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WAHS Lectures 2017-18

Notes on some of our lecturers are given below.


Fri 15th September 2017 - 'The Charter of the Forest 1217, its 800th Anniversary, and Relevance to the Forest of Essex - Richard Morris OBE

Fri 20th October 2017 - The History of a Victorian Glassworks - Mike Beech

Fri 17th November 2017 - Education in Tudor Essex - Tony Tuckwell

Fri 15th December 2017 - Christmas Meeting - Members' Evening with Mince Pies
A chance to catch up with what WAHS has been doing recently

contributions will include The Waltham Abbey Tapestry by Tricia Gurnett

Fri 19th January 2018 - Shops and Shopping before Supermarkets - Dr. Chris Pond OBE

Fri 16th February 2018 - The Great Fire of London - Cath Hammond

Fri 16th March 2018 - Puddephatt Memorial Lecture: Archaeological Practice. How sites are identified and projects developed - John Shepherd FSA

Fri 20th April 2018 - AGM & President's Address - Stan Newens

Fri 18th May 2018 - The Stort Story - Richard Thomas


WAHS holds lectures on the third Friday of each month from September to May, at the Baptist Church, Paradise Road, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1RL (see map). Admission is free for all, though a £1 donation is invited from non-members.

There is a large car park behind the Town Hall (its entrance is to the side of Spitfire restaurant - EN9 1RD). The Baptist church is a 2-minute walk from the car park exit, heading due east through an archway in a block of flats.

For a printable version of this location map, please click here.

The evening lasts from 8pm sharp to 10pm. Our bookstall will be available for browsing, tea or coffee and biscuits will be available in the interval, and our officers will be available for roasting.


NOTES ON SOME OF OUR LECTURERS (apologies for these being incomplete)


Tricia Gurnett fell in love with Waltham Abbey at a young age, on a visit with her parents. Her career as a Ministerial PA saw her appointed as Personal Agent to the Member of Parliament for Epping Forest in 1977 - “I quickly learnt that Waltham Abbey is a most important part of the constituency, and I loved every time I was in the town because of its beauty and heritage, and because the people are so friendly.”

Tricia has served as committee member, trustee, secretary and director of Waltham Abbey Youth 2000, and is co-founder and chairman of the King Harold Day annual festival, which has been immensely successful since its birth in 2004. She is Joint Chairman of the Tourism Sub Committee of Waltham Abbey Town Partnership, and is actively involved in the Waltham Abbey Tapestry project.

She also modestly contributed to the First World War Centenary Quilt, which has been exhibited around the country, and has a keen interest in seagoing craft. She runs “The Barge Blog” for the Society for Sailing Barge Research, for which she is also a committee member and events organiser; and in her role as an Educational Volunteer for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, gives talks to classes of schoolchildren. She has also lectured on “the Story of Lifeboats and the RNLI”.

In recognition of her many local achievements, she was recently awarded the Freedom of Waltham Abbey.


Cath Hammond is the Education and Outreach Officer for Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museums.


Richard Morris OBE has had a great passion for Epping Forest, where he has lived all of his life. After a career in the City, he supported the Epping Forest Conservation Volunteers and the Friends of Epping Forest, and is now a Trustee of the Epping Forest Centenary Trust. He has held the ancient office of Verderer of Epping Forest since 1998.

He is a prominent member of Loughton & District Historical Society, serving as their Secretary for ten years, and has pursued numerous research projects. He recently identified the forgotten resting place of John Thomas Bedford, whose early proposal that the City of London Corporation should secure Epping Forest for the people probably saved it from development.

Richard has authored and edited around a dozen highly regarded and thoroughly researched historical and biographical works, some jointly with Dr. Chris Pond, on Epping Forest, Loughton, Epping, and many of their more notable residents at different periods. He has also written a biography of Lieutenant General Sir Francis Lloyd, “the man who ran London during the Great War”.


Stan Newens, President of WAHS, is an indefatigable campaigner for civil rights and freedom, actively supports numerous philanthropic bodies, and has been an active Labour Member of Parliament, Member of the European Parliament, and trade unionist for many years. He has published about three dozen books, articles and papers in the fields of politics, social and local history, topography, genealogy and biography, on such subjects as the Co-operative Society, North Weald Bassett, Thomas Edward Bowkett, multinational corporations, the Third World, NATO, Chartism, the East End of London, the Labour Party, Leah Manning, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and the novelist and Japanese art connoisseur Arthur Morrison.

From his autobiography In Quest of a Fairer Society: “In my life I have striven at all the levels at which I have been involved, including the local, to seek to persuade people to come together and work for the common good. This is still my aim.”

In her recent academic study of Arthur Morrison’s novel A Child of the Jago (published by Broadview Press, Canada, 2014, p.10), Dr. Diana Maltz, Professor of English at South Oregon University, praises Stan’s recent biography of Morrison as “substantial detective work” which is benefiting today’s scholars. Much the same can be said of Stan’s other studies, not to mention his many social achievements.


Dr. Chris Pond MA, PhD Hons, OBE is an Independent Local Councillor and an active member of the Loughton Residents’ Association. He has been a member of Loughton Town Council since 1996, serving as Chairman in 1997/98 and Town Mayor 2004/05, and he and his wife Caroline recently served as chairman and vice-chairman of its Environment and Heritage Committee. He has also been a member of Essex County Council since 2005, sitting as member, vice-chairman and chairman of several of its committees, groups and forums.

He has written and lectured on history, conservation, transport, heritage, parliamentary subjects and political history. He is Chairman of Loughton & District Historical Society, and has authored a number of their publications, some in collaboration with Richard Morris. He a member or trustee of several local charities, and has locally reinvigorated the practice of installing blue plaques on houses of historical interest, flouting its recent national decline as part of governmental austerity measures. He had one put on his own home in recognition of a memorable former owner, and since then Loughton Town Council have erected well over thirty on local buildings.

Chris was awarded the OBE on his retirement from the House of Commons Library.


John Shepherd BA, FSA, MCIfA is a specialist in Roman provincial archaeology and the study of ancient glass. He served at the Museum of London for over 20 years, and has excavated Roman-era remains in Italy, France, Bulgaria and elsewhere. He is currently Chairman and Consultant Archaeologist for West Essex Archaeological Group, and is heading the Copped Hall Trust Archaeological Project’s investigations into the remains of the Tudor predecessor of Copped Hall. He is the author of numerous articles, especially on Roman and medieval glass, and taught various aspects of European archaeology at Highgate Literary and Scientific Institute. He is the Director of Archaeology for Andante Travels, and a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.


Tony Tuckwell served as a teacher and governor of New Hall School, and as head teacher at King Edward VI Grammar School, both near Chelmsford. He is now a historian, author and tour guide, using his talents to raise considerable sums for charitable causes. Some of our members may remember him recently giving us a guided tour of New Hall School.


Notes compiled by the website editor.



Copyright Waltham Abbey Historical Society, 2007.