Six-month programme of talks and walks into London’s past

CNHSSThe Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society has seen a lot come and go locally over the past 146 years since it was formed.

Now it is looking towards the next six months, having published its programme of events – mainly walks and talks – through to April 2017, beginning this Sunday with a Botany Walk in the Addington Hills.

The talks range across a wide set of fascinating subjects, from Beddington sewage works to the microscope slides of J T Quekett, all delivered by experts in their subjects.

CNHSS is probably the oldest cultural societies operating in Croydon, tracing its history continuously from the Croydon Microscopical Club (1870–1877), through the Croydon Microscopical and Natural History Club (1877–1901), becoming the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society in 1902. A registered charity, it continues to organise a fascinating array of talks and guided walks in and around Croydon and the surrounding area, often staged with the support of other organisations, including the Surrey Wildlife Trust, or visiting places of broader interest, such as the Globe Theatre on the South Bank.

The vast majority of the talks take place in the Small Hall at East Croydon United Reformed Church, Addiscombe Grove, Croydon CR0 5LP – where this is not the case, the event listing will confirm the alternative venue, so do check. East Croydon United Reformed Church is convenient for East Croydon station, Tramlink and many buses, and there is parking available on site.

“If you are not a member, you are still very welcome to attend. There is no entrance fee for our talks, but we do invite non-members to consider a small donation of £2,” CNHSS say.


Addington Hills: primelocation for an autumnal Sunday walk

Addington Hills: prime location for an autumnal Sunday walk

Sun 6 – BOTANY WALK – Addington Hills Fungus Foray
A woodland and heathland walk on Addington Hills for fungi, the ‘rotters’ of the natural world. Meet in the car park at 10:00 on Addington Hills off Shirley Hills Road, next to the Chinese Restaurant. CR0 5RF. Leaders Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Mon 7 – TALK – Eating Your Greens, the ecology of vegetables
An illustrated talk by Jane McLauchlin.

Covering its ecology, geology and the 19th century campaign to save it as a public open space. A series of illustrated talks by society members. As usual tea will be provided. David Sweet Hall, ECURC 2.30pm.

The man who effectively created the idea of the landscaped garden: Capability Brown

Capability Brown

Sun 27 – WALK – Croham Hurst
A chance to see this SSSI – Site of Special Scientific Interest – for yourself. Meet at 11am by the junction of Croham Manor Road and Bankside, South Croydon. This walk will be led by society members.

Mon 28 – TALK – “Capability” Brown and his legacy
How it influenced subsequent generations and still stands valid today, a talk by Michael Symes, commemorating the tercentenary of the landscape architect’s birth.


Mon 5 – TALK – A Third Christmas Miscellany from the John Gent Postcards Collection
A festive presentation, introduced by John Hickman and Carole Roberts.

Thu 29 – WALK – The Diehards’ Christmas Walk
A chance to get back to what you really like, looking at historical sites, botany, ornithology and entomology and ending at a hostelry. Meet Celia Bailey at the Phipps Bridge Tram stop at 11am to head north along the Wandle.


Mon 16 – TALK – Jane Austen – People and Places
Sylvia Solarski, will discuss aspects of her life in London, Surrey and some of the other Home Counties.

Mon 23 – TALK – Beddington Sewage Works 1960 to 1987
A talk by Robin Ashford on his involvement in its design, construction and management.


Mon 6 – TALK – A very large collection of very small things: The microscope slides of J T Quekett
A talk by Hannah Cornish, Museums Collections Assistant, Royal College of Surgeons. The CNHSS early beginnings were as a Microscopical club, with links to the Quekett club.

robin-in-gardenMon 20 – TALK – Wildlife in a Surrey Garden
The private nature reserves better known as gardens attract a host of visitors, many of which often go unnoticed. Nature photographer and author Jeremy Early will be showing us a wide selection of the wildlife recorded in the garden.

Sun 26 – WALK – Croydon Old Town
To see what of historic interest survives, and sites of important lost structures. Led by Paul Sowan, meet at Croydon Minster west door at 2.30pm.

Mon 27 – TALK – Growing up in radical Croydon: Grace Oakeshott, her associates and their aspirations in the late 19th century
Jocelyn Robson will explore the social and cultural context in which Grace grew up, went to school, developed radical interests and became a campaigner for girls’ technical education.


Wed 8 – TALK – Glories in Gold and Glass – St Paul’s Cathedral Mosaics
Dr Heike Zech, senior curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum will discuss the William Blake Richmond cycle of designs, one of the Cathedrals treasures.

Sun 11 – BOTANY WALK – Trees as geological indicators
A walk around Croham Hurst identifying trees in winter and seeing their relationship to the geology of the Hurst. Meet at 10am by the junction of Croham Manor Road and Bankside. CR2 7BN. Leaders Jane McLauchlin and John Hines, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

the-globe-1599Sat 18 – VISIT AND WALK – Bankside and the Elizabethan Theatre
To include a visit to the Rose Theatre (£3), and the Globe exhibition/theatre (£15). We will look at the area associated with Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Optional pub lunch and ending at the George Inn, the only remaining galleried inn in London. Meet at London Bridge Station upper concourse meeting point near the Shard, at 09.15am, led by Celia Bailey.

Mon 20 – TALK – On Your Knees
Hearthstone Mines in Surrey and the hearthstone trade. An illustrated talk by Paul Sowan on a rural mining industry which operated from about 1820 to 1960.

Mon 27 – TALK – The Defensive Installations of Tandridge District
A talk by Bob Evans reviewing various fortifications and defences in East Surrey from the Iron Age to the Cold War.


Sat 1 – WALK – Coulsdon Common to Kenley
About 2 miles over the commons and Kenley Airfield. Meet at the Fox PH on Coulsdon Common (bus 466) at 2.30pm. The walk ends at Kenley Station, led by Paul Sowan.

sopwith_camel_ww1_airplane_combatMon 3 – TALK – Sopwith Aircraft and the Great War
This talk by David Hassard, Joint Project Leader of the Kingston Aviation Centenary Project, focuses, with many historic photographs, on the aviation industry in Kingston upon Thames from 1912 to 1918.

Sun 23 – BOTANY WALK – Springtime at Kings Wood
A walk for Wood Anemones and other early Spring flowers. Meet in Kingswood Lane, near the wood, at 14:00, access via Limpsfield Road. CR6 9AB. Leaders Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Mon 24 – TALK – Tom Byron: emigrant to Canada and pioneer cattle rancher
A talk by Nigel Elliott. Tom, the eldest son of Edmund Byron, chose to emigrate rather than inherit the Coulsdon estate.

For more details on these and other CNHSS activities, click here

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1 Response to Six-month programme of talks and walks into London’s past

  1. tonycroydon says:

    Wonderful post Christmas walk yesterday, how did Celia arrange the great weather.

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