Monthly Meetings

  Our monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at the Union Church and Community Centre, Weston Park, N8 9PX. They are open to all members (please bring your membership card) and you are welcome to bring a guest: it is possible to join at the meeting.
  Talks start at 10.30 a.m. with U3A notices, then the main speaker at 10.45 a.m. Please could you kindly ensure that you arrive by 10.30 a.m. to avoid causing any undue disruption. The meetings end at 12 noon.
  Members arriving after 10.30 a.m. will be asked to access the venue via the entrance to the right of the main door (up the ramp).
  Tea and coffee are available from 10 a.m. – please bring your own cup or mug.

A decision whether we can start running our Monthly Meetings again in July or not will be made nearer the time.

Thursday 9 July 2020

Lucy Ellis : Friezes and Florals: the Business of Wallpaper Design and Decorating 1920-1939

After the First World War the British government embarked on a huge housing programme which saw over a million people move out from city centres to the bright new suburbs. Seizing the opportunity to revive their business, the wallpaper industry targeted new owner occupiers with everything from washable tile effects to traditional chintzy florals. Modern geometrics echoed the Jazz Age while friezes, borders and exotic floral designs clambered up the walls of the modest semi. Whilst the industry expounded the positive effects of wallpaper on health, mental wellbeing and children’s education, the design critics recoiled and went off to paint their walls white.This illustrated talk will discuss wallpaper design and the role of the independent decorator in the 1920s and ‘30s, outlining how the industry embraced mass production, advertising and branding, and sought to woo the all-important housewife with a variety of selling methods.
Lucy recently completed her MA History of Design & Material Culture with a dissertation on the wallpaper industry in the 1920s and 1930s. This return to academia followed a varied career encompassing fashion buying and product development for high street chains, museums and charities; cataloguing paintings for Art UK; translating and teaching French; and proofreading. Her first degree was from the University of Cambridge where she read Modern Languages. She is currently a volunteer and tour guide at the Fashion and Textile Museum.

There will be no Monthly Meeting in August 2020

Meetings in 2020

March 2020

Dave Clarke : Untangling the Web – Demystifying Spiders at ZSL London Zoo
This was a really fascinating and well received talk on spiders and ZSLs very effective Friendly Spider Programme which has achieved 90% success rate with people wanting to overcome arachnophobia. Dave also showed many images of the innovative displays of spiders at ZSL, including an installed bath with spiders in it! Conservation initiatives were described with the great success of breeding and reintroducing the rare (and large) endangered raft spiders in the fen wetlands.

February 2020

James M. Taylor : Brilliant British Humour in the Forgotten Art of the Picture Postcard, 1840-1950s

Artist-drawn postcards were the most popular art form from the Edwardian era to the outbreak of World War II. They entertained, inspired, instructed, motivated, persuaded and lifted up the spirits. James described the popular themes and styles by the masters of the medium such as Mabel Lucie Attwell, Donald McGill and Fred Spurgin; and the reasons why their popularity waned with the British public.

January 2020

Andrew Ellis : Art UK: Democratising Access to the Nation’s Art

A full house for the first monthly meeting of the year was rewarded with a fascinating and enlightening talk on the work and achievements of Art UK, by its director Andrew Ellis. The ambition of Art UK (gradually being realised) is provide an online catalogue of the nation’s artworks. This is especially important as 80% of these works are generally hidden from public view at any one time. The venues in which these are housed range from the country’s most well-known museums and art galleries to smaller institutions like Haringey’s Bruce Castle (although, sadly, not the Royal Collection). Andrew described the photographing and cataloguing of the works of art, talked about copyright and licensing issues, and highlighted one or two recent initiatives of the Art UK website, the most interesting of which is the forum where members of the public are invited to share any information about painting and sculptures about which nothing is known.

Previous monthly talks

Peter Cox : Growing up in London
Tiago Mata : A history of The Economist
Estelle Lovatt : Fun and irony in art
Katy Ghahremani : Plans for Hornsey Town Hall
Haringey First World War Peace Forum presentation
Robin Lustig : A life in broadcasting
Graham Bennett : Serge Diaghilev and his legacy
Alexander Zhuravlyov : The rise and rise of Vladimir Putin
Louise Stewart : Plans for Alexandra Palace
Carl Parker : What is terrorism?
Luke Alder : The Estorick Collection of Modern Art
Margaret Greenfields : Britain as a nation of immigrants
David Hunter : Guillaume Apollinaire and the First World War
Francine Bates : The golden age of the music hall
Elizabeth Woodcraft : Hi-heel sneakers – growing up in the 60s
Peter Cox : The history and development of John Lewis and Waitrose
John Withington : Living to 100 – The secrets of the centenarians
Sandra Clark : Singing witches, authenticity and innovation: Macbeth on the Victorian Stage
John Hinshelwood : Crouch End and District: a photographic record from 1860 – 1920
Jayne Forbes : A solo traveller’s tales
Roger Hamilton : Climate change – where are we now
Jan Marsh : The Pre-Raphaelite sisters
Hugh Hayes : A Park for Finsbury
Ian Christie : Rescuing a pioneer: Britain’s forgotten creator of cinema
Oonagh Gay : The pioneer women MPS