Meeting Report June 2014
Our last meeting before the summer break saw 42 members
and guests welcoming Eric Wright and Simon Bulmer from Rothwell History
Society. Eric, the chairman and Simon, the secretary have both been involved
with the society for many years. In fact Eric has been a stalwart for
over a quarter of a century. Eric's main interest lies in churches and
cathedrals, and his has visited all of the cathedrals in England. The
subject of his illustrated talk was Worcester Cathedral, which Eric described
as one of his favourites. Before he began telling us about the history
of the cathedral, he treated us to a potted history of the town of Worcester.
Interesting information he told us included the fact that the English
Civil War (1642 - 1651) both began and ended in Worcester. He also described
some of the industries which the town is famous for such as glove making
and porcelain. One interesting story concerned the famous Lea and Perrins
sauce. The recipe for this was brought back from India by Colonel Sands
who asked chemists Lea and Perrin to make it up for him. These wily men
also made a barrel for their own use, but on tasting it found it was too
fiery for their taste. The concoction was therefore left for some time
after which it had mellowed and become more palatable. The partners bought
the recipe from the Colonel and began manufacturing it becoming rich men
on the proceeds.
A major feature inside the cathedral which Eric showed photos of is the tomb of King John of Magna Carta fame. He told the story how some 600 years after his death the tomb was opened to reveal the red hair of this less than popular King. After showing many lovely images of the cathedral, Eric concluded his talk with snippets of information about some famous people associated with the it. He described how the small organ belonged to George Frideric Handel, and is believed to be the instrument he used to compose The Messiah. He also mentioned another composer Edward Elgar and showed a photo of the Gerontius window in the cathedral, a homage to Elgar who composed The Dream of Gerontius. Perhaps the anecdote which most struck a cord with his audiences was when he showed a plaque to Geoffrey Antetell Studdert Kennedy. This Anglican priest began his ministry at St Aiden's in Leeds and was well known as a chaplain to the troops during the First World War. As well as offering the soldiers spiritual comfort he was famous for handing out packets of cigarettes and became known as "Woodbine Willie". On his death his coffin was adorned not with flowers but a packet of Woodbines. Eric's talk was very well received and appreciated by his audience.
The next meeting on Monday 29th September 2014 will be an illustrated talk by the Friends of Holbeck Cemetery - "Holbeck Cemetery & the People Buried There."