Group News
Creative Writing • Leader Olive Mercer
I am starting a new group, Creative Writing. If you are interested, sign up
at the U3A meeting on 18th July or ask me, or ring me for further details.
No experience is necessary, and we aim to enjoy ourselves and entertain
each other with our efforts. We will meet on the first Tuesday morning of
the month from 10.30 am-12.30 pm.

Olive Mercer, 020 8300 3136

MiscellanyLeader Val Gosden
Our trip out in April was a local one to Lesnes Abbey. We travelled there
by train and when we arrived at Abbey Wood rail station we could see the
work that was going on in connection with Crossrail. From there signposts
pointed the way to the Abbey grounds and our first thought was to enjoy a
cuppa. This we did at the café in the grounds but unfortunately it is only an
outdoors one, serving only drinks and biscuits. However, we enjoyed
walking round the grounds, which has received a ‘makeover’ following a
sizeable grant. We walked to the abbey ruins, then up the hill a little, from
where we could see for miles over London. Then we turned to walk to the
gardens, but got side-tracked by the sight of bluebells in the woods -
masses of them - luring us into the woods some little way. Other flowers
were there, too: wood anemones, celandines and yellow archangels, and
it was lovely to hear the sound of birds all around. There are plaques with
general information in various parts of the grounds, and the ornamental
garden area has some innovative artwork. A visit to a local café in ‘the
village’ was followed by a bus ride home which allowed us to see some of
the further parts of our borough.

We travelled much further afield in May, visiting Teapot Island and the
Teapot Museum in Yalding, near Maidstone. Naturally, our first
requirement was a cup of tea, with which we had a two-scone cream tea. It
was a lovely sunny day and it was a real pleasure to sit outside, near the
River Medway. We then visited the museum which has over 8,000 teapots
of all shapes and sizes. There were teapots with decorations of flowers,
cottages, etc, and a vast variety of teapots of varying shapes and sizes,
giving great interest. Quite a few teapots were shaped as animals and
famous people; others were cottages, typewriters, cars, and almost any
item of interest could be found as a teapot. There was even one with
seven spouts!  Large and small, tasteful or simply fascinating, the variety
was amazing. There was also one very ordinary metal teapot, which
belonged to a family in Bexley. This had a hole near the top just under the
lid. The damage occurred during the war whilst the family were safely
sheltering from the onslaught from the skies - what a sobering sight on
their return to the kitchen. 

Val Gosden

Local History 2Leaders Pauline Watling & Joyce Savinson
Visit to Charlton House
We caught the 51 bus to Welling and then the 486 to Charlton House. We
took refreshments in their cafe before proceeding with our tour led by our
guide, Edward. Charlton House was built by Sir Adam Newton for Prince
Henry, son of James 1st. Sadly, Henry died before he took residence so
Newton’s family moved in.

The house is built of red brick with black mortar in a classic Jacobean
style; it has an ornate porch and contains original plasterwork ceilings and
fireplaces. The grand staircase is all wood and heavily moulded. There
are also original doors with the Newton crest of boar head and stag. The
house was owned at one time by Sir W. Ducie who lived there in style after
making many alterations. There were several titled owners following until
WW1. During the war, the house was used as a Voluntary Aid Detachment
Hospital and then in 1925 the estate was sold to the Council. Part of the
grounds were given over for a public park and another part for sports
activities. In 2014 the Royal Greenwich Trust was founded and they now
take care of Charlton House.

After much animated debate about where the return bus stop was, we
made our way home having had a very enjoyable visit.

Joyce Savinson

Local History 3Leader Christine Withams
On a wet, dismal June afternoon we enjoyed a leisurely tour of our most
local of Local History venues, Rose Bruford College in Sidcup. Many of us
had viewed Lamorbey House, a Grade 2 listed mansion, from the Glade
but most of us were unaware of how many new buildings had been added
to the college in recent years.

Thomas Sparrow owned the Lamaby estate in 1495, and William Steele,
a director of the East India company, bought the estate in 1744. He had
the 17th century mansion rebuilt, and in 1812 it passed to the Malcolms - a
branch of the family who made their money from sugar plantations in
Jamaica. In 1910, the private residence was converted into a hotel
offering use of a bowling green, tennis courts and bathing in the lake. In
1946, Kent Education Centre bought the mansion, and from 1950 the use
of the mansion and gardens was shared with Rose Bruford College, a
drama school. The Gatehouse in Hurst Road is at the original entrance to
the driveway to the park and house. It is now at the entrance to Hurstmere
School and Sidcup golf club. Any attempt to enter Lamorbey Park by car
from here today would prove futile. Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar
School, Sidcup Leisure Centre and many houses built in the 1930s
stretching to Penhill and Blackfen are occupying land on the former
Lamorbey estate.

Many courses to B.A. honours degree level are available to UK and
overseas students at the Rose Bruford College today. They include
courses in Acting, Actor Musicianship, Costume Production, Theatre,
Opera, Creative Lighting, European and American Theatre Arts to name
but a few. Amongst its many amenities is a large library which is part of
the Bexley library service and open to all members of Bexley libraries.
During our visit, a dress rehearsal was taking place in the Rose Theatre
so we were unable to go inside. This treat awaits you when you purchase
a ticket to attend a public performance. We were reliably informed that
these performances are of a very high standard. In March 2018, Rose
Bruford College alumnus and Fellow, Gary Oldman, was awarded best
actor Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Ilena Harrington

Freedom Pass ExplorersLeaders Christine Withams & Joy
In May, 12 of us took the Northern Line from London Bridge to Moorgate;
here we caught the Great Northern service to Enfield Chase which, on the
day, caused a bit of a problem as the entrance was via a spiral staircase!
It proved to be a long journey as, after sitting on the train for some while,
we were told to get off and join another train. It was a lovely day and
Enfield Chase was a good choice, and, having arrived late, some of us
decided to buy sandwiches and sit in the park. We then walked across the
park and along by the river passing charming houses with lovely gardens.
It was a lovely spring day out.

We were not so lucky in June - it rained all day! Ruislip Lido was our
destination because we thought that June and longer days would make for
a good visit. We ran into trouble from the start with train delays and all the
toilets at London Bridge closed. We used the Jubilee Line and then the
Metropolitan Line and also a bus! Friends had plenty of time to chat and,
of course, we stayed in the dry. Ruislip Lido is a lovely place, but so, so
wet on the day. There is a sandy beach, café and an excellent carvery
where we took refuge. There is also a little train which runs at weekends
and on school holidays. We took a short walk with umbrellas up!

Christine Withams

Photos taken on both trips are available to view on the Gallery page of this


Understanding Russia - a Cultural History • Leader Val Gosden
A series of lectures given by an American Professor. Twice monthly, 2nd &
4th Mondays, 2.30-4.00 pm, starting on Monday 9th September. This is a
new group.

Val Gosden

Book ReadingLeader June Reid
Our book for April was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine written by
Gail Honeyman and chosen by Pat. The theme of this story is “kindness”
and also “loneliness.”

Eleanor Oliphant is a 30-year-old woman with a classics degree but who
is employed in a poorly paid office job. She is mainly ignored by her
colleagues and lives alone. Her one passion is following the lead singer in
a Rock Band. When she finds her idol has feet of clay, she is devastated
and falls into depression. After helping a man who has had an accident in
the street, her life takes an unexpected turn; her simple, lonely life is in
upheaval. This quirk of fate changes her whole outlook on her very
existence. This book was enjoyed by everyone and voted best book of the
year so far. It has a real “feel good” factor. It is highly recommended.

June Reid

Sidcup and District U3A