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General Interest

We meet at the Salvation Army Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven every other Wednesday afternoon at 2pm.
We make a small charge of £3 which includes refreshments and also covers venue hire and speaker costs.

Please note NO PARKING is available at the centre but a few spaces can be kept for disabled drivers by arrangement - please see Kevan.
NB: there is actually a public car park right next door.

U3A General meetings to May 2024

3rd April – DAVID TIERNEY ‘’Swiped’’
David will tell us about his new comedy drama which is set in and around West Cumbria and is about a girl based in Whitehaven. The play will be premiered by Rosehill Players at Rosehill Theatre in May. David along with Roger Wilson and Anne Wilson will act out a few scenes to give us a taster. You will also have a chance to buy tickets.

17th April – MARK FISHPOOL “Crime Prevention & Life as a PCSO
Police community support officers (PCSOs) support the work of Cumbria Constabulary by providing a visible and reassuring presence on the streets. PCSOs deal with a wide range of crime and disorder problems. PCSOs share some, but not all of the powers of police officers. They work alongside them but do not have the powers of arrest.
PCSOs work closely with police colleagues and partners in the community to provide an approachable uniformed presence with the aim of addressing crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour, thereby improving the quality of life in local communities. Overall, they assist in making the public feel safe, satisfied and reassured.

1st May – ANTHONY PAYNE ‘’An Introduction to Vietnam and Cambodia’’
Anthony, who is one of our regular speakers, will be talking about his very recent and fascinating trip to these two countries. His talks are always interesting and illustrated by wonderful photographs.

15th May – POSTPONED - Chris Donaldson “The Influence of the Ordnance Survey on the Lake District’s ‘Name-scape’. This has had to be postponed due to illness.

15th May - ALAN BANKS ‘’The Lancaster Bomber’’
An illustrated talk about a fascinating aeroplane.

29th May – BRIAN TOPPING “Tales of a Customs Officer”
At the start of his career at Heathrow, the bulk of a customs officer’s work involved checking what passengers arriving in the country had brought with them, particularly what they had obtained abroad, in order to ensure any duties liable had been paid or were declared by the traveller. Brian will recount amusing stories of passengers checking into the 'nothing to declare' area.
Brian will describe the aptitudes which are required of customs officers. As well as observance, they need to have an awareness of the workings of the airports, airlines and procedures at foreign airports. They acquire knowledge of different types of luggage and clothing used by smugglers and evasion tactics of criminals trying to enter the country or launder money. Away from the constant surveillance, vigilance and awareness of everyday activities, customs officers also have to act quickly when a threat is imminent.
During his long career, Brian has been an undercover officer, and also worked with the Treasury Department and the Cabinet Office. It can be a hazardous occupation and we will be reminded of the dangers faced by all law enforcement officers.

12th June – ALAN CLEAVER ‘’Postal Paths’’ (after a short talk by Michelle Bailey on ‘Schoolreaders’)
Up until as late as the 1970s, postmen and women in rural areas walked their delivery rounds - taking long routes through the hills dubbed "Postal Paths".
Some routes, and fragments of others, still survive today. So far, Alan has identified over thirty of them up and down the UK. Sadly, others have now been built over and are gone forever.
Alan is now writing a book about these old paths and the cultural significance of the postal service in the past. He recounts the poignant story of a man who used to write letters to himself, just so that the postman would call by and he would have a visitor.
In a recent BBC Radio 4 “Open Country” programme Helen Mark and Alan explore one of the paths near the village of Shap in Cumbria.
Alan and Helen also discuss the disappearing role of postmen and women, in the age of electronic communication. (The programme is still available on BBC Sounds).

26th June – JEAN SCOTT-SMITH “Lakeland Dialect Society - Promoting, preserving and celebrating the dialect of Lakeland”
Formed in 1939, the Lakeland Dialect Society came about out of a series of "Merry Neets", entertaining get-togethers at which town and country folk talk, sing and recite poetry, in the dialect of the Lakeland region: Cum-berland, Westmorland and the Furness district of Lancashire, now all in the modern county of Cumbria in the English Lake District.
The first Lakeland Dialect Society committee met at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle on June 10, 1939.
From the outset the Society was dedicated to the academic study of the Cumbrian dialects and to fostering the dialect speech and writing. Members agreed that the aims of the society would be to preserve and celebrate the ancient speech of the region.

10th July - CHRIS DONALDSON “The Influence of the Ordnance Survey on the Lake District’s ‘Name-scape’
Dr Chris Donaldson is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural History at Lancaster University
His research concerns the cultural history of landscape, primarily in Britain, with an emphasis on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
How did the names we find on Ordnance Survey (OS) maps get there? Who was it who chose those names? Who decided how they should be spelled? What do those names reveal about the history of the places they describe? What, by the same token, do those names conceal? In this talk, we’ll delve into these and other questions by reporting on work completed as part of a research project at Lancaster University: ‘Envisaging Landscapes and Naming Places: the Lake District before the Map’. This project has taken an important first step towards the complete digitisation of the OS Name Books for Cumberland and Westmorland by completing a proof-of-concept case study focused on the Name Books for the parish of Grasmere. In our talk, we shall explain how this case study was conceived and conducted, and we shall consider the extent to which Victorian developments and priorities (as well as errors in the OS’s cataloguing process) influenced the maps through which people have experienced the Lake District for more than 150 years. We shall also discuss the choice of authorities for the names listed in the OS Name Books, and we shall assess what those choices reveal about Victorian society in and around Grasmere.



19th June the U3A SUMMER LUNCH will be held at the HUNDITH HILL HOTEL 12 for 12.30pm

£28 per person (including tea or coffee) plus £1 tip (please see Reports page for menu)
Please pre book and give your menu choices to Judith Jordan