Newsletter: February 2020

Southport University Extension Society Newsletter: February 2020

Meeting: 6th March

Our next meeting will be held on Friday 6th March at 2pm at All Saints Church Hall, Park Road, Southport. Dr Glenn Godenho will speak on the subject of PHAROAHS AND WARLORDS. Images of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs suggest that they were seen as powerful, infallible, semi-divine beings. However, there were times in which this image faltered. What happened when the fallibility of Pharaoh was exposed? This talk will give you privileged access to University of Liverpool research into one of these occasions; when in the absence of an effective king, warlords vied for power. Dr Glenn Godenho is Senior Lecturer in Egyptology and Academic Director of Continuing Education at the University of Liverpool. His research currently focuses on ancient Egyptian autobiographies as well as the last phase of the ancient Egyptian language: Coptic.

Sad News

We are sorry to report the deaths of two members. The first, Timothy Robey, was a long-standing member of SUES and Chairman 2011-16. He was a stalwart supporter of the Society and his determination and commitment kept it going at a difficult time. A particularly interesting meeting concerned his experiences of North Korea, where he had been a soldier as a young man. Timothy kept on attending meetings until very recently, despite declining health.

Netta Dixon was an equally long-standing participant, in her case in the courses run by the University of Liverpool’s Continuing Education department. Tributes to these two members follow.

Timothy Robey

Timothy Robey, chairman of SUES from 2011 to 2016, sadly passed away early this year, on 20th January, 2020.

An enthusiastic proponent of education and lifelong learning, Timothy was very active during his five years as chairman in single-handedly organising and promoting regular lectures and courses covering a wide range of fascinating subjects, and in encouraging people of all ages and from all walks of life to attend and to participate. Thanks to Timothy’s unwavering enthusiasm people in Southport had, and still have, the opportunity to access these excellent lectures.

Timothy was a teacher of Chemistry, but he was also a talented, accomplished and very entertaining poet. For many years, he regularly contributed readings of his poems at meetings of the Southport Writers’ Circle. In fact, many of his skilfully crafted poems have been published, in a volume entitled “Circle of Names”. Another part of his poetic legacy includes his regular contributions to the “Reach Poetry” publication.

In short, Timothy was a strong and dedicated advocate of education for all, for life. It has been a privilege to have known him, and he will be much missed and well-remembered.

Judy Hermida

Netta Dixon

Netta first attended one of my Liverpool University Continuing Education Courses in 2000 together with her late husband, Bernard. The venue was All Saints Church Hall, where we still meet, and the topic was the 19th Century Country House, which we are currently revisiting.

Over the last 20 years, she did not miss a course and she showed equal commitment to courses at Alston Hall and residential visits with Study Tour Travel. This loyalty was not just for my sessions but for those of David Brazendale, Alan Crosby and Peter Firth. Last term she was able to attend most of Peter’s course, the first one to be run under the auspices of SUES.

She was the ideal adult student. Always enthusiastic and already knowledgeable, she wanted to know more and to understand more. Her comments and questions helped her fellow students and kept lecturers on their toes.

She was not just a good student; she was also a good person. Although it was never an official title, she was best described as the class ‘Almoner’. She helped newcomers to feel at home and organised refreshments and rotas. She bought get well cards and thank you cards and made sure that they were signed and sent.

She will be greatly missed but her message to us all would certainly be, ‘stop fussing about me and get on with the job.’

Roger Mitchell

It Went With a Bang!

Party-poppers and bangs are not normally features of SUES meetings, but it was appropriate that our recent talk on ‘Violent Volcanoes’ by Hazel Clark ended with a demonstration which displayed both. The topic, as did the one at our last meeting, illustrated our attempt to broaden the scope of our talks to include a greater element of science. This should not alarm non-scientists (such as myself) as our speakers have shown an ability to make technical matters accessible and comprehensible to the layperson. Hazel explained to us the origins, nature and types of volcanoes and their implications for people who live near them. All this was illustrated with dramatic and fascinating photographs. The question arose as to the safety of those taking such pictures and it is a sobering fact that some leading volcanologists have actually lost their lives to the subjects of their enquiries. Once again we had an encouraging attendance for this talk and we are grateful to Hazel for gripping the audience’s attention through her absorbing presentation. It really did go with a bang!

John Sharp

Future Meetings

Our second seven-session course on THE VICTORIAN COUNTRY HOUSE led by Roger Mitchell is well under way and is proving most enjoyable, especially the discussions about Scarisbrick Hall, where some of the course members are able to bring their own specialist knowledge. THE SECRET LIFE OF THE HUMAN BRAIN (Alan Potter) starts on 17th April: registration so far has been encouraging.

The final single-session event will be POETRY WE LIKE (led by John Sharp) on 5th June.

Information about SUES membership and registration may be obtained from the membership secretary (see below).

The Secret Life of the Human Brain

As our bodies age there are signs we all recognise even if they are not welcome. We see hair greying, skin wrinkling, bodies stooping, accompanied by the sounds of joints creaking and stomachs grumbling. We accept the inevitable and many of us take steps to make changes through lifestyle, medication, diet or even surgery to hold back the tide of life a little longer and to help to make our remaining years as fruitful as possible.

What we don’t see, what we never see, is the brain and how that changes over time, how it looks and might behave when it is older and therefore we don’t know what to expect. This being the case, we take fewer if any steps to change the way we live in order to take its ageing into account. It is curious that we do not look after our most important organ into later life, but we might take the time to moisturise the skin, which will flake off, or colour our hair, which has already died. Part of the reason is the invisibility of the brain and partly, perhaps, a lack of knowing what the brain should be like in later life, what signs of ageing might we detect and what steps we might take to look after it. 

My course, starting on 17th April, will begin by tracing the history of the brain and identify how, through both dissection and through modern techniques and scanners, we more fully understand how the brain works. Throughout the weekly sessions of the course, up-to-date research, illustrations and images will be used to identify how the parts of the brain connect with each other and the body to provide a whole. Specific aspects such as consciousness and memory will be explored and the importance of cognitive, social and physical activity in the life of the brain highlighted. Along the way, common myths about the brain will be debunked and advice will be shared on how, as we get older, we can keep it active, make it happy and help it to stay healthy.

Alan Potter

SUES 1937

A page from ‘The Southport Visiter’ 28th September 1937 has been passed on to me. It contains a lengthy report on the first meeting of SUES for the Michaelmas Term. The lecturer was Percy Babington from St John’s College, Cambridge, and he was giving the first of a series of twelve lectures. The Mayor was SUES’s president at the time and his introductory words were reported as follows.

‘In these days, when the majority of people are interested in the more frivolous activities in life, it is gratifying to find people interested in education and the improvement of the mind.’

We might echo the sentiment today!

John Sharp

SUES Committee Meeting 28th January 2020

Present – Hazel Fort, Peter Firth, Bob Neate, John Sharp, Roger Mitchell.  Apologies from Alan Potter

1. The record of the meeting held on 22nd November 2019 was signed by the Chairman.

2. The death of Timothy Robey (former chairman) was reported. It was agreed that when funeral arrangements were announced, Roger Mitchell would write to the family to express the Society’s condolences and that John Sharp and Bob Neate would put a note on the website and in the next newsletter.

3. John Sharp reported that membership had risen to 64, that enrolment for The Victorian Country House was 34 and that enrolments for The Brain had now reached 16 making the course viable.

Bob Neate reported that income for the year so far was c£3,200. As expected, this year’s courses will need a subsidy from the Society’s funds. This is likely to be c£1,500 which we can well afford.

4. Unfortunately, Glenn Godenho (Liverpool University C.E.) was not able to be present to review the current arrangements. He suggested that we might try to find another date, but, given that he is lecturing to the Society on Friday 6th March, it was judged more realistic to communicate with him by email with the intention of settling arrangements for 2020-2021 at a meeting between him and the Committee after his lecture on 6th March.

5. Present and future arrangements were discussed and a report by Roger Mitchell summarises the discussions at this meeting and at the previous meeting on 10th January. When committee members are happy with this, it will be sent to Glen Godenho.

That report does not draw attention to the very favourable financial position of the society. The committee were agreed that we were probably paying a high price for the amount of work that CE does for us. However, that continuing relationship is a valuable one for us. It provides the security and reassurance of being linked to a bigger institution able to protect us in case of accident or dispute. We can also feel reassured that any ‘profit’ that they are able to make from us goes to supporting their work and that is the cause that the generous Wilde benefaction wanted us to support. 

Roger Mitchell

Post-‘Reformation’ Quiz

For those who tormented their brains on this, here are the answers.

How many English Popes have there been?

1 (Adrian IV 1154 – 59)

What do the following names signify? (They are given in chronological order.)

Linus        Anacletus    Clement    Evaristus    Alexander

They are the first five Popes (or Bishops of Rome) after St Peter. Little is known about them apart from their names.

Lithuania was the last pagan country in Europe. It became christianised in which year?

1387 (Yes as late as that. Until then it was officially pagan.)

How did the following Bibles get their names?

Authorised – by King James I
Breeches – in this version Adam and Eve wore ‘breeches’
Vulgate – a translation by St Jerome into Latin, i.e. the vulgar or common tongue
Wicked – contained a misprint, ‘thou shalt commit adultery’
New English – an updated modern translation published 1970

Why did Henry VIII think he was justified in divorcing Catherine of Aragon?

She had been his brother’s wife and it was therefore an incestuous relationship. Mind you, he knew that when he married her!

Who was reported to have said the following in 1521 and where?

Hier stehe ich –  ich kann nichts anders?

(Here I stand. I can do no other.) Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms.

What’s the difference between transubstantion and consubstantion?

Very difficult! In ‘trans’ bread and wine change their substance to the body and blood of Christ; in ‘con’ they retain their substance but are infused by the body and blood of Christ.

Which Protestant reformer do you associate with each of the following places?

Canterbury – Thomas Cranmer
Geneva – John Calvin
Strasbourg – Martin Bucer
Wittenburg – Martin Luther – again!
Zurich – Ulrich Zwingli

When was the last non-Italian Pope before John Paul II elected?

1522 (Adrian VI – a Dutchman)

The Pilgrim Fathers went from where to where via where?

Boston, Lincolnshire, to Leyden, Holland and then to Massachusetts, New England

Why did the negotiations which led to the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 and which ended the Thirty Years War take place in two separate places (the towns of Munster and Osnabruck)?

The two sides (Protestant and Catholic) would not agree to meet together in the same place.

Which of the following churches does not have rights in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem?

Anglican. These all have separate areas: Armenian, Catholic (Latin), Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek Orthodox, Syrian. And there is much contention about it. The key to the Church is held by a Muslim family, only a non-Christian being acceptable to all parties!

Can a Roman Catholic become King or Queen of England today – or marry into the Royal Family?

No, not monarch – and yes, can marry into family, but only recently  (2011).

Country House Quiz

And as if the above were not enough, here is another, inspired by ‘The Victorian Country House’ course, although the answers will not be found from Roger Mitchell’s sessions.

Where will you find the following stately homes?

Brandham Hall

Blandings Castle

Darlington Hall


Misselthwaite Manor


Thornfield Hall

Satis House

Windy Corner


Sues Committee

The committee consists of the following members:
Chair: Hazel Fort
Secretary: Roger Mitchell
Treasurer: Bob Neate
Membership Secretary: John Sharp
Peter Firth  Alan Potter

Enquiries and contributions should be sent to:

John Sharp
51 Rawlinson Road
01704 533698
07740 656057

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