Events, Talks and Exhibitions


All talks take place in the Cherry Hall, with tickets on the door at £3.00.  Those joining as members in January 2020 may attend all 6 talks for £10.00.

Our first talk in January will concern the Grove Road excavation of an Iron-Age settlement, which found the remains of a likely prehistoric murder victim and a bone comb showing an extremely early British prehistoric naturalistic representations of a human face.

15.01.20 Just a beginning? The Grove Road Iron Age settlement and its hidden human face Andrew Manning MA MCIfA, Wessex Archaeology
No talk in February
18.03.20 The Kennet and Avon Canal, Past and Present Charles East, Volunteer Boatmaster.
15.04.20 Crime, Medicine and Science in History Dr. Katherine D. Watson, Reader in History, Oxford Brookes University
Summer Break
16.09.20 Harwell through the Camera Lens Eric Jenkins, Professional Photographer
21.10.20 Talk by a member of the MG Car Club, title to be announced TBC
18.11.20 “The Great Stink!” Engineers, sewerage systems and the Victorian battle against dirt Dr. Tom Crook, Senior Lecturer in History, Oxford Brookes University

See our Events page for more details.

Autumn 2019 Review:

Malcolm Thick’s talk in September on C17th and C 18th manuscript recipe books was well received. Queen Cakes flavoured with rosewater, nutmeg and mace, and baked to a modified eighteenth century recipe, met with audience approval; this was a relief since Malcolm had to make five experiments in baking them. Most unfortunately, Charles East was too unwell to deliver his talk on the Kennet and Avon Canal in October; a replacement talk, Impolite Images –Understanding Political Cartoons, was given instead.  BUT Charles’s talk has been re-scheduled for 18th March 2020; his presentation is illustrated with some beautiful photographs. As I write, we are preparing for our last talk for 2019; on November 20th, Mrs. Patricia Cooke, a longstanding member of The Costume Society of Great Britain, will have given her talk on The Art of the Agricultural Smock.

Looking ahead:

For 2021, planned talks include: The Monarch’s Way (Charles II’s escape route after the Battle of Worcester) which is
currently being walked by a Harwell resident; those
commemorated in Oxfordshire Blue Plaques, and on The Great Fire of Harwell 1852.

Displays in the Village Hall Heritage Centre/Foyer

These are currently of two types, namely local history topics, and displays on national events for which 2019 has marked a centenary. We are hoping to re-arrange the poster frames so that topics can in future be more clearly differentiated on the wall space. Because there has recently been much interest in the Geering Almshouses on Facebook, from mid-November 2019, we put on display all our work on this subject.

We hope in late 2020 or early 2021 to put on another exhibition (our fifth since 2014) on Harwell’s schools, charities, church and chapels – which were closely linked before the mid-20th century. We do have a problem in that there are currently only 6 researchers. If there is anyone out there who is knowledgeable on the history of St. Matthew’s in particular, we would love to hear from you!  Please contact us on

We are also exploring with the Harwell Film Club the possibility of showing some of the British Film Institute’s films (c. 1910-1960s) on aspects of life in Britain.

The Monument to Francis and Grace King in Harwell Parish Church

Monument to Francis and Grace King

All the monuments on St. Matthew’s walls and floor have been photographed. Tucked up on the right hand side of the bell-tower, in the area currently used as a vestry, is an interesting monument rather obscured by disrepair and its height above eye-level. Some clever photography by Dave Drummond managed to make legible, most of the Latin inscription, which we have translated. The monument was erected by their son John, “grieving”, and reads (we think):

“Sacred to the memory of Francis King. He adorned with complete goodness all one would wish in a husband and parent. Near/next to whom lies his wife Grace, in no way unworthy     (i.e. VERY worthy) of such a man. Departed from this constrained life with the hope of a better (one), she on 11th March in the year of our Saviour 1758 aged 78, he on 2nd September in the year of our Saviour 1743 aged 69. Peace.


A venue for all in Harwell, Oxfordshire