History Group

The History Group always welcomes all U3A members. Our usual meeting place is Central Methodist Church: time 2pm – 4pm ish. Our next meeting is on March 16th when Peter Godley from Nottingham Historical and Archaeological Group is coming to tell us about Archaeology in Nottingham with images, maps and some artefacts from the digs will be on show.

The last meeting with Malcolm Darroch showed us these brave women who went up in hot air balloons and then parachuted back to earth from thousands of feet up in the air. I knew there had been balloon ascents in Hucknall and have been searching for information.

From Nottingham Journal 26th July 1905 was a report of Hucknall Torkard Flower Show. ‘It was the 34th exhibition of the show. There was supposed to be a band contest but as only one band entered the consequence was a cancellation. Hurried arrangements were made with Messrs. Spencer of London for a balloon ascent and parachute descent by Miss Viola Spencer. This proved a capital attraction.’

The Dispatch on the 27th July 1905 gave details of Miss Viola Spencer the young intrepid parachutist. ‘She is now regarded as a great favourite in Hucknall for when the programme was announced showing a band contest instead of an aerial performance many people were disappointed. You see folk are fond of a little spice in the shape of excitement for their Wakes holidays. Miss Spencer gladly related her experiences to a Dispatch interviewer. “Are you a sister of Mr. Stanley Spencer the great airship man? Oh Yes, she said with pride and named her brothers Arthur, Stanley, Percival, Henry and Sydney Herbert, all in the ballooning profession. Born in London 23 years ago she said she started when she was 7 by jumping off a stable roof but the umbrella went inside out and at 14 she ran away from school to make a descent in Suffolk and came down 200 feet but was expelled from school for running away.’

At the next meeting you can read more yourself.

I thought you might like to make a note in your diaries of this event:-


Are proud to present a –


Saturday April 9th 11am. to 3pm. at East Side Methodist Church, Bestwood Road, Hucknall. Free Admission. Refreshments available

When the Great War began in 1914 the town of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, had a population of around sixteen thousand. During the following five years, over three thousand Hucknall men enlisted into the armed forces to fight for King and Country. Over 400 of them never came back. Of those that did return, many suffered for the rest of their lives.

After two years of research, Andy McKinnon has found over 2,600 of those men. This book tells their story.

Bye for now, Maureen

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