January 2019

Mark White runs a consultancy specialising in advising businesses and individuals on how to avoid falling into the hands of fraudsters. Prompted by an attempted fraud targeting his grandparents, Mark decided to use his technology skills to combat hackers and criminals. Mark gave examples of highly plausible approaches which would trick people into seemingly legitimate deals or investments.

His simple advice was to a) avoid getting into any transaction offered in a phone or e-mail approach unless from a known or reputable source; b) when buying and goods or service via the internet always pay with a credit card, not debit card, as the former gives protection against fraud or non-performance; c) never give any confidential bank details to anyone on the phone or on line, even if the purport to be your bank (banks would never request such information this way).  

February 2019

Frances Hurd, although not a Quaker herself, has considerable knowledge of the movement through her family members. Their belief in pacifism prevented many Quakers (proper name is the Society of Friends) from taking combat roles in the armed services in both world wars. Frances explained that those who did volunteer did so only as medics. In 1947 work of Quakers during the Second World War was recognised with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for their courageous work in medical evacuation from battlefields and caring for the wounded


Their pacifism came at a price. In the First World War many were jailed for refusing to undertake combat duties or sent to work in the mines as conscientious objectors. During the Second World War official attitudes had changed to the extent that Quakers were allowed to take up medical duties rather than being penalised as non-combatants.

March 2019

Rosie Jordan is a member of Surrey Search and Rescue which is part of the UK’s Lowland Rescue service. Alongside Mountain Rescue, Cave Rescue, the RNLI and Volunteer Coastguard. She described how they form the backbone of specialist help for the emergency services when anyone needs to be found or rescued. They search for missing people using foot-teams and dog-teams, often over large areas of rural land or woodland and without knowing where the casualty may be. She took us through how their volunteer team is trained in rapid searching techniques and navigation to cover this ground effectively, and equipped with first aid skills to help casualties when they do find them.

 Surrey Search and Rescue is a registered charity, and receives no funding from government or the emergency services. They are wholly reliant on donations and grants from industry. All members are volunteers, and none of them is paid for their time, fuel or expenses.

April 2019

Retired Scotland Yard detective, Hamish Brown gave us a glimpse into the sinister world of the stalker. He served over thirty years with the Metropolitan Police investigating crimes of violence such as rape, murder and contract killing and he went on to specialise in stalking cases. Because of his

experience of its effect on victims, he aims to raise the public’s awareness of stalking and the impact it has on people’s lives.

His talk was supported by case histories and anecdotal examples including one of a female college student who had been stalked by an obsessive young man who had sent her more than sixty letters. These had threatened violence and even death. Before stalking had been classified as a crime in its

own right, it had been difficult to bring stalkers to justice but in the college student’s case he had charged the stalker with grievous bodily harm. This had been upheld by the court because of the psychological effect on the victim who had been prevented from leading a normal life.

May 2019

As the Club's AGM took place, there was no outside speaker.

June 2019

Nick Brazil is an author, documentary film maker and photographer, originally from Cornwall but now living near Reading. His books have been published by Time Life and Oxford University Press.

Nick’s talk dealt with weird and wonderful Victorian inventions such as dog powered sewing machines and aerial cities suspended from balloons. One of the more bizarre ideas was a large sofa to be attached to the front of a tramcar to safely and comfortably collect any pedestrian who might otherwise have been run over!

He illustrated his talk with pictures of amazing and sometimes stupid contraptions some of which, like a gas fired heated bed were downright dangerous and would be thought utterly reckless in our present day health and safety conscious world. It was a fascinating and humorous talk which gave us a glimpse into the extremes of the imaginations of our forefathers.

September 2019 - Silk Scandal and Squalor

The work of Hogarth was the subject of Daphne Jefferies’ talk. His Paintings of moral turpitude which he reproduced as engravings became very popular, selling in large numbers and making him a wealthy man. Hogarth produced several themes of decline and Daphne considered two of these; “A Rakes Progress” and “Marriage a la Mode”. Each consists of a series of eight separate pictures showing descent from worthy beginnings, through scandalous behaviour to demise in squalid circumstances.

Daphne led us through these pictures as originally presented in their painted form. Each was full of hidden messages and easily missed detail which would have been much more evident to observers in the early eighteenth century.  For example in “Marriage a la Mode” the third in the sequence shows the husband and wife appearing uninterested in one another, amidst evidence of their separate overindulgences the night before. A small dog finds a lady's cap in the husband's coat pocket, indicating his adulterous ventures. A broken sword at his feet shows that he has been in a fight.

By revealing all these small and intriguing little details, Daphne showed us how much more there is to enjoy in Hogarth’s pictures and the humour to be found in these otherwise dark and moralizing tales of woe.