Monthly Meetings

In normal times each month Chester u3a holds a Speaker meeting on the 1st Tuesday of the month and a Members meeting on the 2nd Thursday of the month. Whilst we are unable to meet in person at St Columbas Hall online replacements are being provided. The link for each online meeting is emailed to all members shortly before. See the Events page for details.

Coffee Monthly meetings are held at St Columba's Church Hall, Plas Newton Lane, Upton, CH2 1SA. There is limited parking at the hall so please use public transport if possible. All members will be required to show their membership card on arrival to gain entry. Prospective members may be allowed to stay for the meeting if space is available. A cup of tea/coffee and biscuit is offered at no charge.

Upcoming meetings are shown on the EVENTS page and a sample of recent meetings are given below.

Speakers for our Tuesday meetings are organised by Sue Foy our Speaker Secretary
Thursday meetings are arranged by Jenny Carley & Dave Stork.

A Sample of Previous Meetings

Tuesday March 2nd - Music without audiences: a Hope Opera.
How do you keep your musical life and spirits up in lockdown?
Darron Moore is a professional musician originally from Leicestershire, now London, who has had to answer that very question! Darron has sung all over the world as an operatic baritone, is director of several workplace choirs, and has worked with movie stars, charities, and prisoners to help them find hope and harmony through music.
In this presentation he will share how music has shaped his life so far and how musicians responded to lockdown challenges.
Darron came from a Midlands mining town to sing at The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and went on to lead choirs in some of the worlds largest businesses, Darron can offer tips on keeping your voice in trim during this difficult period. These insights will be interspersed with musical excerpts from his career, and recordings produced remotely. He will also share material the choirs have produced during these past months in lockdown!

Tuesday February 2nd - The History of the Biscuit by Lizzie Collingwood
Bourbons. Digestives. Fig Rolls. Gingernuts. Jammie Dodgers.
Why do the British buy and eats more biscuits than any other nation? We develop our biscuit preferences early and tend to favour those that evoke nostalgic childhood memories. Often they offer emotional rather than nutritional sustenance. Come along to our talk, learn about our social history, and join us with your cup of tea or coffee, and favourite biscuit.

Thursday 14 January - From George Washington to Donald Trump and beyond: what governs how US presidents get elected - a talk by Ken Lawrence.
January 20th 2021 sees the inauguration of the 46th American president, Joe Biden. How did democracy develop in the United States? Why do they have (what seems to us) such a convoluted electoral system? This talk looks at how the mechanisms and rules put in place in the 18th Century, before the French Revolution, still impact on and indeed potentially shape American politics in the 21st Century. From the earliest beginnings in the thirteen colonies, through the American Revolution, Civil War, and the Civil Rights movement, to the present day.

Tuesday 5th January - the Power of False Confessions by Dr Glenys Holt.
Why do people falsely confess and what are the consequences of doing so? Most people think that they would never confess to a crime that they did not commit, and yet false confessions happen with surprising regularity and often result in wrongful conviction. We will talk about why confessions are so compelling that jurors find them difficult to ignore, even when the confession does not match the crime. Join us for an introduction to one of the most intriguing topics in forensic psychology.

Tuesday 1st December - Puritanical Protestants and Petulant Peasants: The Festival and Feast Day Year in the 1500-1700s.
Feast days and Festivals were hugely important in late Mediaeval and Early Modern Europe, perhaps as a means of escape from the humdrum existence of the poor. Were celebrations getting out of hand? Carnival could be extravagant, Lent pious, and Christmas debaucherous. We all learned in school that Cromwell banned Christmas, but how true is that? If so, what made him do it? And what was happening in Chester during these times? Watch this talk by Dr Sam Chadwick of the University of Chester to find some of the answers.

Thursday 12th November - Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham and the Cosy Catastrophe. John Wyndham’s work has sometimes been described as “cosy catastrophe”, but in fact there’s little that is “cosy” about Day of the Triffids, his massive best-seller published in 1951 just as the Cold War was getting more dangerous and the certainties of British society were rapidly crumbling. Wyndham gave us a new word (even today, in garden centres around the country, you may hear large, intimidating plants described as “triffids”), a book that has never been out of print, and some uncanny resonances with today’s changed world. Chester U3A member Andy Sawyer was until recently responsible for the largest research library in Europe devoted to science fiction, the Science Fiction Foundation Collection at the University of Liverpool. In 2009 he co-edited Plan for Chaos, a novel discovered when the archive of John Wyndham, best known for The Day of the Triffids, was purchased by the University. Andy will talk about how “John Beynon Harris”, a minor writer for American pulps, reinvented himself as “John Wyndham” and became the science fiction writer read by millions who “don’t read science fiction”, and how The Day of the Triffids expressed the anxieties of the early 1950s in a way no realistic novel could.

Thursday 10th September - Online replacement for the Thursday meeting was The Hidden Life of Trees webinar.
Are trees the most successful life form on the planet? Critical for our survival and a model for sustainable living, a force for good across the world's climatic range and a net contributor to the health and well-being of all the other life forms that have flourished and faded over the millennia. Stuart Murray of Chester U3A discusses the wonders and complexities of these essential organisms, and invites you to describe and celebrate your own favourite tree. If there is sufficient interest from members then 'Trees' could form the basis of a short course over the Autumn.

Tuesday 1st September - Our online talk for this month is Murder Investigations. An introduction to the world of a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) in today's police force. Ever watched Morse, Midsomer Murders, or the like? Have you wondered how it is really done in today's police force? Then watch this talk by Simon Price, former SIO and now a Chester University lecturer in Policing. A live webinar, with Q&A, and a recording available for around a month afterwards.

Tuesday 5th May - Video talk by Jim Holmes on the Mongolian Altai on-line. The landscapes were breathtaking and the stories of peoples nomadic lives intriguing. We saw how the United Nations Children's Fund is helping remote communities with a serious education shortage and learn how difficult it is to reach the very far west of this vast country. Visit remote communities that hunt with eagles and drink tea with camels' milk, then travel with herders as they prepare to move to spring pastures, and see how the schools follow them.

Thursday 10th October 2019 - Mike Ford, Gold Award Winning Sausage Producer, talks about his previous career, life changing accident, and his passion for Pigs!!

Tuesday 1st October 2019 - Faces and Identity - Professor Caroline Wilkinson will describe how craniofacial anthropology can contribute towards the depiction of faces from the past and from contemporary forensic investigation and discuss the challenges and limitations of this research. You will discover the application of forensic anthropology techniques to the depiction of famous historical figures (such as Richard III and Robert the Bruce), preserved bodies (such as Ancient Egyptian mummies or bog bodies) and disease or trauma in ancient populations.

Tuesday 3rd September 2019 - The Science of Chocolate: Food of the Gods by Dr Diana Leitch including some tasting experiences! The history of chocolate back in Central America over 2000 years ago, its coming to Europe with the Spaniards and the change to the products we know and love today are all explained. Medical and economic concepts are explored.

Thursday 12th September 2019 - Care in Later Life by Rebecca Zartarian covering topics such as:
- What is meant by care, what care could you receive?
- How do you go about arranging care?
- What might it cost to have care?
- Am I entitled to any funding?
- How do I know the company I choose will be any good?
- What should I look for when choosing a care company?
- Q&A session