Photos of the trip can be found here : Supreme Court and Grand Lodge
The United Grand Lodge of England is the governing body of Freemasonry in England, Wales and the Channel Islands. Built in 1933, Freemasons' Hall is the headquarters of the Grand Lodge and is a classic example of Art Deco architecture in the heart of London's Covent Garden. For our October outing 28 Campus Club members and friends were given a guided tour of the building and we also learned about Freemasonry. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and cheerfully answered any of the many questions which were asked of him. After the tour we had time to explore the "Three Centuries of English Freemasonry" exhibition.
After leaving the Grand Lodge we travelled to the Supreme Court for a sandwich lunch followed by a guided tour of the three courts. Again we had a knowledgeable and informative guide.
For once we left London reasonably early, but the traffic getting out of London did it's best to keep us there.
There were 40 people booked on the Tunnel Tales of Old London Town trip planned for Tuesday 15th August by the Campus Club. These included 6 members of the Hertfordshire Engineers Society thanks to John Deans, who is a member of both groups. Unfortunately, due to health issues 4 people had to pullout very late and were unable to travel on the day, including John Deans and his wife. This meant 36 people boarded the coach on the day. We left slightly late as the Welham Travel coach driver was waiting in the wrong place on the Campus and had to be re‐directed to the Peel Court pick up point, with Gus Edwards the trip organiser having to run back to the coach and arrived just in time to board.
The coach driver made good time and we picked up our Blue Badge guide and were dropped off at the Mayflower pub in Rotherhithe for coffee and biscuits. This 16th century pub was originally called the Spread Eagle, but is now named after the ship chartered by the Pilgrim Fathers which left Rotherhithe for America in 1620. The pub's weather vane is a scale replica of the Mayflower ship. It sits on the banks of the Thames and has splendid views across the river from its veranda on stilts above the Thames. A notice on the veranda says that footwear and belongings may get wet at high tide, which is hopefully meant as a joke.
After our coffee and comfort break it was only a short walk to the Brunel Museum. We started our visit by descending, via a newly built freestanding, cantilever staircase, into the Grand Entrance Hall (or sinking shaft) to the original Thames Tunnel. The shaft is 50ft in diameter and 50ft deep, with smoke blackened brick walls from steam engines, providing an atmospheric backdrop and was described by our members as awesome and spectacular. We had a fascinating talk from our guide and learnt many new facts.
Brunel's father Marc began the tunnel with his teenage son, Isambard, who later became resident engineer. It is the only project that father and son worked on together and Isambard's first. The Thames Tunnel opened in 1843 and is the first underwater tunnel in the world ‐ and the birthplace of the modern metro system.
The shaft is where work on the tunnel began, and where Isambard Kingdom Brunel nearly drowned. When it opened in 1843 it was the world's most popular visitor attraction, Brunel organised underground fairs and banquets inside the Thames Tunnel ‐ once described as the Eighth Wonder of the World ‐ in the mid‐nineteenth century. It boasted a million visitors in the first three months.
Although the Thames Tunnel was originally planned and costed for vehicular traffic, one big flaw in the plans was that no means for vehicles to access the tunnel had been provisioned. Even so it did once provide a pedestrian crossing of the River Thames nearly two miles downstream of London Bridge. The shaft has now been sealed with a concrete floor, following the transformation of the tunnel for the construction of the East London Line and London Overground and you can hear the trains pass while in the hall.
Above ground in the Engine House, which accommodated the steam driven pumps, is the actual Brunel Museum, which houses a collection of prints and models that tell the dramatic story of Brunel's first, the Thames Tunnel and last, the Great Eastern ship and also provides tales about long battle against flood, death and disaster to triumphal opening and launch.
We left the museum and made the short walk back to the Mayfair pub to enjoy a Fish and Chips, or Toad in the Hole lunch, together with drinks from the bar. After lunch we enjoyed the views across the Thames from a pedestrian patio area nearby, before making our way to the coach. As the Rotherhithe tunnel was too narrow to accommodate the coach, we had to make our way to the Blackwall tunnel to cross the Thames for the Crossrail exhibition based at the Museum of Docklands.
The massive Crossrail project has dug through the capital from East to West giving archaeologists the once in a lifetime opportunity to bring 8,000 years of London's hidden history to light. In this one off special exhibition 350 of the oldest and oddest finds took us on a journey through prehistoric forests and marshes from Mesolithic man to the modern capital. We were able to follow the map of the new Elizabethan line to find out who populated these parts of London and when. This was all against a backdrop telling the engineering story of Europe's largest infrastructure project. We had time to buy refreshments, with several of us sitting outside in the very pleasant sunshine, beside a marina, before heading home. A bad traffic hold up, which the coach driver did very well to minimise any delay, meant we arrived home slightly late, but very satisfied with the trip.Photos of the trip can be found here : Tunnel Tales Photos
Photos of the trip can be found here : Torquay Photos
32 intrepid souls enjoyed a 4‐day coach trip at the end of October to sample the delights and temptations of the English Riviera at Torquay. We were lucky with the weather ‐ dry but generally cloudy and cool.
On Friday we had a good run down to Torquay and arrived mid‐afternoon so there was time to walk into town before supper. On Saturday we visited Brixham with its busy harbour and Golden Hind sailing ship, then on to Dartmouth in the afternoon. Some then took a boat ride to 'Greenway', Agatha Christie's old home, whilst others explored this interesting old town with its narrow streets and many shops and galleries.
On Sunday we first visited the old Bovey Tracey Pottery and its House of Marbles, where they used to make glass marbles and now do glass blowing. After that we drove on to Dartmoor (in rather cold, bleak weather) and stopped at Widecombe in the Moor, famous its Uncle Tom Cobley rhyme. Our last main stop was at Buckfast Abbey and I was surprised to learn it was largely built in the 20thC although still interesting. On the return to Torquay we had a brief stop at the nearby Dartington Glass factory shop.
On Monday we again had a good journey back to WGC, arriving at about 4.00pm ‐ and we didn't lose anyone over the whole 4 days!
Our coach was comfortable and the driver was very good and helpful. Our tour manager for the Saturday and Sunday was not up to last year's standard, however, and the hotel whilst OK and good value could have been better in some respects. Perhaps next year we may aim a little more upmarket for accommodation?
Overall an enjoyable time was had by all and many thanks to Ray Hussey for organising such an interesting excursion.
Photos of the trip can be found here : Lavenham Trip Photos
A trip to explore slumbering villages and pastoral scenes in the home of artists and weavers immortalised by Constable and Gainsborough.
Our coach left from behind Peel Court a little later than 9.00am but we made good time and met our guide near Kentwell Hall in Long Melford. From there to the Bull Hotel for morning refreshments and also to choose our lunch selections before heading off through the rolling landscape of East Anglia. We saw quintessentially English thatched cottages and great cloth towns of medieval Suffolk by the river Stour, also a setting for Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians. Before lunch there was free time explore the High Street of this engaging Suffolk village which boasts one of the most beautiful of all the East Anglian wool churches, before returning to the Bull for our two course lunch.
After lunch our day out continued in the coach until looming above the horizon the tower of St Peter and St Paul heralded our arrival in beautiful Lavenham where crooked timbered weavers cottages line the main street in the immaculately kept town. We split into two groups the first going straight for tea and scones in a quaint tearoom while the others enjoyed a guided walk around the village, and then reverse order so everyone saw the village and enjoyed the tea.
Now replete, our coach brought us home to arrive in WGC about 7.00pm.
Click here for the application form
Click here for the application form
The coach left at 9.00am prompt from behind Peel Court on The Campus. Unlike our trip to Cambridge, Oxford managed to lay on a day of sunshine.
On arrival in Oxford we were met by our lively guide, Danielle who took us to our usual coffee and biscuits before a brief tour of the town. Starting with a tour of Trinity College grounds then on to look at the Weston Library,the Sheldonian Theatre, the Divinity School, the old Bodleian Library and the Radcliffe Camera. Frequent references to Morse and Lewis and Lewis Carroll enlivened the informative talk given by Danielle. After our our fish and chip lunch at the King's Arms we reboarded the coach to carry on up to Folly Bridge and took a 20 minute cruise along the Isis past University boathouses and Christ Church Meadows to Iffley Lock. After a leisurely stroll to look at Iffley Church we enjoyed a cream tea in in the Isis Farm House before the short cruise back to our coach. The plan to return to WGC by 5.30 slipped a bit ‐ we finally arrived at about 7 pm, tired but having enjoyed a lovely day out, thanks to Graham and his very competent assistant, Danielle.
Photos of the trip can be found here : Oxford Trip Photos
All Campus Trips are special days but this trip really was special as Colin Duxbury and his wife had chosen to spend their diamond wedding anniversary with us! We all signed a card for them as a little memento and to say Well Done!
46 came on the day trip to London. We picked up Jeannie our blue badge guide in Highgate and after tea/coffee in a pub of Petticoat Lane she guided us round many interesting places.
For many years the City was the preserve of Livery Companies and when the Hugenots arrived they started silk weaving outside the City walls in Spitalfields, and this is the area we explored. They lived in increasingly grand Georgian houses which we admired. Their church has now become the Brick Lane mosque and we also saw Hawksmoor's Christ Church. Back in the pub our lunch was chosen from pies, fish and chips, or soup and sandwiches.
After resting over lunch we turned our attention to banking and went in our coach see various sights before visiting the Bank of England Museum with Georgian bank clerks, crisp white fivers and the pyramid of gold bars. Then on to a banking hall style pub for afternoon tea and biscuits.
Photos of the trip
We had a hot and sunny day for our Lee Valley Outing. We had 39 in our coach, which took us first to Riverside, Broxbourne where we boarded the Lady of Lee Valley for a two and a half hour cruise along the River Lee in a very comfortable narrow boat. A hot lunch was served about half way and the bar on the boat was much appreciated.
It was interesting to look at the riverside houses and gardens as we passed by, also the wildlife and several times kingfishers were briefly spotted.
Returning to Broxbourne and the coach we then had a short drive to the Lee Valley White Water Centre at Waltham Cross, where the Olympic canoeing events were held. We walked around the course and watched the intrepid souls braving the foaming torrent in rafts and kayaks. We then steadied our nerves with a cup of tea and a bun on the terrace of the well organised cafe before returning to the coach for the drive home.
Well done to Graham for organising yet another good outing ‐ our last of this season. For next season, however, we have some more great events lined up so make sure you don't miss out!
Photos taken on the day are here on the Club website.
Sadly the day was blighted by the rain which fell more or less continuously for the whole of the visit.
In the writers case it was also blighted by the fact that the guide wanted to rush everywhere, having no consideration for those in our party who were unable to keep up her pace despite having been asked to slow down within the first 100 yards of leaving the coach. Perhaps this was why we arrived at Emmanuel College for our lunch before they were really ready for us, and a good fifteen minutes before the third group arrived.
Despite all of this we were in good spirits and managed to keep a smile on our faces despite the rain.
And to end on a positive note, the two coffee stops were very pleasant and very well organised. Thank you Graham.
Those who didn't come on this trip missed a really good day!
There were only about 23 in our party and we set off at about 9.30 and had a good run round the M25 and arrived at Brooklands at 10.45. We started with a briefing meeting that told us how Brooklands race track was opened in 1907 and was active as a banked motor racing circuit until 1939 ‐ for both cars and motor bikes. At one time they even had 24hr races (like Le Mans).
In the war the central area inside the track became a factory for various aircraft including the Hurricane fighter and Barnes Wallis developed his 'bouncing bomb' here. Later in the 1960s and 70s parts of Concorde were developed and made here.
There was much to see on our busy day and we split into two groups, each with a guide. We had a 'Concorde' experience, sitting in the aircraft and watching a film of a typical flight; visited the Aircraft Museum and saw many types of old WW1 and WW2 aircraft and vehicles; we were shown around the fascinating collection of old ‐ and not so old ‐ racing cars an motor bikes; there was the Bus Museum with a nostalgic collection of old buses that we could remember from our childhood days. There were also various Vickers airliners one could go in, from the everyday workhorse BAC 1‐11 to the Sultan of Oman's personal VC‐10 fitted out with double bedrooms and a dining room probably larger than some of us have now!
We also had vouchers (included) for coffee and lunch in the Sunbeam Cafe.
Also, of course, was the famous Hill Climb test straight ‐ up to 1:4 gradient ‐ and the famous banked circuit, part of which is still retained. Unfortunately drizzle later in the afternoon prevented some of us experiencing a ride on thes two.
All in all we all agreed it was a great day and we could have spent much longer there as there was so much to see. Well done and thanks to Graham for organizing another winning outing!
I took a few photos during the day which are here for you to relive the experience.
A full coach left WGC and arrived in the Aldwych, London at 10.30, where we met our excellent guide and started our day with coffee at the George pub in the Strand.
The weather was grey with a light drizzle but this didn't dampen our spirits. We started our guided tour in Fountains Court in the Middle Temple and our guide explained how the Inns of Court started in the 1300s and told us all about solicitors, barristers and judges and how the system worked. Most of the buildings dated from the 1600s and were in attractive gardens and courtyards.
We went in the Middle Temple Hall ‐ a medieval refectory for the legal personnel ‐ with a hammer beam roof and a side table made from a hatch from Drake's Golden Hind. We saw the Knights Templar's Church built in the 12thC and largely rebuilt after WW2 and passed by the Inner Temple on our way to the George PH in the Strand for a good carvery lunch.
The weather was now quite sunny and dry so we then crossed the Strand and looked briefly in the Royal Courts of Justice and heard how the court system worked. We got back in the coach and enjoyed a very interesting short driving tour past the Old Bailey, the site of Newgate Prison and other places of interest, accompanied by a detailed commentary from our guide. We then drove to Lincolns Inn and continued our walking tour through its attractive grounds with its old buildings dating from the 1400s. We stopped at Ede & Ravenscroft who make wigs and gowns for the legal profession and learned about the different wigs and gowns, who uses them and when.
Then it was back to the George for a final cup of tea and, on the way back to the coach in Aldwych, we went in St Clement Dane Church ‐ the RAF church ‐ which was also very interesting. We arrived back in WGC about 6.00pm after, what everyone agreed was, a very successful; and interesting day. A big thanks to Graham Daniels who did a great job organising it and a special thanks to our knowledgeable guide who made it particularly interesting.
Bill Wastell took a number of photographs to illustrate our day and these are included in this report.
We enjoyed several successful outings this year and there have been many requests for another. This trip was been positioned to follow the Ladies Lunch in October and to be between the November and December lunches.
The date, being late in the year, was not suitable for coach trips to the countryside but we are fortunate to have the many attractions of London on our doorstep.
We left from our usual spot behind the old police station on the Campus in Welwyn Garden City at 9.15 am and travelled to Hampstead. We disembarked there and took coffee before a gentle stroll through the compact lanes around the old church and its environs. Our Blue Badge guide enthralled us with tales and pointed out many interesting and often unseen sights.
Then to a pub for a convivial roast lunch, or vegetarian meal for some, all included in the package, but drinks and coffee were extra.
The waters of the Fleet river rise from springs on Hampstead Heath and during the afternoon we were taken in the coach by our guide to let us follow the course of the river right down to its outfall at Blackfriars, stopping at interesting spots en route including a little known old church behind St Pancras station. We reached Blackfriars where we stopped, for those who wanted it, to buy tea before starting for home at 4.45 pm to reach Welwyn Garden City about 6.00pm.
Walking was leisurely and little over half a mile overall, and apart from a drink at lunchtime all was included, even tips for the driver and the guide!Photos of the trip
Historical List of Campus Club Outings
1990 ‐ September ‐ Flag Fen, Fotheringhay and Nene Valley Railway
1991 ‐ August ‐ Ely Cathedral, Wisbech, Pecover House and/or Fenland Museum
1992 ‐ August ‐ Leeds Castle, Kent
1993 ‐ June ‐ Channel Tunnel Exhibition, Folkestone
1994 ‐ July ‐ Harwich, Cruise up Orwell to Ipswich
1995 ‐ June ‐ Ascot Races
1996 ‐ July ‐ Sadndringham and Norfolk Lavender Gardens
1997 ‐ July ‐ Chatham Dockyard and cruise on River Medway
1998 ‐ July ‐ Bletchley Park
1999 ‐ July ‐ Maidenhead, boat to Windsor, visit Castle, boat back to Maidenhead
2000 ‐ July ‐ Canal Museum at Stoke Brueme, Northants and barge trip
2001 ‐ June ‐ Denbies Vineyard and Winery and National Trust’s Polesden Lacey
2002 ‐ August ‐ Westminster to Greenwich river trip and Maritime Museum
2003 ‐ August ‐ Sutton Hoo National Trust Centre
2004 ‐ August? ‐ Warwick Castle ‐ Cancelled due to lack of support
2005 ‐ July ‐ Kew Gardens
2006 ‐ August? ‐ Stamford and Burghley House
2007 ‐ August ‐ Hampton Court Palace, but river trip cancelled due to river flow too fast.
2008 ‐ August? ‐ Portsmouth Dockyard cancelled due to lack of support
2009 ‐ May ‐ Hughenden Manor
2009 ‐ July ‐ Blenheim Palace
2010 ‐ August? ‐ Hever Castle
2011 ‐ April ‐ Stockwood Park Luton
2011 ‐ June ‐ Camden Lock and canal trip
2011 ‐ September ‐ Bletchley Park
2012 ‐ May ‐ Spalding Flower Festival
2012 ‐ July ‐ Bressingham Gardens
2012 ‐ November ‐ Heights of Essex ‐ C&V
2013 ‐ January ‐ London Hotel Tea and Buckingham Palace pictures
2013 ‐ May ‐ Woolwich Arsenal/New Cable Car/Museum of London ‐ C&V
2013 November ‐ Hampstead and Fleet River ‐ C&V
2014 ‐ February ‐ Legal London ‐ C&V
2014 ‐ May ‐ Brooklands
2014 ‐ July ‐ Cambridge/Emmanuel College/Buntingford cream tea
2014 ‐ September ‐ Broxbourne Barge trip and Olympic White Water Park
2015 ‐ May ‐ Barrow Boys and Bankers ‐ C&V
2015 ‐ June ‐ Oxford ‐ C&V
2015 ‐ September ‐ Man Made Wonders of Essex ‐ C&V. Cancelled due to lack of support.
2016 ‐ June ‐ East Anglian Panorama ‐ C&V
2016 ‐ October ‐ Torquay weekend
2017 ‐ June ‐ Under Bearskins and Imperial War Museum ‐ C&V
2017 ‐ April ‐ Kinky Boots Adelphi Theatre trip. Cancelled due to lack of support
2017 ‐ June ‐ Bedford and Kathy Brown’s Garden ‐ C&V. Cancelled due to lack of support
2017 ‐ August ‐ Tunnel Tales of Old London Town ‐ C&V
2017 ‐ October ‐ Freemason’s Hall and Supreme Court
2018 ‐ March ‐ Welcome Foundation, Kill or Cure ‐ C&V
2018 ‐ July ‐ Shuttleworth Collection and Swiss Gardens. Small group only
2018 ‐ June ‐ Hampton Court C&V