u3a Photograph Album 2016

Page Links

This Page contains Photographs taken during Group activities in 2016


10th Anniversary Tea

On 1st September 2016 Balsall Common u3a celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its formation.

One hundred and thirty members attended a special Core Meeting at the Lake at Barston restaurant and afterwards enjoyed an afternoon tea complete with Anniversary Cake. 


The Cake was cut by Gill Westlake and Peter Driffield two of the original members from 2006

The Reverend Kathy Lloyd-Roberts was the speaker.

Return To Top Go To Page Links


u3a Big Band

The Photographs of the Big Band group were taken by Robert Zhilmor. 

The u3a Swing Division draws members from other u3a Groups within the West Midlands.

These Photographs were taken during a rehearsal in November 2016

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Bridge Group

On the 14th July 2016 Joan Malosti celebrated her 90th birthday. Joan is one of the longest-serving u3a members.  The Bridge Group marked the day with cards and a celebratory birthday cake.  Photographs courtesy Alan Cross.

Return To Top Go To Page Links

November 2016 Core Meeting

At the November Core Meeting Craig from Eclipse Falconry talked about "British Birds of Prey" in particular Owls.  He and his colleague bought some live birds along and invited members to hold them.  The following Photographs were taken by Roy Hands.


Return To Top Go To Page Links


The Photographs of the Mahjong group were taken by Robert Zhilmor

Return To Top Go To Page Links


Out and About

Visit to Richard III Centre — Leicester March 10th 2016

Forty-six members of Balsall Common u3a travelled to Leicester to visit the Richard III centre in order to learn about Richard III.  They also visited Leicester Cathedral to see the tomb into which his remains were recently interred.

In August 1485 King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, and buried by the Grey Friars, a Franciscan Holy order, in their friary church.  In August 2012, Leicester City Council, the University of Leicester, and the Richard III Society began a search underneath a car park in Leicester, in an attempt to find King Richard IIIís remains and the Grey Friars Church.

This coincided with the 527th anniversary of the date King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth. Five months after the dig began, the University of Leicester confirmed a skeleton unearthed by archaeologists was in fact Richard III.

Although the well-known local story was that King Richardís bones were thrown into the river by a mob at the time  of the Reformation, in recent times, a number of researchers began to put the case for the remains still being buried in the Greyfriars area of Leicester, including David Baldwin, a University of Leicester tutor. In the years following this theory was advanced by historian John Ashdown-Hill, who together with researcher Philippa Langley, proposed a more precise location for his whereabouts: the north end of a city council car park at Greyfriars, the offices of its Social Services department.

Fast forward to Spring 2011 and Philippa Langley, of the Richard III Society, approached Leicester City Council and the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) in the hope that they would carry out an excavation of the Greyfriars Social Services car park site. Everyone was enthusiastic. Although the chance of finding Richard III were minute, ULAS were keen to find the old Greyfriars Church. With the help of University funding and an International Appeal by the Richard III Society that saved the search for the king, the dig eventually got the go ahead in summer 2012.

In August 2012, the careful process of excavation began. In the days that followed the archaeologists uncovered not only the old Greyfriars church, but a skeleton with battle wounds and a curved spine.

The skeleton was exhumed and the process of formal identification began. Experts from the University of Leicester used DNA sampling to link the skeleton to Richard IIIís descendants. Carbon dating of the bones dated them to 1455–1540, which coincides with Richard IIIís death. Furthermore the bones were identified to be of a man between late 20s or early 30s and Richard III died aged 32.

After careful scientific examination, the University announced in February 2013 that the skeleton found was indeed Richard III.  Examining the skeleton gave the University a new insight into the life and death of Richard III, for instance, he was portrayed by some Tudor historians, with a political ďaxe to grindĒ, as being ďdeformedĒ; although the curved spine on the skeleton does show he had Scoliosis, he did not have a withered arm or other details attributed to him in some characterisations.

King Richard III was reinterred in Leicester Cathedral which is located just 100 steps away from the visitor centre, in March 2015.

The Photographs below were taken by Alan Cross and John Bolt

The Actual grave found under the car park


Leicester Cathedral

The Tomb of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral
Loyaulte Melie was the motto of Richard which means "Loyalty Binds Me"

Three views of the pall that covered the coffin during the Burial service in March 2015.

Created by artist Jacquie Binns, the black pall is beautifully decorated with an intriguing mix of images. Alongside a knight in armour, King Richardís queen in heraldic robes are the faces of archaeologist Richard Buckley and the Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith.  The Pall was draped over the lead-lined oak coffin by the descendants of four peers who fought both for and against King Richard at Battle of Bosworth in August 1485.

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Hook Norton Brewery

5th May members of the Out and About Group visited the Hook Norton Brewery in Oxfordshire, not only did they have a guided tour of the site they also enjoyed a beer tasting session.

The Old Brewery Buildings

The Original Steam engine that is still capable of powering the works

The Hook Norton Brewery still delivers to local pubs by horse drawn dreys.

The shires enjoy a pint before they leave.

The Product Range

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Industrial History Trail — Coventry

On July 14th 2016 group of members were conducted around Coventry by Eleanor Nesbitt a local guide looking at the Industrial roots of the City. Many on the walk were born in Coventry but still learnt a lot about the Industrial Heritage from Eleanor.

On a wall in the Railway Station is a plaque with a quote from Coventry poet Philip Larkin.  The men with number plates referred to were the car delivery drivers.  Each car was delivered from the factory to the buyer by one of these men.

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Winterbourne House and Gardens

On August 11th, 35 members of Balsall Common u3a visited Winterbourne House and Gardens, on the edge of the University of Birmingham Campus. Restored to its Edwardian Arts and Craft splendour, Winterbourne House is a unique heritage attraction — set within seven acres of beautiful botanic gardens. Only minutes from Birmingham city centre, Winterbourne is a hidden gem — home to beautiful antiques and over 6,000 plant species from around the world. You can wander along the woodland walk, stroll through the hazelnut tunnel, cross the 1930s Japanese Bridge or simply soak up the tranquillity of this perfectly English Edwardian home. Built in 1903 by John Nettlefold.

The following photographs are provided by Alan Cross and Peter Calver.

We travelled by train from Berkswell to University station then walked 1000 metres through the university campus to reach the gardens.

We were met by two guides who took us around the Gardens before we had lunch then visited the house


Return To Top Go To Page Links

Birmingham Symphony Hall

On Thursday 15th September, 30 members of the u3a visited the Birmingham Symphony Hall. We were met by our guides Tony Mullins and Roger Williams.  The group were guided around the hall and also enjoyed a demonstration of the Symphony Hall Organ. For more information about the organ click here  The guides explained the acoustics of the building and how the acoustics can be easily modified for particular concerts, and musical types. Construction of the building was also explained with the building standing on rubber buffers to remove any vibration from the railway tunnels that pass below. The Symphony Hall is also isolated from the rest of the ICC with rubber isolating strips. The seating arrangements can also be modified to allow an orchestra pit if required. The guides also talked about some of the stars who have used the facilities. Photographs by Alan Cross and Martin Richards.

The Auditorium viewed from the front of the stage

The Organ loft and Pipes
The Organ being played from the remote consol on the stage

Alan Cross could not resist the chance to audition to become the next Organist of the CBSO

The shear size of the Auditorium becomes obvious when viewed from the back of the stage

The orchestra tiers stored at the back of the stage and also storage for the two Steinway Classical Grand Pianos used by the Classical Concert Pianists.  The guides explained how these pianos are tuned on the day of a concert

The Organ Loft and behind the linkages that connect the keys and controls to the Organ sited in the loft. The organ console on the stage is connected electronically to the organ in the organ loft which connects mechanically to the pipes.

And finally the Green room where VIPs, including royalty, are entertained before and after an event in the Hall.

Watch a video of the Symphony Hall being transformed from a Concert Hall to a Cabaret type venue

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Charlecote Mill

Thursday 13th October 2016, 24 members of the Out and About Group visited Charlecote Mill near Hampton Lucy. Charlecote is not a museum occasionally grinding flour as many water and windmills now are. Charlecote is a piece of living working history and one of only a small handful of surviving commercial working watermills in the UK. Producing traditionally stoneground flours through French Burr Stones every weekday (when the water levels allow), the mill is a constant hive of activity but retains all the atmosphere and charm of a mill run in Victorian times. Most of the processes used are as they would have been over 200 years ago and wherever possible grain is still sourced from local farms keeping the food miles to almost zero! Almost everything is done using the power of the two waterwheels, as it always was, and all of the products are hand finished and hand packed personally by Karl, the Miller. Mechanisation in a modern sense has never caught on at Charlecote; this truly is a place where time stands still and where quality and tradition blend perfectly to produce the unique Charlecote flours.

Karl Grevatt, the miller, explained the outside of the mill to the group.

The water inlet to the undershot waterwheel

The Axle of the water wheel

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Photography Group Field Trips

5th April some members of the Photography Group visited Brandon Marshes.

The first set were taken by Iain Roxburgh

Tailed Godwit

Mute Swan, Lapwing and Godwit

Teasel at Brandon Marshes

Canada Goose

Return To Top Go To Page Links



On March 1st, 23 members of the Ramblers group met at Draycote Reservoir and walked the 5 miles around the water in rather wet and windy conditions.

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Tuesday 5th April, Peter Calver led 28 members of the group on a walk from the Wharf Inn, Hockley Heath circling Packwood House and St Giles Church

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Tuesday May 3rd, 29 Ramblers led by Martin Richards enjoyed a 5 mile walk from Lowsonford to Yarningale Common on a dry and warm day following the recent cold and wet weather. The hilly walk allowed the group to see some good views of the countryside.

After passing through a particularly muddy stretch the walkers compared their boots.

True to the ethos of the u3a — Lifelong Learning — Martin Richards describes the details of the Yarningale Aqueduct

Return To Top Go To Page Links

Wednesday 16th June, 11 ramblers met at the Bear Inn, Berkswell in pouring rain. Not to be beaten by the inclement weather, the walkers enjoyed a rather wet walk across fields to the Saracens Head and return.

Return To Top Go To Page Links


Tuesday 5th July in much better weather, 27 ramblers met at the Fleur de Lys pub in Lowsonford and completed a 5 mile ramble led by Ian Lester

Return To Top Go To Page Links


Wednesday 20th July on what was one of the hottest days of the year, 14 members of the Ramblers Group met at Henley in Arden and walked part of the Heart of England way returning to Henley via Kite Green, this walk was led by Barbara and Phil Hammond..

Return To Top Go To Page Links


On a fine warm August day (17th August) 18 members of the Ramblers group met at the Boars Head, Hampton Lucy and took part in a 5 mile circular walk with some fine views of the South Warwickshire countryside.  The walk was led by Geoff Kennedy

Return To Top Go To Page Links


September 6th 2016, 22 ramblers met at the Hickory Smoke House (formerly The Peeping Tom) in Burton Green and were guided on a 5 mile circular walk by Richard Drake.  The day was pleasantly warm, light cloud but no threat of rain.


Richard Drake was born on the family dairy farm in East Devon and spent his early years working with cattle. Today he showed his skills learnt then in moving a herd of cows from the walkers path.


Return To Top Go To Page Links


Tuesday 4th October on a warm and sunny Autumn day, Sandra Heard and Frances Critoph led 33 ramblers on a walk starting at Baddersley Clinton passing Wroxall Abbey.

Return To Top Go To Page Links


Tuesday 1st November on a misty, but dry Autumnal day, Richard Drake and Richard Glynn led 25 walkers on a ramble from the Crown Inn, Claverdon to Langley and return. The trees were getting towards the end of their leaf fall but there were still plenty of Autumn colours to see. The walk did have some good vantage points for long distant views but unfortunately the mist got in the way.



Return To Top Go To Page Links


Tuesday 14th November on a comparatively mild November morning, 42 ramblers (a new record for the group) enjoyed a walk around Berkswell. It was particularly apt as this route was the first walk undertaken ten years ago this month by the then newly formed u3a Ramblers group. Of the 42 on the walk today only 4 were on the inaugural walk in 2006.


Return To Top Go To Page Links


Tuesday 6th of December was the last walk for 2016. Led by Richard Drake the walk started at The Hatton Arms, 25 walkers enjoyed a rather foggy walk across to Hampton Magna and return.


Return To Top Go To Page Links


Wednesday 21st December the Ramblers met at the Lake at Barston Restaurant for their annual Christmas Lunch.

At the end of the meal Lin White presented Martin Richards, the groups co-ordinator with a hi viz jacket with the name of the group on the back.


Return To Top Go To Page Links


Walking Football

Return To Top