Walking and talking through science and history with CNHSS

CNHSS – the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society – starts its 2017-2018 programme tomorrow with a walk in the countryside, to be followed with its usual full and fascinating programme of talks and studies over the coming six months.

With its own history traced back to 1870, Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society is therefore one of the oldest cultural societies operating in Croydon. The society seeks to encourage the study of the sciences, especially the natural and local history and archaeology of the Croydon area, by organising lectures, members’ talks, discussions, exhibitions, field meetings and surveys, by issuing publications, and by maintaining a library and a museum.

Unless otherwise stated, CNHSS indoor meetings are held in the Small Hall of the East Croydon United Reformed Church, Addiscombe Grove, almost opposite East Croydon Station, and start at 7.45pm.

“If you are not a member of the Society, you are still very welcome at our talks, walks and other events, unless they are specifically advertised as members only,” they say. “If you do come, we would encourage you to make a small donation to help us cover our costs – we suggest £2 – but it is not at all compulsory.”

The full programme is accessible on the Society’s own website (click here).

These are some of the highlights:


Sat 7: ECOLOGY WALK – “Farleigh Fungus Foray”
A walk around Greatpark Wood looking for fungi and other fruits of the forest as autumn approaches. Meet at 10am in the car park next to St Mary the Virgin church, Church Road, off Farleigh Court Road, Farleigh, Warlingham, TQ372601. Leaders Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings.

Mon 9 – TALK – “Looking for Life on Mars”
When life began on Earth 3.8 billion years ago, Mars was habitable, with surface water and a thick atmosphere. Now it is cold, dry and harsh, but it is still our closest hope for life beyond Earth.

For this talk we welcome back Professor Andrew Coates from the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

Sun 15 – ECOLOGY WALK – “30 years on: remembering the Great Storm of 16 October 1987”
Meet at 10am in Kingswood Lane, Sanderstead, at the entrance to Kings Wood, TQ354598.

Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

A viceroy, alongside a leader. Mountbatten’s role in India will be part of the talk on Oct 30

Mon 16 – TALK – “The Wandle and the Prehistory of South-West London”
By archaeologist Jon Cotton.

Mon 30 – TALK – “From Mountbatten to Patten: Proconsuls and the Ending of Empire 1947-1997”
A talk by Tony Stockwell, Emeritus Professor of Modern History, examining the role and reputations of proconsuls at empire’s end.


Sat 4 – ECOLOGY WALK – “Croham Hurst Fungus Foray”
Autumn colours and fungi on this walk over the ancient woodland of Croham Hurst. Meet at 10am at the junction of Croham Manor Road and Bankside, South Croydon, TQ335636. Leaders Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings.

Mon 13 – TALK – “Religions and Burials in Roman Sussex”
By David Rudling, Academic Director of the Sussex School of Archaeology, exploring the evidence for various religious and burial practices throughout Roman Sussex. Whilst some of these practices are “mainstream Roman culture”, others may indicate continuity of aspects of local traditions from the Late Iron Age.

Sat 25 – FOCUS on Baldwin Latham
Our annual Focus Meeting which will this year concentrate on Croydon’s famous sanitary engineer Baldwin Latham, with talks by Martin Gregory and Brian Lancaster on his career in Croydon and nationally. As usual tea will be provided, and there will be a chance to pay subscriptions for 2018. At the David Sweet Hall ECURC starting at 2.30pm.

Mon 27 – TALK – “Chaldon stone quarries”
Peter Burgess on the history and nature of the quarries south of Chaldon which date from the medieval period.


Mon 4 – CNHSS CHRISTMAS TALK – “Croydon in postcards from the past”
John Hickman and Carole Roberts again delve into the John Gent Postcards Collection to present another seasonal tour of life and times in the borough across the 20th century.


Sun 7 – WALK – “Rolling Stones – Part 3”
Addington Hills, the third primarily geological walk comparing and contrasting other hills capped by Blackheath Pebbles. Led by Paul Sowan. Meet at the tram stop at the top of Coombe Lane at 2pm.

Wed 10 – TALK – “The tin tabernacles of Surrey”
A talk by Gerry Moss, a retired university chemistry lecturer who has been involved with the archaeology and local history of Surrey for many years. Tin Tabernacles were first constructed in the 1850s with a peak in the 1880s and 1890s. The current total found in historic Surrey is about 260 and modern Surrey still has five used as churches.

Monday 29th – TALK – “The Reign of King Edward VII, with philatelic and picture references of his coronation”
A talk by David Milsted, Trustee of the Whitehorse Youth Centre and Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society.


Mon 5 – TALK – “The Living Wandle”
Rebecca Watts will talk about the River Wandle, what has been taking place there through the work of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership over the past few years and the River’s future.

Sun 18 – ECOLOGY WALK – “Winter trees in Threehalfpenny Wood”
Meet at 10am at the junction of Woodland Way and Copse Avenue, TQ378649. Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Mon 26 – TALK – “Camden Town: Dreams of Another London”
By author Tom Bolton.

Camden Town sprang up in fields at the edge of London with the railways, and was soon a teeming mixture of dirt and poverty, factories and warehouses, outcasts and exiles, artists and writers, all sharing a few streets. The talk will examine significant buildings, surviving and vanished, to reconstruct Camden’s past and consider its present.


Mon 5 – TALK – “The birdlife of Beddington farmlands since the 1960s”
A talk by Derek Coleman, about the fluctuations of the birds using the farmlands taking into account the changes following the demise of the drying of sludge. Derek will also give an update on the Viridor Incinerator and the future of the farmlands.

Mon 26 – TALK – “Owen Manning, William Bray and the writing of Surrey County History, 1760-1832”
A talk by Julian Pooley, Public Services and Engagement Manager at Surrey History Centre.


Sun 8 – ECOLOGY WALK – “Spring in Banstead Wood”
Meet at 2pm in the Holly Lane car park, TQ273582. Leaders Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings, in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Wed 11 – TALK – “The Green Belt”
A talk by Graham Lomas about the rise in population and economic growth making the Green Belt vulnerable and about the problem of reconciling the competing claims of living space and conservation. Lomas produced the first comprehensive map of the Green Belt.

Followed, after refreshments, by the Presidential Address given by John Hickman. At the David Sweet Hall ECURC starting at 7.45pm.

Mon 30 – TALK – “Sword Hilts”
A talk by Tony Tucker on the surviving ceremonial sword hilts, their design, their history and the coats of arms displayed upon them, based on his latest book for Friends of City Churches.

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