Programme 2015-16

All lectures are held at Potten End Village Hall, for directions Click Here.

Lecture Programme 

Wednesday 30 September 2015 – Emile Galle and the Art of Sensuality – Eric Knowles

Wednesday 28 October 2015 – Cooking for Kings: The Life of Antonin Careme, the first Celebrity Chef – Ian Kelly

Wednesday 25 November 2015 – Everything you always wanted to know about the Magna Carta but were too afraid to ask – Caroline Shelton

Wednesday 27 January 2016 – Monks, Monasteries and Mosaics – Sue Rollin

Wednesday 24 February 2016 – Great Tarts in Art – High Culture and the Oldest Profession – Linda Smith

Wednesday 30 March 2016 – Discovery of Paris – Stephen Duffy

Wednesday 27 April 20176 – History of the Royal Academy: people, Places, Pictures – Caroline Knight

Wednesday 25 May 2016 – The Drama behind the Taj Mahal: The Life and Times of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan – Oliver Everett

Events Programme 

Thursday 23 September 2015 – Visit to Frogmore House and Savill Gardens

ADFAS Visit to Frogmore House and Savill Gardens

We shall be visiting the Royal Collection Trust’s  Frogmore House and then Savill Gardens on Wednesday September 23rd 2015. Because we must confirm numbers by July and also as the visit occurs before our first meeting after the summer break we shall start bookings at the April meeting. The cost will be £46.00 which takes into account the high entry charges for both locations 

Frogmore House has been a favourite royal retreat for more than 300 years. Built in the 17th century, it became royal property when it was purchased for George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte, in 1792. It is no longer an occupied royal residence, but is frequently used by the Royal Family for private entertaining.

During the summer opening of Frogmore House and Garden to group visitors, 2 hour guided tours are offered of this delightful royal retreat, set in the beautiful surroundings of the private Home Park about a mile from Windsor Castle. The tours provide an insight into the history of this royal residence and the lives of its occupants and we are lucky enough to have this opportunity.

The tour ends in the Britannia Room, where, following the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht in 1997, The Duke of Edinburgh arranged a selection of items to reflect the interior of the much-loved vessel. The rich mahogany table that dominates the room was made for Britannia in the 1950s.

We will arrive for our tour which will start at 1000. Unfortunately there are no catering facilities at Frogmore House so at the end of the tour we will proceed to Savill Gardens which has a cafeteria where you can buy lunch.

There are no guided tours of the garden but there is a guide book available at the shop, price £3.00.

We will depart the gardens at 4:00pm.

Frogmore House

frogmorehouse cartage

The estate in which Frogmore House now lies first came into royal ownership in the 16th century, but for a long time it was held by a succession of Crown tenants. The original Frogmore House was constructed between 1680 and 1684 for tenants Anne Aldworth and her husband Thomas May.  It almost certainly built to the designs of Thomas’s uncle, Hugh May, Charles II’s architect at Windsor.

From 1709 to 1738 the house was leased by the Duke of Northumberland, son of Charles II by the Duchess of Cleveland. Following the death of the Duchess of Northumberland in 1738, Frogmore had a succession of occupants, including Edward Walpole, second son of the Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole.

In 1792 George III (r.1760-1820) bought Frogmore House for his wife Queen Charlotte, who used it for herself and her unmarried daughters as a country retreat. Although the house had been continuously occupied and was generally in good condition, a number of alterations were required to make it fit for the use of the royal family. By May 1795, Wyatt had extended the second floor and added single-storey pavilions to the north and south of the garden front, linked by an open colonnade. In 1804 he enlarged the wings by adding a tall bow room and a low room beyond, in order to make a dining room and library at the south end and matching rooms at the north.

Frogmore provided Queen Charlotte with a refuge where she and her daughters could indulge in their favourite pastimes: painting, drawing, needlework, japanning, reading and ‘botanising’. In Queen Charlotte’s own words, ‘I mean this place to furnish me with fresh amusements every day’. 

A number of rooms at Frogmore contained Queen Charlotte's extensive collection of books, including her botanical library. The Queen’s interest in botany started when she lived at Kew in the 1770s. It was given full rein at Frogmore, where her garden was laid out with rare and unusual trees and plants, including syringas, spirea, honeysuckle, 200 birches, 600 Spanish chestnuts and 100 laburnum trees. She installed new garden features, including a thatched Hermitage, barn and Gothic ruin, which was designed by her daughter, Princess Elizabeth.

The Green Pavilion most closely resembles a room from Queen Charlotte’s time at Frogmore, thanks to carefully researched redecoration in the late 1980s.  James Wyatt’s characteristically crisp detailing of cornice, dado and chimney piece remain largely intact. When Queen Charlotte died in 1818 she left the house to the eldest of her unmarried daughters, Princess Augusta, who lived here until 1840.

The house’s next occupant, the Duchess of Kent, was offered Frogmore as her country home by her daughter Queen Victoria in May 1841. The Duchess made many alterations, substantially modernising and redecorating the house to suit her tastes. An extract from the Duchess's diary for 17 August 1843 describes her birthday party at Frogmore: ‘Victoria, Albert and their party dined here. The Colonnade and the large dining room where there was some dancing in the evening were most tastefully decorated with flowers and garlands of laurel. We dined in the Library, the band playing in the garden. The evening was very fine. The whole party went off very well. I was foolish enough to dance with Albert’. The Duchess used Frogmore regularly until her death 20 years later.

Queen Victoria had a great affection for Frogmore and wrote of it: ‘All is peace and quiet and you only hear the hum of the bees, the singing of the birds and the occasional crowing and cackling from the Poultry Yard!’ Victoria added the gothic Tea House and white-marble Indian Kiosk to the garden, and used the Gothic Ruin as a breakfast and reading room.

In the second half of the 19th century, Frogmore House was used intermittently as the residence of different members of the royal family. The Princess of Wales (the future Queen Alexandra) gave birth there to her first child (the Duke of Clarence and Avondale) in 1864. From 1866 to 1872 Queen Victoria’s third daughter, Princess Helena, and her husband Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein lived in the house before moving to the nearby Cumberland Lodge.

During the reign of King Edward VII (r.1901-10) Frogmore was used by the King’s son and daughter-in-law, the future King George V and Queen Mary. The latter was instrumental in arranging Frogmore as, in her own words, "a 'family' souvenir museum as well as a museum of "bygones" and of interesting odds and ends’. She would spend many hours sorting, rearranging and cataloguing at Frogmore. In a diary entry, the Queen recorded a visit to Frogmore in 1924: ‘Lovely day. To Windsor …/… at 9.30. To Frogmore House to decide where pictures and furniture are to be placed. Lunched there. Then to Castle. Then back to Frogmore to finish off. Left at 5.25. Home after 6.30’.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was very fond of Frogmore House, having spent part of her honeymoon there in 1923. She loved to picnic at Frogmore, a tradition continued by the Royal Family today.

Although it is no longer a royal residence, Frogmore House is frequently used by the Royal Family for entertaining. It was used as the reception venue for the wedding of The Queen’s eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, to Autumn Kelly in May 2008.

Frogmore House Garden

Frogmore's garden and lake are largely the creation of Queen Charlotte, who had a passionate interest in botany. In the 1790s the Queen introduced over 4,000 trees and shrubs to create a model ‘picturesque’ landscape, which in the last century was restored by Queen Mary and enhanced for Her Majesty The Queen’s Silver Jubilee. 

The historic plantings, including tulip trees and redwoods, provide a rich setting for the garden’s seasonal variations.  In summer, the 18th-century Gothic Ruin, used by Queen Victoria as a breakfast and reading room, is clothed in wisteria.

The Savill Garden

savillgardens02Britain's finest ornamental garden, The Savill Garden is a true wonder. It's a garden for all seasons and a place of beauty and colour that's loved by horticulturalists and enthusiasts alike. Visitors can journey through 35 acres of interconnecting gardens and exotic woodland. Every garden has its own unique attraction, featuring a distinctive group of plants that introduce a fresh burst of vibrant colour throughout the seasons. Sir Eric Savill first created his woodland garden in the 1930s. Since then, many others (under the watchful eyes of Kings and Queens) have been on a tireless quest to add their own expertise and creativity.

The Rose Garden, opened by H.M. the Queen in 2010, is a magnificent addition. Designed by Andrew Wilson, visitors can wander the swirls of rose beds and enjoy the perfume at its best from a walkway that rises into the centre of the Rose Garden.

Tuesday 20 October 2015 - Visit to Tate Britain for the Barbara Hepworth and permanent exhibitions

Wednesday 25 November 2015 - Welcome drink for New Members after the lecture

Wednesday 8 March 2016 – Annual Lunch at The Gatsby, Berkhamsted

Tuesday 13 April 2016 - Visit to Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, Surrey

Thursday 5 - Tuesday 10 May 2016 - Residential trip – The History and Heritage of Yorkshire


Thursday May 5th dawned surprisingly warm and sunny as we 29 members and friends, well prepared against the northern climate with macs and warm woollies, set out early for York. We were picked up by Stuart, our driver in his distinctive multicoloured coach.  Stuart, a stalwart, cheery Scot, became very much a part of our group. Julie G counted us all in and we were off and away.

Renishaw Hall, a grand Jacobean house in Derbyshire, was our first stop and our first real breath of North Country air. We were ushered in by two nice lady guides and were immediately impressed by the interesting and rather eccentrically adorned hallway.  Renishaw has been the home of the Sitwell family for nearly 400 years and, in the early part of the 1900s of the famous Edith and her brothers Osbert and Sacheverell who had each played such a significant part in the artistic and literary scene of the time. It was a fascinating rather comfortable house, full of very unusual, surprising, personal memorabilia and a fine collection of paintings by John Piper. The Italianate gardens were enchanting and what is more we enjoyed them in the warm sunlight which was to shine on us for almost all of our holiday. It was a good start. After quite a long drive we finally arrived in York and settled into our hotel, the conveniently situated 4 star, recently refurbished Monkbar where we dined that evening.

Next morning we were delighted to meet Jenny, our Blue Badge Guide for the visit days. With her, we set off on foot to explore the cobbled streets and alleyways and see the ancient gates, walls and some of the many important half - timbered buildings of medieval York. The magnificent, largely gothic Minster towered over all and could be seen or half glimpsed from almost everywhere. We learned a little of the city’s rich history as we went. Jenny was a mine of information which she often embroidered with many telling and amusing anecdotes. After lunch we had a conducted tour of the impressive Georgian, Fairfax House, said to be the finest townhouse in the country. There we greatly admired its lovely collection of fine furniture, paintings and clocks of all shapes and sizes. The delicately coloured stucco ceilings and elegant stairways were particularly beautiful.

For the rest of the afternoon we were free to rest, roam, take a sail on the Ouse or visit the Cathedral. Several of us visited the nearby Castle Museum, after which one intrepid couple chose to scramble up the hill to the historical landmark that is Clifford’s Tower and enjoy a good view from the top.

Saturday was another busy day. Leaving York, we drove through its attractive suburbs, Jenny all the while enlivening the journey with an informative commentary on local landmarks especially noting the Stray - The Strays being the remains of what once were greater areas of green common land encircling the city.

Quite soon we were at Harewood House, that grand Georgian mansion designed by Robert Adam and York architect John Carr. It was built for the wealthy Lascelles family and has been home to the Harewoods for generations. Set in the magnificent parkland designed by Capability Brown, it was a virtual treasure house. We saw sumptuous bedrooms, wonderful collections of Chippendale furniture, priceless paintings and rare china. The views over the rolling parkland with its lake and gardens were especially lovely.

The Spa Town of Harrogate, a mere stone's throw away, was our next stop. Here we enjoyed a tour with Jenny who, knowledgeable as ever, guided us around this busy town, famous for its pump rooms, its public gardens, Georgian architecture and Betty’s Tea Room. Farrah’s of toffee fame was also an excellent place to stop, relax and take afternoon tea.

The following day was Sunday and we were back on the road again for the short drive to Castle Howard. Jenny guided us through the lovely rose gardens and lofty walls of neat yew hedges until we saw our first view of the house from the mighty Atlas Fountain. It was so impressive, this vast Baroque and Palladian masterpiece built by the third Earl of Carlisle and the work of architects John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor was set in acres of park and woodland. As we strolled through the palatial halls and galleries lined with ancient sculptures and the grand richly hung high ceilinged rooms filled with priceless paintings, collections of china and elegant furniture, through the windows we were able to catch glimpses of the rolling parkland and lakes dotted with visitors, ordinary people and families with children, all enjoying a day out in the country as we were.

Back in York, we were really sorry to have to say goodbye to Jenny our lovely guide, who sadly was unable to be with us on our final outing. The rest of the day was free for us to wander at will and enjoy some of the sights of York once more. A number of us were just in time to attend Choral Evensong at the Minster. It was held in the magnificent East Nave where we sat in the ornately carved and ancient choir stalls. The service and the music were profoundly beautiful. I think we all felt that it was a real privilege to be there and to take part.

On Monday we were up bright and early and looking forward to our day out to the coast and to a journey on a steam train across the North York Moors. We set off with Joy, our second Blue Badge guide and drove through green and lovely hills and vales and over the wild widespread moors, finally dropping down through winding lanes and little villages to Whitby and our first glimpse of the North Sea.

It was delightful and so nice to be beside the seaside. We wandered round this busy little town and admired the rows of pretty terraced, elegant houses and cottages leading up to the cliff top from where we could look down on the harbour entrance and the lighthouse. Several of our party climbed up the 199 steps which led to the Parish Church of St. Mary originally founded in 1110, and the nearby ruins of Whitby Abbey. It was a busy morning but we still found time to lunch on fish and chips eating “on the go” or in one of the many cafes and bars. Delicious!

Stuart was waiting for us where we had left him and we clambered aboard the coach all ready for the   promised train ride. Joy had thought it a good idea for Stuart to head for Egdon a tiny village not so far from Whitby. Unfortunately when we got there we were faced with a very low railway bridge which our coach was too high to get under. Stuart managed to reverse out of a very tight spot, the railway company was phoned and we were all ready to take off again, this time for Grosmont, our original destination. Amazingly, a friendly local man who happened to be enjoying a pint at the pub in Egdon, witnessed our predicament, jumped aboard and was able to guide Stuart along the many windy lanes and roads back almost to Whitby. Finally we arrived at Grosmont and the charming station where we were to wait for the next train. We had a good look round, examined the engine sheds and the waiting room, took tea at the café and gazed up the line for sight of our expected train. Sadly it was not to be. The station master suddenly had word that there was fire on the line and our train was stuck mid stations. Sparks from the engine had ignited the very dry bracken edging the line and our promised train was forced to stop for reasons of safety. We were disappointed of course, we had missed a real treat, but then we became quite resigned to the situation and happy that we were not the passengers held up in those carriages for goodness knows how long. We were relieved to see Stuart who had stayed with us …. just in case … so, back we got into our coach and were sped home to York. It had been quite a little adventure.

As this was our last evening in York we all gathered together for a glass of wine and an evening meal at the Monkbar. It was the perfect opportunity to thank Julie for organising such a lovely holiday for us. We had had a good time and had enjoyed every minute of it.

Tuesday was to be our last day in Yorkshire and an early start was necessary. With our luggage already packed and stowed away in the coach, we set off to walk to the very important Merchant Adventurers’ Hall. Acknowledged as the world’s finest medieval guild hall, this beautifully preserved timber framed building was erected in 1357. It is situated on the banks of the River Fosse in the very heart of the city and set in a lovely old garden. It was here that The Company of Merchants met and provided a place for important foreign business, charity and worship. After a little leisurely tour, we made our way back to the hotel where Stuart was waiting.. Once on board we were off and heading for Wakefield.

The weather had already changed by the time we arrived at The Hepworth. The sky had darkened and it was beginning to rain. We had time for a quick bite before we met our enthusiastic young guide. She told us about the history of the building and something of the permanent exhibition. This was a superb gallery and exhibition space, full of light and airiness, the perfect setting for some of the rarely seen fine sculptures of Barbara Hepworth, born, bred and educated in Wakefield. The visit was a real treat and as it happened a fitting conclusion to our six day trip. Our plan to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was thankfully abandoned for by this time the rain was coming down in stair rods. We were quite glad to head off for home.

We had plenty to think about and remember. I am pretty sure that what will remain with us was the beauty of the Yorkshire landscape, the warmth and friendliness of its people and their great pride in their county. As one of our guides put it “God’s own County”!

Wednesday 25 May 2016 - Members’ Drinks after the lecture

Wednesday 15 June 2016 - Visit to Anglesey Abbey Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridge

Refunds will only be made if the place(s) can be re-sold.