Monthly talk

It has become a tradition at Beccles U3A for the monthly meeting to be followed by a Guest Speaker. As you will see from the list below, the subjects are very varied. With topics ranging from a personal story of climbing Mount Everest to the incredible story of the 25-year strike at our local Burston School, they are not to be missed.

The monthly talk takes place immediately after the Monthly Meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 10.30 at Beccles Public Hall.


Monthly Talk 15 May 2018: Dr Richard Hoggett Cold War Archaeology

Dr. Richard Hoggett gave an extremely informative talk to the Beccles U3A at the May meeting. He defined archaeology as ‘The study of the past from its material remnants’ and after a more general summary of the Cold War, featured a large number of examples relating to East Anglia.

Richard is a freelance heritage consultant, writer and lecturer with over 20 years’ experience in the academic, commercial and local authority heritage sectors. He has worked with the University of Suffolk as part of the Saxon Shore project and the St Edmund's Abbey project. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

He explained how there is an increasing move towards recognising the civil defence remnants from the First and Second World Wars as archaeologically important.

This is due to the fact that many of these items were constructed out of concrete which are not permanent as they break up. Other items are lost due to coastal erosion.

Richard gave a brief background to the Cold War and explained how at the end of the Second World War the Yalta and Potsdam conferences were called to help the Allies decide what would happen to Europe. The Potsdam map shows how the countries were split up. Berlin, the German capital, fell in the Russian area and so was itself divided into East and West Berlin.

He then went on to show various local examples:

Orford Ness Atomic Weapons Research Establishment A series of buildings were built to carry out tests and this area was selected due its remoteness. The buildings included a control room, vibration testing building and centrifuge building.

There were pagoda style buildings and the concept was that if it was struck the struts would collapse and the roof would seal off the bottom part.

Cobra Mist surveillance project at Orford Ness which created a dish effect to endeavour to survey over the horizon.

Barnby Royal Observer Corps Orlit posts These structures were split into two sections. The entrance door led into the smaller roofed section which was used as a shelter and store with a sliding door into the open section which housed the post instrument and chart on top of a wooden mounting. Two types of Orlit posts existed, the Orlit ‘A’ was at ground level and the Orlit ‘B’ was raised 6ft on four legs with a ladder for access.

RAF Coltishall The aerial view shows its long runway, the blast walls into which aircraft were tucked for protection, bomb stores and control towards

RAF Honington with its aircraft hangar

RAF Bawdsley’s early warning surveillance system

RAF Neatishead which has a radar museum

Richard summarised by emphasising how important it is to retain these remnants which are now history for the current generation!

Thank you Vicki John for this excellent report


Wed 20th June 2018:- Doreen Reed Stories and Poetry
As an entertainer, Doreen has enchanted many audiences throughout the UK with her homespun amusing poems & tales of everyday life. If you remember the 50's and 60's you will appreciate her subtle humour.

Wed 18th July 2018:- Andrew Sankey-Smith Gertrude Jekyll and her gardens
Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), created some 400 gardens, many in association with English architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens. She was one of the first of her profession to take into account the colour, texture, and experience of gardens as aspects of her designs.

Wed 15th August 2018:- Pip Wright Suffolk Witches

Wed 19th September 2018:- Adrian Brown Conducting the music - Waveney Sinfonia

Wed 17th October 2018:- Cathy Small Protecting against Fraud

Wed 21 November 2018:- Richard Hughes from the Assembly House in Norwich - A Career in the Hospitality Industry

Wed 19 December 2018:- Christmas Meeting

Wed 16 January 2019:- Dr Stephen Ashworth Lasers - how they work

Wed 20 February 2019:- Graham Higgins Tales from the Bench - a magistrate reviews his work

Wed 20 March 2019:- Sally Dearman Women CAN fly - a female pilot talks of her experiences

Review Past Monthly Talks

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