Phil Gormley was formerly Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Chief Constable Norfolk, Head of Counter Terrorism, Met Police. He is now Chief Executive of East Anglia Children’s Hospice

The date is 1836, the place a small mission station in San Antonio Texas. Meet William Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett and hear the real story as the station was besieged by the Mexican Army and the events which led to the state of Texas being formed.

Edward, a past Chairman of NNU3A and member of the Thinkers group describes the extraordinary life of Isaac Newton from his origins in an  unremarkable Lincolnshire village home, deserted by his mother and brought up by his grandparents, to becoming one of the most important scientific thinkers  in history.

What does an upmarket Inn in Burnham market, a cricket club off the coast of Croatia and the Venetian city of Cattaro have in common. The answer is Sir William Hoste, maritime hero and contemporary of Nelson whose exploits and some extraordinary adventures in the Adriatic are recounted by our speaker.

A talk from an archaeologist and heritage expert about prehistoric archaeology in East Anglia and the earliest discoveries of mankind

The Anglian Water talk is interactive, discussing various challenges which they face as a water company such as smart metering, climate change, and priority service register.

We have also asked them to cover vulnerability to drought, any sea discharges of sewage, surface water flooding due to inadequate drains and sewers, OFWAT rating of service.

Steve Tonkin is a well know astronomer and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.  The talk examines the state of play with respect to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence and potentially habitable exoplanets.

Barbara Meyer is a professional wildlife photographer for more than 12 years, currently based in Lincolnshire. She leads photography expeditions and workshops, and gives online photography tuition. She is dedicating a large part of her work to raise awareness and funds for endangered big cat species and also for British Wildlife. Her talk will take us around the globe, exploring what are big cats, where they live and what are their problems in the natural habitat, as well as what conservation efforts are out there to help them in their fight against extinction.

John Betjeman is best known as the twentieth century’s most popular Poet Laureate. His verses were easy to understand and encouraged people to read poetry for the first time. Yet his work as a writer and commentator on English architecture both old and modern had, arguably, more impact on our perception of the built heritage than almost anyone else.

This illustrated lecture introduces us to the architectural writings and opinions of John Betjeman, discussing the history of the buildings he used as examples and exploring structures as diverse as churches, houses and pleasure piers. A man who made the unpopular fashionable and who was a pioneer in the subject of the sociological impact of buildings, John Betjeman was a popular but controversial figure. His work at the Architectural Review and his idea for a series of Architecturally-based guides should be as well known as his poetry, and it is a reflection on today’s society that they are so often eclipsed by his more popular verse.

John Vigar was personally encouraged early in his career by John Betjeman and is a Trustee of a national charity of which Betjeman was a founder. He is an architectural historian by profession, specialising in ecclesiastical architecture of which John Betjeman was such a protagonist. He also lectures for several universities and colleges and until his retirement worked for The Churches Conservation Trust.

Betjeman and Buildings


Our Zoom talk on 7 September by John Vigar was about the poet John Betjeman, not about his poetry, but his life and his passion for architecture. John told us how Betjeman had, from childhood, a great curiosity about his surroundings. This grew into his critical conviction that buildings belonged to their locality, were shaped particularly by the local building materials, and had to be understood in their context.

Dr Sue Gattuso is the Howard Carter Curator at the Swaffham Museum

The talk Coincides with the centenary of Howard Carter’s discovery of that tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings