Meetings are currently being held in the hall of St Paul’s Church, Long Lane (junction with Dukes Avenue) Finchley, N3 2PU. It is a short distance from Finchley Central tube station. Free car parking is available nearby. View Map
They take place usually on the second Monday of the month.  They start with an informal gathering over tea and coffee, served from 10.00 am. The main meeting, a talk by a distinguished expert in their area, starts at 10:45 and finishes around midday.
Please note that at all future members’ meetings you might find yourself locked out of the meeting if you do not arrive by 10.40, out of courtesy to the speaker and to abide by the fire regulations.

Angela Cox

Angela Cox

Margaret Brearley1

Margaret Brearley

Chris Derrett

Chris Derrett

Some recent speakers are shown here.

Meetings are organised by John Hajdu



Future and Recent Meetings:

Mon 11th June 2018
Developers and the City

When it comes to the names associated with prestigious City buildings, architects are in the front line. But what about the developers, the orchestrators of schemes? In this talk, professional qualified tour guide and former commercial property lawyer Colin Davey will talk about some of the buildings that, from the 1980s onwards, have defined the City landscape, and about the characters, many of them larger than life, behind those buildings. Our speaker, was a solicitor in practice and managing partner of the City law firm Nabarrro, now part of CMS. Today he combines delivering training to lawyers with being a professional tour guide and lecturer.

Mon 14th May 2018
Whose life is it anyway?

Our three speakers today will be Sylvia Lewin, Derek Epstein and Janet Home, who are all members of the North London Group of “Dignity in Dying”. A play of that name by Brian Clark, premiered in 1978, which proves how long ago the subject of dignity in dying became an important philosophical discussion.  It is still vital today that we consider the arguments in favour of changing the law in this country so that the terminally ill who want to opt for a dignified death, instead of suffering, have that option.  Our speakers will talk about the importance of Advance Decisions as well as the safeguards surrounding the potential of assisted dying.

There is no monthly meeting in April

Mon 12th March 2018
Highlights of the National Portrait Gallery Collection
NatportraitgalleryWhen the National Portrait Gallery first opened its doors in 1856, it contained only 57 paintings. Today it is home to the most extensive collection of portraits in the world with 2500 paintings and over 250,000 photographs. Our speaker will explore some of the most significant portraits on display, from the creation of Hans Holbein’s image of kingship and its embodiment in the person of Henry VIII in the Whitehall Cartoon to Lucian Freud’s painterly and unflinchingly direct self portraits. What makes a portrait “iconic”? How does an artist approach a portrait commission? And in this modern age of photography and mass media, have our expectations of what a portrait should be changed? Our speaker, Julie Barlow has a degree in Art History/History from the University of Hull and an MPhil (Fine Arts) from the University of Birmingham. She worked in a variety of roles at Leighton House, V&A and Tate Gallery before studying for a PGCE and moving into Museum Education. Julie has over twenty years of experience as a freelance lecturer at the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery and Wallace Collection. She also works as an Art Tutor for The City Lit.

Mon 12th February 2018
From Nomads to Nation: A look at the settling of the Nile Valley:
egyptThis talk starts with the very early history and settling of the land.  It begins with some archaeology of the area, the early settlers; the movement of the semi-nomadic people of the savannah away from the grassland and their settling of the Nile Valley.  The talk will also cover the significant, distinctive and unusual geographical and environmental influences; the importance of the Nile, and the Nile inundation; as well as their rich natural recourses, that all helped to build the fabulous wealth of this land and culture.   The origins of their religious beliefs and royal iconography, the beginnings of their writing and early skills in working in stone – without all of which this mighty culture might never have arisen – will also be included. Finally the talk will take us through the unification of Egypt, to the beginning of pharaonic rule and the stabilising of Ancient Egypt. Our speaker Janet Diamond lived in Egypt for three years and has a diploma in Egyptology. She has been giving talks for more than 5 years across a wide area and has recently been accepted as a Guest Speaker on cruise ships.

Mon 8th January 2018
Farming in North London – ‘Digging up the dirt’
lester hillmanFrom Roman ‘Highgate Ware’ and Boadicea through Saxon ditches, medieval accounts and ‘dairy wars’ North London has deep agricultural roots. This lavishly illustrated presentation will explore two millennia through field boundaries, buried rivers, place names, saints, songs and much more.  Our speaker Lester Hillman has had a career in international railways and planning. In 2008 he became a Visiting Professor at London Metropolitan University and is the recipient of a number of international and professional awards. He also leads heritage programmes and walks as well as lecturing and writing. For many years he has supported the work of the Kentish Town City Farm and he has an allotment.

Mon 13th November 2017
London through Artists’ Eyes. 
london2The story of London’s life, landscape, people and social manners, explored through the work of artists down the centuries to the present day.  The talk aims to show the continually changing visions of Britain’s capital city.

Our speaker is Mark Lewis who is a freelance artist, designer-silversmith and retired university lecturer. He also has a passion for lighthouses and is a keen folklorist with an interest in unusual local customs and rituals. In 2013 he published a book on the folklore and popular customs of the church. Mark regularly gives illustrated talks to Probus, WIs, U3As, art and historical societies, etc. on silver and jewellery, art and design history, folklore and lighthouses.

Mon 9th October 2017
Treasures from the Thames
This talk will explore the disappearing archaeology on the Thames foreshore in London through the work of the Thames Discovery Programme. When the tide is out, the Thames is the longest open-air archaeological site in London, and much of the foreshore is freely accessible to the public. However, many of the exposed archaeological sites are often unrecognised and unprotected, and almost all are vulnerable to the twice-daily scouring of the tidal river. The Thames Discovery Programme is a community archaeology project, which since 2008, has been training and supporting volunteers across London to monitor and record archaeological features found on the Thames at low tide.

Our speaker, Helen Johnston, is a Senior Community Archaeologist with the Thames Discovery Programme. She  supports  volunteer groups and is working on a project to engage older Londoners with the archaeology of the Thames, funded by City Bridge Trust.

Mon 11th September 2017
Sparkling Stories from My Life In Show Business

entertainmentHoward Tâloosty will talk about the many well-known and well-loved Artistes & Entertainers with whom he worked.   Most of the stories are funny and all of the stories are true!

Howard spent over 38 years in many areas of the entertainment industry as musician, promoter, agent and manager.

Mon 12th June 2017
Picasso’s Guernica

PicassoGuernicaGuernica was a Republican-held  town which the German Condor Legion blitzed for several hours on 26 April 1937, a market day, in support of Franco. There was great destruction and civilian loss of life. Picasso heard about the atrocity as he working on a mural for the Republican Spanish pavilion at  the 1937 Paris Exhibition. He abruptly abandoned the original design, and began the great anti-war painting instead.  Its overall drift cannot be doubted but Picasso could be elusive about the meaning of its individual details, and there have been widely varying interpretations. The talk will be about the relationship of these particular elements with each other and the whole.  Initially the mural was not well received, either by the Right or (more puzzlingly) the Left, but it gradually established itself as the pre-eminent political painting of the 1930s.   Guernica did not reach its permanent home in Madrid until 1981 as Picasso stipulated that democracy must return before it could go to Spain.
Our speaker, Robin Blake,  is the author of a number of books on art, including lives of Anthony Van Dyck and George Stubbs as well as six novels, four of which are in the ongoing “Cragg and Fidelis” historical crime series.

Mon 8th May 2017
The architecture of the London Underground – there’s more to it than meets the eye

The architecture of London Underground Stations is, in many cases quite iconic. However we often take them for granted and don’t realise the reasoning behind many of their features.
Subjects covered will include:

  • Who were the major architects?
  • The Underground has sponsored major works of art, where are they?
  • The prospects for the future in station design and features.

Speaker: Michael Burman
Michael graduated in geography and qualified as a teacher from London University. He has been a specialist teacher in Camden, Islington and Harrow for over 30 years, the last 16 being as the Senior Deputy Head Teacher of one of London’s largest comprehensive schools. He was also an accredited member of OFSTED School Inspectorate.
Michael is currently one of the longest serving elected Fellows of The Royal Geographical Society.
Following educational positions he has been the Chief Executive/Senior Officer in a number of charitable organisations including being the First Director of Diabetes UK London region.


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