Category Archives: Talks

9th January 2012 Mr Dennis Ashton – Light Speed Universe

Having fin­ished the year with a bang by going back in time at the Kelham Island Museum, Dennis Ashton took us into the future on a Light Speed jour­ney to the stars! Or was it back in time since the things we see from light years out in the uni­verse happened light years ago! Whichever way you look at it, this morning’s talk was beau­ti­fully illus­trated and excel­lently delivered, and it cap­tiv­ated us all. We boarded the space­ship Light Speed and trav­elled at over 186,000miles per second – that’s over 11million miles a minute and my cal­cu­lator won’t go much fur­ther! We reached the moon in 3mins and the sun shortly after that. By the end of our jour­ney, on the edge of space we were over bil­lions of light years from earth – stun­ning. By our return to earth we had seen the plan­ets, stars and galax­ies and black holes – all inside 45mins! Brilliant! Have a look at his web­site — where there is a host of inform­a­tion. For novice star gazes he recom­men­ded down­load­ing which shows the sky at for each night of the year. I’m off to buy a tele­scope but first I must look on you tube at his monthly show which gives advice on just this topic —

2011 goes out with a bang!

Following a very suc­cess­ful year with increas­ing member num­bers, and some really first class speak­ers, Stumperlowe Probus fin­ished the year with a visit to Kelham Island Museum – the Industrial museum of Sheffield’s Steel, Hand Tool and Cutlery her­it­age. Earlier in the year we had received an excel­lent talk from John Hamshere, the Museum Director, in which he detailed the vast amount of work which had to be done to restore the museum to its cur­rent state after the floods in Sheffield of June 2007.

Our visit, con­duc­ted by John, allowed us to see the work­shops of the “Little Mesters” (Master Craftsmen) who each had their own spe­ci­al­ity in the tool and cut­lery making pro­cess. Interactive dis­plays and an amaz­ing rep­lica of the steel making pro­cess in which chil­dren become the raw mater­ial along with ones for adults, allowed us to touch the exhib­its and brought to life all the items about which he had pre­vi­ously spoken. A fas­cin­at­ing step back into the great steel making days of Sheffield. SONY DSCWatching the colossal 12,000hp River Don Engine in steam rum­bling away (see pic­ture), which rolled the armour plate for the Dreadnought ships, was the high­light to a really mar­vel­lous tour. If you come to Sheffield – don’t miss it! ( We meet on Mondays and vis­it­ors are always wel­come – see our web­site for details —

Professor Bob Shoemaker — Crime & Punishment in 18th- Century London.

12th December

Contrary to pop­u­lar belief London was not quite the den of thieves and vag­a­bonds that we had all believed. Bob Shoemaker’s excel­lent present­a­tion proved just that, and fur­ther­more revealed stat­ist­ical evid­ence to back his argu­ment. He has been instru­mental in put­ting all the repor­ted Old Bailey cases between 1674 and 1913 on line and these can be reached at – a fas­cin­at­ing store of crimes over those years. Another on line source is which shows where and to what extent crimes were com­mit­ted along with a host of other inform­a­tion of 18th cen­tury London. As always there were plenty of ques­tions from the floor and good inter­ac­tion made for a most inter­est­ing morn­ing.

5th December Mr J P Bean Sheffield Chronicles (Ladies Day)

Those who braved the snow and wintry weather enjoyed a trip through vari­ous snip­pets of times past in Sheffield. Julian’s inter­est­ing book of the same name, gives details of events hap­pen­ing through­out the year, over the years in our great city. From Buffalo Bill’s tour­ing circus to Queen Victoria’s open­ing of the Town Hall, and on to Laurel and Hardy’s appear­ance at a city theatre; these were just a few of the stor­ies covered. Some great memor­ies from a book that would make an ideal Christmas gift!


28th November Professor Mel. Jones The Remarkable Gatty Family of Ecclesfield.

Indeed, this was a truly remark­able story and by the end of Mel’s talk we all felt some­what humbled by the achieve­ments of this amaz­ing family. Alfred Gatty arrived in Ecclesfield in 1839 at the age of 26, having been appoin­ted vicar to the then far reach­ing parish of Ecclesfield. The Gatty family grew both in number and talent and made us all ques­tion whether tele­vi­sion and modern enter­tain­ment has suf­foc­ated the tal­ents of the TV gen­er­a­tion.


21st November — Mr Martin Olive — Old Sheffield Pubs.

Local his­tor­ian Martin traced the devel­op­ment of the licensed premise from the early days of the licens­ing laws and then took us on a pictorial trip into the past to see some of the old Sheffield pubs that no longer sur­vive along with many that still do. He revealed that some years ago the local Fulwood vicar bought the local pub on Old Fulwood Road and turned it in to a coffee house. It is now a private house next to Ranmoor Motor Company. It was memory lane for many of us!