April 2018 Lecture Report
The First Railway to Ipswich and Beyond
Mervyn Russen: Ipswich and District Historical Transport Society
Mervyn began his talk by describing some of the principle players behind the drive to get the railway first from Colchester to Ipswich and then on to Bury St Edmunds via Stowmarket. The men behind the venture were Peter Schuyler Bruff, John Chevalier Cobbold and Thomas Brassey.
The railway was first brought to Ipswich finishing on the south side of the Stoke Hill with the terminus being situated in Croft Street in 1840's. The obstacle of the hill was overcome by tunnelling through to the north side where the station is now situated. He spent quite some time explaining in detail how the tunnel was constructed, overcoming the problem of the springs when digging the way through. The tunnel was the first to be constructed on a curve of a half mile radius, at the time. The line was then taken on to Bury St Edmunds. The line runs close to the river Gipping around Stowmarket and here the ground is marshy which presented problems that had to be overcome.
Mervyn illustrated the talk with pictures of the route, the method used in tunnelling and the process of making embankments and cuttings. He also showed us pictures of the Navvy and Butty gangs together with pictures of the stations which are built along the line.
Following many questions the Chairman thanked Mervyn for a most interesting talk on a historical period of the railway.
March 2018 Lecture Report
Harwich for the Continent’
Chris Turland – An ex merchant seaman and marine historian.
Chris started by apologising for the change in subject of the talk "History of the River Orwell" but said this was due to technical difficulties with the presentation.
He began by indicating the dramatic change in the Suffolk and Essex shoreline around the river Orwell estuary over the past 200 years due to erosion and longshore drift, evidence of the coastal difference was revealed by the finds of Roman artefacts when dredging the sea channels. He went on to described the change in types of ships travelling between Harwich and the Continent from the early 1800s up to now and concentrated mainly on the boat trains which started regular travel in the late 1800s. The first steamship regularly crossing from about 1846 was the Aurora with an average speed of only 4 Knots, it took 2 days to make a crossing. Pauls and Whites fleet of sailing barges which included many salvaged vessels were amongst various boats also sailing the busy route.
All of the early steamships were paddle driven, the first screw driven ship was The Norwich which was a double ended ship so that it didn’t need to turn round in restrictive harbours'. Chris also spent some time describing how Felixstowe Docks had evolved since the late fifties from a modest pier and quayside which included Marriages Mill into the major container port it is now.
We also heard some tales about how the boat train ships were used during conflicts and war including one instance when a captain used his ship to ram and disable a German U boat. On the early 20th century freight ships crews had to take their own rations on board and cook them. After Chris enthusiastically revealed many more interesting facts about the ships and his life on board the members thanked him in the usual way.
February 2018 Lecture Report
Laying the myths to rest
Sarah Waterson - Communities Relation Manager for Hunnaball, Family Funeral Group
Sarah began with a quote from Patrick Moore "At my age I do what Mark Twain did, I get my daily paper, look at the obituaries page and if I'm not there I carry on as usual." The title of her talk was "Laying Myths to Rest", and illustrating her talk with many pictures. She began by describing what used to happen in medieval time when coffins were shared. rented or borrowed until the actual burial when they would be buried in a shroud.
Hunnaball began in 1983 when it was purchased by Trevor and Melanie Hunnaball from Geo Paskell Funeral Services of Wix. They have since opened offices in Colchester, acquired a business in West Mersea and this has been followed by an office in Ipswich, Dove House on Norwich Road, then offices in Sudbury, Braintree, Kelvedon, Witham, Chelmsford and the latest in East Ipswich. It is a family run business and is know for its "Ladies in Hats".
During the talk Sarah asked members a number of questions and she rewarded the first correct answer with a sweet, such as, "Can you be buried in your own back garden?" She also mentioned that grave stones were first introduced to Britain by the Romans.
She then went on to describe what happens when they are engaged to deal with the deceased and how the legal formalities are complied with and the diligence with which they undertake their duties. She described the processes involved, from "First Offices" through until the final presentation. The embalming staff have to be qualified. All their fleet of cars are silver rather than the usual black. The Funeral Director is the Master of Ceremonies on the day of the funeral and she described all the duties that they are responsible for, arranging everything and seeing that it all goes smoothly. There are about fifty hours of work involved in arranging a funeral, from beginning to end, including supporting the family afterwards.
Coffins can vary in price, the most expensive to date was ZsaZsa Gabor's which was gold plated, at $40,000 (2011). Cremated remain have been made into all sorts of items, such as glass gems, which have used in parts of rings and necklaces, even glass paper weights to name but a few.
She then went on the ask "Do you have to have a funeral and if you do, who can officiate?" Several people were able to answer some of the questions and get their reward of a sweet and she detailed the different types of celebration the are available.
Finally she showed us pictures of a variety of different styles of coffin that people have had, from the weird to the wonderful. There is also wide variety of modes of transport also available from motorcycles and horse drawn carriages to army tanks and even waste skips. Another question asked was to name three people from the Star Trek TV series who had been launched in to space and "What was the largest funeral gathering in history?"
Following questions, the Chairman, Peter Knox thanked Sarah for a most interesting and enlightening address and the members expressed their vote of thanks in the usual way.
January 2018 President's Evening Lecture Report.
100 years of the RAF
Wing Commander Richard Youngs (RAF Ret'd) - President of the RAF Association in Norfolk
Richard's talk was on "100 years of the RAF", as 2018 is the centenary of the formation of the RAF. He joined the RAF in 1974 at the age of 19, coming from an RAF family which was posted all around the world. Richard illustrated his talk with many historic photographs and pictures of aeroplanes.
1910's In 1918 the RAF was founded on 1st April 1918, towards the end to the WW1, from the Royal Flying Corp (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Services (RNAS) by Lord Trenchard and the colour chosen for the uniform was "RAF" blue. At that time the Army & Navy had 63 planes & 100 plus pilots which were mainly used for reconnaissance work. The Zeppelins airships were carrying bombs to drop on naval dockyards and London so our aircraft were moved from reconnaissance to targeting the Zeppelins. The Navy wanted to bomb German dockyards. In November 1915, 2500 acres of land at Cranwell in Lincolnshire were requisitioned for the RNAS Training Establishment and in 1918 it became the RAF College, training pilots, air crew and engineering apprentices, this marking the importance of engineering skills.
1920's During this period biplanes were still in use such as the De Havilland DH9s but during this period the planes were getting bigger and could fly higher, faster and for longer periods before having to refuel and were being used in such places as the Middle East.
1930's In 1932 the Government saw the threat from Germany, though biplanes were still in use such as the Vickers Vimy, the first Hurricanes were being introduced and two years later the Spitfires. The RAF Regiment had armoured Roll Royce cars for the protection of the airfields. In 1936 Fighter Command and Bomber Command were formed. One of the Engineering Apprentice School's apprentices at Cranwell was Frank Whittle who went on the invent the first jet engine. Radar, (RDF) was also being developed at Orfordness and Bawdsey in the late 30's. WW2 began in 1939.
1940's 1940 saw the Battle of Britain. Fighter Command began with the Hurricanes and then Spitfires. Bomber Command saw the introduction of the Avro Lancaster bombers together with further developments of other planes. Day Time, Night Time and Area Bombing was introduced. Out of the 152,000 air crew in Bomber Command, 55,000 were killed. A tour was 32 raids and only 25% survived to the end of their tour and 9,000 ended the war in Prison Camps. Coastal Command responsible for sinking 188 U boats and it was Coastal Command that Identified Bismark and Turpits which the Navy went on to sink. Lancasters dropped incendiaries and 4,000 lb “cookie's”. Coastal Command used Sunderland Flying Boats for convoy protection and Bristol Beaufighters were used for attacking other targets. The RAF was used in supporting the Army in the Desert with Wellingtons. Hawker Typhoons, Transport Command and Mosquito's were also being used in Far East and in other areas of world. Mosquito's were also used as Nightfighters. The RAF had rescue launches and the Lysander which had exceptional short-field performance enabling clandestine missions using small improvised airstrips behind enemy lines to place or recover agents and for air drops for the French resistance. Barrage Balloons were used to protect cities, towns and sensitive areas as well as for photo reconnaissance.
1950's Saw the RAF supporting the Army in N Africa and constructing airfields. Whirlwind helicopters used in Malaya and this was when the first jets (Meteors) were introduced. With the Russians blockade of Berlin the RAF were involved in flying in supplies to the city. In 1957 the Atom Bombs were tested on Christmas Island.
1960's The V Bombers, Vulcan, Valliant and Victor, which were introduced into service in the late 50's were now being armed with Blue Steel, a nuclear stand-off missile. The English Electric Lightnings were introduced at the beginning of the decade and the Thor, intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRPM), were installed at (Sheperds Grove and Tuddenham near Bury St Edmunds)
1970's This was the period of NATO, Tornado fighters and the Russian "Bear" Bombers, the Nimrod, Harriers and the Wessex Air Sea Rescue Helicopters.
1980's 1982 Argentina invaded the Falklands and the V bombers and Harriers came in to their own and in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down.
1990's The 2nd of August saw the first Gulf War and in 1992 the Bosnia conflict began.
2000's Now it’s the Typhoon II monitoring the Russian Bear bombers again, Predator Drones have come into use and the strength of the RAF has now been reduced to 30,000.
Following questions, the Chairman, Peter Knox thanked Richard for a very interesting, nostalgic and informative talk and the members showed their appreciation in the usual way.
November 2017 Lecture Report
"From PhD to Nobel Prize via a few interesting steps and 43 years. - Charles Kao & the story of Optical Fibre".
Emeritus Prof. John Midwinter OBE, DSc, FRS, FREng.
Professor Midwinter's presentation was illustrated with many slides and samples of fibres and cable. John began by saying that the first laser was built in the USA in 1960 and he built the first one in the UK in 1962. Charles Kao a Chinese student who was born in Shanghai in 1933 and came to study at UCL whilst working at STL in England in 1965 submitted a paper with G A Hockham on 'Dielectric-fibre surface waveguide for optical frequencies' (pub 24/11/1965) which set out the design parameters for a competitive single mode fibre transmission system. This started the development of the optical fibre. The Americans did not think it was possible at the time but the management at BT Martlesham though differently and backed a project to develop the idea. John was originally part of the team eventually taking over from his boss to lead the team to produce the first optical fibre and build it into a cable. Then to test it, installing it in dirty old telephone ducts running between Martlesham and Woodbridge. It was a success and from then on the fibres were continuously improved together with lasers. and as they say the rest is history
Following questions the Chairman Peter Knox thanked Professor Midwinter for a very interesting and informative talk and the members showed their appreciation in the usual way.
October 2017 Lecture Report
Sizewell C New Nuclear Power in Suffolk
Hugh Hutton from EDF
Hugh began by saying that EDF was one of the UK’s largest energy companies, employing around 15,000 people, generates around 20% of UK’s electricity and providing about half of the UK’s low-carbon generated electricity. It operates 8 nuclear power stations and 30 wind farms, as well as gas and coal plants, supplying electricity and gas to around 5.5 million business and residential customers.
It is now proposing the new build of 3 Nuclear plants at Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C and Bradwell B. in a joint investment with and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). The agreement covered a UK partnership to develop new nuclear power stations at Hinkley, Sizewell and Bradwell. Hinkley Point C (66.5% EDF and 33.5% CGN), Sizewell C (80% EDF Energy and 20% CGN) and Bradwell B (66.5% CGN and 33.5% EDF Energy). Hinkley Point C will be the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in a generation.
EDF is working with the local Chambers of Commerce for Hinkley Point C (HPC) and Sizewell C (SZC) for a supply chain, proposed of local contractors for a wide range of contracts across all sectors (inc. non-nuclear, engineering, construction, transport, cleaning and catering)
In the South West, EDF Energy has selected preferred bidders for HPC with total combined contract values of over £465m, giving £200m per year boost to local economy during core construction and £4bn to local economy over the lifetime of the project
Sizewell B was the first pressurised water reactor (PWR) station in the UK giving over 20 years of low carbon energy generation and generating approx, 3% of UK’s electricity (over 2 million households) and to date it is estimated that 67m tonnes of CO2 has been avoided.
Sizewell C will provide enough electricity for around 5 million homes and will avoid over 9m tonnes of CO2 a year. Consultation for the proposed layout of Sizewell C takes into account the sensitive nature of the surrounding environment while providing enough space to build and operate the power station safely and efficiently.
Environmental considerations for the construction and operation of the power station which would have an impact on the surrounding environment, include: Landscape and visual matters, historic environment, noise, air quality, footpaths and bridleways, flood risk, ecology and coastal processes, with on-going surveys and assessments being fed into the latest proposals.
Various options are being considered for transport Rail, Sea and Park and Ride, together with Freight management and Road improvements. They have developed their transport plans with the intention of limiting as far as possible the impact of the construction of Sizewell C on local communities. Rail plays an important role in the strategy for delivering freight on site during the construction phase and for sea they are considering whether to build a temporary jetty at the main development site or use a beach landing facility proposed for the operational phase
Sizewell C will bring significant economic and employment opportunities as well as producing a long-term boost for the local economy through jobs and skills provision.
Hugh illustrated his presentation with many slides and pictures of existing nuclear plants and the proposed plants to illustrate the project.
Following a question and answer session the Chairman, Peter Knox, thanked Hugh for a most interesting and enlightening address and the meeting generously thanked him in the usual way.
September 2017 Lecture Report
Using Innovative Technology on Construction Sites
Jason Page from Ingleton Wood of Colchester
The evening's lecture was given by a colleague of the Chairman. Jason began by looking at the past and present of the construction process before going on to describe the future. From the client commissioning a building to it's completion and the ways how the communication of the architect's ideas to those who execute them have evolved. From moving from paper drawings, blueprints, to computer aided drafting (CAD) to 3D CAD and beyond. Together with the use of laser scanning, drones and Smart Glasses that can visualize the finished construction of a project and now, to adherence to specification.
The project he is in involved with is ACCEPT. Assistance for Quality Check during Construction, Execution Processes for energy-efficient buildings The Accept project has received funding from European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. This is a Suite of applications (apps) for mobile devices for use on construction sites and is used to address the performance gaps between the various stages of the build. Communicating the designer's plan and specification to the management and those trades executing the project and the quality of the work.
By using devices like electronic tablet displays and smart glasses the user is able to see not only how a job should be performed and executed, to what the finished product should look like. Then on the ways of using 3D images and other electronic methods at each stage of the build these can be used to verify that it has been constructed to the original design and specification.
Jason passed around some such devices which enabled the wearer to visualise the finished building which members were able to do by wearing the glasses and looking around the room to see the effect.
The three basic APPS are:
1 CoOpApp: (Construction Operative App) which is designed to run on Smart Glasses providing agile knowledge transfer including transferring of knowledge between stakeholders specifically targeted at construction workers. Through the innovative use of Augmented Reality (AR) on a construction site, the range of inputs include 3D models, construction details or text/video tutorials.
2 SiMaApp: for site managers, the main interaction point is the SiMaApp (Site Managers App) used on a tablet computer. The aim of the SiMaApp is to increase the efficiency, reliability and productivity of construction processes by providing interactive work-flow between different entities on a construction site.
3 Dashboard: this is a web-based application with the aim of improving the final thermal, acoustic and energy performance of buildings by providing sophisticated quality assurance tools, which will be used actively or passively by stakeholders during the construction process.
There are several pilot projects currently in progress in the UK and Europe which are trialling this process
Following a question and answer session the Chairman Peter Knox thanked Jason for a most interesting and enlightening address and the meeting generously thanked them in the usual way.
For further information go to:- www.accept-project.com and for a look at the future go to:- www.balfourbeatty.com/2050