Wickham History Society holds meetings at 7.30 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Our programme includes a variety of guest speakers who cover both local history and wider history topics. We also organise visits to places of interest in the Summer.

The annual charge for Membership is £8pp. Guests are welcome to attend meetings for £2.50pp.

To join the Wickham History Society, please contact the Secretary.


28 September 2021 – Andrew Negus
Harlots, Dung and Glory: History of Portsmouth Part 2
Portsmouth’s history is closely related to the growth of the Royal Navy and the Navy’s part in making the UK the most powerful country in the world by 1900. We will be introduced to some of the many characters who have been involved in Portsmouth’s history including murderers, harlots, and the inventor of the umbrella. Kings, queens, admirals, authors, and actors will entertain us with their appearances. In this talk, we will cover the period 1800-1870

26 October 2021 – Dr John Mcaleer
The East India Company: The corporation that changed the world
The East India Company played a crucial role in creating the British Empire in Asia. From its modest origins as a small Elizabethan trading venture, it grew into a global empire which controlled Britain’s trade with Asia for nearly 250 years. It is a story of wealth, power, and the pursuit of fortune. But it is also one of conflict, conquest, and piracy on the high seas; politics, intrigue, and ruthlessness on land. By introducing a whole host of coveted commodities to British consumers, the scale and impact of its operations changed the lives of millions of people around the world. In Britain, it affected what we eat, what we drink, the clothes we wear, and the language we speak. And in India, the Company laid the foundations of the British Empire in the subcontinent.

23 November 2021 – Jeremy Prescott
 The Miracle Flower – From Flanders to The Tower
The story of the Poppy and how it has become the symbol of remembrance for those killed in conflict. From John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” to Moina Michael and Anna Guerin’s involvement in promoting the poppy in America and France and Major George Howson’s establishment of the Poppy Factory in Richmond, the way in which the opium poppy influenced the conduct of the recent war in Afghanistan, and the iconic poppy display Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red in 2014 at the Tower of London.

14 December 2021 *** Rescheduled to 10 May 2022
A Glimpse into Park Place Pastoral Centre and its Mission – Sister Evelyn

25 January 2022 – Imogen Corrigan – via Zoom
Men who Built the Cathedrals

In this talk we meet the Master Masons who both designed the buildings and ran the site. They commanded everything whether it was sourcing the vast quantities of wood and stone, recruiting the workforce or knowing enough about their various trades to be able to create heaven on earth out of the cacophony of thousands of chisels and hammers. These men were charismatic leaders, but they were continually checked by their fellow Master Masons in the interests of making a building as strong as possible – we only see their successes, after all. They were real people who got into trouble with the law, who occasionally cheated on contracts, who liked to start a job but not to finish it. On the other hand, their creations remain to this day, some breathtakingly beautiful in their exquisite detail causing us, centuries later, to stand in a nave and wonder.

22 February 2022 – David Rymill – via Zoom
Highclere Castle and its Archives

Highclere Castle, now known to millions around the world as Downton Abbey, has a real story that is just as exciting. A substantial archive remains in situ at the Castle, giving insights into the Castle, the Earls and Countesses of Carnarvon and their ancestors who have lived on this site since the 1670s, the indoor and outdoor staff who have kept the Castle and its estate functioning, and even the officers who were treated there when it became a First World War hospital. David Rymill, who has been an archivist at Hampshire Record Office since 1993, has also been the part-time archivist at the Castle since 2009, and he will share with us a little of the story of the Castle and the people who have lived there, and some of the gems within the archive.

22 March 2022 – Bob France
The Rise and Fall of Emma Hamilton

The dramatic story of one of the most remarkable women in English history. From rural poverty, Emma became the most painted woman in Europe, a fashion icon and pioneer of interpretive performance art. She was a dazzling hostess, the confidante of a powerful queen, a heroine of the Napoleonic wars and the lover (some say nemesis) of Britain’s greatest naval hero. Discover her Uppark connection and how she rose so astronomically only to crash so catastrophically.

26 April 2022 – Stephen Hoadley
RMS Queen Mary: From War to Retirement

With her great speed and size the Queen Mary became one of the heroines of World War Two. By the end of the war she had transported over half a million troops and still holds the record for the greatest number of people transported aboard a single vessel at one time – 16082. After the war she returned to a life of providing a vital and, for some, luxurious means of crossing the Atlantic. What was it like on board during these golden years of travel? What caused the end of this iconic ship’s career? And why did some of her passengers take the bus round Cape Horn?

10 May 2022 – Sister Evelyn Cadoz
A Glimpse into Park Place Pastoral Centre and its Mission

Note: This meeting will be held at Park Place. It is a joint meeting with the Wickham Society and is the second Tuesday of the month.

24 May 2022 Annual General Meeting
followed by Jane Painter
Historic Knowle

In 1852, the Hampshire County Lunatic Asylum opened at Knowle. Why was it built? What records are available? Who worked there? Who were the patients?

Please note: Programme subject to change depending on availability of speakers.

Do you have something to contribute to the society?