Programme 2017 - 2018


All talks start at 7.30 pm (doors open 7 pm) on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at The Roman Way Community Centre, 36, Roman Way, Market Harborough, LE16 7PQ.


Additionally, a Summer Outing takes place in June each year. The Society also organises a full day Local History Seminar - The History Day -  on a Saturday in October each year,  at The Roman Way Community Centre.



To download this handy tri-fold printable copy of the program in .pdf format please click


Summer Break

Sep 13th 2017


Ian Aldis

The story of Wicksteed Park Kettering

In 1913, Charles Wicksteed, a Kettering industrialist with strong northern Unitarian roots from a prominent philanthropic family, purchased some land on the edge of Kettering to provide a safe space for families to go for recreation. It formally opened in May 1921. It remains to this day a large parkland area with space and attractions, including the recently listed 1926 water shoot.  Wicksteed Park has pioneered children’s playground equipment. Ian Aldis will tell us the story of this special place.


Oct 11th 2017

Daniel Connor

Roman and Iron Age settlement on Lubenham Hill

Daniel Connor of Allen Archaeology Lincolnshire was in charge of the extensive archaeological investigation at Lubbenham Hill in the summer of 2016.  This study was made in advance of the major housing development now taking place there. While much of the site is under houses built in the 1980s, evidence of Neolithic and Bronze Age activity and the remains of Iron Age and Roman field systems and industrial sites were discovered. Daniel will explain why and what was found and how it tells a previously unknown story of settlement in the Harborough area.


Saturday 28th October

History Day

(details to be finalised)

Crime and Punishment in Leicestershire

All day event, £15 fee (to be confirmed) includes buffet lunch & refreshments

Nov 8th 2017


Brian Johnson

Their name liveth for evermore – the work of the Imperial War Graves commission

Millions of men died during the great war; the Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission was set up to provide cemeteries and memorials for this lost generation.  Brian Johnson, a family historian, discusses how the IWGC came into being and the different forms of the cemeteries along the Western Front. The talk will show some of the monuments and how they were made and designed; it will discuss some of the individuals commemorated, and the wording on the monuments. This is a moving talk which is very pertinent in this centenary of the Great War.


Dec 13th 2017


Peter Liddle

Mercian Leicestershire

Mercia was the powerful  large Anglo-Saxon kingdom covering central England from the Wirral to London, and from the Welsh border to the Wash. Amongst its leaders were Penda and Offa, amongst its treasures the Staffordshire hoard and the sculptures at Breedon-on-the Hill. It was dominant in the 8 -9th Centuries. Leicestershire was at the heart of Mercia.  Peter Liddle, from his lifelong experience as an archaeologist in the county, will discuss how archaeology is revealing more about this important ancient kingdom.


January 10th 2018


Douglas Clinton

The Anglo-Saxon Monastery at Breedon on the Hill

 Leicestershire possesses a gem in the fascinating ancient hilltop church of Breedon-on-the-Hill dedicated to St Mary and St Hardulph. Standing proud on its hill, protected by the banks of an Iron Age hillfort, the church  urges us to look heavenwards. Once inside, there is an unrivalled cornucopia of mid-Saxon sculpture,  the largest collection of any place in the country. Douglas Clinton traces the sources and kinship of these magnificent carvings, as well as telling of the ghosts of the monastic library there and the riddles composed by Tatwine ( c 670 – 734) the scholarly abbot of Breedon who was later Archbishop of Canterbury.


February 14th 2018


Mary Matts

The Flora of the Grand Union Canal

Mary Matts has spent most of her life on and around canals and waterways so has an unrivalled knowledge of it. Canals are now so important being linear ecological havens across a brutalised landscape.   Here taken through the seasons she gives an account of the wild flowers, plants and trees in waterway locations. She gives details of their characteristics, medicinal and culinary uses, myths and legends.


March 14th 2018


Dr Stephen Parry

The Stones of Harborough in their geological setting

Stephen Parry is a geologist at the British Geological Survey, Keyworth (Notts) who specialises in the stone used for building.

He will put the geology of the Harborough Area in context; the underlying geology is the key to the landscape and explains the differences between Northamptonshire to the south and Leicestershire to the North. From the local geology came the traditional building materials of the area:  clay for bricks and some stone. Harborough is at the junction of stone and brick. Dr Parry will make us look at our built environment [or built landscape if you prefer] and in a different way.


April 11th 2018

Paul Wintersgill and Dave Cail

Working in Stone in Harborough District

Dave and Paul of Harborough Stone are the successors of William Allsop, who was responsible for the stonework on HG Coales’s many Harborough buildings, and of his successor Alf Herbert under whom they trained. For the last 30 years they have continued their craftsman tradition in stone and letter-cutting working in the Harborough area. They have repaired war memorials, churches, tombstones and houses.  Stone needs upkeep and maintenance, but good conservation is not noticeable. Dave and Paul will discuss how they work and some of the many projects with which they have been involved.


May 9th 2018


Roy Smart

Another Icarus? The story of Percy Pilcher

Percy Sinclair Pilcher 1866-99 was killed at Stanford on Avon (MHHS outing 2009) during a demonstration of flying.  He was Britain’s aviation pioneer who had developed a glider, the Hawk, in which in 1897 he had actually flown. He went on to develop a triplane to carry an engine to create the first powered flight.  He was the first Englishman to die in the cause of ‘the conquest of the air’ when on the cusp of becoming the most famous name in aviation history. Roy Smart presents this magnificent man, his flying machines and the historic, but as yet unheralded, achievements of his sister Ella who helped him in his work.


June 13th 2018



Summer Outing – tbd