We host a varied and regular flow of events throughout the year. These events are a mixture of evening presentations and social events, local outdoor projects, walks and visits further afield to places of interest. If you know of new topics or fresh approaches to events, visits and projects, the Committee would like to hear from you. Reports on those events can be found using this link.
24th January: 8pm: The RNLI Then and Now. An illustrated talk by David Barnes. Sheerness Station.
Venue: Lynsted Church.
Admission: members - free, non-members - £3 on the door
Includes light refreshments.
24th February: Annual Society Fun Quiz Night. All tables have been booked by our Members. However, if you think you would like to join in (Member or not), please contact Alistair Taylor (Tel. 886387) in case any of the tables have spaces available. We also have a prize draw. The entry price includes fish and chip supper.
All profits will go to the R.N.L.I., Sheerness Station. Details from Alistair.
21st March: 8pm: Stained Glass of Kent. A good sized audience met in Lynsted Church on 21st March, to hear Dick Bolton (a Freeman of the Worshipful Company Of Glaziers & Painters Of Glass) unfold the story of stained glass windows in our Kentish churches and cathedrals. The journey took us from the cradle of glass-making on Continental Europe (the location of the most suitable sand), through the migration to England and its technical evolution over the centuries. We were told of the transformation of glass from clear glass through to colouring by application of colours to the surfaces, thin laminations of colours to achieve transparency in dense colours (red) or blending primary colours (e.g. to create orange). Victorian inclusion of materials into the molten mass moved the art forward to bake colours and iridescences into the glass. We learnt that Switzerland and France evolved as centres of excellence.
Images found in windows were of stunning detail and complexity. Everything from biblical story-telling, through to family crests, the creation of sundials, animals and birds and, in the 20th Century, glimpses of impressionistic and abstract art. Techniques of decoration included the use of silver oxides bonded with the glass in greys (“Grise”). Other visual techniques rendered 3D images through fading colours and painting on both sides of a sheet of glass. The latter technique explains deterioration in some windows as they are weathered by the elements on the outside of the church.
We heard how flat glass was produced from blown ‘pots’ that, when topped and tailed, were scribed down one side to enable the glass-blower to ‘unzip’ the wall of the pot/bottle in an annealing oven, to unroll and flatten the glass into sheets. A variation in technique (Crown Glass) was to blow and spin the molten glass to create a disc thinner at the outside that could be used in stained glass leaving a ‘lump’ in the centre of the circle (familiarly featuring in “ye olde teashops”). Glass was produced of varying impurity and bubble content.
We were invited to close our eyes, to picture a world in which darkness descended at dusk, only interrupted by tapers, candles and fires – and those sparingly. Places of worship began to display a riot of colour and form, designed to create a sense of wonder.
Dick Bolton then took us through some of his favourite locations in Kent. Inevitably, Canterbury Cathedral contains some of the most developed story-telling and greatest expanses of glass, supported by metal frames. Of course, Rochester Cathedral has a magnificent rose window that throws scattered light onto the body of the congregation.
On a more intimate scale, Dick invited the audience to take time to visit some of his own favourites in Kent: Teynham, St. Mary displays some truly ancient (14th century) and beautiful glass panels; Lynsted, Sts. Peter and Paul has a more modern main window (1950) installed to include fragments of the original window after a stick bomb fell through the church roof in WW2. Lynsted also has a Millennium window in the Roper Chapel; Dover Town Hall contains a Victorian depiction of King Henry VIII’s “Field of Gold” as a fine example of commemoration through stained glass; Bishopsbourne, St. Mary, displays coats of arms and fascinating lanceolate windows; Patrixbourne, St. Mary; Ightam, St Peter contains etched glass; and finally, Tudely, All Saints, which is unique in the abundance of Marc Chagall’s uplifting art.
Dick Bolton held us with his mastery, energy, and story-telling. Most enjoyable.
April: Guided Wine Tasting. Members Only - details will go to Members. Numbers limited to 30 on first-come-first-served basis.
Saturday, 29th September: Vintage Bus Trip. Date for your Diary. Thanks to owner, David Powell, we are again planning a trip/visit this year in his wonderful vintage bus. The details will be decided nearer the date.
A visit to Maidstone Grammar School's Second World War tunnel/shelter, once used as class-rooms during air raid alerts. This arose out of one of the most fascinating presentations by a visiting speaker who shared the wartime story of the school through the stories and art of children and art teacher.