Friends Events

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 19:00. There will be light refreshments available on arrival. The events will finish by 21:00.


9 March 2019: Unexpected connections: a new look at railway architecture

Talk by John Minnis, Architectural historian

A number of British railway stations have similar or almost identical 'clones' in totally different parts of the country. For example, Watlington, Aston Rowant and Chinnor stations have ‘twins’ at Caistor-on-Sea and Great Ormesby - but built in poured concrete rather than built in brick and flint. Similarly, Swanage and Corfe Castle had a twin at Glenfarg, Perthshire. And so on - as this talk will reveal, there are many and often unexpected examples, some of them in other parts of the United  Kingdom, and even some abroad. How did this come about?  

The talk is based on a paper given at the Early Main Line Railways conference held at the NRM in June 2018. It is a rare opportunity to hear about these stations and their shared origins from one of the authors.

John Minnis was formerly an architectural historian with English Heritage (later Historic England). He is the author of several books on railway architecture, including The Railway Goods Shed and Warehouse in England (Historic England, 2016),  Britain's Lost Railways (Aurum, 2011) and Southern Country Stations: SECR (Ian Allan, 1985), and also compiled the English Heritage report that led to the listing of many signal boxes. John is also a Friend of Pendon.

18 May 2019: Eric Ravilious and Vale of White Horse

Talk by art historian James Russell

Eric Ravilious was only 39 when he died on active service as a war artist in 1942, yet he had already achieved amazing things. A brilliant wood engraver and designer, Ravilious is best known for his haunting watercolours in which white horses, railway carriages and downland paths become marvels. Offering an intimate view of his life and work, this colourful lecture will leave you in no doubt that Ravilious would have loved the Pendon Museum!

James Russell is an art historian and curator who has written a book about Eric Ravilious and curated the 2015 Ravilious Exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. He has lectured at the V&A and Royal West of England Academy.

7 September 2019: An Evening with Gordon Gravett

Arun Quay: the Dilemma of Compromise: Talk and demonstration by Gordon Gravett

Arun Quay came about because of a desire to build a small ‘0’ gauge layout that could easily be transported to exhibitions in a car. Although I had to accept that operation would be very restricted within the area available, I hoped to create something that would be visually interesting and still give the impression of spatial surroundings.  Lightweight construction was also very important so that it could be moved around the without too much damage being inflicted on ageing muscles and joints! 

Gordon has been making models for as long as he can remember, from detailing a train set (Tri-ang, in his case) and then working in EM after joining Crawley Model Railway Society. After a break from modelling, interest in the hobby was rekindled after the opportunity to build maritime models professionally which he did for nearly thirty years. 

Gordon likes the social surrounding of others at an exhibition for the operation of a layout along with the general discussion of ideas and techniques over a modelling demonstration or workshop. For this reason, both Pempoul, a French metre gauge layout built to 1:50 scale by Maggie and Gordon, and his current 7mm scale layout Arun Quay, are operated from the front - where interaction with others is very rewarding.

Although the railway may be the main focus, Gordon’s interest goes way beyond the railway fence and trying to capture the atmosphere of a particular area or scenario. He thinks that observation is very important and we can learn so much whether it be architecture or the natural landscape through to the social history of a particular area. The hobby of building model railways has the ability to enrich our knowledge in so many ways.