We have quite a few members in Bath, Bristol, Somerset, Devon and Dorset. Some months ago during some banter on Twitter, it was suggested by this coterie that we hold an event in the South West. And so we did. Last Thursday. And what a wonderful day out it was.
The whole shindig was organised and hosted by our members who work at Bath Spa University, that is to say Elaine Chalus, Bobby Anderson and Tracey Hill. The format was informal round-table chit-chat, a lecture, a walking tour of Bath and dinner. Interspersed with tea, coffee and bickies. I stand to be corrected, but apart from me missing my train from Paddington, the whole day went without a hitch. Dr Tracey Hill* gave a fascinating talk on the Lord Mayor’s Show of 1613, which was organised that year by the Honourable Company of Grocers. So although we were in Bath, the event had an essential London history ingredient. Our round-table and lecture were held in a wonderful bright, friendly room of the Main House in the university’s picturesque Newton Park complex. Perfect for the occasion.
We then had an approximately 90 minute guided walk of Bath, exploring the city from its Roman origins through the medieval period and ending up at John Wood the Younger’s 1760s Royal Crescent. Much historical detail: our hosts’ local knowledge was staggering. Having not visited Bath for some 20 years, for me it was a thoroughly absorbing education.
At the end of all this, we had an excellent dinner at a new bistro opened by the proprietors of specialist wine merchants The Tasting Room. Excellent fare, and much wine and beer (speaking for myself) consumed.
For me, this event epitomised what London Historians is all about: members’ hands-on involvement and collaboration, coming together to share knowledge and friendship. I’d like to thank all our members and guests who supported the day and in particular the wonderful above-named academics from Bath Spa University who made us feel absolutely at home and who put together a perfect programme and gave us all a day to remember.
Flushed with the success of this day, we informally discussed another London Historians South West event, probably in the Autumn, probably in Bristol. Watch this space!