Last revised 24 December 2015.
Click on an underlined title to go to a report of that talk.
Date Activity Monday 19th January 2015. The Art of Magic"
by Paul Clancy.
Monday 16th February 2015. "Forensic work in the Police Force"
by Bob Milme.
Monday 16th March 2015. "History of the Canals "
by Pauline Dickinson.
Monday 20th April 2015. "The man who discovered Beatrix Potter"
by Andrew Wiltshire.
Monday 18th May 2015. "The Wandsmen of St. Paul’s Cathedral"
by Patrick Wilkins .
Monday 15th June 2015. AGM Monday 20th July 2015. "My Life of Hats"
by Colin Banks.
Monday 17th August 2015. "Citizens' Advice Bureau"
An advisor will talk about the many services available, of which many people may be unaware
Monday 21st September 2015. Open Day
at Maldon Town Hall
Monday 19th October 2015. Talk
by Brian Curtois.
Former Political Correspondent at Westminster
Monday 16th November 2015. "Hallmarking"
by Mark Lewis.
Monday 21st December 2015. A special Christmas meeting
January Monthly Meeting
A large audience assembled in the hall at Wickham Bishops to see and listen to Magic Circle Member Paul Clancy as he entertained us for over an hour.
Paul started by telling us the background to Magic and how the Magic Circle came into being. He also told us of some of the well known persons who were Members including Prince Charles who joined in 1974 with the assistance of the late Lord Mountbatten - who was also a Member.
He said he did not use animals or birds as they took a lot of looking after - he prefered close-up-magic.
Starting with Magic at the age of 13 he said he was soon bitten by Magic up to the age when he became a Police Constable when the Magic took a bit of a back drop. However once he had retired he found he had the time and interest to pursue it with more vigor.
Paul Clancy introducing the Art of Magic.
Having set the scene Paul then showed he was "Top of his Art" in the way he got people on the stage to assist him with unbelievable acts of Magic.
Paul Clancy with Dorathy Denmark who sportingly assisted with a trick.
Pieces of rope appeared whole - cut-up into pieces and then by "Magic" stuck themselves back to one length!
Paul Clancy with a number of coloured building bricks which appeared upside down - followed a sequence etc.
His final act was with a series of hankerchiefs which appeared - disappeared and even changed colour.
Thank you the U3A Committee and for Paul who left us in a trance!
February Monthly Meeting.
The Meeting started off directly with the introduction of Mr Bob Milme who would present "Forensic work in the Police Force"
In introducing himself he said he was until he retired in 2008, the Head of Forensics at New Scotland Yard, so we knew we were in for an interesting afternoon.
How Science came to Scotland Yard.
Bob traced the history of Forensic Science starting with the 1700s when the medical profession started to cut up dead people to try and understand how the human body worked. He then decribed in detail the many scientists and statiticians who year by year contributed to the eventual setting up of a Forensic Laboratory.
Finger printing was a major step forward but it took time for the Police Force to realise its potential.
As the presentation continued Bob explained a number of well know cases including the Al Capone organised massacre in America and details about Jack The Ripper in London.
He also told the story of Dr Crippen who was alleged to have murdered his Wife.
Copy from the Weekly Dispatch about Dr Crippen.
He was caught by Inspector Dews who caught a faster ship - the RMS Laurentic to Canada and arrested both Dr Crippen and Miss Le Neve on the RMS Montrose at Father Point in the middle of the St Lawence River.
Copy from a newspaper of the chase.
Photograph of Dr Crippen being led down the gangplank.
Bob comfirmed the leading Policeman seems to be carrying a shotgun.
Dr Crippen was found guilty of murder and hung but Miss Le Neve was not prosecuted. Amazingly DNA examination now shows that the body under No 39 was not that of his wife but of a male!
Bob concluded by telling of how Profiling can assist in tracking criminals with examples.
How Science came to Scotland Yard.
Thank you Bob for an interesting afternoon.
June Monthly Meeting - AGM.
On Monday June 15th, the seventeenth AGM of our U3A was held at Wickham Bishops Hall, at the meeting Brian Johnson was elected as Vice Chairman, Jan Robertson and Veronica Smith being elected on to the committee. After all the AGM formalities were completed, everyone then enjoyed strawberries and cream.
November Monthly Meeting: Hallmarking by Mike Lewis
Mike introduced his presentation by saying that modern formal Hallmarking was a British development from the mid-19th Century, but it more than likely started with Egyptians 3,000 years ago when they were crafting pure gold which would have been soft - today classed as 24 carat, and would have passed the “bite test”.
He then described the 5 characteristics employed with hallmarking:
a) Makers Mark – this was a unique mark put on the object with a tool steel bit and registered with the Assay Office to identify who had crafted the piece of Silver or Gold. He showed his own Mark – “ML”. b) Town (Assay) Mark - the first Assay Office in England was in 1300 in London, followed by Birmingham with others thereafter. c) A Date Letter was introduced in 1478 to the marked piece to show the year it was crafted – this was basically the alphabet but each period of 25 years was stylized to differentiate the exact year. The letter “I” was often dropped due to being mistaken for other characters. d) The Quality Mark showed what degree the pure metal had been mixed with other metals to make the object more acceptable to the purchaser – for example, a wedding ring made from 22 carat gold would be too soft, so a small amount of silver would be added to make it harder and then maybe described as 9 carat. e) If Duty had been paid on the object, a mark would be placed to show that indeed the tax had been paid. This was first introduced in 1784.
He talked about electroplating with silver which was still hallmarked to a different standard to show what had happened to it – EPNS = Electro-Plated Nickel Silver.
Mike dealt with forgeries of which he said there were many. He then went on to talk about laser hallmarking which produced a very precise mark which also meant the object did not have to be supported while the marking tools were struck to achieve a deep indent.
Platinum was a very hard metal to deal with and now was more valuable than gold.
He hoped that many in the audience would go home and have a look at a treasured heirloom to note the hallmarking on it.
Thank you Mike for an interesting presentation.
December Monthly Meeting
A selection of photos from the pre-Christmas gathering
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