each household or individual) and send it, together with your cheque for £14.30 per person to:

Claire Bletcher, 17, Lower Green Road, Esher, KT10 8HE, Tel: 020 8398 7107

If you do not give an email address please include a stamped, self-ad- dressed envelope. If you give your email address, all information will be sent by email, including any changes to timings so please check your emails regularly.

6th Dec – Stonor Park Decorated for Christmas

N.B The Date in the Newsletter is incorrect this visit is on Dec 6th

Stonor Park has been the family home of the Stonor family for over 850 years and is one of the oldest homes still lived in today. Thus it has lots of stories to tell and as well as being architecturally fascinating the house contains a fine collection of furniture, Old Master Paintings, drawings, bronzes, wallpapers and historic maps. A special exhibition details the life of St. Edmund Campion, who was hidden at Stonor during the Reformation. The stunning gardens – first planted in the 15th Century and latterly designed by Lady Camoys – are a treat for visitors to explore, with vistas of the surrounding ancient deer park. A stroll through the house and gardens is a vivid walk through history.

On arrival you will be offered coffee/tea and biscuits and you are then free to explore the house, garden and chapel at your leisure. The house will be decorated for Christmas just as it is for the Stonor family every year and each room has a volunteer who will be delighted to answer your questions and explain the history/details of the house and the various rooms.

There will not be a set lunch but delicious Christmas food and drinks – festive turkey pies, shortbread, mince

pies and mulled wine – will be available at the Stonor Pantry for you to choose as and when you please.

The coach will be ready for us to set off home again at 4.30 p.m. in order to arrive back in Kingston (hopefully) by 6.00 p.m.

Cost: £28.50 (includes transport, entrance fee, morning coffee and tips)

Departure time/point: 9.00 a.m. – Kingston, High Street, opp. The Rose Theatre 9.15 a.m. – Surbiton, Ewell Road, Bus stop ‘Surbiton Telephone Exchange’

Joining: If you would like to join this outing please complete the attached application form and send it together with your cheque for £ 28.50 pp payable to ‘Kingston U3A (GAS)’ to

Gisela Zürcher-Feiss, 37, The Byeways, Surbiton, KT5 8HT Phone 8399 4990.

If you do not give an email address, please include a stamped, self- addressed envelope.