2017-2018 Programme

Meetings are held on Wednesdays at 8 pm in the Friends’ Meeting House, Rickfords Hill, Aylesbury, HP20 2RT (except where stated otherwise). For location and travel information please click here. Admission to meetings is free to full and associate members of the Historical Association. Visitors and Students welcome: Admission £2

18 October 2017

Reporting the Burma Campaign: war correspondents and media management in the Burma campaign 1942-1944

(Preceded by the Annual General Meeting at 7.30)  Dr Philip Woods, New York University in London More information

Dr Philip Woods teaches ‘Cultures and Contexts: Contesting British National Identity’, and also ‘Britain and Slavery’ at NYU in London. Until recently he taught at Kingston University, London where he was Academic Advisor in the International Office. He studied History at the London School of Economics and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His doctorate, which was published, was on British-Indian politics after the First World War. His current research is on the British use of film propaganda in India, and the role of war correspondents in Burma during the Second World War. He has published in a number of academic journals including The Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, South Asia and Indian Horizons.


15 November 2017

Art & Design in the Chilterns

Dr Graham Twemlow, Decorative Arts Historian More information

A retired University academic Dr Twemlow writes and lectures on design history and decorative arts subjects. His PhD (University of Reading) focused on the poster designs of the celebrated American-born artist, E. McKnight Kauffer. Graham was a major contributor to the well-acclaimed Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design, working as specialist consultant, writer and editor. He has given talks at numerous institutes and venues in the UK, including Christie’s South Kensington, the Royal Society of Arts and, recently, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.


20 December 2017

Aylesbury – A Music Town

(Preceded by the Christmas social at 7.15) David Stopps and Stephen Daglish, Music promoters and managers More information

Aylesbury ran as a music club in the market town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire between 1969 and 1984 in three distinct phases denoted by the venue in the town. Over these fifteen years, there were various trials and tribulations which saw Friars teeter on the edge more than once but it pulled through and presented the best artists of its day and is acknowledged as being heavily responsible for the subsequent success of such artists as David Bowie, Genesis, Wishbone Ash, Mott the Hoople, Cockney Rebel, Sailor, Stackridge, Stiff Little Fingers and more. Fans and artists loved the club, not least because of the atmosphere and the fact they were treated well by people who were genuine music enthusiasts. 


17 January 2018

Charlemagne’s Web: Building an Early Medieval Charter Database

Dr Rachel Stone, University of Bedfordshire More information

Charlemagne’s reign corresponds to an exceptionally high peak in the documentary record: some 4,500 documents survive from this period, more than for any other early medieval ruler. Though their distribution is patchy, charters have been preserved from all the main regions of Charlemagne’s empire. Besides the sheer volume of material they contain, they constitute a major source for other reasons. They are the most useful available source for social and economic history; further, whereas narrative sources hardly ever mention anyone outside the immediate entourage of the king, charters allow access, often of a very direct and personal kind, to broader sections of the population from regional elites to local peasant landowners. These characteristics make charters by far the richest source of prosopographical data for the Carolingian empire. see


21 February 2018

The message in the map: what is the cartographer telling us … and why?

Nick Millea, Maps Librarian, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford More information

 The Bodleian Library Map Department which holds 1.25 million maps, 20,000 atlases and an every growing number of CD-ROMs, digital datasets and cartographic software is, along with the British Library, one of the two biggest map depositories in Britain, far exceeding any others. Both are holders of two of the top ten collections in the world.


21 March 2018

Disraeli and the Transformation of the Victorian Conservative Party

Prof Lawrence Goldman, Institute of Historical Research, London More information

Lawrence Goldman was born and raised in London and attended the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Elstree (of which he is now a governor). He went to Jesus College, Cambridge in 1976 to read History, graduating with a double first in 1979. Awarded a Harkness Fellowship, he studied American History at Yale before returning to begin doctoral research at Trinity College, Cambridge on the history of social science in the Victorian period. He was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship in Trinity in 1982 and was then appointed to a university lectureship teaching History in the Oxford Department of Continuing Education in 1985. In 1990 he became a tutorial fellow in History at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, where he remained for 24 years teaching modern British and American History. Between 2004 and 2014 he was the Editor of the newly-published Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the record, in more than 65 million words, of the most notable figures in British history. He took up the Directorship of the Institute of Historical Research in 2014. He has contributed articles to leading journals like the English Historical Review, the Historical Journal and Past & Present and he is the author of books on Victorian Social Science, the history of Workers’ Education in Britain, and most recently, on the life of the political thinker and historian, R. H. Tawney. He is currently at work on a study of the development of social statistics and their impact on culture, politics and social thought in Britain under the title ‘Victorians and Numbers’.


18 April 2018

Reading’s “Hidden Abbey Project” – Discovering Henry I’s Abbey. A talk with illustrations and music.

John and Lindsay Mullaney, Hidden Abbey Project, Reading More information

The Hidden Abbey Project is a magnificent example of co-operation between Reading Borough Council and the other main landowners of the ancient Abbey site. These include St James’ Church, presbytery and school, owned by the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, the Ministry of Justice, in whose grounds Reading Gaol, made famous by Oscar Wilde, were built in the 1840s and Reading Borough Council owner of the Forbury and most of the remainder of the ancient ruins.

The aim is to undertake a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey of the area with the initial intention of discovering the exact nature and extent of the Abbey. Should this reveal items of interest which warrant archaeological excavation then we would move onto the next stage and dig some keyhole trenches.

Henry I was a reformer, moderniser and visionary. He made Reading his own special place and, had it not been for our royal founder, the town would not be the one we know today. see 


16 May 2018

Psychotherapist Three Counties Asylum, 1860-1999 (title tbc)

Rory W. Reynolds, More information


16 June 2018

 Buckinghamshire Historical Association
Summer Outing

Halton House, Wendover
Saturday 16 June 2018
2 to 5 pm









This year we will be treated to a guided tour of Halton House, near Wendover. The house was built at the end of the 19th century by Alfred Rothschild and has been part of RAF Halton since WWI.

We will be assembling at 1:30 for a 2:00 start. See the attached instructions for further information on security measures.
Please send me details on who will be coming. You will need to present ID, in the form of a passport or other proof of identity, as it is a secure site.

You can email:

You can ring:
01296 708926
07952 703535

The venue would prefer few vehicles but I know this is not always possible. There is a train to nearby Wendover with a frequent service but from the station it is about a 20 minute walk (less if you are a fast walker). If you do come by car, please let me know the make, model and registration number.

For those of you brought up in the military (like myself), this will not come as a surprise!



Please note this is now fully booked.

Please email or ring to be put on a waiting list:

01296 708926 (07952 703535)


Please click on the visitor guidelines below.

Visitor Guidelines please read


Royal Air Force Halton, Officers’ Mess


The RAF Halton House Heritage Committee would like to thank you for your interest in visiting Halton House and our volunteer Tour Guides look forward to showing your party around the public rooms on the ground floor of this historic building. As this is a Ministry of Defence (MOD) establishment with associated security implications, there are some constraints within which we are obliged to operate and we would be grateful for your party’s attention and adherence to the following.

Security and Visitor Numbers

We are able to host tours for a minimum of 10 and maximum of 25 persons. Visits to Halton House can only be carried out between the hours of 09.30 and 11.30, and 13.30 and 1600. The tour lasts between forty five minutes and an hour and questions are welcomed. Please allow additional time for Tea/Coffee if required.

If travelling by car, please arrive in the minimum number of cars possible. At least 1 week before your visit you must provide the names of every person in your party, along with vehicle registration numbers, make, model and colour. Please send the list to the Tour Coordinator who is your contact. If using a coach we will require the coach driver’s name, company and registration of the coach.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to security reasons no changes or additions can be made to personnel/vehicles within 1 week of your planned visit. Additional or alternative passes CANNOT be made available on the day of the visit as they are prepared in advance. Members of the group will be escorted throughout; the Tour Leader is responsible for all the members of the party while on the premises. Please be aware that the Upper Floors of Halton House are out of bounds to visitors and ensure that you remain with the group at ALL times. Please do not leave belongings or bags unattended. There is a cloakroom for coats etc. This rule applies equally to any building visited during your visit.

Halton House Officers’ Mess (HHOM) is a working Officers’ Mess and is home to the Officers based at RAF Halton. The Public rooms of the Mess, around which you will be guided, are regularly used for conferences and meetings by RAF or MOD personnel. Please be aware that while we will make every attempt to deliver the full guided tour, on occasion access to some rooms might be limited. Operational commitments must take priority and, on rare occasions, circumstances beyond our control might cause cancellation of a tour at short notice; we will always do our very best to give as much notice as possible and help to rearrange any disrupted visits.

Arrival Procedures and Parking

Please drive straight to the House as described on the enclosed directions. Please do NOT go to the RAF Halton Guardroom. Prearranged security passes will be distributed at the beginning of the tour; these must be placed, in clear view, on the dashboard of each car.

Access to Halton House is via a 10mph one way, single carriage road (off the B4009) with sleeping policemen and an unmanned code pad barrier. You will be met at the barrier 15 minutes before the start time of your tour and issued car/coach passes. The tour will start promptly at the allocated time. Once the Tour starts the barrier will be unmanned, as such late arrivals cannot be admitted. The Barrier Code cannot be given to the General Public so please ensure that all cars in your party arrive together. You may find it useful to gather at a location nearby before arrival.

Please do NOT turn up before the time stated. The road to HHOM from the main road (B4009) is narrow, and double yellow lined. We kindly request that cars from your party do not park along this route or directly in front of the barrier, which would prevent regular users from accessing the Mess. Please also bear in mind that all our Tour Guides are volunteers and/or work at RAF Halton and may have other commitments after guiding you around the House, which could impact on the amount of time available for your tour in the event of late arrivals.

After passing through the Barrier please proceed to the Parking Area which is signposted to the left and labelled ‘Officers Mess Parking’. Please ensure your vehicle pass is on clear display. Should a member of the party have difficulties walking from the Car Park to Halton House, they may be dropped at the front door of the House. The car driver should then park in the Officers’ Mess Car Park. No Parking is allowed in front of the House. The MOD and RAF Halton cannot be held responsible for any damage to vehicles whilst parked on MOD property.

Facilities & Disabled Access

Halton House has a number of steps to the Main Entrance with a ramp available. There is no other disabled access. While the tour remains on the ground floor, the Ladies toilet facilities are down a number of steps to which there is no wheelchair access. Female wheelchair users may use the Gentlemen’s Cloakroom upon request. For those that are physically challenged there are chairs around if needed.

Dress Code

All visitors are requested to adhere to the Halton House dress code which is smart casual.


There is no restriction on photography inside Halton House or the immediate area outside the House. This applies also to those visitors who are extending their visit to the Trenchard Museum. Photography in all other areas of the Station is not allowed.

Cellular Phones

All visitors are requested to switch off their mobile phones whilst the tour is being carried out.


Tea, coffee and biscuits can be provided at a nominal charge of £2 per visitor and will be served at the end of the tour. This will allow for further questions and discussion which we encourage.


Halton House is a Grade II* listed building and while the upkeep is the sole responsibility of the MOD, some restoration and repair work of the building fabric is funded through donations and other sources. We kindly request that you consider a minimum donation of £1 per person towards the upkeep of Halton House.

Whilst cash is preferable as payment for refreshments or as a donation, cheques are gladly accepted. Please make them payable to ‘Service Funds RAF Halton’, with ‘Halton House Heritage Fund’ on the reverse.


The Tour Leader must make sure that all members of the party leave the premises together; ensuring nobody deviates from the sign posted exit route. All vehicle passes are to be returned to the tour guide before departure.

Please note that the exit from Halton House is by a different road from the arrival route. Vehicles should exit through the automatic barrier to the left of the entrance, one at a time, and follow the one way road through a wooded area and past the playing fields. This road has a profusion of severe sleeping policeman and all drivers are advised to adhere to the signposted speed limits. This route exits on Chestnut Avenue, turn right for Aylesbury or left for Wendover and Tring. On turning left this road leads back to the B4009. At the crossroads turn left for Tring or right for Wendover.

If your tour also includes a visit to the Trenchard Museum, your tour guide will direct and accompany you to the Museum. The Trenchard Museum is on a different site to Halton House and is not walkable. Visitors will be taken to the museum in convoy. Please follow the lead car through the main entrance barrier and to the Trenchard Museum. There is plenty of parking.

When the party is visiting the Trenchard Museum, vehicle passes must remain on the dashboard until the vehicles leave RAF Halton. There is a box for their disposal by the main exit gate or leave with the Museum Curator.

Thank you for reading and adhering to the instructions.

Trixie Brabner, Tour Co-ordinator Phone 01296 620085 or 07974 352811

Terry Bloxham, Hon Secretary, Bucks Historical Association

138 High Street, Aylesbury  HP20 1RB  (01296 708926)

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