In recognition of the support provided by our Friends we organise exclusive events during the year
Forthcoming events are detailed below. Friends can book places via The Friends Place.
Admission is by ticket only. For all events the museum opens at 18:30 with the talk starting at 19:15. There are light refreshments available on arrival. The events finish by 21:00.
30 November 2019: Victorian working-class women in the stereoscope
Talk by Denis Pellerin
The stereoscope was a ‘middle-class’ device found in the parlours of the Victorian bourgeoisie, both in Britain and in France. Unsurprisingly, most of the images made for this “magical instrument” were for a middle-class audience and catered to their tastes and aspirations. However, there exists a large number of stereoscopic pictures representing working-class women, mostly seamstresses, laundry girls, fish women, farm lasses and female servants. The reasons for choosing these subjects are as varied as the occupations illustrated.
Using 3D images from Dr. Brian May’s extensive collection, Denis will show how the Victorians evidently admired the strong, healthy-looking and independent fishwives; took a real interest in the working conditions of seamstresses; found laundresses titillating; had idyllic notions about life in the countryside; and were fascinated by their servants whom they often feared as much as they distrusted … or sometimes desired.
14 March 2020: History of the Wilts and Berks Canal: past, present and future
Talk by Martin Buckland
A short section of disused Wilts and Berks Canal is modelled in the Vale and includes an aqueduct and lock.
The canal opened in 1810 after 15 years of construction but had a chequered career until its legal closure in 1914. In 1977 restoration of the canal began in a few places and in 2004 full restoration of the entire 62 miles was decided upon.
The talk looks at the history of the canal, at restoration progress and proposals for the future of this major East to West canal link.
Martin Buckland has been interested in Industrial Archaeology from the age of 4 when watching Great Western trains at Iver. Nearly seven decades later he is involved with the Great Western Society at Didcot Railway Centre and with the restoration of the Wilts & Berks and other canals.
30 May 2020: Inspirational Modelling: the role of Pendon in the creation of 'Faringdon'
Talk and demonstration by Stephen Williams and Rex Davidson
Stephen Williams will explore how Pendon can inspire, by relating how his experiences as a Pendon modeller directly shaped the construction of his iconic 4mm scale model of the former GWR branch station at Faringdon. He will illustrate how the Pendon approach to modelling provided not just a palette of techniques for representing real worlds in miniature, but more importantly, instilled a particular philosophy of model making, as a process, that proved fundamental to the creation of “Faringdon”.
Stephen has been a model maker since his early youth and has been a Pendon modeller for over forty years. In that time he has contributed widely to the project as an architectural, railway and landscape modeller. Amongst more than a dozen buildings that Stephen has modelled for the Vale Scene are Duck’s Stores and the Lyford almshouses, whilst his most recent scenic projects have encompassed the Church Group and, currently, the GWR station yard. He has authored a number of landmark books on modelling the GWR and edited “In Search of a Dream” - the biography of Roye England. He has also published more than 50 articles on railways and modelling.